All posts filed under: Style

The Magic of the Bitch and Swap

Long ago in the 1990s, when I was a freelance magazine writer, I never had enough of anything — money, love, other people, and of course, clothing. I worked alone in my West Village apartment and most of my reporting was done by telephone. I rigorously scheduled social engagements at night, from dates to drinks with a friend, or a book party or reading or a real party or a fake PR party at a handbag store. If I didn’t speak to a real person face to face at least once a day, I felt myself fading from the human race. It was a time of living between no money, some money and family-begged money. I was actually fairly successful as a writer, but felt like an abject, obvious failure. I was consumed with fear that I would never meet a man whom I could marry and who would marry me. The latter was the bigger fear. It was a terribly lonely and scary stretch of years, despite the many, many parties. It was good, …

18 Seriously Comfortable Shoes for Spring and Summer

My shoe predicament has become even worse. About two springs ago, when I was on the hunt for the bestest, comfiest, maybe even cute-in-a-certain-light pair of shoes, I wrote this piece and was pretty proud of myself for rounding up such stellar soles. Over this past winter, however, I’ve realized that I’ve become so picky and obsessed with cushion and easy-to-wears that I’m down to TWO — count ‘em, just TWO — pairs of shoes: These perfect comfort-and-support sneakers from Asics (The GT-2000 4) and these vaguely chic, utilitarian suede boots from La Canadienne (The Felicia). I toggle back and forth between the pair. I blame some of my choosiness on going through some big physical ordeals this past year or so that made me ONLY do what feels good and right. Anything that rubbed, pinched, pressed or made me hobble around was so far from ok that I would ONLY wear shoes that felt like heaven. Now that it’s springtime and the sun wants to shine on my toes, I need to expand my …

I Let My Student Talk Me Into Botox

Dr. M wasn’t my doctor; he was my student. Normally at 10 a.m. on a Monday morning, we were in his office having English class. But today, I was lying on the big black chair in his clinic, trying to keep calm as he prepped a needle. Dr. M was Turkey’s most prolific Botox practitioner. He had a certificate above his desk from the Botox suppliers recognizing the record number of vials he’d administered, mostly to Turkish TV stars and society women. He appeared regularly on the Turkish equivalent of Oprah, the host of which he had filled with youth-enhancing chemicals. As an English teacher, I taught a lot of rich Turkish people and their children, but Dr. M was my first near-celebrity. Located in the fanciest part of Istanbul, Nişantaşı (the Turkish Beverly Hills), the Director (who I also taught) would sometimes introduce me to perfectly made-up, glossy-looking actresses or TV personalities. I never had any idea who they were because I’m British, but I still felt underdressed and out-of-place in their world in …

How to Build the Perfect Bed

Photo courtesy Jody Jones Sleep, that elusive and temperamental beast. I’ve spent my adulthood seeking it like Godzilla hunts Mothra, or the way that perimenopausal women look for sleep. Thanks to better living through chemistry, I’ve come to a mighty-fine agreement with sleep: Leave me alone for 14 hours a day, and you can have all of me the other 10. Ish. Having your own issues? Try calming lavender sachets or spray, melatonin, warm milk, calming music or Ambien (at your own risk). Surely something will stick (fingers crossed!). And once you’ve conquered getting sleep, it’s time to turn your attention to the quality of your sleep, which very often begins with building the perfect bed. Mattresses Start with foundation: A stellar mattress begets a perfect bed. The tough part? It’s completely subjective. I have some friends who swear by their “green” latex mattresses. I’ve loved my crazy-expensive, wrapped-coil Stearns & Foster, having first sampled it at my Mammy’s house and refusing to get out of it for a day or three. There are benefits …

Not Going Gently Into the White (Blonde) Light

As I edge my way toward 50 — with curiosity, no fear and only a few regrets — vanity is on my mind. But I’m not fretting over wrinkles and the general softening of my flesh. I’m curating my look — as I always have, at every age. But what’s different now? I never think about my age in doing so. And, I won’t lie, I fucking love that beautiful irony. When I was much (much) younger and in leadership positions at a precociously young age, I felt compelled to dress for the respect I wanted to command from the businessmen (yes, mostly men) I did business with, which translated into bright-colored suit jackets with black skirts and pants, mostly, while keeping my youngish hairstyle. Once, I met a friend for dinner after a business meeting, and she greeted me with “God, take that thing off,” referring to my apple-green jacket with its teensy shoulder pads. But the bright armor and nude pumps did what they were supposed to — project that I was playing …

