Friday, October 29, 2010

Fashion trends that baffle me.

To be fair, I'm quite easily baffled, but I've seen things around the place recently which have me scratching my head and wondering WHY? I mean, I get that fashion is fashion and shalt evermore be fashion world without end amen, but why doesn't Unflattering beat Fashion?

Take these thong-boot numbers, for example. They're everywhere, but I think they rate so highly on the fugly-o-meter that they should have their own category on it. Or maybe I'm just showing my age...

Then there's the whole leggings-as-pants issue. There must be a million or so blogposts, nightmare pictures, web sites and Facebook groups that all use the slogan Leggings Are Not Pants. Surely the word is spreading, I mean, people must KNOW how awful it looks, right? So who are all these women (often young girls) who insist on offending my eyeballs left, right and centre every time I venture out of the house? Please Freaking Stop It Right Now!!

It would be rude to leave out the boys, so I've got a special little ranty section for you on emo hair for boys. Please - look in the goddamned mirror before you leave the house. Oh, that's right, you can't actually see anything from behind that hair. That explains a lot.

My last baffling fashion du jour isn't necessarily a new one, but a few tweets on the subject the other night made me do a bit of googling on the subject, and I now heartily wish I hadn't bothered. The whole Toddlers and Tiara look makes me wanna throw up, quite frankly, and then bitch-slap the ignorant fucktards who put their children through it. Tossers.

So what makes you want to bleach your eyeballs in current fashion trends? Am I just old, crotchety and stuck in the 80s, or are there others who get as stabby as I do seeing people walking around in public willingly (one assumes) dressed like utter gits?

Anyhoo - signing off on a Friday arvo here in the blogosphere so I can go chill my wine and my wine glasses, 'cos it's officially Very Nearly Wine o'Clock chez Sparkly Tiara!

Mwah's all round and *clink clink*


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Adventures In Ikea-Land - Part 1

I fucking love Ikea. In fact, I love it so much this is going to be a blog post in 3 parts just to make sure I properly express my love and devotion to the Swedish God of Stuff.

Yes, yes, I know, I profess to be a Friend of the Earth, tree-hugging hippy environmentalist, sustainable-living, anti-mass-consumeristic freak, but when I see that big blue and yellow logo all that goes straight out the window in my need to have more, more, MORE cutely named, cheaply priced and mass-produced STUFF.

I don't think I've ever had more fun spending $21.95 than I did this morning in a totally spontaneous Ikea shopping trip. In fact, it was so spontaneous that by the time my mind had registered the hulking blue structure at the side of the freeway and then briefly pondered my urgent need for a bright pink PS FANGST for my daughter's bedroom, the car had already parked itself in the underground carpark and I was half way to the front door.

As I'm sure you are well aware, in order to reach the PS FANGST department at your local Ikea, it is necessary to traverse a veritable jungle of furniture, pictures, kitchens, accessories, lamps, candles and Swedish meatballs via the Well Marked Out Paths With Arrows, Signs and Occasional Marked Shortcuts. Pffft - shortcuts - who'd use those? *YOU MIGHT MISS SOMETHING*. In fact, I nearly missed out on seeing these utterly adorable wall hooks shaped like the arse end of a dog by taking a shortcut:
Phew - thank GOD I saw sense! Anyhoo, just after I passed the above utterly adorable wall hooks shaped like the arse end of a dog I saw something I'd never seen before in any of my many Ikea adventures (dating back, by the way, to London in the late 1980s). A woman was fast asleep curled up on a display sofa within an ingenious replica of a 5m square flat that would easily house a family of 6 including a dog and a canary.

Now I'm not talking just sitting with head back and eyes shut. I'm talking shoes off, curled up on her side, head on a cushion and drool oozing out of the side of her mouth. I was, understandably, gobsmacked. How incredibly wonderful! What an amazing endorsement of the sheer comfort of the Ikea sofa! For one to be able to sleep so peacefully in a 5m sq replica flat with approximately 2987 people walking past per minute this sofa must be unequalled in comfort.

Naturally I tried to take a photo of this in case you didn't believe me, but was given the evil eye by passers-by as well as a frowny shake of the head by a nearby Ikea Team Member. I think the picture below (from which is an uber-cool site, by the way) combined with just a li'l imagination on your part should give you the general idea, though:

I feel this post is getting a little off track, so shall try and drag myself back to the point. Not that there really is a point as such, just, you know...

I continued down the Well Marked Out Paths With Arrows through an astounding array of Stuff, and began to notice something rather odd. There were people walking the Wrong Way down the path. They were walking in the opposite direction to the arrows! I shit you not, folks. If I hadn't have seen it myself I don't think I would believed such a thing possible.

Do they not realise that these Well Marked Out Paths With Arrows serve a vital purpose? Not only do they ensure that customers see every single item in the shop without exception, but they also guide you to the checkout so you can pay for your Stuff. In addition to this, they force a fluid and uni-directional flow of human movement. All it takes is for one person to fuck this up and the whole beautiful, flowing mass of consumerism that is Ikea will DIE!

