Tag Archives: Target

Baby Take a Bow

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I was at the opera recently and at the very end, on cue, our heroine collapsed and the curtain came in.   No, no, not the soprano onstage.  Me!  Yes, me with the severe vasovagal syncope.  As you may or may not know, it is traditional in the opera for the director of the production to bow opening night and in my rush to get backstage to take my curtain call at Pittsburgh Opera’s “La Boheme,” I slipped and fell in the house.  Rising quickly, thinking I was fine and just a little woozy, I made my way backstage and was standing in the wings waiting for my big moment.  I remember moving over to the proscenium wall to brace myself against some dizziness and next thing I know, I wake up on the floor with my legs over my head.  Apparently, my co-director, a former medic in the Israeli army (lucky for me, you say), saw the birdies circling over my head and lowered me to the floor, lifting my legs in the process.  Lucky, you say?  When I opened my eyes and my dress was over my head, all I could think of was THANK GOD I’M NOT WEARING CONTROL TOP!

My purpose here is not to elicit your sympathy or concern for my arterial health (though I do appreciate it and I’m fine, thank you very much) but to point out what our mothers stressed back when we were learning to drive: BE SURE TO WEAR NICE UNDERWEAR, since you never know who is going to see it!  Personally, I am somewhat obsessed with this.  I can’t wear a bra and panties that don’t match, or at the very least, coordinate.  JZ says it tells you a lot about who I am and I would say it borders on the pathological except that my friend, the Broadway actor, Judy Blazer, I was delighted to discover, feels the same way.  We belong to a club of two called The Panty Patrol.  Now I grant you that we are the extreme, but every woman, as well as you men out there, should give serious consideration to the condition of your underpants.  Especially as we get older, more weird stuff happens, no?  And since we can’t prevent all the indignities of unexpected accidents, why not at least try to prevent some of the humiliation? 

Undies aren’t meant to last forever or even more than a couple of seasons.  Got a favorite brand?  Stock up and dole them out a couple pair at a time as they wear out.  You don’t need to spend a lot of dough.  Target (I know, I know, my favorite…) has a really nice line called Gilligan and O’Malley.  Their mesh lace hipster is really comfortable, no VPL*, comes in great colors (I prefer the “Mochachino”) and is only five dollars.  Five dollars!  Gap is another great place to pick up unmentionables-that-are-here-being-mentioned.  They make great bras that are very reasonable, especially if you take advantage of the thirty or forty percent off often offered on line.  And with their free shipping/free returns policy you can be assured of the right fit in the comfort of your boudoir.  Want a real treat?  Go to Saks Fifth Avenue and ask the lingerie salesperson to do a bra fitting.  She’ll bring you the correct size, (chances are you are not currently wearing it) in an array of styles that may be pricey, but you’ll feel like an opera star.

As for the aforementioned pantyhose, obviously, if you’re wearing knits, control top is the way to go.  Calvin Klein makes my favorite, the Infinite Sheer.  Look for the denier number on the back of the package.  The lower the number, the sheerer the hose, i.e. a forty would be opaque, a twelve, very sheer.  Their Infinite Sheer is a seven denier and they’re practically invisible.  I apply some hand cream before I put them on to avoid snags. 

If you’re not wearing a knit skirt you can wear the control just on top with a long leg look with Nordstrom’s new French Cut, or Donna Karan’s The Nudes, or Hue’s So Sexy French Lace Sheers.  BareNecessities.com is a great site with lots of brands and styles that offers discounts.  Nordstrom’s private label is made by a big-time hosiery company and offers a price break when you buy three pair at a time.

But PLEASE, no reinforced toe.  Ever.  And if you’re wearing open toed shoes or sandals, forget the hose.  Buy some tan-in-a-can instead.  But’s that’s a whole other blog.  Meantime, let’s drink to lovely lingerie! 

Bottoms up!

