Category Archives: Ideas

Halloween for the Office

Dear Dorigen,

As your beautiful, brilliant children have no doubt already made you aware, Halloween will be here very soon. My inner goth teenager strictly prohibits me from giving up on Halloween all together, but I refuse to spend a lot of money and energy on costuming these days and it is now almost entirely relegated to the annual office party.

If you need to make a spooky, yet professional appearance at work (or around the neighborhood), enclosed are some easy costumes I have pulled together over the years. My requirements: 1) only  one additional purchase item, 2) minimal borrowing, and 3) zero hassle with the work day hustle.

Tipi (or Hitchcock for that matter) would never with this non-matching suit, but, girl, I am on a budget

  • The Costume: Tippi Hedren from the Birds
  • Purchased: Crow
  • From my closet: Smart-enough suit, headband (to attach the bird to), work heals.
  • Borrowed: Fake blood
  • Response: I was the first one in the office that day, and had not yet added the blood to my face when another early-bird co-worker arrived. He forgot it was Halloween costume day and had to wait a couple hours until someone else arrived, so he could ask them, in earnest, if I was trying to make life-sized birds happen. This actually made my day, because 1) even though I had not yet been with the company for a year, it meant that my co-worker already knew that I was a fearless fashionista and 2) he had a point, life-sized birds on heads legitimately could make a comeback.
2014halloween_ECG

Anna Wintour. I was physically unable to remove the smile

  • The Costume: Anna Wintour
  • Purchased: Wig (ok, and I also bought the Vogue)
  • From my closet: Over-the-knee dress in a small print, sunglasses (my prescription ones are red, so I used black electrical tape over the rims), necklace, fancy-looking kitten heels.
  • Borrowed: Fur coat (worn over the shoulders). Thanks Livi! 
  • Response: I got second place in the costume contest, I think mostly because I kept reading people for their fashion choices – “What? No want for color?” Also, as you know, my love of this wig resulted in a life-defining haircut.
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5th Golden Girl, Pippa Greenquist, doesn’t stand for nonsense

  • The Costume: 5th Golden Girl (I decided my name should be Pippa)
  • Purchased: Tights (they were out of the very 80’s “suntan” color)
  • From my closet: Dress with a 80’s fabric twist neckline, grandma‘s broach, various costume jewelry, 80’s pink lipstick
  • Borrowed: Hat. Thanks again, Livi!
  • Response: I admit this wasn’t my best effort, but once I explained the inspiration to those who asked, I got a lot of… “Oh, I love that show! So-and-so was my favorite!”
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Mrs. White – Clue

  • The Costume: Mrs. White – Clue
  • Purchased: Hat (thanks to my mother-in-law, who gave me a conveniently timed gift card to an antique store).
  • From my closet: Black dress, belt, tights, and heels and grandma’s pearls.
  • Borrowed: My department dressed as a group, so later in the day I “borrowed” one of the weapons we made with paper and cardboard.
  • Response: Our department won the office costume contest. We were each dressed as a different character (some mix of the movie and the game) and our boss’s costume was the envelope (brilliant).
scanners_Em

Darryl Revok – Scanners

  • The Costume: Darryl Revok – Scanners
  • Purchased: Medical tape and gauze
  • From my closet: Suit, button down, loafers, black sharpie (for the “inner eye”)
  • Borrowed: Tie (from my husband). Thanks Pete!
  • Response: Very few people got the reference, but this is my favorite Halloween costume ever – it was warm, it was clever, it referenced a beloved movie, it cost next to nothing, and it can be worn by anyone. Also, if someone repeated this costume, and you wanted to be even more comfortable, he is technically wearing a t-shirt in this scene, additional robe also works.

This year my Halloween costume is TBD, but I’m not worried. I’ll come up with something. Any time someone says to me, “you know who you look like?” I used to brace myself for the inevitable insult, but now I just write it down for future easy Halloween costumes. As an aside, I have literally never witnessed anyone feeling complimented after hearing the end of “you know who you look like?” even if it’s telling a guy that he looks just like Ryan Gosling.

But anyway, easy Halloween costumes basically just fall into my lap, as there are a million and one characters/people who have glasses and bangs and I am apparently very approachable. Like, recently, a young man (teenager? early twenties?) excitedly stopped me on the train; he really needed to talk to me about how much I look like Velma from Scooby-Doo (the live-action version; he specified).

So, Dorigen, do you have any easy and fabulous-enough costume ideas? Any kid-friendly costume suggestions that may require some fun crafting?

Love,

Em

P.S. If I chose to lift the minimal spending ban for Halloween, I would go as simply “plaid,” but, as it stands now, that would require a lot of purchasing on my part…

plaid. OMG. plaid.

Pullover: L.L.Bean | Earmuffs: Brooks Brothers | Bag: Burberry | Shoes: Vans | Top: L.L.Bean | Skirt: J.Crew (aka J.Crute) | Pants: Brooks Brothers

Fashion Music

Dear Dorigen,

A co-worker and fellow fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race recently gave me a glorious gift, a link to the Kelly “Shoes” video:

Kelly videos are hilarious, wonderful, endearing, and they are my life now. In honor of the tradition of what I am now calling “Fashion Music,” I compiled a short list of songs that make me feel fabulous, free, and oh so funky fresh. These are songs to listen to while getting dressed and/or while staring fixedly into a mirror, posing, feeding your fantastical narcissism ala Trevor Goodchild from Aeon Flux when admiring his feathers, as one does.

