Friday, October 30, 2009

Please, may I have some more...

By Aqua Catlin

I promised a boosie post and I'm glad to deliver. You may remember a previous mention too. Does anyone not like bosoms and cleavage? Breasts give life and they look nice doing it. I don't think I know anyone who doesn't appreciate them so I'm all for doing my best by them.

I love my Hollywood Rising Stars that I discuss here, even more now that I've gotten a second opportunity to wear them. They really work at holding up the girls all night and I got some nice compliments. I fished for those but in the name of research. While you're wearing them, the Cover-Ups are great to cover nipples if you're worried about being a distraction. The great thing about the Cover-Ups is the shape. They're round not that silly petal shape that's so obvious and
under anything silky or sheer the nude opaque coloring is great for a natural look. Its so rare that I'm brave enough to be brazen and again, in the name of research, I wore the Rising Stars without nip-covs last week in a darkened night club. Mostly gay so I chose my moment.

Back to my review. Was super excited to receive my new
Hollywood Extras, Silicone Breast Enhancers. They do enhance the old set but it feels like a new set so they're good with me! Just pop them into your bra, under your bosoms and you're ready to face the day, feeling sexy, round, and femme like a '50's pinup. They really knew how to fill out their tops back then didn't they?
See Rita. See the rest of Rita...
Were those girls' bigger, better or just knew how to pad? It doesn't matter since I've got the Hollywood Extras. They hold them up. Or, depending on the event and time, in. Its a much rounder look in the area all around. Its enjoyable and strange to feel somehow more feminine by just adding a secret slice of silicone. (No secret now but maybe girls will find this useful.)

Personally, I love femmy life but breast enlargement is not for me so this is a really fun little miracle. (Actually a lot of the brand's products seem like little miracles! I'm still crazy for their Hollywood Sweater Savers and Squares! I sound like a commercial but I know what's good.)

And the price is so very right. $39 and change for all that goodness. These should really last forever too if you use the Hollywood Insiders. I recommend them because it gets warm in there! They're a comfortable and disposable soft cover for the silicone and so soft against your...skin. Thanks, Hollywood Fashion Tape, for including this in my package, I'm so glad to have it!

The Extras are heavy. Don't wear a flimsy bra, Girls. And
I developed an addiction to using them so I noticed how they look in every position under all kinds of tops and dresses. I recommend wearing a top or dress that's a little snug around the boosie area . Otherwise you'll look a little weighty. Not that there's anything wrong with that but keep in mind when you choose what you're wearing that it adds roundness and volume right there and if you wear a loose top it'll hang and drape larger than your torso really is off of those great bulbous smile-makers on your chest. Its actually a very feminine feeling though so feel free to play with it. Send pics!

Should we talk about the elephant in the room? How or if men react? I enhanced on 2 dates, a tango class, a tango party plus several days about in the world. Guys always seem nice but certainly there are glances in the 'below the chin' direction. Which I myself am not that comfortable with. If its going to happen I prefer not to see it and really in general I don't, but with these I caught lots of peeps and its a brief moment of ahem. I'm not saying its not worth it... it is, but prep yourselves for it. Guys like round bits. Silicone or real or a bit'o'both.

Led me to wonder, is it misleading to enhance on a date? What if you weren't enhanced when you met then suddenly you are enhanced? Would it be noticed if you unenhanced on down the road say in a few months? I'm all for enhancing on a final date! Tell me your thoughts and if you're thinking of investing in this little fun treat, please stay in touch with your own reviews.
Okaaay then!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

sherman, set the wayback machine to past reviews...

by frédérik sisa

So I’m in a bit of a holding pattern here until the various irons I have going get hot. In the meantime, I thought I’d offer an update on some of the products I’ve reviewed.

