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Friday Follies: Clothes Outside the Square

I spent last weekend sanding window frames so my main recommendation of the week is “Don’t use 60-grit sandpaper without your gloves on.” My hands will never be the same. Here’s a glimpse into the weird world of hand models: “I say to people, don’t play with kittens, don’t smoke roll-ups, don’t change bicycle chains.”

DisneyPrints

Prints from the Mary Blair collection – Commuter and Train.

Stripping off my grit-covered work clothes, I escaped into the Fall 2015 fashion overviews online. Wow, mainstream styles for the next year are really sticking with the blocky silhouettes and gray/black/white/blue colors. The Cut’s review of Fall 2015 fashion shows helpfully includes color palettes. I’ll link here to their J. Crew overview and you can use their navigation to review other shows. At least if you get a rectangular coat in a sale from overseas, you’ll get two years of wear out of it.

At the opposite end of the clothing spectrum, Pinup Girl Clothing has a fascinating new collection based on the work of mid-century Disney animator and artist Mary Blair. I adore the jolie-laide Commuter skirt. PUG, as they are affectionately known, is also pointing us towards their work wear. Which I recommend if you don’t want to dress like a woolen rectangle.

If you want a sartorial middle ground, I just had some pretty sweet customer service from Boden. Praise them with great praise! NZers, order from the UK for the greatest variety, be patient when waiting for the mail, and check out their winter sale.

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Friday Follies: Fresh Summer Fixes

Amaranth, embodying the redheaded henna ideal (via Creative Commons).

Amaranth, embodying the redheaded henna ideal (via Creative Commons).

High summer is fading into late summer, and something about a really good summer is inspiring many of us to a style refresh. Last year in Wellington, spring-cool-and-rainy segued into autumn-cool-and-rainy, leaving us trapped in the same clothes for months – I for one was in a rut. This year, I was digging out the summer frocks and the sunhats, and me and my friends were playing around with thrift store visits, private swaps, and you’d-look-great-in-this link exchanges.

Amidst the play, the most common style refrain I heard was: “This year, I have to dress more professionally.” The Cut had a series recently, “Uniforms that Work“, which is great for a professional refresh.

This was soon followed by, “And I have to get a grip on makeup.” Alison at Wardrobe Oxygen has done a superb post on her beauty routine: her result is subtly polished.  If you want to dive in the deep end, check out the New Zealand based blog Makeup Obsessives. Fantastic tutorials and reviews, focusing on products available here in NZ, and the team there really has fun – I laughed through these posts.

For those of us who have loved our makeup for a long time, not only can you melt lipstick ends down to get more bang for your beauty buck (and extend the life of beloved colors), but you can find little empty makeup jars at Japan City in Wellington and Lower Hutt, and in the chain Storage Box. Japan City is also my source for spoolie brushes and Japanese body scrub cloths.

Has your hennaed hair become too dark over time? You can lighten it a touch, back to coppery shades, if you’re willing to be slow and careful with Sun-In or Schwarzkopf Nordic Blonde lightening spray. These contain hydrogen peroxide solutions. Detailed instructions (and WARNINGS) are here. I did one round of this process and was delighted with the color results, though I did have to condition my way through a week of odd hair texture.

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On Hardly Ever Drinking Alcohol

Has anyone else noticed that Drynuary is now followed by the FebFast, giving us two potential months of abstaining from alcohol? The Guardian had a stab at Drynuary here. Myself, I’m going to discuss what it’s like to not drink alcohol all year ’round.

Women's temperance: pretty badass in 1874.

Women’s temperance: pretty badass in 1874.

For all practical purposes, I’m a nondrinker. I have an alcoholic drink an average of every 3 – 4 years, so rarely that I can remember each individual occasion – a wedding toast, or a friend asking me to try something incredibly special. I don’t mind, because I don’t have a medical or addiction-history reason to not drink alcohol – I just don’t like it much, so I choose not to, as a rule. My choice puts me in the curious company of other liquor abstainers and minimalists: temperance-movement suffragettes, evangelical teetotalers, Mormons, Muslims, “health nuts”, and straight-edge punks. (New Zealand, it turns out, narrowly dodged alcohol Prohibition in 1911!)

