’70s are back, everywhere … including my face

It’s no secret the biggest, most recognizable trend from the fall runways was the ’70s.

Flares at Derek Lam 

I'm pretty sure I had red flares this wide when I was in Junior High
I’m pretty sure I had red flares this wide when I was in Junior High

And at Gucci

Yep, very 70s
Yep, very 70s

Peasant dresses at Burberry

My 14--year-old self would have happily worn this ensemble to school. I even had the hair
My 14–year-old self would have happily worn this ensemble to school. I even had the hair

Jean skirts and patchwork at Tom Ford and Chloe

I actually deconstructed and sewed together jeans to make a skirt that looked a lot like this.
I actually deconstructed and sewed together jeans to make a skirt that looked a lot like this.
I may have owned a patchwork skirt a time or two in my youth and more than one blouse that ties at the neck!
I may have owned a patchwork skirt a time or two in my youth and more than one blouse that ties at the neck!

From silhouettes to palettes to accessories the styles of my youth have blossomed anew along with the same body issues I had  at 13. Sort of.

In 1973 I was 14 (go ahead and do the math) with a face full of zits, a bosom maturing faster than I was psychically and wavy hair that I, of course, wished was straight.

At the beginning of my teen years I was not in a hurry to grow up. I liked being a kid and went into denial as my breasts began to develop and my waist curve in. I resisted wearing a bra (which became necessary in 6th grade) telling my mother I didn’t want to grow up.  But grow — up and out — I did.

Because I had boobs at youngish age and looked older, less childlike, than some of my friends I got teased by boys in my class (and leered at by grown men, including teachers), I hated school. (Also I was bored most of the time).

At the same time my face broke out so much that my working-class parents spent money on a dermatologist and therapist to help me cope … they even helped me switch schools.

The new school wasn’t much different, although it was safer having as it did about 100 percent fewer teacher stabbings than the previous school.  But I still got teased. I was once surrounded by a group of girls who pointed at me and called me zit-based names (I don’t remember the exact words they used but they weren’t making fun of me because I had the smooth complexion of a Disney princess) in front of everyone eating lunch on the quad.

I grew my thick wavy hair long because I thought it would at least cover some of my zits and if I could get the perfect Jacqueline Smith or Farah Fawcett wave maybe it would distract from my face? (In case you were wondering I achieved neither goal).

Every day was a struggle not to feel self-conscious because of my complexion or body but every day a new zit grew and someone tried to look down my shirt.

(And just so you know, I am not telling you this so you’ll feel sorry for me or because it left me with permanent emotional scars. It didn’t. I was a goofy, hormonal, overdeveloped teenaged girl. I wasn’t the only one. Lots of kids got teased and bullied in school; for some it left a mark and those people feel the pain to this day.  Others managed to move on without lasting effects. I’m one of the last category.)

The one thing that made going to school palatable was getting dressed. Getting to put together outfits and feel admired by girls less into fashion than me. (To be clear, to this day I have no idea if anyone in junior high school admired me, my clothing or my style but I was hoping they did). I latched on to every trend, every look … wanting to look hip and well dressed in a full ensemble with ladylike accessories one day; sporting an army jacket, suggestive motocross tee shirt and torn jeans the next day. I always saw fashion as a form of expression and as a shield to hide behind. It let me adopt different personas and try out different versions of myself.

At the start every school year my mom would take me shopping and I would pick out the trendiest pieces my parents could afford. That year it was a pair of red plaid bell bottoms, platform shoes and red v-necked sweater with ribbed cuffs and hem. I loved that outfit. I thought I looked so Vogue and so stylish and cool (and I maybe I did). It made feel in control and less like an alien in my own body.

But the pimples still kept coming and my body kept developing till the pants no longer fit and my cleavage bloomed too openly in the sweater. I wasn’t fat or even overweight I don’t think, I just wasn’t the tall willowy  surfer girl or tiny,  petite gamine I had hoped I would be. (womp, womp).

But what I eventually learned from those years was how to dress my body so I felt the best I could, to pick pieces and styles that showed my body to its best advantage — whether that was to minimize my chest and play up my clavicle (a body part I am often complimented on) and arms or make my shortish legs appear longer — and therefore made me feel good about myself.

I learned who I was and what my style was and that knowledge served as a basis of my innate sense of self.

In the intervening years I learned how to use style and fashion to feel confident in any situation whether it was picking the right skirt and blouse for a job interview or how to wear a black leather jacket (my favorite piece of armor) like it was a second skin.

In my 30s and 40s my hair,  never curly enough to produce pretty ringlets but too wavy to be silky, calmed down and with the help of a good stylist usually looked fine. The oily skin that caused so many breakouts and so much embarrassment — which  means I have very few middle-age wrinkles —  eventually cleared up.

Until now.

Probably because of hormonal changes (the culprit in my awkward puberty and, apparently, my dowdy middle age) I am once again chasing one red, stinging zit after another from my face. At least now I am more expert at hiding them with makeup and concealer.  I’m also spending more time trying to blow dry straight my  increasingly wavy hair. (I’m thinking of just letting it go wild.)

And my boobs? Well, lets just say they seem to be back in 7th grade asserting themselves farther out. Only now they aren’t aiming quite as high and my stomach is trying to follow suit.

It seems that fashion isn’t the only thing that comes full circle … so do we.

Today I spent time researching the ’70s inspiration for fall knowing that not only the prohibitive barrier of cost (no, I cannot drop $1,295 for a pair of Valentino gauchos or $5,000 for a Lanvin midi-skirt) but my thickening torso means I’ll be sitting this round out.