First up are Topsies, which I finally got around to ordering. The clincher was the sale price and the company’s offer to make a size 8 for me despite not listing anything lower than a 9 in their shop. Naturally, I ordered a pair in black and I have to say, these stretchy sandals are really comfortable despite the lack of arch support. Put a snug-fitting sock and a flip-flop together and presto, a comfy pair of sandals. Outside ractions have been mixed; some skepticism, some praise. But I’ve found they feel great and have a distinctive look that I like. And how do I wear them? With long pants – I think they look better on me with pants than with shorts. My only concern in recommending them is the price. It’s not that they aren’t a good value. On the other hand, these are handmade in the US, so…it’s a judgment call. I don’t have any regrets, and that’s pretty much the verdict.

Next are Dopies, those wacky things. I haven’t quite put them through their paces, but so far they’ve lived up to my review. They’re attention getters and plenty of fun. The only caveat – and this is a common problem with many shoes made of synthetic materials (my experience with a pair of Keens went disastrously wrong in the blister department, once upon a time) – is that there a wee bit of chafing in some spots, thus requiring the judicious use of a bandage. It’s really not that bad, though, and this is the sort of problem that really depends on one’s feet. What chafes for me may not chafe for you. And since Dopies really are flip-flops and not shoes, one has to keep in mind their function as designed. Bottom line: I still dig them.

…and I’m afraid that’s all I have this week. Next week will be back to the usual fully-loaded posts.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Some POP, People!

By Aqua Catlin

Last night was the first opening reception, "Meaningful," of the POPGallery, a Culver City gallery owned by the fabulous grassroots Creative Brand Engineers, Pencil On Paper Studio. It’s a great gallery to support because 100% of the profits go back to the artists. POP donates their fabulous space, people power and time and passion to supporting the art and it will contribute much to the community I think. Meaningful included installation, watercolor portraits, woodprints and photography. Lots to show up for. And...

Lots of fun and “interesting” people showed. You know who I mean. They’re easy to find anywhere but near LA. Though you can see they're influenced by the city. But still: No hair dye, no makeup, no pretension, very authentic and sweet, leaning toward appreciating same. They brought their kids and the kids were well behaved and drew and painted in their own area. Art by kids at an art show after 8. Pretty cool. There was wine. There were the usual 50% dressed all in black. It was still a gallery reception but it felt like there was more genuine interactions and fun than pretension.

For those who weren’t wearing black from head to toe, some very interesting fashions. Not all of them fashion forward but, that made it so fun and interesting. It was a reminder that art isn’t confined to the displayed artists and fashion is not confined to Us Magazine, H&M, Forevs 21 (31), Robertson Blvd or Rodeo Drive. This is easily forgotten sometimes!

My favorite outfits were worn by:
the Gallery Mamma who's a co-owner with her husband and showed up in the head to toe black flowing skirt and top and accessorized with a new born baby in a black sling across her chest. Baby covered, visible, safe and flaunted, Mamma chic, artsy, proud, accessorized.

And I couldn’t take my eyes off the woman wearing a silky sky blue and purple voluminous yet structural, diagonal off the shoulder dress-thing with one long billowy sleeve and a 2 level hem… Turns out to be a pair of harem pants she put on wrong once and now wears as a dress. With cowboy boots and jeans. Yep. I’d have left off the jeans, but then, I’d never have thought to include them, so you go, Fashionoclista!

I also loved looking at the guy in a crazy vest over vertical stripes with thin tie and expensive old looking distressed boots and a hat. I always appreciate the highly polished, clean, tucked in types who attended too. Katie from POP was in both silver and gold paired with both black and brown with bright blue. Awesome. And Ann who put it together always wears a structurally re-worked t-shirt and is a vision. Suffice to say, it was fun to be there, and as fun to look around at the people as the art.

I hope any of you locals will find the time to support the gallery and that any of us who’re interested in doing so, will find inspiration in the fearlessness shown by the attendees and supporters of art.

That was fun but next week we go boosie. I missed y'all!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

on vacation

Frédérik, here, with apologies. On account of taking some time off starting tomorrow, I wasn't able to put together a post for today. But I'll be back on track next Tuesday. Among some of the pieces I'm working: ethical footwear, clogs (not of the plumbing variety), and more dispatches from the frontlines of the Great Shirt Quest of 2009. And men in skirts? You never know. Until next week...