Like most nondrinkers, I don’t tend to bring it up, because not drinking leads to social weirdness in most Western societies. In one memorable conversation at my first job, I was told that I wouldn’t get far in publishing because I didn’t drink (sure enough, I work in tech today). I was brought up in the USA and lived there until I was 28, and not drinking is relatively common there, 1 in 3 – 4 people, whereas in New Zealand, only 2 out of  10 are nondrinkers. Dating as a non-drinker in New Zealand has been particularly fraught. “If I can’t get you drunk,” said one swain, “how am I ever going to get you into bed?” A statement to make everyone go teetotal right there.

Seeing my friends enjoy wine and cocktails and whiskey, I know I am outside their shared connisseurship of bitter and subtle flavors. Once, I asked a dear friend who is also a globetrotting gourmet, “Do I seem naive, childish, because I don’t drink?” After a tense moment, the confession came: “Yes.” Well, then, so be it.

Courtesy of Lombro Bulmbha via Creative Commons.

Somebody’s got to light that absinthe.

There are a lot of pluses to being a nondrinker. I’m welcome at wild parties – someone has to drive home. Recently, I was the one torching absinthe sugar cubes for other guests with my steady hands. I am also a reliable caberet emcee. One of the joys of burlesque and cabaret for me is that it can be a wicked evening activity without boring alcohol as a focus.

I may seem naive and childish, but so does my complexion. My partner, a light and occasional drinker, has also been touched lightly by time – someone accused me of cradle-snatching him, when he’s 8 years older than I am. The Drinking Mirror App shows what drinking alcohol does to your skin.

ShoesorboozeAlso? The financial benefits of being a non-drinker are insane. Forget the Latte Factor: others have also noted that not drinking alcohol suddenly boosts their budget. I remember being shocked into silence the first time I heard that someone had racked up a $150 bar tab. My house, which I own, I saved up for between the ages of 30 and 35 – it’s the house that No Bar Tabs built. Now that I’m there, nothing ever stops me from driving home to its slightly distant location.

Then there are the aspects that aren’t pros or cons, they just are. Yes, I have fun, but…my standards are different. Some parties in New Zealand are hosted in raw spaces to avoid damage to houses due to enthused drinkers. But I am swiftly bored hanging out in somebody’s garage with a bag of potato chips and drunk people.  Food has to be good – company has to be interesting – I admit, I’ll get off the dance floor sooner – I’m going to admire every detail of your outfit. I remember what I did and said, and what everyone else did, too.

And life has rolled on. Nondrinking hasn’t barred me from experiences or misfortunes. As a nondrinker, I have ridden pillion on a motorcycle at 5 AM through the last of lurid old Times Square, modeled, partied in the Meatpacking District in New York, visited ten countries, been mugged, been divorced, gone urban spelunking, enjoyed world-class cuisine, danced at big band Motown and radical feminist punk concerts, flirted badly, flirted with shocking success, and celebrated getting engaged again.

This month, I support fellow Wellington redheads raising money for the FebFast – please consider donating to help young New Zealanders learn how to enjoy alcohol responsibly.

For a nondrinker’s night out in Wellington with some beverage variety, I happily recommend the delicious virgin drinks at The Library. And at the world-famous Matterhorn, just ask the bartender and they will make virgin versions of their amazing cocktails.

My life as a nondrinker.

In conclusion: this is my life as a nondrinker. From the irresistible Tumblr Babies Covered In Money.

ChicagoInterior
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For My Snowed In Friends

In the Northeast of the US, millions of people are about to be snowed in. Trapped at home under travel bans. Trawling the Internet. Hi, snowed in people, have some reading recommendations!

Share With Your Family

  • Help Us, Great Warrior – The bravest, cutest, cheekiest girl-power warrior in all the land.
  • A Redtail’s Dream – Lushly illustrated webcomic based on Finnish mythology about a boy and his shapeshifting dog. Appropriately snowy! It’s complete, too, so you can read it from beginning to ending.
  • Sauerkraut Station – A science fiction novella about a girl who lives on a space station, the boy traveler who comes through, and the events that they endure. Along with sauerkraut recipes and what it means to make a difference.

Longer Reads

  • Drowning Kiribati - The other side of climate change – temperature increases and sea level rise – in the small island nation of Kiribati. More articles here.
  • The Conversation – “The Conversation is a collaboration between editors and academics to provide informed news analysis and commentary that’s free to read and republish.” An intellectual friend sent this to me and I promptly started screaming, “Where has this been all my life?”
  • The Blue Castle – Escape into this adult novel from L.M. Montgomery (you may know her better as the author of Anne of Green Gables). Bobbed hair! Disreputable fellas in jalopies! Unwed mothers! Heavens to Murgatroyd!
  • Books, Free or Worth It - I recommend more free online long reads here. Victorian scenery-chewing and Edwardian South Seas adventures await.

