The Latest Fashion Horror: Pajama Jeans


To which I strenuously object on pure principle.
Because we need to be in our PAJAMAS ALL DAY?
Because plain jeans aren’t casual ENOUGH? Now they have to be COZY AND COMFY like BABY BUNTING?
Because we’re not fat enough and need MORE encouragement to over-eat and not notice that we’re gaining weight because our PAJAMA JEANS are so accommodating and don’t even require us to zip a fly and button a button?

NO! NO ! NO!!!

I also object to the voice over stating that they fit every body “perfeckly.” The word is PER-FEC-TLY.

Oh my sweet, sweet Lord, they come with a free GREY CREWNECK T-SHIRT. Because the PAJAMA JEANS won’t depress you enough??

PeaceBang is on a TEAR, children!!

What’s NEXT? How about a complete outfit of PAJAMA JEANS and Crocs and Snuggies? Then we can just really, finally and completely lose ALL RESPECT FOR OURSELVES.*

*except I totally want a pair! I’m dying to see if they’re decent-looking in person.
June Clever Nirvana bought a pair and her report on them made me laugh.

Thanks for the Gifties!!

It is SO much fun getting prezzies in the mail! And I got THREE this week! So thank you to Sue ? for the Knitting book, and to Anonymous for the beautiful tablecloth and to another Anonymous for the Stephen Sondheim CD.

I would love to know who you all are and at least send you a thank you e-mail if not an actual note, but I would love to do that, too!

Thanks for making me squeal, and for such kindness. xoxo PB

On Turning 45

I’ll be forty-five years old tomorrow.
What an interesting age!
Five whole years until I hit the milestone of fifty, but far enough away from the agonies and ecstasies of youth to remember them with wry fondness.

Aging is definitely a factor now. Oh, yes. I’m a fairly healthy lady – never had any major hospitalizations or surgeries or life-threatening diseases — but now it’s the cumulative lifestyle stuff that has crept up on me.
I’m at that age where the doctor leaves me with assignments every time I visit.
You know what I mean.

I carry +1.0 readers with me everywhere I go now. Can’t read the damned labels in the store without ’em. Or menus in restaurants.
I get creaky.
If I don’t do these funny floor exercises every day, my hip aches.
I have completely given up on my upper arms.

My goal isn’t to live to be 100. I don’t think I could afford it, quite frankly, and I’ve seen extreme old age. No, thanks. Especially not without kids to shuttle me around to doctor’s appointments. So I figure if I’m lucky and be a fairly good girl, I might have another good 30-40 years. But of course you don’t know. So literally every day that I’m at sleep at night in my own bed, free from pain and life-threatening disease, I am grateful. Just today I was at the grocery store wheeling my little cart around and I thought how lucky I am. To be able-bodied, up and ambulatory on a sunny winter day — it’s good stuff. I was at Whole Foods, you know, with all that ridiculous resplendence and tulips in January and a cup of amazing French Roast, well, honestly, I was grinning like an idiot.

Of course I manage to be neurotic in my gratitude. I obsess some nights about people who are suffering, the terrifying sadism at the root of so much evil, intensely grateful that I have a queen sized bed to myself, no one screaming and fighting in the next room/s, no drugs or drunks banging around the place, a washer and dryer in my downstairs bathroom, a sweet sleeping dog and cat beside me, and an interesting and full day to look forward to in the morning. I compare myself to the average Earth-dweller and I can’t believe my good fortune. I think of my maternal great-grandfather waking before dawn to go to his job as a coal miner, spending his days underground breathing poison. I think of my paternal great-grandfather and mother living in the tenements of the lower East Side after arriving in the United States. I bet there were rats. Hunger. Serious survival issues. Bone-breaking hard work.

And my big stress is editing my dissertation? Or presiding over a few funerals over a few weeks?

I adore the freedom of 45. Freedom from so many emotional concerns that once plagued me: will they ever understand me? Can I trust him/her? Does he like me? Should I have said that? Why can’t I be like those other girls? Is it okay for me to want to spend all this time doing this? Am I too that? Am I weird for liking this?