My War Against Mommy Frump

In six weeks of pre-adoption training, no one ever mentioned that I would lose the fight against becoming a frumpy mother. While I was prepared for the mental, emotional and physical exhaustion of dealing with social workers, birth families, teachers and cultural judgments, I had no inkling that my sense of style would crash and burn. Having skipped the required change in wardrobe demanded by pregnancy and with no post-baby weight to lose, my dress code was never supposed to change. I would remain sexy, current and not look like an 8-pound bowling ball had been dragged from my loins. My breasts would sag from maturity, not a tour of duty in the hands and mouths of babes, and lace would trim my dainty panty sets. Yes, sets, because that’s how one purchases undergarments, not piecemeal when panties get stretched out and bra padding goes limp from being machine-washed with Tide, rather than Woolite. In my new parenting days, I wore skinny jeans, willing to suffer through the squeeze marks left on my abdomen. I …

An Open Letter To Dark-Skinned Black Women Who Don’t Blush

Blushing is overrated. When I think of women who get red in the face (the cheeks and sometimes the forehead, too), I think of, well, white women. Not blushing is probably nothing that you ever felt insecure about. You probably never envied your towheaded colleague, who’s all Renee Zellweger (back when she looked like herself) and Nicole Kidman (back when she looked like herself) and Naomi Watts wrapped into one, as she was giving a PowerPoint presentation at work but forgot one of her lines or was stumped by a tough question from your boss and the embarrassment made her face turn into a stoplight. White women can have their blushing and all the conscious emotional advertising that comes along with it. (“Look at me, I’m nervous! Look at me, I’m flustered!”) Before I continue down this road of appreciation for non-blushers, let me say: God bless the blushers. Seriously. If they get red in the face at the right time, the whole world is awwww-ing at their feet. “Look at you! You’re blushing. How …

8 Items We’re Pink-ing for Spring

Now that it’s officially spring, we are so ready to bust out a bare leg and embrace the SUN. It’s about this time we start thinking pink — a color that’s never a wrong choice when things heat up. So we asked our contributors, beauty and fashion experts for a few blush-hued items they are coveting this spring.   1. Flower Transforming Touch Powder To Creme Blush in Tickled Pink   This Flower Beauty blush is the only blush I’ve used since testing it a year ago. It’s amazing, and all I want is for Drew Barrymore to make it in a smaller size so I don’t have to pack this gigunda blush when I travel (but I always do). I have at least three backups in case it gets discontinued. $12.33, Walmart   — Amber Katz, Beauty Blogger and Founder of Rouge18.com   2. Kate Spade Passport Holder I haven’t traveled internationally in at least five years, but I’ve had to whip out my passport a lot in that time whenever I complete tax forms or an I-9 for a new assignment. Thanks to …

Heels For A Higher Calling

Living in New York, working as a business reporter in the 1990s, and doing freelance lifestyle writing on the side, I got a kick out of all all the PR pitches, launches, and parties. Among them: renting out Ellis Island for a magazine party, Donald Trump’s 50th birthday, and, if memory serves, bringing elephants to midtown to help launch a perfume. So when my best friend Allison, the co-founder of a PR firm, asked me to volunteer to help out on an event where supermodels would be helping Doctors Without Borders, by decluttering their own closets, I couldn’t resist. I agreed to help check in guests and members of the press at the front desk of a high-end garage sale with items pulled from the closets (and storage units) of iconic ‘90s models Shalom Harlow and Kirsty Hume. The items would then be sold for between $10 and $100. It couldn’t have been more of the moment. There was even the requisite article in The NY Post about it by one of the lifestyle and fashion …

6 Gifts That Give Back — With Style

There’s no denying that the holiday season provides plenty of opportunity for self-defeating habits and thoughts: We eat too much, sleep too little, plan more than could possibly be done and then feel bad about all of the above. Really, though, the holidays are meant to be a time to feel joy and happiness and sweet relief from the daily grind. Fortunately, there is gift giving to help us correct the balance. There’s a particular thrill to getting just the right gift for a friend or family member you love—and we all know the simple trick of doubling your pleasure with a gift that “gives back” (with a portion of the proceeds supporting a cause you care about). But let me propose a third dimension of uplift and awesome: By buying one of these gifts that give back, we are also funding the thriving American ecosystem of idealistic entrepreneurs, the believers and doers who literally can’t sleep at night because someone is hurting, hungry or in need. Each of the below organizations is about helping …