Blog Posts of Mine

  • Vintage Precious Jewelry – “Vintage jewelry seems to baffle people as much as, if not more than, vintage furs. And it has an even higher cargo of expectations about its value and emotional significance. Plus, who doesn’t like looking at shiny sparkly things? So: a post about vintage precious jewelry.”
  • Five Things to Read Instead of 50 Shades of Gray – Gnh. The 50 Shades movie is coming soon. Here are some other options that might make you glad you don’t have anywhere to go…

Illustration above is “Chicago Interior” by Theodore Johnson; below is “Two Women Reading” by Katsushika Hokusai.

Two Women Reading by a kotatsu

For many of us, this is friendship…when you can read together.

Oh my God don't make coats from these cuties.
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Furs You Can’t Sell: what to do with vintage endangered animal fur clothing

What do you do with a vintage fur item when it turns out that it is from an endangered or protected animal?

I’ve provided this as a reference to try and help people brought here by my two previous vintage fur posts, Grandma’s Vintage Fur: Is It Valuable? (general overview) and Selling Grandma’s Vintage Fur (sale focused advice) There are no comments available on this post. If I had any information, it’s in here. If you decide you want to contact a local museum or wildlife refuge about your fur item, you are in a better position to do that than I am, because I am in New Zealand. The links further in this article may help you.[Read more]

BuildThatHacienda
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Renovating My Hacienda

Site update day! I’ve launched a new look for Ever So Scrumptious, including updated Links – the About Style links now show my absolute, most helpful favorites.

Are blogs obsolete, now that the web is moving towards visual media? No – they’re our online salons, where readers stop by for a coallation of intellectual hospitality. These online spaces give us endless possible “haciendas” as described in Formulary for a New Urbanism. With our smartphones, they’re the friends who always have a note for us, wherever we are. This new site theme is more mobile media friendly than my previous one.

The new year for me has started out with lots of foundation work. I’ve updated this site; a colleague’s site. I spent a day doing what used to be called “housework” but what I often describe as “infrastructure maintenance” because it is the physical plant for my life as a human being. And I bit the bullet and upgraded some wardrobe essentials. The black leather booties I live in. Black pants. Gray pants. Is anything less exciting than gray pants? Actuarial tables, perhaps – but the gray pants open up 15+ work and play outfits for me. They’re the fairy godmother for my wardrobe orphans.

Palette for a redhead.

Here’s what else I’m planning this year:

  • Burlesque and Cabaret – Still emceeing, but I am taking a step back, partly because there’s some marvelous new emceeing talent in Wellington with Victor Victorious and Constance Craving. And this means I can go to more shows! In the audience!
  • Work – My buns off. I’m looking at e-commerce and I’m looking at some intriguing Day Job projects.
  • Style – Polish, polish, polish. Quality, maintenance, grooming. Right now, I have three workwear silhouettes: slim/wrap dress and boots, slim/straight trousers with knit top and Professionalish Jacket or Cardigan, slim/straight trousers with button-down top. I have a palette, which is shown to the right here. I have some nice Going Out dresses and a costume closet and a sewing machine. And for this year, that’s fine. I don’t feel I need to reinvent the wheel, especially because mainstream boxy silhouettes and restricted colors aren’t lighting my auburn-hourglass fire, and because…
  • Travel – My partner and I are going to visit my family and friends in the USA. I’m very excited, even as the budget requirements for this make it a good year to be content with my wardrobe. I also have a super secret project coming up in late March that will involve a bit of travel – more on that closer to the time.
  • Sewing and Writing – I’ve resolved to do more of each. Of both. Of all of them.
  • Life Infrastructure – Big changes under way as my partner and I combine our forces into one residence. We are going to create our hacienda, together.  Most excited!
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Femme 3.0 for 2015

2014 was a stepping-back-from-trends year for me, but I can’t say I wasn’t warned. In a downtown cafe in Wellington, late last summer, a woman walked in, rolling her bicycle. Beneath her fine-boned face and giant Paris Hilton sunglasses, her T-shirt declared: TOMBOY.

Only the way that TOMBOY felt the nTomboyeed to declare herself with large letters was a surprise. New Zealand has been one of the global incubators of both tomboy style and “sporty luxe”, two trends that went worldwide in 2014. A sporty, one-of-the-blokes attitude has long been rewarded in NZ, extending to dress and grooming. Even when Lorde dons lipstick, or New Zealand high fashion, it’s dark and defiant. Lorde’s column-of-concealing-black is the latest link in the dark chain chronicled in Black: The History of Black in Fashion, Society, and Culture in New Zealand.

