Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Real Fashion Police

A controversy is brewing at a Catholic high school in Pennsylvania over prom dresses. You can read about it here.

A few weeks before the annual prom, school officials instituted a new policy requiring girls to submit photographs of their prom dresses before the prom. The purpose of the pictures is for school officials to review and approve or reject each dress. Officials say that "dresses cannot be too short, too low-cut, expose too much skin around the midriff or be ‘inappropriately revealing.’" Officials also say that all students and guests "must dress in gender-specific formal wear," meaning girls cannot wear tuxes and boys cannot wear dresses. (I'd be screwed.)

240 students have signed a petition against the new policy, some noting that they've already bought their dresses and will be stuck if their choices are rejected.

What do you think?

(The picture on the right is from my best post of all time.)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Carried Away

Sometimes I get carried away by my enthusiasm. I'm so eager to play that I don't know when to stop. I hope you'll forgive me if I exceed your fashion-tolerance.

Two days ago, I was walking in town during my lunch break. I've been working too hard and need a reward. Without planning, I veered into a local boutique and perused their sale rack. I spotted a snazzy blouse and some fun socks. The purchases were the impulse for today's outfit.

I was planning to tone the pieces down with a black pencil skirt, but I've been advised to conceal my cylindrical shape by adding skirts that flare. I thought about wearing a pink tulle petticoat underneath a black skirt but I like how nicely the tulle's color goes with the blouse so I jettisoned the skirt and wore the tulle as a skirt.

What gave me the courage to do this? Just this week Suzanne posted a nice article on how gals over 40 can wear tulle skirts with confidence and brio. I'm treating that article as an official stamp of approval from a Fashion Goddess.

What do you think of this?  Is it too much?  Or, as Mae West said, just enough?!






Friday, March 20, 2015

What is it...?

I have many questions about female life. I thought it'd be valuable and fun to pose them to you. This is the first of several posts in which I will ask your opinion on a subject that perplexes me. In the past, you guys have been deeply informative with your responses. Thank you for that.

Some of my questions, like this one, don't have an easy answer. You may not know why and that's okay. Just toss out whatever is in your head.

Question: What is it about hoop earrings?

From childhood, I've been attracted to hoop earrings. More than to ordinary earrings. If we're being totally honest, the bigger the hoop, the stronger the attraction.

Is it their cultural association with pirates and loose women? Or something else? I believe there's something about their appeal that goes beyond cultural significance.

Researchers have posited that hoop earrings -- because of their shape -- remind us of a woman's breasts and that is the source of their allure. Studies show people react subliminally to hoop earrings, more than other earrings. Something primal is going on. What?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Road Trip!

My friend Meghan blogs at Cirque du Frock. I've met her in person three times so far. I first visited Meghan in Philly where she lives. We later saw the musical Kinky Boots in NYC. Third, she attended my birthday party last year.

We both have a mutual friend Megan Mae, who blogs at Megan Mae Daily. Megan Mae lives far away in Tennessee. She's just summoned the courage to get on her first airplane flight -- she's traveling to Philly to visit Meghan. Fortunately, they both invited me to go down there and join the party, so next week I'm jumping in Gina to do that.

I'm eager to meet Megan Mae for the first time. If you've ever read her blog, you know how special she is. I like her and always enjoy seeing Meghan. The biggest difficulty will be figuring out how to call one of them without the other turning around. Someone needs a nickname!

I suggested to M&M that we attend a flower conservatory, Longwood Gardens, so that is now our plan. I even bought tickets in advance to guarantee our admission. The Gardens are displaying a huge exhibition of orchids right now.

The gorgeous flowers shown above are famous blue-poppies.  Once considered a myth, blue-poppies (Meconopsis ‘Lingholm’) thrive at the conservatory. They are native to high elevations in the Himalayan Mountains and rarely seen elsewhere. We're gonna smell 'em!

Making friends opens new doors. I love that. Do you ever travel to meet friends?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Riding Along The Edge

I have a tendency to push the envelope to see how far it will stretch. I try new things as experiments. Of course there are fiascos, but there are also successes. And there is always learning.

Here's a second outfit made from clothes I thrifted in Atlanta. The top is very feminine. It called out to me from the rack. "Ally!" it said, "I'm over here!" I almost put the top back, believing it's TOO feminine but is there such a thing? That would be like being too wonderful or too tasty. I have a strong urge for feminine apparel and this example appeals to me. Besides, now I can serve cocktails at a Vegas casino...

In person the top looks much more puffy and frilly than in these photos; the fringe along the neckline and sleeves are more pronounced than you can see here.

I recognize that most mature women would not wear this top. But I'm not them. Despite my age, I'm terminally immature and my desire to swim in the ocean of female life cannot be discouraged by mere propriety. So if you visit my blog, you'll see crazy adventures in fashion. If nothing else, it's entertaining.




Saturday, March 14, 2015


Shame is a powerful emotion which can cripple a life. Its force can distort one's self-image and sap one of all confidence.

It is important to recognize that there are two kinds of shame -- personal shame which is feeling bad about yourself, and social shame which is other people judging you negatively. Often people suffer social shame and internalize it as personal shame. If others are judging us, we have a natural tendency to believe them.

Fortunately, that didn't happen to me.

The worst insult someone can hurl at a boy is that he's not masculine -- that he's effeminate. Calling a boy a girl in derisive terms (e.g., "put on a skirt, Nancy") is a common schoolyard taunt. Beneath the attack is insecurity about the taunter's masculinity and hatred of all femininity. Boys quickly learn that appearing to be like girls makes them vulnerable to such attack. They also learn that there's something shameful about being female. This social education, sadly, often leads to misogyny and lack of respect for women.

From earliest memory, I knew I was different. I knew I was female despite everyone telling me otherwise. Social shame imposed by my parents and others didn't dissuade me from my core belief; rather, it taught me that people are capable of mistakes and also of cruelty. The power to conform in our society is Procrustean.

I never internalized the social shame thrust at me. I never felt personal shame about wanting to be feminine or identified as female. Naturally, I learned to hide my nature as protection against abuse, but I never became ashamed of it. When I can reveal my true self, I do. Only late in life (my fifties), however, have I felt safe to be open about this publicly.

Due to society's intense pressure on women to appear attractive, many young girls feel ashamed of their weight or their looks. That reaction to social shame is so common as to be almost universal. It doesn't, however, make it right. Judging female appearance can have terrible effects on girls and erode their self-confidence.

Have you ever felt ashamed of yourself? Have you felt others judge you based on your appearance or another feature that causes you to stand out? Were you able to overcome social shame and avoid it creeping into your soul? How?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Well not actually, but Winter ended today in New York. The temperature reached 60-degrees. Warmth is melting snow and hearts. February was rough.

During my recent trip to Atlanta, Jen and I went thrifting. I found pieces for two new outfits. Pretty outfits. Anticipating Spring, I snapped up bright colors and light materials.

What do you think?!  Are you ready for Spring?