Sunday, October 11, 2009

Less is MORE

So the Heavenly Bed really is heavenly. This is a Westin Hotel thing, this Heavenly Bed, and this weekend I tested this purported heavenliness. King size, with a billion pillows of  all bizarre shapes and sizes, those duvets and feather beds and complicated arrangements of sheets and blankets that adds up to a giant, delicious, high threadcount sleeping bag--yes, I was in my heaven. And I didn't have to share. At 1 a.m. on Friday night, I had a cold Diet Coke, a large bag of M&M's and a stack of magazines, as happy as can be. Until I opened More. 

The tagline on More magazine is "Celebrating What's Next", and the concept is this is a magazine for those unfortunates (like me) over 40.  Never mind the celebrities on the cover, devoid of any and all actual signs of aging--no claw marks between the brows, no turkey neck, no lines anywhere. And the incredible irony of the quote that is attributed to 53 year old Sela Ward on the cover: The biggest gift of age is not being afraid anymore. Sela Ward is, I'm sure, a lovely woman who would look utterly unrecognizable from this wax museum piece on the cover of More, if I happened to run into her at the car wash. But hey, that's Hollywood, and fear of aging and photoshop are standard. I don't even really look at those pictures, though LZ did point out the huge amount of de-turkefying of the neck they did on this photo, and since she and I are engaged in intense StriVecting to address this heinous sign of age (read her brant here:, she was more in tune to that particular absence than I. 

No, the celebrities are the least of it. I already expect to be made to feel inferior for looking human at age 43. But I was supremely irritated at the gushy layout of the Infinity Dress by Donna Karan and it's attached pictures. For $995, you get a sleeveless black tube of matte jersey with two super long skinny black sash type things growing out from the armpits and the OPPORTUNITY to turn this into 7 different dresses by performing knots only a Boy Scout could master and gymnastics not seen since the 1976 Olympic Games.  Literally, manage to twist those two long tentacles around your neck in just the right way, without asphyxiating yourself, and Dress Number 1 is the black sausage casing with accompanying noose. The challenge of Dress Number 6, should you choose to accept it, is to create the Empire Waist version,  which, contrary to how the pictures look, is NOT the Bandeau Dress, Dress Number 3, or that would be only 6 looks and up the price per dress from $142.14 to $165.83. Leaving the appendages to hang does not even count as a dress, and More cheats by adding a cream colored tank, so technically one DRESS is now a SKIRT (Dress Number 7). The actual visual of all this versatility isn't available for your perusal at the More site, unfortunately, but the Oprah site ( has upped the ante by 1. adding jewelry accoutrement for the belt and 2. dress styles More does not have, thus lowering your price per dress. And should you have issues with flabby arms, which the 12 year old model in the More photos doesn't have, you can buy a long sleeve version for only $1095. And personally, I believe that hiding the chicken wings is worth an additional $14.86 per dress, but I may be in the minority there. 

I, personally, do not have much call for this many little black dresses, because restaurants that serve chicken fingers do not have a dress code,  and I certainly don't live in fear of wearing the same one twice (at Friendly's) and being shunned for it. But this is the apparel version of The Container Store Myth: Buy this and it will make your life EASIER. This dress will, in reality, make getting dressed a stressful, contorted agony, with the added value of the guilt over spending all that money and being unable to find  a way to make ONE STYLE flattering. Loser. Most of us are simply hoping for a dress that doesn't accentuate our back fat and zips without breath holding. In other words, a dress that FITS. One. One really good one. 

And THEN, as if a lineless Sela Ward and being intimidated by an expensive straightjacket isn't annoying enough , there is a feature that actually tells you you are WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG. In the area called More Style: Fashion for Grown Ups, it says:

Is Your Closet TOO YOUNG?  This More reader has been dressing like a high school student her entire adult life, but thanks to Tim Gunn she got the wardrobe reinvention she needed. Turn the page for her fantastic makeover

The capital letters and italics are THEIRS, not MINE. Tim Gunn is the hilarious straight (ahem) man on Project Runway, and he is given the task here of correcting the fashion wrongs of the hapless shlubettes that apparently comprise More's readership.  The results of this fantastic makeover are at the top of the page here. Now, I grant you that this 55 year old woman dresses in a way that I would not, but she works in advertising, which places a premium on creativity and originality. I have pondered the question many times of what dressing in age-appropriate fashion is, and realize that by anyone's criteria, I would be utterly inappropriate. And so fucking be it. This woman has made it this far in the advertising field dressing like HERSELF, and now he is turning her into one of The Ladies Who Lunch. Or a Stepford Wife. There is nothing at all interesting about her any longer, nothing to make her stand out from everyone else. So my feeling is this: as long as your skin is basically covered and everything fits, wear whatever the fuck you want. Unless this woman is going to get fired over her leggings, she shouldn't change a thing. Because it is HER. So fucking be it.

When I was young, I read Glamour, and that was the Version of Me that I tried to become. Then I started reading Allure, or Vogue, or W, and futilely tried to be that version. But Sela Ward is wrong. The biggest gift of age is not the lack of fear, but simply not giving a shit anymore. Not dressing for anyone else, not attempting to impress anyone else, being your own damn self and being ok with it. Saying Fuck it, this is ME. I may commit the faux pas of wearing the same little black dress for years, and I may dress like my 13 year old neighbor, but this is me. And so, on Friday night, at 1 a.m., with my hand in a large bag of M&M's, I threw More onto the floor and opened Us. And it was Heavenly.

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