At this age, I trust that I know what I know. My 45 year old self knows: You can’t truly trust that many people. You’ll be betrayed and survive. Very few people will really understand you; they’re too busy trying to understand themselves. Let it go. No one’s looking at you, they’re too focused on themselves — as they should be. If he likes you, he’ll show it. If you shouldn’t have said that, go apologize. If you don’t regret saying it, stand up for yourself. Every second spent wondering if you’re okay because you’re not like other girls is a wasted second.

Once you realize how pointless it is to seek approval, you stop doing it. I am more grateful than I can say for freedom from approval-seeking. I listen to my soul, I pray for guidance, and I do what I discern is God’s desire for my life and I rely on the community of accountability and objective perspectives to give me feedback about whether I’m on track. That’s different from approval-seeking. Approval-seeking begins with the need to earn love by achieving something. Living into God’s desire for you life begins with the assumption that if you use your gifts and talents to the best of your ability, you’re an okay kid. Quit worrying and get to work doing what you can do before your life story turns its last page.

A few more things I’ve learned as I ease into middle age:

If you have to ask, “Is this look too youthful for me?” — it is.
If you’re lucky enough to have a true Love Of Your Life, don’t assume that means you’ll marry him/her. Or that you should.

You can love children in an especially pure and very deep way if you don’t have any of your own. Keep this knowledge to yourself, as no one wants to hear it. But children know it. It’s your sweet little secret and you can giggle together about it.

When people tell you you’re too (fill in the blank), what they are really saying is that they resent you for being yourself. Ignore them. Move on. You’re too old for a personality transplant. Not everyone has to like you. Hang out with those who do and get along as best you can with those who don’t.

You may look good in red, but you don’t look good in every shade of red. Choose wisely. It’s a tough color to carry off.

Don’t ask someone to throw you a party or buy you a gift if you’re just going to criticize it. Get yourself what you want. I will never understand this dropping-a-hint thing that women do to try to wrangle what they want out of a man, or whoever. Never expect anyone to read your mind. Provide for yourself. Everything else is icing on the cake.

There’s a big difference between someone who has bad manners because his or her parents just didn’t raise him/her right and someone who should know better and chooses to be a boor. Forgive the former, avoid the latter.

The more someone evidently worships you, the more they are likely to betray you, emotionally or physically abuse you or psychically slime you. The reason for that is that they weren’t worshiping you in the first place, but a projection. Keep your distance.

You can throw away cheap milk chocolate. No one’s looking, and you don’t want it in the house when you get a craving. Because what’s worse than bad chocolate when you’re really craving chocolate?

Women who have been financially supported by men all their lives have to work pretty hard to understand women who are financially responsible for themselves.

A good flirtation is much more fun than a dull fling that can’t end fast enough.

Don’t over-edit. Get it out there. That includes the essential you.

Don’t ever expect to be thanked, but do speak up if you feel chronically unappreciated or exploited.

If you can’t argue productively just keep your mouth shut and plan an escape route.

Just because someone has college degrees does not mean that they’re educated.

There are people who want to learn, and there are people who want to remain comfortably undisturbed. The intellectually lazy are fun to invite to dinner parties but should not to be relied on for more sustained relationships. Keep your expectations accordingly low for those folks or prepare to be disappointed.

If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. That said, it is entirely possible to be angry at injustice and rampant stupidity while remaining quite happy with life in general.

Try to have a dog and a cat.

Have an art form. Devote yourself to it.

Jealousy is something we all should have completely outgrown in our 20’s. Seriously.

If you don’t know how to sew a button on, shine your own shoes, or fix a broken chair by 45, you’re going to have to pay someone to do it for you. Don’t be ashamed, just put it in your household budget. Think of this way: someone else needs that work.

Resist pathologies: maybe you do have allergies, or maybe your eyes just itch when you clean the house. Maybe you do have seasonal asthma, or maybe you just wheeze when ragweed’s in bloom. How much more power do we give things when they have serious-sounding names?

If you want to be a good cook, get in the kitchen and cook.
However : If you don’t love food, you will never become a good cook.