*Visible Panty Line

http://www.target.com/p/gilligan-o-malley-reg-women-s-mesh-lace-trim-hipster-assorted-colors-patterns/-/A-14148257#prodSlot=large_1_12

http://www.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=1011254

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/calvin-klein-infinite-sheer-control-top-pantyhose/3207344?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Black&resultback=0&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-searchresults-_-1_1_A

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/nordstrom-french-cut-sheer-pantyhose-3-for-30/3490427?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Medium+Nude&resultback=640&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_2_D

http://www.barenecessities.com/hue-so-sexy-french-lace-sheers-control-top-pantyhose-5970n_product.htm?pf_id=HUE5970N&search=

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Oy-Cashmere

I’m going to apologize right up front here for any misspellings, grammatical errors or general goof-ups. I’m writing this on my iPad and being a student of the old-fashioned touch typing that Mrs. Bilecki taught us in high school, this hunt and peck nonsense is a kind of torture. BUT…I’m in Italy and it turns out that the remote little countryside inn in which we are staying is not that remote. It’s right near an Italian cashmere outlet!  Bravisimo!!  Can you believe it?  Not only am I eating great food, drinking fabulous  wine and looking at exquisite scenery, I’m in sweater-heaven!  And cashmere is something I know about.

Gilda Radner, rest her soul, once said that her fashion sense was based on what doesn’t itch. I can totally relate to this because I’m one of those people for whom the word “angora” is a threat.  Mohair, forget it. Even “virgin” wool can mean a day of endless scratching. So I have found that cashmere tends to be the best bet for me when it comes to winter warmth and style. However, not all cashmere is alike and it can be expensive.   Just because the label has the C-word it doesn’t guarantee that it will be itch-free.   The country of origin is often a good clue.  China makes some inexpensive cashmere that can be quite nice. I actually bought a bunch of cardigans that Isaac Mizrahi did for Target a few years back that were lovely and very soft and unbelievably reasonable, but it varies.  Sometimes you get what you pay for. That said, many large department stores, because of their size, are able to supply cashmere sweaters from China under their private labels for less than you’d pay for a regular old Merino from Banana Republic.  Nordstrom’s “Halogen” is just such a brand.  Likewise “C by Bloomingdale’s.”.  They work just fine for a season or two or even three if you store them with mothballs.  But don’t expect the sweater of a lifetime.

Scotland is a good bet for cashmere (think of all those sheep on the heathered hillsides) but you’ll pay for hip style.  Pringle, the best known Scottish knitwear vendor, tends to be fairly conservative style-wise, but the quality of the knit is indisputable.  It’s always best to let your fingers do the walking. And your neck. I hold a garment up to my neck for several minutes to judge the itch factor.  I’ve had very good luck with a British company called Pure Collection. They frequently have sales through their catalogue and the quality is very nice.  The same with Boden, which may even be the same company.  Again, watch their website as they always have promotions.  I like to stock up on bright colors. With a white tee and black pants, it’s basically my winter uniform.

In the meantime, I’m on my way to the Italian cashmere outlet.  Can’t travel without bringing home a souvenir, si?

Ciao bella!

http://www.purecollection.com

http://www.bodenusa.com

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/halogen-v-neck-cashmere-sweater-regular-petite/3603647?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=2375500&fashionColor=Blue+Mazarine&resultback=1314&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-searchresults-_-1_4_C

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Go For the Gold

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Bracelets from Nordstrom

It was recently announced that Tokyo would be hosting the 2020 Olympic Games.  When I heard this on the news the other night I regarded it as my personal invitation to bypass the bronze and the silver and to go for the gold.

Gold is back.  I’ve actually been saying this for a while (ask my niece — I’ve been telling her on a daily basis), but no one seemed to want to take me seriously.  Now every catalogue, magazine and fashion story is showing gold.  There was a time when yellow gold was the metal of choice, considered to be the look of “real” jewelry.  Even men were wearing a lot of gold.  The chains, the bracelets, the rings until it became a parody of itself and nobody would go near it.  Then, with the nineties, white gold, platinum and silver seemed to take over with no letting go.  More restraint seemed appropriate and the showy, not-so-mellow yellow was out.

