Friday, April 23, 2010

Pushing the Envelope Around The World

I recently returned from a trip to Israel and Jordan. Of course I noticed clothing. I realized that no matter where you are young women who are expected to dress to a specific code will push the envelope.

Here in the US we have many women who follow a dress code. In some areas of country you can almost pick out specific denominations (yes, I know some would object to that term) based on their "uniform." The ankle length denim skirt, three-quarter sleeve, and long hair will shout out their church affiliation. I found one church's "don't" list:

  • no jewelry
  • no nail polish
  • no cutting hair
  • no piercings (ears too)
  • no tattoos
  • no beards on guys
  • no shorts on guys
  • no pants on girls
  • no short sleeves on girls
  • no short skirts

Yet, teenagers will find a way to rebel. There are the denim skirts slit up to above the knee, fishnet stockings, and boots. One young woman wore her hair long, but teased up to a height where I feared it would be caught in ceiling fans.

Young Christian women are not alone in being within the letter of the law, but not the spirit. In Jordan I saw Islamic teens wearing the hijab, a long sleeved top, but jeans so tight I worried for the circulation in their legs.

In Tiberius, Israel, the Orthodox Jewish teens also liked to skirt (insert eye roll here) tzniut (modesty). While they wore sleeves which reached the wrists and long skirts, the t-shirts were very form fitting.

So, while parents wail and gnash their teeth over the Abercrombie & Fitch ads teens all over are finding ways to buck the rules intended to encourage modesty. Why? Because that's what teens do. They are simply being teens, finding their own identity by pushing against adult expectations.

Parents, take a deep breath and relax. Remember to pick your battles wisely. When my youngest son decided that he only wore black I didn't fight it. I simply said, 'No skulls.' I gave him room to be himself. I do have to admit the bunny skulls on his girlfriend's hoodie are very cute.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Manish Arora At Paris Fashion Week

When the catwalk features black, grey, and more black when color stomps the runway I take notice. In Paris earlier this month there was the rainbow presented by Manish Arora.

I was amazed at the beautiful colors that made my think "Tiffany Windows!" Every single look sparkled, shined, or featured beautiful stained glass looks. The models wore futuristic wigs in neon colors and some carried motorcycle helmets that matched their clothing.

In an AP interview Arora commented, "We took familiar codes of the Art Deco period and, in a word, messed them up. We pushed everything so far into the future that it's hardly recognizable." The Delhi, India, based designer explained that he was partly inspired by stills from Fritz Lang's Metropolis (one of the great silent films).

You can view the Paris runway show here:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wearing The Military Look

Been there done that. When you reach a certain age you see trends coming in and out of style. In the case of the Military Look I've literally been there and done that. Having served in the Army for 6 years donning fatigues and camo doesn't have quite the same attraction that it does for others.

I remember when in the 80s fatigue pants were all the rage. I wore a pair of my old pants, with holes in the pockets and no longer acceptable for work. I was out and about one weekend when a man in his early 30s approached me. He chastised me for taking something he wore to defend the US and trivializing it. I calmly pulled my Army ID from my pocket. He apologized and we laughed over the incident.

So....if you decide to wear camouflage or other aspects of the Military Look make sure you do it respectfully. A way to embrace this look is to think more marching band than battle uniform. Beyonce in this Balmain jacket is the perfect balance. The style is more Crimean War than Operation Enduring Freedom.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Looking For Clothing & Jewelry Designers

Are you a designer? I'm looking for conservative clothing and jewelry designers to feature for upcoming articles. Are you a jewelry designer who has created a tea bag pin? Are you a clothing designer who has clothed politicians or their families? Think Star Spangled Ice Cream for fashion.

Send a .jpg an background details about yourself and I will contact you for more information: fasnionistapolitica @

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Budget Beauty Products

In these days of budget concerns many fashion fanatics are having to tighten their Zac Posen belts. There are essentials that we shouldn't live without. A good moisturizer is one. Make-up and skin care products need to be replenished. Here are some of my favorites products available at my local drugstore or online.
  1. I love Fiberwig mascara. At $24 it's a purchase I have to think twice about. Now there is L'Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes. The price of $9 makes it my new favorite mascara. If you are unfamiliar with tubing mascaras the idea is simple. Your lashes are coated in a flexible polymer that stays and stays. I have the bad habit of rubbing my eyes during the day. I used to end up with raccoon eyes. Not now. This mascara is also really, truly waterproof. I can watch a marathon of Lassie and The Waltons without a smudge. It cleans off easily with regular facial cleanser.
  2. Go pro on EBay. Not as a seller but as a wise shopper. When replenishing my daytime moisturizer or facial cleanser I put in the names of my favorites and add the word "pro" or "professional." This gives me salon size products. I pay the same for a 6 ounce size tube of moisturizer as I would for the 3 ounce size in a store. Only buy products that are brand new.
  3. I'm often frustrated with foundations that seem to look great in the store, but when I wear them in the real world they look fake. I have been a fan of Almay Smart Shade foundation for a while now. It is my wear-to-work foundation. You choose from one of three shades, light, light/medium, or medium. It comes out of the tube white and transforms into the shade you need for your skin. I can use the same shade in the middle of summer as I do in the dead of winter. This foundation is a sheer coverage. It's very natural looking. Smart Shade has a SPF 15 included. There is a new Smart Shade Anti-Aging that I haven't tried yet with a SPF of 20.
  4. If you have heart palpitations over the cost of eye cream don't worry, there are more affordable choices. When I travel my eyes will become puffy. I discovered Biore Enliven Cooling Eye Gel and it's now my travel buddy. It has a blend of golden root, yeast, and sugar beet extracts which de-puff my eyes. Enliven Cooling Eye Gel also has cucumber extract which is soothing. At a reasonable $10 you can keep one in your suitcase and one in your bathroom.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How To Help Haiti

Many want to assist the people of Haiti but are wary. Often when disasters happen scammers come out to take advantage of your good will. Good giving also means giving to organizations where the majority of money goes to those in need. I'm wary of "misuse of funds, cronyism, excessive expense accounts, secret consulting contracts." I do recommend one specific charity.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is an exceptional organization. After the US Military CRS has one of the most effective disaster response programs in the world. The average percentage spent by charities on admin and overhead is 12.4% according to MinistryWatch. The admin and overhead percentage of CRS is 2.3%. CRS seeks to help people in the developing world break the cycle of poverty through community based programs with the local population as the central participant. This ensures that projects are sustainable through local resources and community.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hounds Tooth Fashion

Having a graduate degree from the University of Alabama means that when I see a houndstooth pattern I think of the 'Bama football team (2010 National Champions!). It's not that I'm a big football fan. I can count on two fingers the number of football games I've seen from start to finish, but the houndstooth pattern was the signature of Coach Bear Bryant's hat. So, I often disregard coats and scarves featuring this classic pattern.

Then suddenly I began seeing houndstooth all over the place in the fashion world. This checked pattern has notched corners that suggests a dog's tooth. It is traditionally black and white. The French call it pied de pole (chicken's foot).

On the runway designers such as Alexander McQueen and Michael Kors featured houndstooth patterns. Some designers have moved away from the traditional black and white giving us red and black or blue and black patterns. Like stripes or animal print a little can go a long way. Accessories allow you to incorporate this fashion statement without investing in a dress or blouse that you may find too much. This Keffiyah (Head Scarf) is an exotic way to wear this pattern. Go for Michael Kors' houndstooth gloves for a visual punch.