Monday, October 12, 2009

dressing like a girl: no such thing

How’s this for a headline:

Cobb Teen Told He Can't Dress Like A Female At School

As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the teen in question is Jonathan Escobar, a sixteen-year-old whose preferred attire includes skinny jeans, wigs, makeup, and heels. After being told by an assistant principal that the way he dresses is disruptive – a fight apparently broke out because of it – and he should dress more “manly” or be home-schooled, Escobar took himself out of school. He had only been at North Cobb High School for three days. You can read more about the story here and watch a video report here.

Of course, it seems rather unjust to force Escobar to dress in some particular way in the absence of an official, precisely defined school uniform. After all, what harm is he doing? The most revealing aspect of the story, however, is the one left unspoken. There is a hidden assumption in both the school’s reaction and the way in which the story was reported.

"I don't consider myself a cross-dresser," he said. "This is just who I am."

If you look at the article’s headline, the assumption is right there, in these words: “Dress Like a Female.” But what, exactly, does it mean to dress like a female…or a male? When a baby is born, we obviously don’t wait until it puts on clothes to figure out whether it’s male or female. We know a baby’s sex from biology, and even then biology is sometimes ambiguous. It’s only once we have the biology settled that we start we get a line of reasoning that goes as follow:

If sex M, then fashion FM
If sex F, then fashion FF.

The trouble is that there is no correlation between clothes and sex through biology, and world history and culture is filled with a colourful variety of clothes for both sexes that, today, would not be fashionably acceptable. So far, this isn’t anything new, and neither is the inverse:

If fashion FM, then sex M.
If fashion FF, then sex F.

The mediating factor is, of course, culture. Looking at Escobar, the media assumes that because he is “dressing like a girl” – that is, according to the symbols of a female gender – he sees himself as a girl. But since he is obviously a boy, then there is gender confusion – cross-dressing. Of course, the very notion of cross-dressing is only possible when you assume that men dress like FM and women dress like FF. What happens, however, if we abolish this assumption? If we consider gender as a social construct built around anatomy then fashion, as a manifestation of gender ideals reinforced by Big Fashion, is by definition also a construct that arises from tradition, social expectations, ritual, and so on. But before I veer too far off into pretentious pontification, let me dial it back a bit. The question is to what extent the clothes we wear have a deeper meaning other than function (to protect from the weather) or aesthetic (to look fabulous). Does a business suit really give us an indication as to job skill? Does an apron tell us about a chef’s culinary ability? Is it possible that maybe we care too much what other people do or do not wear?

Perhaps fashion shouldn’t serve a communicative, pop-psychology function…because ultimately it can’t. The persistent belief that it does results in situations like the one Jonathan Escobar faces. (And he’s lucky that’s he not in a place where people get stoned or beaten for defying gender expectations.)

What do you think? Do clothes really say something about a person or are they just practical ornaments?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

the sublime patterns of Vera Bradley

by frédérik sisa

Purse Envy n. The state of envying a purse you cannot have for yourself. Not to be confused with Freudian kinds of envy.

Here’s a vicious little catch-22. Pockets are great for holding the vitals, except for that unfortunate bulging effect that ruins the sleek look. Purses and clutches (or “man purses” and “mlutches”) along with various messenger bags and the like are great for maintaining smooth lines…but you have to carry the darn things. And remember to take them with you as you leave. There may not be a solution to the dilemma, except for the usual choose the right accessory for the right occasion. Of course, part of that choice, especially for the ladies, might just be a little easier with a little (or big) something-something from Vera Bradley.

The company has been around for 20 years. It began, as the website states, “While on vacation in March of 1982, [when] Patricia and Barbara were awaiting a flight in Atlanta when they noticed a definite lack of feminine-looking luggage. The longtime friends wasted no time in correcting this situation. Within weeks, these dynamic women had created a company, named after Barbara’s mother, capable of marketing and manufacturing their cleverly designed products.”

