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barbie-doll-1959Today in misogynistic prickery, via Jezebel, we have two titans of women’s fashion who really should be boycotted (if they were at all affordable in the first place).

According to Australia’s News.com.au, pompous gasbag Karl Lagerfeld told an Aussie magazine, “No one wants to see curvy women… You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly.”

Coming back state-side, Women’s Wear Daily reports that shoe Czar Christian Louboutin trimmed down the ankles of the three Barbie dolls he is designing after finding them “too fat” to make his shoes aesthetically pleasing. This must be repeated: According to Louboutin, Barbie has fat ankles.

These asshats basically own women’s fashion.

Since we all know I have fat feet myself (oh Barbie, you are not alone!) Louboutin is in no danger of my hoofers making his shoes look bad. And while I can in no way afford Chanel clothes, I have happily purchased their makeup in the past. And now I won’t. Which is too bad, because I was curious about their new nail polish color Jade. The swatches looked beautiful, but according to Blogdorf Goodman, I am not missing much.

So, thank you, Gentlemen. Enjoy the remainders of the recession with the skinny ladies. The rest of the world is over here, buying Mark Fast.

These look perfect for sloshing through dirty ice-water City sidewalks!

These look perfect for sloshing through dirty ice-water City sidewalks!

I come from a Big Foot family–even the diminutive kin have some pretty huge hoofers. So my size 8 soles were always a small source of pride. When I was little, my mother would hold my foot in her hands and marvel at their smallness.

Then I got pregnant. After spending my 20s in high heels (sneakers and flats were not part of my fashion forward  footwear), my feet suddenly began to swell and one day I just could not squeeze my feet into my shoes anymore.

I assumed it was only temporary. Afterall, preggos usually experience swelled feet. Once the kid popped out, I assumed everything would re-adjust and fall back into place. So, a little while after she was born, I made my first zappos purchase of a beautiful pair of sandals. I put them on, they felt OK but by the end of the day my feet were aching. Assuming I was just not used to wearing heels after many many months low to the ground, I waited for a few days and tried them again. And once again within a few hours I had throbbing pain. And on and and on this went.

When I started my pilates training, at my initial consultation, I was told by the trainer that I was flatfooted. Ah ah! I thought I had found the reason behind all this foot pain. Perhaps my shoe problems would be solves with inserts. But the inserts made it worse. My toes were still going numb and my feet still experienced searing pain after an hour in shoes.

I eventually moved my way up the size chain to a 9 1/2. I had heard that sometimes feet just get larger from pregnancy and never go back to normal. But not even the larger size eased the burden. I was resigned to spending the rest of my life in Converse and flip-flops, the only shoes my feet were willing to tolerate. Perhaps all those years in heels had finally caught up to me.

Spending what is now close to 6 years in intolerable foot pain put a crimp in my shoe style. Pre-pregnancy, I was as shoe obsessed as any woman. I would look far and wide for the perfect pair, marveling over colors, styles and heel heights, looking for the most whimsical and to the most stylishly utilitarian footwear. An afternoon of shoe shopping was intense pleasure. I loved meandering down the old 8th Street in the West Village and hitting the endless rows of shoe stores.

The idea of shoe shopping turned into intense pain. It was a necessary evil, to cover up the feet for fear of infection or frostbite. I spent as much time as possible barefoot, even kicking the shoes off under the desk to give myself a break. Workouts were barefoot or in socks. A workout in cross-trainers left me limping.

Last week, I hit situation critical with my shoes. It had been a year since my last true shoe purchase (the pre-summer disposable flip flops  don’t count), and the turning weather made it harder to leave the house with my feet exposed. Since I refuse to drop a lot of cash on an item that leaves me in agony, I search for the cheapest, most utilitarian shoes  I can find.

Since Manly Man Husband wanted to go to Sears to look at something testosterone-fueled, it was easy to head over to the shoes and pick something out. After trying on some heels in the hopes that maybe my feet suddenly cured themselves, I was discouraged and grabbed a pair of Sketchers sneakers that were at least a fun color. I was at checkout bemoaning my shoe issue when the lady behind me pipped up and suggested I got to a shoe store that carried every imaginable size on the planet.