tuenight gift guide susan linney beauty

8 Under-the-Radar Indie Beauty Gifts

I love introducing the people I love to high-quality, under-the-radar beauty brands, and what better way to do it than by tucking it in a stocking or gift bag? These goodies are all under $100 and made by some of the best beauty brands you’ve never heard of (yet!). 1. Hand in Hand Bergamot & Ginger Sugar Scrub Swirling with notes of ginger, green tea and sweet orange, this exfoliating sugar scrub makes a great stocking stuffer — plus, the Philly, PA-based brand saves 100 square feet of rainforest for every scrub purchased. $24, Handinhandsoap.com   2. Olie biologique Limited Edition: The Ultimate Oil Collection Facial oils are not for everyone, but as a recent convert, I urge everyone to at least give them a try. This limited-edition collection contains five of Olie Biologique’s bestsellers (including my favorite, the amazing Huile Radicale Rejuvenating Oil) and has such pretty packaging, you can absolutely skip the wrapping paper. $62, Oliebiologique.com 3. Beautycounter Holiday Hand Collection For the eco-conscious, organic beauty lover on your list, treat them to this …

The Daily Uniform: Is Anything Wrong With a Stylistic Default?

When I was in my 20s, I worked for a woman who wore the same outfit every single day. No matter the season, no matter her mood, Marian arrived each morning in black pants, a black turtleneck and a pixie haircut. Was she making a fashion statement or rather, a statement that she cared not a whit about fashion? My guess is that Marian, a wealthy art collector who, with her husband, ran a multi-million dollar business that employed hundreds of people, adopted her signature style by default. She simply went for the easiest option. As I think about Marian some 30 years later, I consider my own signature look of blue jeans and a black top (t-shirt in summer, sweater come autumn). I wonder: Do I wear some variation of this combination most days because it truly reflects my personal style or have I, like Marian, opted for brainless dressing? Perhaps a bit of both is true. On the one hand, I’ve got a foolproof formula: No chance of colors clashing, appearing passé or …

Splurge-Worthy: 12 Boots Made for Fall

I’ve reached a point in my career that I always fantasized about but never dreamed would actually come true: I work from home, full-time, all the time. Which means that pants are not a requirement for editorial meetings, as all of my editorial meetings occur on Skype. Which means that I don’t have to wear makeup (though I almost always do), and I rarely bother to blow-dry my hair. (Try this if you can; my curls have never been healthier.) Which means that my once fairly put together “look” — a look that I carefully curated during my years as a fashion and ladymag editor — has totally gone out the window in exchange for mock jersey crop pants and a wide array of tank tops, t-shirts and tunics. (If you haven’t already, check out Alternative Apparel. I now live in this brand.) If you told me five years ago that this kind of no-look look would eventually become my style status, I probably would have cried, assuming it a consequence of sobriety, a really …

Mandates of a Middle-Aged Man Repeller

“…I didn’t want to wear a sack dress myself; I just wanted to be friends with a woman who did. She’d be smart, sophisticated, witty, and brave, and together we’d bond over this haute hoot.” John Waters, “The Dress that Changed My Life,” Harper’s Bazaar, September 2014 Shapeless sacks. These are the two words that best describe my wardrobe, according to my always-natty brother. His next three words would be saggy diaper pants (AKA, harem or MC Hammer pants). Super sexy, I know. Tunics, caftans, sack dresses, oversized shirts, drop-crotch pants – if it’s large or voluminous, boyish or boxy, it’s in my closet. But it wasn’t always this way. You see, I spent my formative sartorial years working in retail, where the number one mantra was: Look. The. Brand. So my “style” was essentially dictated by what was currently in store and what I could afford. I went from saving up my $4.75-per-hour Foxmoor Casuals paycheck to buy Sasson jeans (no Levi’s allowed) to sporting a lab coat, chunky gold earrings and beaucoup de …

She’s Got The Look: Best of the Worst of Your 80’s Style

  As we were putting together this week’s LOOK issue, our thoughts floated back to the time of Guess jeans, Benetton sweaters, Zinc Pink lipstick and Aussie Sprunch spray. Oh, 1980’s. You were so special! No other era in fashion elicits “what were we thinking??” gasps in quite the same way. So, we asked you, our beloved TueNight readers, to send in your favorite photos of yourselves in all of your 80’s glory, and boy, did you deliver! Here are a few of our favorites: New Year’s Eve 1987. There’s so much wrong with this photo I don’t even know where to start. I am on the far left, in a Benetton sweater that was 10 sizes too big for me. I remember it being $85 and that was 85 percent of the money I had for the whole month at college. That was a leather mini skirt underneath. I do remember wearing ballet flats, as we were going out in the Cleveland flats. I’m not sure why we all dressed in such big clothes when we …