But big ol’ King Midas, Golden-Goose-gold is back and I’m amazed at how it’s giving a new oomph to some outfits I’ve had around for a while.  That’s not to say I’ve given up my silvery obsessions but I’m wearing both, sometimes at the same time!   Gold bangles, gold links, gold hardware on handbags, gold shoes; it’s the Gilded Age, for god sake.  While I usually feature one metal at a time, I also like to mix it up depending on what I’m wearing.  The simpler the ensemble the more opportunity for accessorizing.  And no being skimpy.  If I’m going for the gold I’m going to give it an Olympic effort.  Big, chunky gold is very retro-chic with black, or better yet, black and animal print, which is also big for fall.  I recently bought a gold link bracelet with black leather trim and I’ve been wearing it constantly.  As a side note, leather is showing up a lot in little double wrapped belt-like bracelets and as trim on garments like dresses, sweaters and pants.

As temperatures drop and the weather gets cooler, gold seems to provide a little warmth.  And for those of us past the midpoint of middle age, gold can bring a glow to the face that just can’t be achieved with silver.  Another big trend this fall is “rose gold” which is even better for us in the older crowd.  It’s to jewelry what a pink bulb is to a lamp.  In other words, an instant facelift.   I found a great little rose gold bracelet on line at Target that is such a bargain I won’t care if it’s a one-season statement.

So RUN right upstairs and dig out those old ball earrings, charm bracelets and bangles that have been languishing in your drawer with the expired gym membership card and the few leftover pesos from that trip to Mexico.  You’ve just started training for the gold!

Necklaces:  http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/nordstrom-curb-link-collar-necklace/3547964?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=GOLD&resultback=818&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_3_B

http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=33412&pid=685630&vid=1&scid=685630022

Bracelets: http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=33416&vid=1&pid=685627002

http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/tory-burch-double-wrap-logo-bracelet/3211107?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=&resultback=3272&cm_sp=personalizedsort-_-browseresults-_-1_9_C

http://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/jewelry/bracelets/PRDOVR~07355/07355.jsp

Bulbs:  http://www.lampsplus.com/products/ge-2-pack-100-watt-soft-pink-light-bulbs__91007.html

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Through the Looking Glass

I’m just putting away my power drill after installing a full length mirror inside the closet door of my guest room.  It occurred to me that when someone stays with us the only mirror is over the sink in the bathroom which makes it near impossible to check one’s total look.  And let’s face it; the world sees you from head to toe, not just waist up.  Whenever I go out of town to direct a production, one of the first things I do, if the place I’m staying in doesn’t already provide it, is to run down to the local Target and buy a long mirror.  They’re usually only about six dollars and then I just leave it for the next occupant.  I find this is essential, not just from a fashion standpoint but from a practical one as well.  It’s pretty difficult to see what’s hanging down in the back without a full length mirror.  Any singer or director who has arrived at a corporate apartment and seen a long mirror propped up against the wall very likely has gotten a little gift from yours truly.

I’m reminded of the time, many years ago, when I was in an awful production of “Antigone.”  I was playing the role of the Queen Eurydice and, unbeknownst to me, I made my entrance on stage with a bra hooked onto the back of my gown.  You heard me.  Clearly I had neglected to look in the full length mirror before going on.  The only positive thing I can say about this experience is that it provided my colleagues with plenty of backstage hysterics in an otherwise tedious and regrettable show.  Moral of that story; not only GET a look but TAKE a look.  Yikes.

I was incredulous to learn the other day that one of my better dressed friends only installed a full length mirror in her home for the first time this week!  “How the heck do you see the full view,” I asked her.

“I stand on the edge of the tub and then I crouch to see myself in the little mirror over the sink.”

Are you kidding me?  This would be dangerous under any circumstances but forget about being dressed up and in high heels.  Good lord, that’s a disaster waiting to happen.  Not to mention the fact that all your clothes look like they were tailored for Quasimodo.

