Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Formal Jeans

Do you iron your jeans? Are the words "formal jeans" an oxymoron? Mr. Hunting Creek asked me yesterday if I ever ironed my jeans. "Jeans are work clothes, real work clothes. It may be against Rebel Law to iron them. Never!"
"Spoken like a true Berkeley Girl" , he said. "What do you think of jeans worn to movie openings and other fancy events?"
"I would wear jeans to the movies, but on the other hand, I didn't star in that movie, so there are different expectations for my dress, versus what the star should wear. I think Movie Stars should dress up."
"You may be the last person on earth to think so."
Who still pays attention to movie openings, anyway? Sometimes I wonder what all the fuss is about. Still, to me that's a professional obligation on the part of the actors, so they should dress accordingly. (Am I turning into my mother in law? That's just what she would have said!)
When we were in college we wore our jeans constantly, until they could stand up by themselves. (Mainly because we had to pay to do laundry, so we'd space laundry use out accordingly.) I prefer dark wash, and I like to fade mine naturally. I won't buy prefaded or already worn out jeans. That's cheating.
What do you think? Are jeans acceptable formal wear? Do you iron your jeans?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Zucchini News

Dateline Montana: woman uses giant zucchini from her garden to beat off a bear that was attacking her dog. Add this to your list of zucchini uses, should you have a bear situation.
Stephen Colbert, take note, and stock up.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Last Cakes of Summer

This is my Peach and Berry Cake from a couple weeks ago

This is the same cake only baked with the berries underneath, then flipped over, in classic upside down cake style. To make any cake in this style,for one layer, I melt 1/4 cup butter (half a stick) and pour into my greased and floured cake pan - this one is 9x2in - then sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar on top, then add the fruit of choice to cover the bottom of the pan. You can do this with cupcakes and make mini upside down cakes in various colors for a pretty party display.

This is the giant zucchini that my sister gave me with the blithe comment that I could make some zucchini bread...or something.
I did make chocolate zucchini bread (from Fine Cooking last month's issue) and Mr. Hunting Creek was inspired to make a Zucchini Parm variation of Chicken Parm (you see what he learns from watching the Sopranos on dvd)
That's a placemat it is sitting on to give you an idea of the size. I had to peel off the skin and remove the seeds, then I grated it on a cheese grater for the zucchini bread.
What would you do with a zucchini this size (don't say baseball bat)?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Quotable Friday

How many times has someone said, "Her dress/top/jeans look like they were painted on!"
Now painted on clothes can be a reality.

"The fabric, which dries when it meets the skin, is very cold when it is sprayed on, a limitation that may frustrate hopes for spray-on trousers and other garments."

Did we even have hopes for spray on trousers?
I wonder if we can get neon metallic colors?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Importance of Clothes

"I leaned back and closed my eyes - and instantly the whole day danced before me. I wasn't merely remembering, it seemed to be trapped inside my eyelids; the City, the traffic, the shops were all there, shimmering, merging. Then my brain began to pick out the bits it wanted to think about and I realized how the day made a pattern of clothes - first our white dresses in the early morning, then the consciousness of what people were wearing in London, then Aunt Millicent's poor dead clothes, then all of the exquisite things in the shop, then our furs. And I thought of how important clothes were to women and always had been. I thought of Norman ladies in Belmotte Tower-keep, and Plantagenet ladies living in Godsend Castle, and Stuart ladies when our house was built on the ruins - and hoops and Jane Austin dresses and crinolines and bustles, and Rose longing for a little black suit."

I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith, page 84, 1948

Poor Rose! She and her sister Cassandra went to London and when they got there, they realized that they were dressed all wrong! We all know how awkward that feels. Ever show up for a party all dressed in party wear to disover that everyone else was dressed casually? Or worse, the opposite? We all hate that feeling - like saying the wrong thing. Oh wait - you are saying the wrong thing - but with your clothes.

Clothes have their own language, and we can all read it and speak it. We know someone's socio-economic status, their job, their social standing, their role in life itself by reading what they are wearing. Like any language, context is everything. Ripped jeans and shredded finery are a statement about fashion's fleeting nature, or they are worn by a homeless person making an even larger unspoken statement about the strange heartlessness of fate.
I always feel frustrated by people who say, (always with that tone of smug superiority) that they don't follow fashion. Everybody follows fashion. Whether or not you actively participate in either setting or following fashion, you have an influence every day on everyone you come in contact with. We all see your clothes and make judgements about you based on what you are wearing. Wouldn't it be in your best interests to influence those judgements in a positive way?
My grandmother used to joke when we were kids that she was going to dress us in pillowcases with a ribbon tied around us. Some people do make clothes out of pillowcases. But they are recognizably clothes. And they do speak a language.
Translate this - black boots, wool pencil skirt, cashmere sweater, pearl necklace. It says city woman, probably working in an office. Now take that same woman, but dress her in overalls. If clothes didn't matter, she'd get the same treament wherever she went. But they do matter, and she probably won't.
Now I work at home. I could wear anything. But I have noticed that I feel better and work better if I am wearing nicer clothes. I don't wear pajamas, although I have some co-workers who do; (they call them work pajamas.) If I have new clothes to wear I feel happier.(It's important to me that I look nice, even if no one sees me. I feel more in control.) I read one essay where the author worked at home in pajamas every day, but one day she was dressed to go out, and the UPS man said, "It's nice to see you finally dressed!' See? People notice what you wear.
My sister in law says that she loves new tshirts so much that she is tempted to just wear them once and then give them away. I'm not that extreme, but I won't apologize for taking an interest in sewing or fashion, because no matter what anyone says, it is important, and looking nice makes me happier. I've been going through my closet and getting rid of everything that doesn't work for me, and that made me happier too.
So when people give you humbug (as we used to say when I lived in Hawaii) about clothes or fashion, tell them they just don't get it. I give you permission to use a tone of smug superiority.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Halloween Comes Early

There are few words that would express my horror at being gifted with these dolls. Would they move in the dark? Would they sneak up with meat cleavers? Oh the cruel irony! Even Chuckie would be afraid of these.

Friday, September 10, 2010

All is Vanity

Imagine my surprise when I learned that men's wear manufacturers practiced vanity sizing! I had always labored under the (mistaken) belief that men's sizing was the last bastion of truth, and that a 36 waist meant a 36 waist, that Large was always Large no matter where one bought it, but au contraire!
Esquire Magazine has a very enlightening and amusing expose on men's vanity sizing.
It looks like Old Navy and Dockers are the worst offenders, I mean, flatterers. Last night my son and I were talking about sizes, and he said pretty soon, someone will introduce negative number sizes and then it will be a race to even lower numbers. You heard it here first.

Possible solutions to vanity sizing:
Color codes instead of numbers
No size at all, you would have to try everything on
Metric numbering
Sizes in Chinese dialects (since they make the clothes there anyway)

What solutions can you think of for the vanity sizing crisis?