Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sometimes When It Rains, It Pours!

The rainy season is soon upon us and that can present a clothing challenge, especially for us Southern gals because you want to stay dry but too many layers in high humidity and heat can cause heatstroke...or profuse sweating at least.

One of the things we women "of a certain age" have learned by experience is that pants hems get soaked in rain. So capri length or skirts are a better choice to wear on rainy days when you are out and about.
Last year, I made a great investment in rain boots (or as the English call them: Wellies).  I bought mine at DSW Shoes for $75 (below) and have already worn them twice.

These will come in handy as I walk from parking garages to offices when I temp or for those walks in the park with my dog after a Florida rain shower.

You can find rain boots in various heights. I recommend that if you buy a pair, you try them on and walk in the store wearing them. You don't want blisters from rubbing, too tight toe box or to find that your calves make the boots difficult to put on or off.  You can carry them when you're out-and-about in a tote or canvas bag if the weather predicts rain.

We women "of a certain age" can still remember those see-thru rain booties that were available to our moms.
These were so innovative at the time because they could be folded up and carried in a purse until needed.

And they were a match for the unforgettable rain bonnet. We all owned one of these at some time in our past. And they came in little cases to carry them in our handbags (so convenient).  I had one and don't think I ever used it...but I carried it JUST IN CASE.

Now there are cute rain hats to be worn (but beware of "hat hair" when you take it off).

Then there is a disposable rain poncho (or as I like to call it...a sweat condom).

You can buy these at almost any Dollar store (where they sell umbrellas) or at theme parks, because tourists don't know that we have rain storms every afternoon in the summer season.
  I had to buy one on a theme park visit and even took it with me on a trip to China because it folded up so small and lightly. And you could spot me in any crowd in Beijing.

Then on a trip last year to Savannah, it gushed rain as I walked the city and, unfortunately, my regular motorcycle-type boots leaked badly. My feet were soaked and I didn't have better walking shoes with me to change into. So now, I'm prepared with my "Wellies."

If you read any magazine or blog, you'll see that the fashionistas all state that a tan trench coat is THE item to own.  I do own one but when it is a hot rainy day, I don't want to wear anything with "coat" in the name. If you don't have one, buy it because it is also perfect for chilly days and will always be stylish. (I bought mine...a London Fog tan trench at a local thrift store for $5).

On a rainy afternoon shower, you cannot beat a handy dandy umbrella. I don't recommend spending a lot of money on an umbrella because wind can turn it inside out or worse, you could lose it.

 You can get a fold up kind that is lightweight and will fit in a bag or carry a golf umbrella which is huge and can protect more than one person walking.

Or fancy looking...or cute handled... or even a designer umbrella.

And just so you know, there are cute little rain jackets you can wear. (But it might make you too warm on a hot humid day).

The most important thing is to be a good Girl Scout and "be prepared"!

Don't wear shoes that could be ruined by rain (fabric or pony skin).

Don't wear dyed shoes (the color will run).

Don't wear long skirts or slacks because the hems will get soaked and sometimes give you a chill or get muddy.

And most important....don't wear a frown! It's just rain and it makes everything grow, the grass and trees get greener and it isn't anything you can do a thing about, anyway!

So until next week, I remain,

Stylistically yours,


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Confessions of a Pale Face

I am very pale skinned and have always been. My legs are so light that they reflect light like a white fabric does.

So when I was a teenager, I tried to get a tan using the iodine/baby oil combination to stain my skin AND bake it in the Florida sun. Even that didn't work, except to make me need to go to a dermatologist now twice a year to scan for melanoma.

And I know I'm stating the obvious thought of all females here:  I hate wearing pantyhose with skirts, suits and dresses for dress-up occasions or for my temp jobs.  But my dilemma is what to do about white legs(with purple and blue veins). Since I don't like to wear pants often, I made the decision to use self tanner on my legs (and sometimes my arms) to make me look a little tanned.

Why should I want to look tanned?  I blame Coco Chanel for that. Before her, pale skinned women were the wealthy elite who never went in the sun, weren't outdoor laborers and they lounged and lived indoors. Then Coco Chanel rose from poverty and spent her time creating fashionable new clothes, wearing lots of pearls and being tanned (she also smoked like a chimney!). 

Suddenly being tanned meant living a luxurious life, lying on yachts or country clubs, traveling to the Isle of Capri or Cannes and being a strong independent woman. Being tanned means you have leisure time to rest and relax in the sun, which also translates into being healthy and young. And if you, like me, have excessive thighs, upper arms, etc., a tanned body looks thinner and less "fat" than paleness does.

So, I have found two inexpensive self tanners that I regularly buy from the drugstore:
*  Loreal's Sublime Bronze    Use a small amount on freshly scrubbed (exfoliated) and lightly moisturized legs. Spread it carefully, being careful around your knees, ankles and heels.  Be sure to use it on your feet and toes or they'll be whiter than your legs. Give it ten minutes to dry before dressing. (If you use this stuff daily, you'll have a reasonable simulated tan within three to four days and can stop for several days, re-applying every few days or so).

*  Sally Hansen's Airbrush Legs, which I use on top of the Loreal Sublime Bronze because I don't do the Loreal daily. This works immediately but again, be sure to spread it thinly and look at the back of your knees, your ankles and feet.  Rub it quickly and keep it light. And give it time to dry, too.

Just be sure to wash your hands immediately after spreading these on or you'll have VERY tanned palms.

You can certainly spend a lot of money on more expensive brands but I choose less expensive, even though I don't use it very often. There are self-tanners by a wide variety of makers. You can Google these products to get consumer feedback on how well they work or not.

Today there are very pale-skinned actresses who are bringing tanlessness back.  Anne Hathaway, Julianne Moore, and Cate Blanchett to pick a few. And it seems that young actresses are leading the pale trend (i.e., Emma Watson, Dakota Fanning, Michelle Dockery are all great examples).
These women make milky white skin look gorgeous and stylish, so there's hope for younger, pale skinned women. This lack of tan means no age spots when they get older.

Be careful using any fake tanning lotions, gels, cremes or spray on tans because you could end up looking like an "oompa loompa" (those little orange creatures in the Willy Wonka movie).

This is a subject that is subjective and you need to do what you are most comfortable with. Either way, please be cautious when you are outdoors by protecting your skin, your scalp and hair, and your eyes.

And be kind to yourself by keeping this in mind:

So until next week, I remain,

Stylistically yours,