You get my point.

I find I need to see the whole outfit.  Many times I’ve taken off an unneeded bracelet, snipped a thread hanging from a hem, changed my underwear (visible panty line, you know—I could write a whole column on undergarments) or simply decided something was too short/young/dated/worn out/out of season, just by taking that last look in the full length.  Think of the long mirror as your cheerleader, your rescuer from embarrassment, your editor, your friend.

It can be an eye opener.

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“My Queen, why are you crying?”
“I didn’t look in the long mirror and I have a bra hanging off the back of my dress!!!!”

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The New Math: +30=-10

Remember new math?  Don’t ask me how it was any different from old math.  2+2 still equaled 4.  Of course those were the days when the only calculator you carried to school was between your ears.  I think it had more to do with language than numbers.  Phrases like “take away” and “carry over to the…” fell out of fashion.  If you are old enough to remember New Math then I’m proposing a simple equation. And if you are not old enough to remember New Math you can keep reading and save this article because in twenty years you’ll thank me.

I’m finding that two things that age me quicker than you can say “Fallout Shelter” are my eyebrows and teeth.  You thought I was going to say those flappy pieces of skin under the arms.  No.  It’s my eyebrows and teeth.  But I’m finding that in thirty minutes it’s possible to look ten years younger.  All right, maybe not ten.  But at least three.

You may have noticed that as we age our teeth start to yellow.  Take a look at your kids’ teeth.  Unless they haven’t been brushing properly their teeth probably look pretty white and the brightness of their teeth really contributes to that youthful glow.  Now if you’re not smiling you don’t have to bother but at this stage of the game I’d rather keep the laughs coming, wouldn’t you?

And while my teeth are getting yellowish, my eyebrows are getting thinner.  I can remember a time when I looked like a direct descendant of Groucho.  No more.  They’ve definitely thinned out and somehow the tail ends have all but disappeared.  Eyebrows can really make a difference in how your eyes look.  Even more than mascara or eyeliner.  Really.

So with a box of tooth whitening strips and an eyebrow pencil I’ve been brightening my face bing bang boom.  You don’t have to go to the dentist to whiten your teeth.  I love my dentist, but I got just as good results from the drugstore-variety strips.  Crest makes several; “Premium,” “Vivid,” “Advanced Vivid,” “Professional,” “Sensitive.”  I buy the least expensive set of strips, usually 14 in a pack.  Target carries their own brand “Up & Up” and it’s just as good and cheaper.  I stay away from the ones that promise to lighten your teeth in just two days.  The potency in those can be harsh on sensitive teeth and if you’re like me, more than a few days at regular strength and your teeth have more edge than an episode of “The Killing.”  Just thirty minutes for a couple of days can make a difference.  The key is to be sure teeth are dry before putting on the strips.  I take a bath towel and run it over the surface (backside too) and apply.

Then while I’m waiting for the magic to happen, with my handy dandy eyebrow pencil, looking in a magnifying mirror of course, I gently fill in the scribbles on my forehead that used to be eyebrows.  The trick here is to choose a pencil a shade lighter than your actual brows.  MAC makes a really nice self-sharpening one that lasts all day, and for a less expensive option, to keep in my travel kit, I use Maybelline’s Define-A-Brow.  A light touch.  Gentle, gentle feathery strokes will do it and voila!  Hair where there was bare!

