It’s almost Valentine’s Day so of course I remember that first Valentine’s Day with my boyfriend. It was so long ago that I actually cared if I got a gift.
He must have had something in mind because he went to Victoria’s Secret and purchased a ridiculous bra and underwear set. By ridiculous I mean skimpy. And expensive. Lo, I’ve never spent money on my undergarments. I’d rather buy a raincoat but my boyfriend wanted to impress me or seduce me.
Now I had always wanted padded hangers. Padded hangers were expensive. Instead of getting a store credit I decided to trade the underwear for the hangers. It never occurred to me he would find out.
You know how the story ended.
It is not easy to be unfailingly charming. Or fun to be with. The discipline of being delightful at all times may seem impossible. It’s not.
No one feels upbeat and buoyant all of the time but you should make an effort. How hard is it to be lively and energetic? It doesn’t take all that much but you must force yourself to be positive.
An optimistic attitude is a gift to others. And it’s a gift to yourself. You’ll have a stellar reputation. People will seek out your company. Dermatologists may dissuade you from getting Botox because who needs it when you’re already fetching. Maybe you’ll remarry. Or get married. Or date.
I know it’s hard to be enchanting on a daily basis but what is the alternative?
(There is no alternative.)
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Just a few weeks after winning the Ugliest Dog Contest, Zsa Zsa, an English Bulldog, died in her sleep on July 10th, according to an article/obituary in The New York Times.
Her death was announced by her owner, Megan Brainard of Minnesota.
Zsa Zsa grew up in modest circumstances and spent her early years in a puppy mill. Ms. Brainard adopted her, and given Zsa Zsa’s looks, it was a no-brainer she was an outstanding contestant for the Ugliest Dog contest.
After clinching the title, Zsa Zsa had her moment in the sun. She flew first class to New York to do the talk shows and enjoyed having her nails done in a classic pink shade.
“When you’re loved, looks don’t matter,” said the (I hope you’re getting the morale of the story, people) Ms. Brainard.
Laundry is how I meditate. I go to the laundry room and start sorting. Ironing is also bliss.
I am always up for a good conversation about laundry. Care to share the name of a good spot cleaner? I’m all ears.
I connect to my grandmother Sally when I’m ironing. She was great at ironing. I can’t remember what setting to use for linen. I wish she would have shared that along with her recipe for sponge cake.
There’s a reason I’m writing about laundry and it’s this: Do not use that Clorox pen. It leaves a ring. Your spit is great for taking out your own blood stain. It leaves no ring. The cloth I use to clean my computer screen? Don’t wash it with active wear. It will pill the fabric. Don’t steam pleats. But you should have a steamer to remove wrinkles.
Dry clean your clothes sparingly. I heard from a very good source Prince Charles doesn’t dry clean. He prefers having his butler use a clothes brush. And by the way, the butler also applies toothpaste to the Prince’s toothbrush.
I need to get a life.
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I must have been 13. A relative was in the hospital. I wanted to visit but the hospital had rules. No one under 16 was permitted to visit.
It wasn’t just a relative. It was my mother.
My father offered some advice. Let me share it with you. “Look like you belong.”
So I got dressed in my finery (it wasn’t such finery) and walked into the hospital with my father. I made sure my posture was perfect. I exuded confidence. I got to see my mother.
Maybe that’s why I take such pleasure putting on my finery (now it’s finery), throwing on the accessories, making sure there are no coffee spots on my white shirts.
I never question if I belong.
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A recent article in the New York Times spotlighted Dawnn Karen. Dawnn Karen is a fashion psychologist and therapist. She teaches at The Fashion Institute of New York.
Karen says the way you dress impacts the way you feel. The way you present yourself through the lens of style has an affect on your social relationships, your professional success, and most importantly, your psyche.
Years ago I sought advice from a psychoanalyst. We discussed the success and failure rate of people in analysis. The doctor said “sometimes I just want tell a patient who is lonely to look fabulous” instead of talk therapy.
Miz Karen is on to something.
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Now that the AARP magazine is arriving in the mail with its upbeat stories about fulfillment and mindfulness (along with ads for anti-depressants), I’ve created my personal plan to appear hip.
#1. Keys are to be placed in my pocket and not my handbag. I become my mother when I say “I can’t find my keys.”
#2. I must never discuss the different types of fiber powder.
#3. I must try to use both hands to text.
#4. I must never ask the waiter if he’s sure it’s decaf.
It’s time to go shopping. Thankfully too because I’m bored with my down coat although down coats are now called puffers in case you care. I think they renamed them puffers because people are pretty down these days and manufacturers don’t want to make buyers sad. Anyway, that’s my theory.
I’m not ready to buy anything as I haven’t done any sleuthing. Do you sleuth? Sleuth is when you walk into a store and you’re approached by a salesperson and in the nicest possible way you say “thank you but I’m just sleuthing.” Hopefully they get it and leave you alone. You finish the sleuthing and if you’re curious about something then you engage with the salesperson.
When I’m ready to pull out the A/E, I’ve done plenty of sleuthing and decided on the one piece I plan to buy. You got that? Just one piece. It could be shoes. A jacket. A handbag. Maybe a hat. It must be fabulous and incredibly stylish so you will dance in the streets when you wear it.
That’s also my theory. Bye.
Apologies to everyone I bored with my pathetic lamentations that my favorite store in Santa Monica was closing and my sensational saleswoman Barbara H. was leaving for a new venture. It’s not like I took to my bed for a few days but it was close.
My relationship with Barbara was conducted virtually but with such glee. She had a brilliant eye for quirky and timeless pieces. I trusted her taste completely. I gave her the go-ahead to challenge me to evolve my style so I would feel confident and modern. She wanted me to look and feel fantastic. Thank god we never discussed anti-aging as I wasn’t interested. Of course I’m aging but I want to do it with imagination and wit. Barbara got that.
Find a store that carries beautiful pieces and develop a relationship with a salesperson who, like Barbara, is inventive, creative and passionate about helping you look fabulous. It’s not an indulgence. It’s just a very clever way to evolve.
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About 15 years ago I had the “brilliant” idea to become a personal shopper. It was not a brilliant idea. I do love to shop, that is true, but not for other people.
I would meet with a client and review their wardrobe. Did they have a pair of fantastic black pants? White shirts? A pair of loafers? Once they realized they needed everything off we would go. I’ll tell you this: People cannot make up their minds. It was very hard on my nerves.
Looking back I now realize that when I took inventory of their closets I forgot to take inventory of their attitudes. Nothing looks good if you’re mopey, sullen or feel the need to apologize for being you.
Feeling confident, upbeat, and positive is how you look fabulous. And those feelings are the foundation for a timeless style.
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