It’s all about the fabrics, of course - bold, expressive patterns that swirl and stripe, mosey and mosaic, break free and fall in line. But it really comes together when applying these patterns to a variety of products like handbags, wallets, totes, eyeglasses, ties, cufflinks, luggage, rugs…and a lot more. (Seriously. They have a lot of stuff.) It works very simply: choose your pattern and pick yourself a collection of matching accessories. Matchypoo heaven! The best thing is that for all the gorgeous packaging, a lot of thought has gone into the insides of the bags too. Pockets, zippers – all manner of things to help keep your stuff organized. The usual rule applies: balance patterns to avoid looking like an exploded textile factory. Vera Bradley makes it easy to go bold without going overboard.

(click image to embiggen)

Frankly, I’m not normally a pattern kind of guy. Call me monochromatic, but I generally prefer smooth minimalism (well, minimalish – I do enjoy strong ornamentation) with exceptions. However, the patterns at Vera Bradley are so beautifully detailed and colourful, I can’t resist. It says something that when my wife bought herself a few goodies I was just as excited at the prospect of choosing a fabric and accessories as she was.

Price-wise, Vera Bradley isn’t cheap-cheap. This Euro Wallet, for example, will run you $27. And this little over-the-shoulder everyday bag is $40. Then again, VB isn’t particularly expensive either. Perhaps it’s best to say that Vera Bradley delivers good value and quality for the price.

Last but not least, in looking over their latest collections I had a pleasant surprise – thereby proving the adage that optimists can never be pleasantly surprised. Vera Bradley has a men’s collection. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include bags and wallets, but the cufflinks, available in a slew of their signature patterns, sure are spiffy…

…as are the ties and pocket squares. Love it!

Anyone out there a Vera Bradley fan? How are you playing around with patterns in your wardrobe? Operators are standing by for your comments...

Monday, October 5, 2009

featured blogger: pump up the frump

by frédérik sisa

There are zillions of fashion blogs out there. You have your fashion news blogs, your trendwatchers, your style guides and shopping blogs – and then you have your outfit-of-the-day blogs where fashionistas post pictures of themselves in their daily ensemble. Most of these come with a little too much me-me-me on the blogger’s part for my tastes, but one of my favourites, by Becky Haltermon, brings on the friendly served straight and smiling…and, of course, with a distinctive, grounded style rooted in a great sense of play. I still get a kick out of the blog’s moniker: Pump Up the Frump. (Because, by Gunn, there certainly is lot of frumpiness out there that needs to be pumped into shape.)

By way of introducing you to Pump Up The Frump, and in keeping with tradition here at The Fashionoclast, I subjected Becky to really, really fiendish questions.

Apparently, you can often be found wearing clothes. What motivated you to blog about it?
My sister and I are ridiculously close and have always fed each other's fashion obsessions. When she went away to grad school, I found that my outfit audience had dwindled to consisting of my cats. I wanted a way to share eccentric clothing ideas with my sis and whomever else might care. I had no idea that I'd find a huge network of incredible people with tons of ideas and inspirations. My blog offers way more affirmation than the cats ever did.

Just be grateful I didn't make a blog about the time I spend not wearing clothes. Hah.

What are your fashion influences and inspirations?
a. Whatever I find at the thrift store.
b. Whatever my friends donate to me at clothing swaps.
c. My awesome blog buddies.
d. Old movies. I'm still looking for a poncho like the one Luke Skywalker wears in A New Hope and a Cowichan sweater in the style of the Dude in The Big Lebowski.
e. Being cheap.
f. My silly sister.
g. The weather.
h. My dreams.
i. Cool girls who hang out near UC and OSU.

Someone is feelin’ the frump and they want to pump it up - any advice?
Wear whatever you want but do it loud and proud. People don't react to your clothes, they react to how you feel in your clothes.

And your plan for world domination is…?
I am an environmentalist by day so right now I'm too damn busy trying to save the planet, let alone subjugate it.

So there you have it. Pump Up The Frump. Many thanks to Becky for the chat!