The Age of the Unrecognizable Face

I was at the salon having my nails done a few weeks back when I overheard a conversation between two women of a certain age. The impeccably dressed pair were poring over a series of glossy celebrity magazines while waiting for their nails to dry. They commented on the clothing and accessories and adorable babies but never quite mentioned any of the A-Listers by name. It was more of “The redhead who is blonde now and has a new face and was in the prostitute movie a few years back;” which received the response of “No. That’s not her. That’s the one from the talk show who got divorced again.” My curiosity was piqued. I sidled up to them and asked if they had a favorite actress from the current crop, and both women looked at me blankly. “I don’t know who any of these people are,” said one. Her friend countered with, “Maybe I used to know who some of them were, but I don’t recognize any of them anymore. Maybe it’s because I’m …

Charting My Life History Through Best-Loved Shoes

For many women, our teenage years mark the birth of our personal sense of style. At that age, we’re striving to fit in with our peers even as we’re working hard to establish our individuality. What we choose to wear helps us navigate both gauntlets. Teens also focus on differentiating themselves from their parents, and God knows fashion is a powerful way to do that. In every generation, adolescents opt for clothes and shoes (and hairstyles, tattoos and piercings) that intentionally shock their elders in a not-so-subtle attempt to deliver this message: “I’m not you, I’m me. I make my own decisions now, and here’s what I think is cool.” As I began to emotionally separate from my very fashionable mother, I started choosing styles that she would never wear nor pick for me. To her credit, she supported me all the way even when my choices were, in retrospect, hideous. (Anyone else remember Earth shoes?) When I think back on my best-loved shoes from that time in my life, it’s clear that the choices …

At What Age Can I Go Back to Dressing Like a Lunatic?

My first fashion-related memory is of my dad taking me shopping for my first pair of glasses. My mom — perhaps unwisely — had opted to stay home. I was 4 years old and had already developed a magpie-like obsession with anything shiny. So I immediately honed in on a pair of purple, rhinestone-encrusted cat-eye glasses, the likes of which had not been in style for decades. I was utterly enthralled by the sparkles that dusted every angle and the pearly purple plastic that framed my face so glamorously (I thought). My goal in life at the time was to be “fancy,” and I used the word constantly. And to me, those glasses were the fanciest fucking things I’d ever seen. My mom was not thrilled that her small child came home looking like a trashy, cross-eyed secretary, circa 1952. I didn’t care that she was mad. These glasses made me “fancy.” My next fashion-related memory is more utilitarian. It’s of being outfitted for the uniforms my siblings and I were required to wear to St. …

In Defense of Dark Lipstick (And Other Apparent Mid-Life No-Nos)

I stumbled across an article this morning that said women in their 40s shouldn’t wear dark or dramatic lipstick because the color can get trapped in fine lines around the lips, making them look older. I felt a flare of rebellion at the idea. In fact, right now I am wearing a deep burgundy lip stain because, well, that’ll show ‘em. Yet I chose the lip color I’m wearing because it’s a lip stain rather than a lipstick, and is therefore far less likely to bleed into those little cracks that I do, indeed, now have around my mouth.. I found myself looking online for tips to prevent my lipstick from bleeding (which is apparently a rather complicated process involving foundation and cotton swabs dipped in powder), because I don’t want to highlight my age with a bad makeup choice. It’s a delicate balance for a woman of a certain age. I don’t care how many charming articles I see declaring that “40 is the new 30.” It’s bullshit. For me, 45 isn’t graceful midlife. …

My Never-Ending Quest for Seriously Comfortable Summer Shoes

“Size 10 and a half if you have ‘em?” I handed two shoes to the sales person — a sleek silver oxford and a squishy-souled FitFlop sandal. Comfy shoes. I looked just across the crowded Lord & Taylor shoe department to see a crisply-habit-ed nun, legs crossed demurely, waiting for something or someone. She smiled at me. (I was working on the Faith issue at the time, so of course I took this as some prescient moment. Anyway. ) When the shoes arrived, the silver oxfords were a bust: beautiful but ouch-tight and narrow. At this point in my life, I simply can’t wear anything that remotely hurts. Wrenching them off, I slipped on the FitFlop. Thick black straps, a cork sole — they weren’t the belle of the ball but they promised podiatric pleasure. GLORY BE if they weren’t the most comfortable objects I’d ever slipped on my feet. Like walking on air. No, as if I simply didn’t have feet — just fluffy clouds attached to my legs. They didn’t look half bad …