A few hours later, I was wearing my new sneaker purchase and experiencing the unbearable pain again. I looked at Manly Man Hubs and begged him to go to this shoe store with me.

Globe Shoes is in a strip mall in Paramus, NJ, the shopping capital of the US. It has very few bells and whistles; the sign looks like it has been on top of the building for 50 years. But they really DO have every size imaginable for men and women. Since it caters to the demographic of problem feet (ok, the elderly), it was me and the old ladies scanning the displays of shoes.

But this throw-back store had another old-fashioned novelty. Knowledgeable shoe salesmen. And mine took a look at my tired dogs and we began to evaluate why my feet were killing me..

Turns out, I am a size 9 (one foot is a true 8 1/2, the other falls between 8 1/2 and 9) but my feet are wide. Very wide. My pregnancy did not make my feet longer, they made them wider. I assumed that if shoes did not fit, I needed a larger size, when in reality I needed a larger width. And most shoe stores only carry regular widths, which is why a wide was never an option when shopping at the usual places. I needed a specialty store.

So began a somewhat painstaking process of finding a shoe style that I liked. At this point, however, I was so thrilled about finding a plain, low heeled black bootie that did not cause my feet searing pain that I was in tears. It is not the trendiest shoe I have ever owned, but damn it, it’s not Cons or flops. I actually have a fall bootie! And it was the first time in 6 years that a shoe did not cripple me.

Since most stores do not stock double wides,  I can’t buy on a whim or wait until the last minute. But Zappos.com, one of my favorite online stores, carries an endless amount stylish double wides (499 choices as of my last search). And while I will probably never again stumble upon a killer shoe sale, I am happy to pay full retail price for a shoe that won’t leave me in agony.

I have been so busy these days, what with working the day job, trying to lay down my spa concept (someday I will share, but not yet) and toxic kindergarten, I have not kept up on the comings and goings of my muse Hadley Freeman. And she’s been in NY for fashion week! And I missed her!

Here’s a rundown:

Hadley reports that Madonna and Gwenie’s beloved personal trainer (and alleged deadbeat) Tracy Anderson has absconded with the head of Madonna’s Malawi charity. The man has abandoned his post at the charity to come to NY to be with Tracy, who must be wherever Madonna’s biceps are located. According to Hadley, Madonna is disappointed but apparently needs Tracy to keep her a size 0 more than this dude to take of her charitable escapades.

She thinks that Fashion Week doesn’t make sense anymore. Her point is that since everything happens at the speed of the internet these days, showing clothes six months prior to their arrival in stores doesn’t do much but cost money. The designers a drop a huge chunk of change to do the show, the publishers of glossy mags to drop a wad to send their editors to cover the different fashion weeks around the globe, and the knock-off industry has six months to do what they do best. She found the clothes this year uninspired, but she likes Tory Burch’s collection (scroll to the bottom).

I can’t tell if she loves or hates Mark Jacobs.

She definitely hates Glenn Beck.

She answers a reader query about what she calls “the decade that taste forgot.” Best takeaway: “how totally awesome that dressing like one’s batty aunt was apparently no impediment to being the hottie of one’s high school.”

Finally, she once again proves why she rocks, writing about fashion’s dirty secret: the sexual abuse of models (many of whom are just children).

Hadley, I love you and promise to come back more often.

Does this make me look fat?

Does this make me look fat?

Cintra Wilson took her Critical Shopper column in the NY Times to the new Herald Square J.C. Penney yesterday. And it confirms that she is an asshole.

I don’t have a problem with her hating on the clothes–as the Times’ resident “critical shopper,” she is well within her right to take a gander and not like the options. Though I have to ask, is there any non-poly blend to be found in H&M, New York City’s low-cost paradise? I am old enough to remember when H&M landed in NYC and the glowing praise it received from the media, the lines around the block to get in, the bouncers at the door like a nightclub, with nary a natural fabric in sight, but I digress.

