We’re All Pretty, Pretty, Neurotic Princesses

Of late, I’ve found a kindred spirit in Cinderella.

Sure, I have neither an evil step-mother who locks me in an attic nor ugly step-sisters who steal my clothes and spill pizza grease on them, but I have my share of chores that keep me looking like I just rolled around in a cinder bin.

 

Every Cinderella needs her own set of seamstress mice

 

Mornings are spent makeupless in old jeans and a t-shirt running errands for the family while my mother recovers from her recent hip replacement. I race through grocery stores, power-mop the kitchen floor, dust away the cobwebs from the corners of the living room, transfer the laundry from the hamper to the washing machines, groom the dogs, and put two meals on the table while prepping the third for my return at night. The projects I’m working on have me on call 24-7, and the majority of what I accomplish during the day is done between blackberry emails on the run and conference calls from my compact-SUV. At night, I’m “training” and if I’m lucky, home in my sweats by 10PM.

In short, I’m like every other modern woman as she tries to make her way in life on her own two feet while contributing to her family’s overall well-being. There isn’t much in the way of glamor, but there isn’t much to complain about.

On the console table near my front door sits an invitation to a charity ball. The event is being organized by a woman whose generosity, strength, and heart I greatly admire, and who has recently emerged as a fairy god-mother of sorts. A little bit of sparkle is something to look forward to, especially in the name of a good cause. As for the Cinderella transformation, do you remember that scene in the Disney movie when all the worker mice team-up and create a ball-gown for Cinderella from scraps of material? Yea, I’ve got seamstress mice too. Rather than buy something new, my tailor is reviving a unique vintage piece. It is a recession after all, and I’m a big believer in “once couture, always couture.” A needle, some thread, a little bibbidi, bobbidi, boo, and I’m good to go.

Hopefully, I won’t leave a Ferragamo behind on the dance floor.

All these parallels got my friend Annie and I thinking: If the 21st century New Yorker edition of Cinderella looks like me, what would the some of the other princesses look like in today’s Grimm fairytale?

 

Grace (of "Will & Grace") is the modern Snow White, and we love her

 

Rapunzel is that girl that lets men walk all over her. She’s the one most likely to get back together with the jerk who dumped her. Because she spends most of the day locked away in her room/office, Rapunzel is bound to get into trouble when she’s partying away a Friday night. As she goes off to the bathroom to make-out with the bartender, her friends say “It’s no wonder her mother had to lock her in a tower!”

Snow White shares a flat with 3 gay guys. In fact, all of her friends are handsome gay guys who take her shopping and tell her she’s fabulous and that they can’t live without her. She stopped having girlfriends after her jealous best friend slept with her boyfriend. Snow often eats indiscriminately and feels bad about it later when she’s passed out on her sofa in an apple-turnover-induced food coma.

Sleeping Beauty is the girl we all hate because every guy hits on her and she’s totally oblivious. She has no idea how beautiful she is or how charming. Men stumble over themselves trying to buy her a drink. She’s nonchalant about dating because she never has to work to get asked out, but she doesn’t like to ruin a good night’s sleep by having a strange guy stay over.  All her friends secretly hope she has an eating disorder…

The Nobel Judges Missed a Nominee

Dear Nobel Prize Judges,

The Scientists behind Victoria's Secret Push-Up bras have been overlooked for one of these in physics

In your selection of nominees for outstanding achievement in physics, you overlooked a team of  accomplished researchers who have bent the rules of spacial relations and defied Earth’s gravity.

The scientists behind the Victoria’s Secret Miraculous push-up bra deserve significant recognition. Thanks to their developments in fabric engineering, for the

first time in my 25 years, I have cleavage. It really was miraculous: I looked down and there it was — a bosom. I am not the only lab rat who experienced this phenomenon. There are witnesses and other consumers who have been able to repeat the results of the experiment.

Regards,

Formerly Bosomless

~

I lost my favorite bra at the Atlanta Convention Center. Don’t ask. The resulting shortage of  support-wear meant it was time to cash in my VS gift card and replace the wayward undergarment. Hence the fitting-room laboratory discovery and my subsequent letter to Sweden.

The first time I ever shopped at Victoria’s Secret I was desperate. I was in college, it was exam week, some classmates were coming over for an all-night study session, and I had just gotten out of the shower to face the reality that I hadn’t done my laundry. Sure I could have gone commando, but knowing it would be another day or two before the items in the hamper would make it to the washing machine, I pushed my study-session back, threw my towel in the corner, and hopped on the 1-train.

that signature "don't you want to know what I just bought" pink bag

Prior to this excursion, I viewed the home of Heidi Klum and such other buxom bombshells as a store I had no business shopping in. It was only for those with boyfriends or double-D’s. I had neither. But I was in need of underwear. It was time to go where (I thought) no single, b-cup had gone before.

“Would you like to join our mailing list?” asked the cashier. Empowered and feeling flattered at the thought I could be one of “them,” I boldly answered “Yes.”  With the signature “don’t you want to know what I just bought” pink bag in hand I walked into the street like a victorious general. Victoria was willing to share her secret with me… and I had the goods to prove it.