About the time the TOMBOY appeared, the New York Times feverishly discussed the increasing casuality in clothing and women – women over 30, reading between the lines - backing away from fussy clothing. Cathy Horin sums it up: “Lately I’ve noticed many more women, all of them in the zone of careers and complicated family routines, all of them with an eye for fashion, gravitating toward an almost boyish uniform of slim-cut trousers, pullovers and flat shoes. Or a leather jacket with bland layers underneath. They’re hardly wearing makeup, so their complexions look fresh…”

Robin Givhan expands her gaze: “But this is also the new norm. Fashion is technical, pragmatic, and cool, full of swagger and confidence. Everyone wants to look strong and capable. Everyone can be pretty if they like. The concepts of masculinity and femininity are in flux. Whom do you love?”

One of my favorite fashion bloggers recently declared that she is turning towards androgynous/rocker chic, and her new standard for whether she wants to wear a garment is, “Is this something a badass would wear?” Others veer towards simplicity because, currently, it sounds smarter – you’re saving your decision-making for more important things in your life than what you’re wearing. If Steve Jobs’ turtleneck isn’t for you, there’s always Project 333 to narrow yourself down to a small capsule wardrobe. The more exquisitely curated and artisanal, the better.

Left to right: COS (the new upscale H&M spinoff), a woman with enough warmth and verve to make a gray sweater look appealing for fall, and Celine.

Autumn 2015 trends are coming and resistance is useless. Left to right: COS (the new upscale H&M spinoff), a woman with enough warmth and verve to make a boxy gray sweater look appealing for fall, and Celine. I’ll just retreat to the back car of  Snowpiercer now, where I belong.

2014’s minimalism with a side of androgyny isn’t going anywhere in 2015. It has its benefits. Running a small wardrobe makes it easy to drop a style and recreate your look with a new aesthetic, or, for the anti-consumerist, to rewear favorites constantly. Tomboys and butches are getting the spotlight they deserve. It’s easy to adopt this style on a budget. One of my favorite blogs recently discussed the expansion of tomboy style, which I support one thousand percent. But I worry that there will be an anti-femme backlash. If this new turn really was about nothing but comfort, we’d still all be in our jersey dresses from 2006. And men would be joining us. Something else is up.

In mid-2013, the future got started. We were hearing about the new Soylent, Leaning In, and phones we wear on our wrists, and Piketty’s polarizing Capital in the 21st Century made its quiet August 2013 debut. Compared to the last decade, this one is looking stripped down.  I’m not surprised that many of us are recoiling from a culture of constant, ornamented regard. (All this black and white and colorblocking, is it our subconscious attempt to disrupt CCTV surveillance?) Dressing in comfortable androgyny has many practical advantages in 2015 –  flatter, thicker-soled shoes, looser clothes, neutral colors, and less makeup are easier in dramatic climate-change weather, more affordable to maintain when times are tight.

2014 was also a year of women’s and queer rights advances and setbacks, and acrimonious dialogues about feminism. High femme style for women drops off when feminist discourse and social changes accelerate. Will being busty, curly-haired, big-eyed, wearing orange and pink and lace, be denigrated as unintellectual and inappropriately uncontrolled? “To fuss and preen. That seems silly, somehow, weak.” I’ve been in that space before: it was called The 1990s. The popular blogger Vixen Vintage recently wrote about both backing away from high-femme vintage wear because of sexualized reactions to it, and about her thoughts on using vintage culture as escapism.

Nonetheless, in cultures of restraint, it takes courage to express excess. Us femmes have to deal with the dichotomy of what we should be – recycling clothes, repudiating brands, wearing intelligent neutrals that all go with each other, somehow “doing what we love” while also “disrupting” some paradigm or other, those damn kale smoothies – and what we want – the shimmer of the new, of self-expression, a long sunny spring day with children or with solitude and a cat, the kale served up in caldo verde soup.

So, with culture having put high femme on the shelf for last year and probably this year as well, it’s a good moment for our research laboratories here at Ever So Scrumptious to formulate the next femme. Femme version 3.0.