These are words I think we throw around too easily: hero; addicted; tragedy; love; literally; constantly; starving.

Remember: Jesus was bitchy on occasion, too.

If you have the profound good fortune to work among people you admire and respect, you are almost guaranteed to be psyched about your life.

Decorate your study with photographs of flowers taken during your travels (even if your travels are back and forth to work). They will never fail to delight you.

Of course there’s more, but part of getting older is knowing when to stop.
Interesting how much this list has in common with the list I published when I turned 42! Thanks for being part of my life, pigeons!

Little baby PeaceBang. Carl and Shirley’s second daughter.

Something about the expression really hasn’t changed.

Fashionizing the Collar

Is a big, huge “NO.”

Alert reader C.M. sent me this photo of Anglican priest, the Rev. Joanna Jepson, by e-mail:

Yes. That is a clergy collar. Here it is again.

Now before you go screaming, “WHAT THE HELL,” let me inform you of this interesting fact: Joanna Jepson is the Chaplain of the London College of Fashion, which I think is really fascinating and edgy and I’d love to talk with her about her work when I’m in London this summer.

So there she is, doing a community ministry in a really unique setting in regards to clergy image, right? Given that, you can see that she’s made a really creative attempt to do something fashion-y with the old dog collar, right? I think that was a really understandable instinct, and she certainly did a good job of it. It’s a collar, but it’s not on a shirt. It’s more like a … necklace?

But the clergy collar should not be “fashionized” and updated like any other accessory. The instinct to interpret the collar from an individualized perspective is simply not appropriate. The collar is not a symbol of individuality but a symbol of the ordained ministry. To change it up the way that Rev. Jepson has done may make her students think, “Wow, yeah, cool,” but that is the collar does not exist to elicit admiring reactions from future fashion designers. We must understand our ministry context, but we need not assimilate ourselves to it to the extent that we lose decorum in matters of dress or manners.

My argument is: either wear the collar or do not. But if you choose to wear it, do not assume that you are entitled to change it essential shape — especially not in order to show more skin and render it more flattering and, I dare say, sexy.

This is much better. It’s a collar. It is not a sexy choker re-invented as a clergy collar: a confusing and misguided appropriation of an ancient and immediately recognizable symbol.

I mean, preaching robes aren’t sexy, either, but while we may make them shaplier by adding darts or cutting them to suit the female shape, we do not cut them to mini-length to show our gams.

With a round of applause for creativity, having put obvious thought into her public image, and for design skill, we give the Rev. Joanna Jepson a Halo of Praise.
For the end result, however, we feel obligated to send this vamped up clerical collar to the Naughty Corner.

Preaching With a Bob

What better to do during a New England blizzardy evening than to blog?

Hi dears!
One of you wrote me eons ago asking for advice on how to style a bob so that it wouldn’t fall in your eyes during preaching.
Good question. After all, the bob is pretty much designed to fall sexily in one’s eye, is it not?

Or, you know…?

So the first thing to do is make sure you tell your hair stylist to cut a short enough bang to skim your eyes rather than droop into them:

She just needs a little spray.

Mrs. Tom Cruise has it down perfectly.

The other thing you can do is make headbands your friend, but nothing too cutesy:

This is a dramatic, glam look but that’s because most of the photos I found of women with bob cuts and headbands looked way too girlish.

Alternately, you can go with a simply pin to keep the hair back:

The make-up is sophisticated enough that she doesn’t look like a schoolgirl. Notice the slightly winged-out eyeliner. However, I would not recommend placing the bobby pin that high up.

Here is a photo of me with a long, layered bob wearing a tiny hair pin to keep the bangs out of my eyes:

I wasn’t preaching that morning but I would often do that with my hair: put a tiny pin in it and pull some of the other hair over it.

Another look that should work for Sunday morning is to pull back the bangs and secure them with a clip or barrette. Another thing I like to do is twist two chunks of hair near the crown and pull them back. Someone said this look was too “theatre-artsy” but I’m not sure what that means.

Anyway, play with your own locks! Just make sure that you keep them bangs out of your face!