Instead, I’ll focus my energies on figuring out how to care for and dress this newest iteration of my body to its best advantage. It’s served me well and the least I can do is keep it strong and clothe it the best I can.

But man, you should’ve seen me in those plaid bell-bottoms…

Now excuse me while I go apply some more  Clearisil.


The two people you must have in your life

Post  my most recent cut and color
Post my most recent cut and color


If someone held a gun to my head and asked me what two people I would take on a desert island it would have to be my esthetician and hairstylist. (Ok, maybe a trainer if I get to pick three. )

Sorry family and friends, but girl wants to look good, always.

I think there is a reason we women bond with our beauty specialists, especially as we get older and maintenance is harder and more time consuming. It’s because going to these regular appointments refreshes and rejuvenates us emotionally as well as physically.

The spa table or stylist’s chair has some magical power to open you up.  After all, who among us hasn’t told our life story to a hairstylist? And why wouldn’t you? There is a person standing as close to you as possible with your hair in their hands — if you get a bad haircut it’s like wearing an ugly dress every day for months until the hair grows out — you want that person to know you and you want to know them.

The same thing holds with an esthetician; a feeling of trust is essential. Once when I was going through a particularly broken hearted time in my life I cried while getting a facial the way I hadn’t been able to around my friends. The esthetician – who I had just met — told me it happens all the time. She told me she thought it was because being on the table with someone’s hands on your face, massaging your scalp and getting you to relax makes a person feel particularly open and vulnerable.  She told  me she viewed it as part of her job to help the client through that vulnerable moment and bring them out the other side to a little peace. You have to have a lot of faith and trust in the person leading you to that place of well-being.

That’s why I feel lucky to have two such women in my corner.

Continue reading The two people you must have in your life

My beauty must haves


My deep supply of everyday essentials.
My deep supply of everyday essentials.

I love beauty products almost as much as I love clothes, and much as I do with fashion, I don’t mind trying new trends in beauty.

If face oil is the new way to beautiful and young looking skin then I’ll try it.  If the next week it’s beauty balm, I’ll try that too. Someone tells me that one brand makes the best black liner for a cat eye, I will move heaven and earth to try it.

But just as I know I can always reach for skinny jeans, combat boots and moto jacket when I don’t feel like experimenting  — there are certain beauty products that I use time and again …

For a clean-prepped face pre makeup:

Pre-makeup products

1) Jan Marini Bioglycolic cleansing gel, $30: My aesthetician Natalie Goode at Euphoria Health and Beauty Bar started me on this years ago. It doesn’t dry out my skin and it keeps me zit-free.

2) Too-Faced Primed & Poreless primer, $30 and Skindinavia, The Makeup Primer Spray, $35-$49: I use both of these awesome primers on a regular basis; each gives me a great base for whichever foundation I use (I alternate those too) but the Too-Faced primer works best if you are only going to wear a mineral powder.

3) Strivectin-SD Eye cream, $15 at Nordstrom Rack and Being TRUE Protective Shadow Primer (with idebenone-epf 95), $25:  This is the best combo I have found for giving me a nourishing and protective base for my eye makeup.


Foundation essentials

1) Being TRUE Protective Mineral Foundation, $43.50: The always trustworthy (and aforementioned) Natalie also turned me on to this powder years ago and once I started using it I never stopped. Hands down the best mineral powder I have ever used – it goes on light, gives great even coverage and nourishes and protects my skin. What else can you ask for in a powder foundation?

2) Naked Skin by Urban Decay Weightless Definition liquid makeup, $39Part of Urban Decay’s wildly popular “Naked” line this silky, light foundation delivers on all fronts. I use UD’s Good Karma Optical Blurring brush, $25 (not pictured) or a Beauty Blender Sponge, $19.95 at Sephora, to apply.

3) Bare Minerals BareSkin Pure Brightening (liquid) Foundation with broad spectrum SPF, $29: Bare Escentual’s newest and very popular foundation was introduced earlier this year to lots of praise. Delivers light, even coverage that protects and nourishes skin and is best used with the line’s Perfecting Face Brush, $28.

4) Too-Faced Tinted Beauty Balm Multi-benefit Skincare Makeup, $34: I first tried this with a free sample and bought it outright because I loved the featherweight feeling of the balm and even coverage it gave. I’m not sure what it is but it has some illuminating quality that gives your face a glow. I largely use this on days when I am not doing a full-face but want to cover up red or age spots. In fact, because it is also treats and protects your skin, it was the only foundation I brought on a recent trip to Hawaii. I find it lasts longest when I use it with a primer and apply it with a brush or sponge.

Continue reading My beauty must haves

New Shoes

There is nothing more exciting than a pair of new shoes — especially if those shoes might take you in a new direction.

The first step is always the scariest (except for the step you take right off a cliff when you leave a beloved career with an uncertain future) because you don’t know if you will be able to follow the path all the way to the end but you have hope. Hope that your new shoes carry you to where you wanna be, hope that you will not stumble and fall along the way (spoiler: YOU WILL), hope that you won’t get lost (Yeah, that’ll probably happen too).

In my case the first step is this website and blog which I will dedicate to my love of fashion, beauty and, well, style.

Check back here for daily fashion fodder, shopping tips and the occasional rant about how much I loathe “Festival Wear”.

Right now I am walking toward an unknown future in a pair of sky-high stilettos that could break my ankle if I fell. Lucky for me I have always been good at walking in heels and I like the view I am walking toward.

The Road Ahead