First, it’s useful to define Femme 1.0 and 2.0. I see Femme 1.0 as femme-ness expressed through modernity from 1918, the end of World War I, to 1965. There is no “femme” without an alternative or an opt-out – it is never femme if it’s mandatory – and it was in the 20th century that high femme became a choice, mirrored by ever-expanding androgynous options for women. Even in the 50s there were pared-down Katherine Hepburn, bobby-soxer, and bohemian options. Femme 1.0 had queer and feminist bug fix releases throughout the later 60s and the 70s, and was then withdrawn from the market for Pangender Disco Glam.

Femme 2.0, I place from September 11th, 2001 to mid-2013 – see my previous pieces Cupcakes Against The Abyss and Relaxed With A Chance of Apocalypse. We were sifting through the ample female-signifier artifacts of the last century and turning up the dial to create something hyper-feminine. 1950s dresses for everyone, eyelash extensions, hair extensions, a billion red lipsticks, cupcakes, and difficulty in buying a woman’s T-shirt that wasn’t blinged. This was the time of the burlesque scene and the pin-up photographer. Femme 2.0’s riches included feminist body positivity, carving out a place for self-care and women’s friendships in increasingly frantic times, and the sheer fun of swirling skirts. But after a dozen years of Femme 2.0, recursiveness has set in. The cupcakes are getting stale if Femme 2.0 can be parsed this tidily:

I'm worried, yes, but they'll tear my pencil skirts and lipstick out of my cold dead hands

Pin-up femme formula: feminine beauty for everyone, or boring style cloning?

If you’re in the radiant red heart of pin-up, enjoy it – it’s delightful for a while to experience the attention and joy. But I have observed that the pin-up flowering lasts for an average of five years for many femmes I know, and what happens next is interesting.

Femme 3.0 is what I see happening next. Femme 3.0 is just as deliberate, but more knowing. Philosophically, it retains the steely feminist undercurrent of previous femme defiance. There’s more talking and arguing than in Femme 2.0 – technology makes feminist issue discussion everyone’s fight. No, I am not going to shut up, and I bet neither are you.

For style, Femme 3.0 relaxes, a little. It gets more creative and edgy than out-to-please pin-up. I picture, in wistful Pinterest-browsing moments, remixing the best of Femme 2.0’s advances and vintage loves into a subtle, aware, and maintainable approach that is still highly feminine. That’s the idea. In actuality, I have never been this busy in my life when I wasn’t at a university, and taking ten minutes to polish myself up in the morning, or once a week, gives me more backbone for my day. Enough that it’s worth the decision-making ergs.

Two lovely inspirations towards Femme 3.0 style.

Femme 3.0 also has values. For myself, making a conscious decision to retain femmeness while moving with the century, I choose these as my essential feminine qualities:

Valuing the femme gaze. The male gaze? That’s so 20th century. Now that everyone is seen all the time anyway, the regard of a feminine woman has gained a curious power, a value for being in short supply. The key to the popularity of Pinterest is the ability to share our gazes – even porn has changed to prioritize webcam exchanges where a woman sees and talks back to the porn consumer (NSFW link here).  I resolve to value my own gaze/time/attention, and that of other women.

DimiP1365Creativecommons

Resolution for 2015: I will only make cupcakes if they are explosive cupcakes.

Generosity. When our regard, and its aural parallel, our listening space, are valuable, sharing them is a gift – a way in which we are generous. Another part of generosity is recognizing privileges in these difficult times, carrying them lightly, taking nothing for granted, and respecting the stories of others.

Reveling in tech. In 1954 an accomplished woman could do social dancing. In 2014 an accomplished woman can get the wireless rebooted. Ironically, I couldn’t go to not one, but two, Geek Girl Dinners in 2014 because I was providing after-hours tech training.

Inhabiting the body. There are many diet and exercise extremes right now, and endless voices telling us what we should do and how we should be in our skins. Worse, there is endless distraction from being in our own bodies. I’m exiling devices from my bedside to get my sleep back, and working on diet and exercise during my tech work days.

Style keynote: individuality. Scrolled with tattoos, dressed in homemade garments, adorned with a perfect artisanal jewel, touched with mystifying fragrance, inspired by phases of the moon or a favorite molecule, dressing for one’s own features and desires, in sliding fabrics of flattering colors.  And lipstick. They’ll pry lipstick out of my cold, dead hands.

Literacy and history. There’s still so much to learn and read and watch. A friend visited me over the holidays and it turned out we had each – as Americans – read parallel sets of 20th-century British women writers. “Why is it that I haven’t heard of Barbara Pym and you’ve never read Cold Comfort Farm?” This is just an example. Here’s hoping I have 53 more years ahead so I can get through some of it.