By the time the teeth are cooked and my brows are on, I swipe on a little lipstick and I’m good to go.  Easiest math homework ever.

http://www.amazon.com/Crest-Premium-White-Strips-Count/dp/B0001WXTPA

http://www.maccosmetics.com/product/shaded/149/263/Products/Eyes/Brow/Eye-Brows/index.tmpl

*New Math was a brief, dramatic change in the way mathematics was taught in American grade schools, and to a lesser extent in European countries, during the 1960s. The name is commonly given to a set of teaching practices introduced in the U.S. shortly after the Sputnik crisis in order to boost science education and mathematical skill in the population so that the perceived intellectual threat of Soviet engineers, reputedly highly skilled mathematicians, could be met.  -Wikipedia

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To A Tee

Are you, like me, on a constant quest for the perfect white tee shirt?  I swear that if I had a dollar for every minute I’ve spent on line shopping for white tees I could open a factory and make my own.  Not that there is a dearth of white tee shirts available.  There are thousands.  Every retailer has several on offer so what’s the big deal?  I’ll tell you.  There is something about a tee shirt that has to be just so.  The fit, the length of the sleeve, the neck, the fiber content, the denier (that’s the weight of the fiber content) the cut, the length.  Am I right?  If it’s too short it looks like a box.  If it’s too long it looks like your daddy’s undershirt and forget about tucking it into a skirt (notice I didn’t say anything about tucking it into your pants.  Don’t.).  If it’s too baggy it’s unattractive.  If it’s too tight it’s uncomfortable and not too classy, I might add. Then there is the question of whether it’s a tee shirt to wear by itself (thicker) or under a sweater (a little thinner), short sleeve, ¾ sleeve, long sleeve, V-neck, crewneck, ballet neck, scoop neck… This is an ongoing search because a white tee doesn’t last more than a season or two at most.  They stretch out, they lose their shape, the armpits turn yellowish, but mostly they get that dingy look and that’s when you know it’s time to polish your furniture with it.

Lately, when I find a tee shirt I really like, I’ve gotten into the practice of buying in bulk and stock piling them in the attic.  I dole the precious garments out to myself two at a time—one to wear, one to wash—keeping the others for reserve.  I personally prefer 100% cotton and I’ve found that price point isn’t always a measure of quality.  There’s a wide range out there; some pricey, others very reasonable.  On the high end, Michael Stars makes lovely shirts in different denier weights and amazingly, his one-size-fits-most actually does.   I don’t get it, and maybe larger sizes would not find his shirts as accommodating, but I find they fit very well.  On the other hand, Target, my go-to store for practically everything, has very good quality tee shirts under their “Mossimo Supply Co.” and their “Merona” brands.  They wash well, last a long time and are usually under $10, sometimes on sale for as little as $5.  And the best part, they have no label inside to irritate the back of your neck and drive you nuts.  Buy a bunch and fuggedaboutit.  Banana Republic has a nice one they call their “Timeless Tee” that runs about $22.50, but don’t pay full retail.  They regularly have promos that will give you a percentage off.   J.Crew also has some nice basic tees in their catalogue but I find these tend to look best on me when I’m skinnier.  ‘Nuff said.

So what do you do if you’ve spilled chocolate gelato or coffee down the front, or worse yet, worn it to an Italian restaurant and ordered the spaghetti and meat balls.  You know what I’m talking about.  That one stray strand of spaghetti goes “Thhhwwap” and you have an orange stain on the front that will never come out.  AAARRRGGGHHH.  As soon as I can, I blot it with some hot, hot water, and then shoot it with some Oxi Clean Max Force Laundry Stain Remover spray.  Wash it on the gentle cycle with some Ivory Snow and usually it’ll be good as new.  And as an extra precaution, Shout Pre-wash comes in little individual tear-open packets.  I always carry a couple in my handbag.

Of course, if that doesn’t work, it’s up to the attic for a new one from stock!

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Merona Scoop Neck Tee from Target

http://www.target.com/p/merona-women-s-ultimate-scoop-neck-tee-assorted-colors/-/A-14363791#prodSlot=medium_1_54

http://www.target.com/p/mossimo-supply-co-juniors-v-neck-tee-assorted-colors/-/A-14563875#prodSlot=medium_1_2

http://www.target.com/p/mossimo-supply-co-juniors-scoop-neck-tee-assorted-colors/-/A-14347765#prodSlot=medium_1_3

http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?vid=3&pid=678563102

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