Trading a Favor for Shoes in the Soviet Union

  My toes felt scrunched. The nails I’d forgotten to cut pushed against my white tights and the new, stiff leather. “How are they?” my grandfather asked. He’d just brought over these shoes from his house and the moment he took them out of the box I was in love. The most beautiful things I’d seen in the short, seven years I’d been alive, they were lacquered, a chocolate brown color and had a great big buckle in the middle. They smelled of leather and sported a very small, square heel that to me put them in the same category as my mother’s platforms. And they were made in Japan. For the 1970s Soviet citizen this may as well have been the Manolo Blahnik workshop. Foreign goods — and foreign shoes, in particular — captivated us. We were stuck behind the Iron Wall and forced to wear the ugly, shoddy creations of the planned Communist economy. The few of our citizenry who traveled abroad always came back with their suitcases bursting with goods for both …

Big Foot: Life in Size 12s

At nine, I was already one of the tallest kids in 4th grade — you can always find me in my tortoise-shell cat glasses in the last row of class pictures — and I must have had one of, if not the, biggest pairs of feet among the girls. I can’t recall the size cutoff in the girls’ shoe department but my mother must have known I was already pushing it. I suppose hope sprung eternal in her, too. My mom loved to shop, and she imparted that love in me from an early age. Back when I was a girl in suburban St. Louis, some of our best days involved wandering the racks and doing our version of “the ladies who lunch.” Fortified, we would set out on our quest once again. But nothing could prepare me for that fateful day in 1970 in the girls’ department at Stix, Baer & Fuller. I had gathered the cute styles all my friends were wearing, handed them to the salesman and sat patiently with my mom …

Dr. Strangeloafer: How I Learned To Stop Wearing Leather And Love My Shoes

Some people, like me, give up leather because they don’t fancy the idea of wearing animals’ skin. Others are trying to go a bit easier on Mother Earth in general (even as a byproduct of the meat industry, leather has a massive carbon footprint and the chemicals used to process it are just as nasty as — and often much nastier than —the stuff that goes into faux leather).* For all I know, there may be a third, kinky group that’s just really into wearing plastics. Who can say? One constant: We all have to work a bit harder to find good-looking accessories. I’m no hippie, and I’m not especially interested in filling my closet with pleathery fast-fashion pieces that fall apart after a few wears. So what does a girl have to do to get some solid non-leather shoes around here? Consider a pair of high-fashion jellies.  For the last two summers, I’ve lived in a pair of black Melissa x Jason Wu “Artemis” sandals, and I’ve gotten compliments on them in Hawaii, Istanbul …

A Love Affair with Blundstones

When you work long days that merge into nights, running around, climbing up and down ladders and scurrying over catwalks, your shoes swiftly become your best friends. Freshly graduated from the University of New South Wales, a Bachelor of Arts degree under my belt, my dreams of working in the theater were giddily realized after I miraculously landed a gig as a lighting technician at the Sydney Opera House. This was 1984 and the joint had only been open for a dozen years. There were old-ish guys that worked backstage who proudly boasted they’d helped to build the place! I was the third female ever to be hired in the lighting department. We were all called “sparks” or “electrics.” The stagehands were known as “mechanists” and they were a bigger and more dominant crew. I only ever saw one woman in their numbers. I was a green and keen kid — 20, almost 21 — and utterly thrilled to be working on real live proper theater. Operas, concerts, ballet, rigging lights in the Exhibition Hall …

5 Beauty Products: Then & Now

There are quite a few beauty fads that still play a role in my daily routine. They may be dressed up in different packaging or meant to serve a slightly different purpose, but they’re basically the same products I used in grade school, high school, college and beyond. And I bet you probably have some similar “non-fad” fad items of your own. So here I present five “Then and Nows” — products I used back in the day paired with ones I use now that essentially serve the same purpose, if perhaps in a smarter, less harmful and more modern way. Then: Sea Breeze Astringent Now: Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner, $6 Sea Breeze was some seriously potent stuff, and every girl I knew in the seventh grade used it. It was almost like a rite of passage — I remember one particular slumber party in which a guest (who had perfect skin, I might add) admitted she’d never tried it, and was forced to soak up a cotton ball and “Breeze herself.” I recall this well …

