Sidestepping toward style [pt 2]

In two earlier posts, I described what drove me to get a customized dress and how I rationalized needing multiple variations.

Up until a few years ago, the whole concept of working with a tailor on minor alternations was foreign to me. Ditto for getting shoes stretched. Clearly my suburban upbringing never included a semester of HomeEc; I’m afraid the glamour of COBOL beat out such fusty and low-status fare.

While I bet classmates who went on to qualify for Women in Technology International membership have no regrets, my fat little high-arched feet are attached to a different sort of brain, and they sure paid a terrible price.

Nowadays, though, I’m coming to terms with the basic tailoring experience. I’ve even gotten brazen and binder-clipped items into place to show what I’d like ruched or nipped. [Of course it LOOKS stupid, but I wouldn’t need binder clips and a tailor if I could make it look pretty!]

Working with someone on a heavily-customized dress dropped me right into stranger in a strange land territory, though. And journeying to several warehouses filled with bolts of fabric (and lots of 80s-looking quilters) was positively anthropological.

I mean, I spent high school wearing my mom’s Norton McNaughton pants to class while the cool girls wore tiny Op shorts like this:

Random internet chick giving me clothing-related PTSD

In a worlds-collide moment, I’m actually thinking Ed Grimley might be WEARING Norton McNaughton pants in the photo I posted earlier to describe my body proportions. Hmmmmm…


And yet here I am, having made big strides away from bad silhouettes and baggy clothes and wearing head-to-toe black (well: 2 out of 3). Here I am, buying this crazy print I love for use in a 40th birthday dress…

only to find out (thanks, Jody!) it’s based on one of Paco Rabanne’s avant-garde creations that quite possibly launched the year I was born:

Paco Rabanne design c 1969, courtesy of


But with the dress in production and no turning back, I start to get Inexperienced-Print-Fabric-Buyer’s Remorse.

Suddenly, I’m beginning to think that my coloring + the print’s coloring + the print itself means trouble. I’m looking at the sample again, and I’m wondering if I have a Breast Cancer Awareness dress underway. No matter how many times I hold it up and squint, I’m no longer seeing “sophisticated”: I’m seeing “nipples.” Lots and lots of dancing nipples.

But it’s a face-on-the-tea-towels situation, which is why an invisipal like Bingo comes in handy. Because when she says:

Don’t worry, everyone’s going to love your Dress of a Thousand Nipples!”

she seems so sincere I can almost believe it.

Next: Part 3 of Sidestepping toward style, aka a few unexpected challenges

In Saint Bingo We Trust (give or take)

My invisible friend Bingo not only adds color to one’s life, she adds colour. Because she’s kind and generous to most, even to those from terribly misguided countries that fail to raise their citizens to speak and spell proper English.

Granted, she has few flaws LIKE BEING A GODDAMN SAINT (albeit one with a herringbone past) but luckily for me she is funny as hell so I forgive her that.

Despite being a saint I am happy to report she’s not a martyr; were I officially in charge of judging those who exist in my space/time continuum, this would score major points from me.

So when she sends out a seemingly helpful email saying:

Just got out of the shower and wanted to give y’all a tip: don’t buy Dove® Go Fresh Beauty Body Wash with Waterlily and Fresh Mint. It is entirely too minty fresh for the more vulnerable areas of your body.”

my initial reaction is to say, “Ohhhhh, bless her heart! She’s trying to spare her buddies inflamed mucous membranes, not to mention possible UTIs and yeast infections! ” [Of course right after that I think dammit, there go any Dove Real Women modeling contracts.]

However, due to her life situation Bingo currently chooses not to partake in shenanigans with members of her preferred sex. And like most of us she is on a budget. So I find myself wondering:

Is this ye olde reverse psychology at work? Is she badmouthing a wonderful product so she can snap it up for pennies on the dollar? When I asked her to comment on my theory (so I could pad out this entry, duh) she sidestepped my question and instead elaborated on her experience:

in the shower I kept thinking it was like having vagina Mentadentata.”

Hmmmmmm, she does seem rather eager to keep the ladies away. J’ACCUSE, Bingo, j’accuse.