And remember: you’re a closed circuit, baby. You’ve got the answers in the palms of your hands.

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Friday Follies: Who’s Lookin’ Good Today?

Happy New Year! Angie at You Look Fabulous encourages us to consider our style goals for 2015. Mine include staying polished (or trying to), quality rather than quantity, and making more out of the clothes I already own. Silk button-down shirts, I’m looking at you.

Nail artist Jessie Mills has some fun with New Zealand’s summer craze by creating a Lewis Road chocolate milk themed manicure. I’ve had two international visitors over the past two months. At first they scoffed at the idea of a national chocolate milk craze – then, when they learned that the milk was barely available due to high demand, they got interested in trying it.

Fabulous interview with 90s rap artist Neneh Cherry about feminism and her current projects.

I’ve been entertaining visitors, spraining my ankle, helping my partner renovate his house, and spraining my ankle again. Miraculously, I tripped departing a hot tub and did such a tumble that I landed without spraining it a third time. Both of my visitors enjoyed partaking of New Zealand and Australian design.

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Friday Follies: Some Style Solutions

Contemporary women’s fashion has had one of its sea changes into something strange and androgynous and blocky. Mainstream retailers aren’t handling this well – clothes in most of the stores along Lambton Quay in Wellington look nearly identical, spookily corporate. Here’s some options on the independent continuum.

Wellington femmes: run, don’t walk, to Honour Fashion. This preloved shop is exceptionally well curated, with a full range of sizes up to 18 (with plenty in size 14 and 16), and has a very tempting range of dresses. The prices are just what they should be, too.

Clothing by Desiree came to my attention at a fabric sale, Fabric-a-Brac. I’m one of those awful, awful people who shops for clothing with my hands. And based on Desiree’s fabrics, they pass the touch test! Contemporary, but a lot more wearable  and interesting than many of the season’s alternatives.

RutshireForeverUpper-end Wellington designer Twenty-Seven Names is taking the UK by storm with their latest collection, based on the writing and characters of Jilly Cooper. It’s all rawther too preppy for me but it would be ideal summer-wedding wear for those who like contemporary classic garb. Rutshire Forever, indeed.

If it’s all too much or you just don’t have time, here’s another option. I ran into a long-term Woman in Tech colleague who was looking smashing, and asked admiringly where she’d found her sophisticated red shirt. She said she’d received a substantial promotion at work and felt that she needed more than her usual uniform of jeans and casual shirts. “I used the personal shoppers at Farmers. It was fantastic.”  Importantly, my colleague didn’t just look polished, she looked like herself. Farmers has also vastly improved their online shopping experience. I wish they didn’t rely so much on synthetic fabrics, but they are still New Zealand owned.

Meanwhile, my wardrobe continues to be its usual mix of 40% thrifted/swapped items, 40%  items from US and UK petites retailers, and 10% new NZ purchases. I’m wearing a lot of olive-with-leopard-print this spring.

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Friday Follies: Redhead Edition

This week I was charmed by the blogs of two redheaded New Zealanders. There’s Daily Oxford – useful tasteful makeup advice for mature faces combined with a rural New Zealand life rich with horses, dogs, and weather worries. Helga von Trollop is magnificently extreme. I particularly enjoyed this post of hers here, where she illuminates her circumstances and shares her sharp wit as well as her smashing red-white-and-blue outfit.

Whenever I’m in doubt as a curvy redhead, I seek the middle ground between Oxford and von Trollop and ask myself: what would Christina Hendricks do? The talented and privileged actress is in a position to try most stylish looks. If something in her many style ventures didn’t work out for her, she took one for Team Redhead and I appreciate it. A 109-image look book for her is here.

Eyebrows often vex redheads and redheads-by-choice. Us redheads-by-choice  benefit from a bit of brow makeup to bring our face and hair together with the next level of polish. Refectocil has two dye options for redhead brows: Chestnut (good for auburns and henna hues) and Red (good for cherry/punk shades). And this sane, cheerful video shows us how to do everyday redheaded brows with powder and pencil. Note that the eyeshadows she’s using to create auburn-ish brows are soft, not dramatic, and the result is balanced eyebrows, not cinnamon caterpillars.

Not to dis caterpillars, by the way. I love the irresistible cinnamon wooly-bear caterpillars – I remember petting them gently as a child in New England. But I try not to recreate them when it’s brow time!