Enjoy…

  1. Kelly – Shoes (Pete prefers “Let me Borrow that Top”; I also love all of them)
  2. Princess Nokia – Tomboy
  3. Hi Fashion – Amazing
  4. Foe G4ng – Too Cool
  5. Alaska – Your Makeup is Terrible (I also love This is My Hair)
  6. Willow – Whip My Hair
  7. Adam Joseph – Linda Evangelista (feat. Aja)
  8. Cherry Glazerr – Whites Not My Color this Evening
  9. Dragon Boy Suede – Buy You Clothes, Do You In ‘em, Take ‘em Back
  10. Tiga – Bugatti

Love,

Em

Clownishness

Dear Dorigen,
Thank you for the link to Look 1 in Tory Burch’s new collection. It has all the hallmarks of being the perfect “Emily Dress” – ruffle collar, over-sized print, flouncy sleeves – in short: clownishness.
TB
I am completely down for circus realness; it is my go-to Fashion (yes, with a capital “F”). I do not own a single animal print (e.g. a zebra stripe), but I own MANY articles of clothing with full animals on them (sometimes as a print) – my favorite 2017 summer outfit was a t-shirt with pink leopards on it and matching shorts (both LOFT).
I recently went shopping with a dear friend of mine and tried on a top with tiered, billowy sleeves and a cape-like embroidered vest over it. We joked about the ridiculousness of it, I became obsessed over it, and then I proceeded to wait almost 2 days before ordering that confection of a shirt (it is now in heavy rotation). Had the tent of a vest-cape been in my price range, I would be swimming in it right now.
Instead, today I am wearing this ringleader extravaganza of a blazer.
jacket
After my husband remarked that it looked “clownish” when I was trying it on for him, I said “Yep. It’s non-negotiable. I’m keeping it.”

Love you,

Em

Polanski is a fan of HE-MAN

Dear Dorigen,

We have an exclusive from another family member – my beloved husband, Pete, discovered a connection while rewatching a favorite film of his youth: 1987’s Masters of the Universe. I give you his findings…

Friends and family,

During our screening of the 1987 tour de force Masters of the Universe; the Dolph Lundgren vehicle, and the one that you mistakenly remember as having co-starred Dabney Coleman, but then when you realize upon re-watching that it was actually this guy,

Hi, I'm Jon Cypher.

Hi, I’m Jon Cypher.

and also you are certain that they recycled a character from Legend…

Billy Barty as Screwball from Legend

Billy Barty as Screwball from Legend

…and you were right,

Billy Barty as Gwildor from Masters of the Universe

Billy Barty as Gwildor from Masters of the Universe

I made a fantastic discovery. Watch these two videos for details. I probably spent way too much time for relatively small payoff, but hopefully you find it as funny as I did.

Visual Poetry: _Romero_

Hi Dorigen,

I have some fabulousness to share! My friend, and brilliant poet, Olivia Cronk, is creating a docu-soap-opera-fantasy series. These videos are decadent visual poetry, linked to her current manuscript, _Interro-Porn_. And I am staring in Episode 1: “Did you summon my man to a railroad room?”!

I KNEW that P.J.-inspired dress would come in handy one day. I feel very fancy. I think I need wigs; lots of wigs, like a room of wigs. And an ombre brow.

Watch the soap opera unfold here: https://twitter.com/InterroPorn.

Love you!

Em

Maxi Dresses

Emily,

I just bought and returned a maxi dress. And felt good about that decision after reading this:
http://jezebel.com/death-to-the-maxi-dress-a-manifesto-1702248877.

Dorigen


Dorigen,

Loved the article. Hilarious!

maxidress

Cute on Anthopologie model does not equal cute on Anthropologie patron

And I can relate. I was feeling good about my figure; that is, until I saw pictures of myself in a blue and white striped maxi (during our last CA visit). Totally unflattering; I looked like I was fartin’ around in a nightgown. That maxi dress was immediately donated (I don’t have a burning permit).

I then started researching my body shape – why do some dresses look good on me and others induce binge ice cream consumption? I had always figured I was either apple or hour-glass shaped, which is confusing because these two options really just cancel each other out. But here’s what I’m working with:

  1. I have a proportionally large chest and a gut that cannot be ignored.
  2. I have “sausage” arms.
  3. I nip in a bit at the waist.
  4. I also have narrow hips and broad shoulders.

Historically, I’ve been focusing on points 1 and 2, but according to this super simplified quiz, I should have been focusing on points 3 and 4. After answering just one quiz question, it is decided that I have an inverted triangle body shape, and that “gut” actually CAN be ignored (with clever outfitting). 

For me, Maxi dresses only play up the bad, and hide the good, point-for-point, as compared to my above listed characteristics:

  1. Maxi dresses hide the gut, I’ll give it that, but really highlight the chest, which I would rather diminish. Maxi dresses often have v-neck tops that require an extra layer of fabric in the form of a modesty tab or camisole; not cute.
  2. To counteract all that material on the bottom, maxi dresses are often sleeveless, thus exposing those problematic arms.
  3. Maxi dresses are usually empire, nipping in right under the chest, thus further highlighting it. Not every dress can be saved by a belt.
  4. Perhaps the sleeveless design is actually helping to narrow the wide shoulders (visually cutting them up), but this becomes a moot point in light of the nonsense going on in points 1-3.

With a decidedly inverted triangle body shape, I need structure.

  1. I need to be mindful of neckline (not too high, not to low – baby bear porridge-neckline).
  2. Personal preference: sleeves. Sleeves! Ideally elbow-ish length or longer.
  3. Dresses that nip in at my natural waistline.
  4. Dresses that flare out at the bottom (a-line or a fit-and-flare) to balance out the top.

These are the kinds of things I have been researching during my no-shopping-for-a-year cleanse; 259 days to go. In the interim, these are the summer dresses I will be thinking about.

Love you, 

Em