Playing Dress-Up: Forget Fashion Rules, This is Me

Spencer was the most glamorous person I’d ever seen. The first time I met him, he was in five-inch heels and a pencil skirt, his curly brown hair dancing around the crown of his head. His makeup was minimal, like he put in effort, but knew he was already working with a better-than-solid foundation. I was walking through the atrium on our college campus when I first spotted him. He was sitting alone at a table, reading, sipping a drink, and even doing that in an impossibly pretty way. Because I am who I am, I sat down beside him and said, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I think you’re beautiful.” He blinked his bright blue eyes several times before revealing his equally bright teeth to bless me with a smile. “Thank you,” he said. We bonded over our mutual inclination to burst into song, appreciation for good off-campus food and enduring love for Dr. Maya Angelou. Despite my initial observation, it quickly became clear Spencer didn’t see himself as particularly attractive. He considered …

Sarah’s Spring Beauty Clean Up

It never fails— spring rolls around, and I’m instantly sucked into mega beauty refresh mode faster than you can say “matte coral lipstick.” There’s nothing more happy-making than clearing the fuzzy wool remnants from my closet and giving most of the deep plums and berries in my beauty cabinet a rest. And up until a few years ago, my seasonal refreshes were strictly related to things like color and texture, but now I go a little deeper. You see, I’ve taken huge strides to rid my bathroom cabinet of anything that is unsafe for my skin, which is, ahem, a huge undertaking. Let’s just say that I’ve become very up close and personal with A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients and the EWG’s Skin Deep website. I never thought I’d know so much about Methylisothiazolinone and Polyethylene Glycol in my life, and sadly, the United States isn’t so keen on ingredient regulation, considering it hasn’t passed a federal law to regulate the ingredients in personal care products since 1938. (Yeah, when women’s daily ensembles looked like this. Its, …

Merry and Bright: 5 Colorfully Chic Gifts

As I write this, it’s 27 degrees out and the sky is as grey as the sidewalk, and I’m feeling like it’s going to be a very long winter indeed. One way I try and combat the seasonal gloom is to surround myself with bright colors and prints. The effect they have — on an outfit, a room, a stinky mood — can be truly transformative. For the holidays, I’m choosing only items that promise a happy pop of bright for the recipient.   1. Aurelie Bidermann Cotton and Gold-plated Cuff Aurelie Bidermann’s jewelry is an obsession of mine; this gold-plated and cotton number is such a chic, grown-up version of a friendship bracelet. $120, net-a-porter.com   2. Tatsuro Kiuchi’s “Tunnel” This print is pure sunshine on paper. It makes me think of old Pan-Am and TWA travel posters from the 40s and 50s — so bold and saturated and graphic. $60, 20×200.com   3. Comme des Garcons Embossed French Wallet It is possible that over the years, I’ve given more Comme des Garcons pouches …

Beauty Gifts For Mom, Sis, Dad, Even the Pooch

The best thing about beauty goodies is that they make great gifts — I could shop for my whole family in the aisles of Sephora or even Duane Reade. And even if your mom isn’t really into wearing makeup, or your daughter is too young for lipstick, it’s usually easy to find something appropriate (think hand creams and light perfumes). These five ideas are easy to find and fun to give — there’s even something special for the dog! 1. For Your Hands-on Mom L’Occitane Hand Cream Soiree By now, your mom probably has her daily skincare rituals down pat, and she likely knows what kind of products work best for her. This is true for my own mom, and it’s why I give her high-end hand creams each Christmas, instead of makeup or hair care. I’ve put mom’s name on this set from L’Occitane, which contains 10 of the brand’s best-selling hand lotions. $88, sephora.com 2. For Your Beauty-Clueless Dad Jack Black Mr. Big Set A beauty gift for dad usually means cologne, which is …

On Loving and Hating Skinny Jeans

When I first heard the term “skinny jeans,” my thought was, “oh great, not-for-me jeans.” I’m not and never have been skinny — or even thin, for that matter. And while I’ll admit that there are times when I’d have liked to weigh less than I have — often for vanity and confidence but more as I’ve gotten older for health and for the joy of my knees not hurting — I’ve never aspired to skinny. I’m not a fan of the word “skinny.” It describes what I perceive as an extreme state, that in many cases even applies to people who don’t have access to enough food. It’s a strange position, to want to look like what skinny connotes to me in fashion terms. There are many people who are skinny not by choice. Seeking it? No thanks. Also, any fashion option marketed as “skinny” probably wasn’t meant for me anyway. The jeans themselves were built for skinny, right? They certainly weren’t intended for the over-size-12 crowd, so I’d just be over here, in …