Now every year for my birthday, my father gives me a Victoria’s Secret gift card. That’s right, some fathers give their daughters Barnes & Nobles or Crate & Barrel gift cards. Some fathers use birthdays to tell their daughters to read more or that they need a new lounge chair. Mine, concerned I’m not “going out” enough, hands me a “go buy some lingerie” card. Et tu, daddy?

Then again, maybe he’s just trying to save me the subway fare when I miss laundry day…. or lose my favorite bra in a convention center.

Spring Cleaning + Spring Romancing = A Good Excuse for a Wardrobe Makeover

Spring is officially in bloom. We’ve entered that season of cleansing and renewal — when we get our rooms and lives in order, when we stow away the reminders of the winter, and when we finally trash the specters of last year’s stunted relationships and replace them with hope for new romances. As the warm weather prompts us to shed the layers and show more skin, it’s worth it to consider the items in your wardrobe and ask: would I wear that on a date? I’ve come up with a few “go-to” articles of springtime clothing that are as great for daytime dates as they are for more “serious” evening outings.

WOMEN:

My pick for a "starter" shirtwaist dress. The "Reed Shirtdress" available at Anthropolgie.com, $118.00.

  • A Shirtwaist dress Eternally classy, easily transitional, subtly masculine, always feminine, the shirtwaist dress has been a staple of the well-put-together woman’s wardrobe since the 1930s. Sundresses are best for the days after Memorial Day, and the wrong print can make you look like a teeny-bopper, while a shirtwaist dress screams sophistication a la Audry Hepburn. A solid color or a pinstripe is the most classic and the most versatile, though if you’re brave enough, opt for a print. A wide leather belt, boots, espadrilles, some chunky statement jewelry, whatever your heart desires is all you need to make this classic silhouette venue appropriate, or less Upper East Side and all your own.
  • A peasant/hippie blouse La vie de boheme is never passe, and boho chic has never been chicer thanks to the “cool to be Green” movement. A fine cotton, embroidered peasant blouse easily pairs with a denim jacket. Wear it with those boyfriends jeans and some sandals if you want to invoke the carefree “love not war” attitude of the cast member of “Hair” for a Sunday in the Park. If you want something urban rather than earthy, you still have your skinny indigo jeans and killer ankle boots from winter to turn to. Come summer time, tie on your espadrilles, zip up a pair of shorts, and a toss on a straw hat and you’re still good to go.
  • Denim Motorcycle jacket from Current/Elliot. Tory Burch makes a stellar one too

    A middle-wash denim jacket — Not too dark, not too light, the classic jean jacket is probably one of the most important things in your closet. Great for those spring mornings and evenings when the temperature is still a little temperamental. These days, designers are doing great things with this essential — asymmetrical zippers, detailed sleeves, strategically-placed hardware, etc. The boxy cut is always in fashion (and means you can thrown a thin sweater on underneath in the fall), but look for something with curved piping at the back to keep the silhouette feminine.  Of course remember the classic rule — never match your denim jacket with your jeans.

Essential Accessories:

1. slouchy boho purse in a light brown leather — a few tassels don’t hurt

my own well-worn and deeply-loved Dunks

2. Nike Dunks — the essential weekend shoe in my book, great for taking in the new warm weather on foot. In these, you’ll actually be able to keep up with him and be ready for a pick up game with his buddies. opt for some bright colors, avoid black.

3. Thin, non-wool scarf — time to shed the pashmina and wrap some silk around your neck

—-

MEN:

No one really does a classic leather jacket like Andrew Marc
  • A non-black leather jacket — every guy needs at least one leather jacket. And, if you want to stand out from the traditional New York crowd, make your one leather jacket a brown leather jacket (unless, of course, you think of yourself as a young Marlon Brando). A soft, tan-colored motorcycle jacket is young, masculine, and sophisticated. It dresses up the most casual of outfits — your favorite white tee, faded jeans, and sneakers go from sloppy to cool in an instant. It also easily transitions into Fall when matched with a sweater and dark jeans. I vote for suede because it’s lux and tactile — she won’t be able to keep her hands off you.
  • the boot-cut jean –– Time to put away those slim-fit dark jeans, and go back to the classic, more relaxed fit of the boot-cut. Chose middle to light washes or textures that replicate linen. If they fit well and you chose appropriate accompaniments, they’re as smart-looking as those indigo jeans you treat as dress pants.
  • The short-sleeve button-down — Right now, these come mostly in plaid, but a determined shopper can easily find a pinstripe or solid (Banana Republic has some good ones). Something with a military inspiration is  universally useful and timelessly chic. If you  want to wear a tie, I guess you still can, though might I recommend tucking it in (between the second and third button) to invoke a vintage feel (think 1940s army) rather than a hidden hipster alter ego.
  • the essential denim shirt, front pockets and all. This one is from Martin & Osa, $89.00

    The denim shirt — An American staple. Wear it as a shirt or as a light-weight jacket over a tee. To avoid looking like you just stumbled in off the ranch, don’t tuck it in. Roll the sleeves and throw on some aviators — you can’t go wrong.