Fortunately I was there to set these people straight and make them turn around immediately. They seemed strangely unappreciative, but I carried on, the lure of $5.95 sets of 17 plastic food storage containers leading me forward.

Stay tuned for Adventures in Ikea Land - Part 2; the part where not only do I find some amazing plastic food storage containers, but also test drive the free soft-drink refill machines...


Monday, October 18, 2010

Aging Disgracefully

While comfortably relaxing with Sparkly Dude the other night, watching Foxtel with glass of wine in hand, I discovered the joys of Four Weddings. Celebrity Four Weddings, no less. That was it - we were hooked. The celebrities in question were people I had never heard of, however they were all of, shall we say... a certain age?

One of them in particular, Katie something or other (the blond in the photo) I thought looked older than I am. I'm quite harsh on myself in judging age, and was confident that she had to be of more advanced years than me.

Apparently not. Sparkly Dude disagreed. "Sorry, babe, but she's in her mid 30's at most, and you, well, you're not."

"Yes, yes, ok,", sez I, determined to be right. Again. "But she *looks* older than me, doesn't she?".

*sound of chirping crickets*

*if despair and despondency has a sound effect, then imagine it here*

He reckons the 2 brunettes are much older than I am, however their publicists have done their jobs very well, and Google has so far failed to reveal their ages to me, so I'll just agree with him. The amount of plastic surgery going on also makes it tough to assess them in terms of normal human aging.

I know I shouldn't have let it get to me, but it really has made me take a close look at myself and how old I look. Inside I honestly still feel about 21 years old and still undecided as to what I want to be when I grow up, so to have to reconcile that sort of self-image with the face in the mirror - grey hair, wrinkles, beginnings of the dreaded double chin, drooping eyelids - is not an easy task.

I do what I can - I colour the hair, I moisturise and am getting pretty damned good with the concealer, but I'm losing this battle - gravity and age are slowly but surely winning.

Am I going to reach a stage where the me inside feels so little like the me in the mirror that I'm going to resort to more drastic measures, or will it happen the other way around? Will my aging face finally convince my inner-kidsRus that it's time to grow up? I think not, somehow.

I remember about 10 years ago proudly announcing that I would never EVER go in for cosmetic surgery of any kind, and that Botox was for insecure women who couldn't accept themselves as they were.

HAH! An admirable sentiment, and words easily said when you look in the mirror and still see an image that feels like you. 10 years down the track, after catching a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and wondering who that old chick is, it's all to easy to want to fight back with whatever tools you can get hold of.

Sparkly Dude loves me as I am, and thinks I'm gorgeous. That's all very well and good, but what about when I don't think I'm gorgeous? I've either got to accept this whole aging thing and learn to love my new look, or I've got to fight it tooth and nail.

I haven't decided which I'm going to go with yet. How about you?


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Clothing retailers - DO BETTER!

Earlier this week I spent a small fortune on new summer wardrobes for my offspring, who have had the audacity to increase in size considerably since last summer, selfish little creatures.

Not being flush with cash, the vast majority of my purchases came from Target, with a couple of Pumpkin Patch numbers and one or two items from surf shops for the trendy older 2.

I've just washed most of them for the first time and as I was hanging them out was utterly disgusted to see the state they were in after ONE wash, in COLD water, NO dryers involved. A few of the tshirts are so stretched out of shape that they're barely recognisable. There are hemlines coming down, long threads trailing from them which have actually pulled holes in the fabric during the wash. Buttons have come off, pockets are fraying ridiculously and overall these items look like they were boiled in a vat of oil and then repeatedly stomped on by a large angry fishwife.

Now, I don't expect budget clothing to last forever. I can live with it not even lasting until it's outgrown, but I am NOT happy about them looking like this after one wash. It's quite simply unacceptable.

Retailers of Australia - what happened to quality? Seriously, are we turning into such a disposable society that clothing is now designed to only last for one or two wears? Besides the obvious waste and financial cost that entails, what about the environmental costs of mass producing cheap crap that is then thrown away and replaced with more mass-produced cheap crap in no time?

It's not good enough, and something needs to be done about it.

American retailers, you seem to be a bit more sensible on these things. I still have clothing items purchased in a Target store (so still budget) in California 5 years ago which have been worn and washed countless times and look nearly as good as new. Labels like OshKosh really do seem to focus on quality as well as fashion. Why do we settle for less in Australia? One reason I can think of is that line-drying in the USA is nearly unheard of, so clothing is specifically made to be dryer safe, which I'm guessing involves a higher quality product.

Target and Pumpkin Patch - guess what? I'm on my way back to visit you with your shoddy products and will be demanding both an explanation and a refund. I don't want a store credit - I want a refund, and I will be searching online to purchase quality, made-in-Australia items - probably from WAH mothers who actually GET why this is important.

Oh - and I'll also be keeping my spending $$ in Australia rather than them heading offshore to China, which happens to be where every shoddy item I've mentioned was made.