The real meat  (ahem) or her piece is her complete slam of Penney’s core shopper, sniffing at the racks filled with sizes 10 and up, complaining about her near-impossible hunt for a size 2 and, finally, calling the mannequins obese. In the process, she manages to insult droves of women across the United States (NYC women included).

Her “if I were a size 18, I’d be thrilled” quote tells women of a certain proportion that they can only get clothing at places like Penney’s. Which she calls, a few graphs up, a company “encrusted with decades of boring, even traumatically parental, associations.”

But wait, there’s more! “J. C. Penney has always trafficked in knockoffs that aren’t quite up to Canal Street’s illegal standards. It was never ‘get the look for less’ so much as ‘get something vaguely shaped like the designer thing you want, but cut much more conservatively, made in all-petroleum materials, and with a too-similar wannabe logo that announces your inferiority to evil classmates as surely as if you were cursed to be followed around by a tuba section.’”

So, if you are a size 10 or larger, you are cursed to shop at a place where the clothes make you inferior but you’ll be thrilled? Cintra, take your size 2 ass and go home.

According to NY Magazine, she apologized, took it back, took another stab at it, blah blah blah. In the first mea culpa, she called herself a “chubby chaser,” and claimed to love the obese even before she interviewed Beth Ditto. Umm, OK.

Cintra’s reporting landed side-by-side with Guy Trebay’s uber-trend piece about the hipster boys sporting pot-bellys. My friend Mark has a brilliant crit of that on his Critical Condition blog. Perhaps all the editors at Thursday Style have the month off, which explains this week’s particularly shoddy section?

Cintra also takes a swipe at Halston for being the first fancy-pants designer to stoop to the Penney level and create an affordable line for the rest of us. In actuality, the man was a pioneer in the business of fashion (not artistry, business). How many women can afford the real thing? The rest of us unwashed, apparently massive masses need something more affordable. Mass market is “mass” because it is high volume (not because of our girth). Ca-ching.

westwood-red-label23With 80s beauty on my mind since this post, I looked up the Queen of Punk Fashion, Vivienne Westwood, who recently had her Red Label Fall 09 ready to wear show in London, to see what she was up to. And there is no better time to discuss Westwood than the kick off of  Tartan Week here in NYC.

Her Fall 09 collection was a “school girl” theme, with the usual Westwood flair. The make up and hair was a pretty modern take on the punk-era looks that Westwood and Malcom McClaren made ubiquitous in the 70s and early 80s. Some hair was in a sort of punky half up-do, other hair was left long and messy, in a just-rolled-out-of-bed look (my absolute lazy favorite).

The real story was the lips. Her makeup artist followed the prime makeup rule with bold lips and barely there eyes or vice-versa.  She used two pretty bold lip colors–a super bright pink or a dark goth chocolate.  There also appeared to be more contour to the cheeks, with a dusting of darker blush just under the cheek bone, a look I have not tried for well over a decade, and something I would be willing to if I could find the right color.

Fashion-wise, Westwood knows how to rock the tartan. Tartan heir apparent is Howie over at 21st Century Kilts in Edinburgh. If you have not seen his designs, get a ticket for  Dressed to Kilt, happening tonight. It’s a rowdy time!

You know what makes me really excited? Finding new uses for beauty items that are meant for something else.

So I just stumbled on this piece from Sunday’s NY Times about François Nars’ makeup for the Marc Jacobs Fall 09 show. (Diclosure, I love Nars’ makeup. Fuller disclosure, I have a friend who works there.)marcjacobs4

His inspiration was the 80s punk look (yay!). Most notably, he used eyeshadow for lip color. Genius! Rich pigment, unusual (for lips anyway) colors. The makeup looks fierce.

Incidentally, the woman credited with creating that signature 80s punk look that rock icons like Debbie Harry and  Joan Jett (not to mention early MTV) made famous is the incredible makeup artist Linda Mason, who has a shop in Soho that’s totally worth a visit. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the NY Make Up Show last year, and purchased her book and two of her really gorgeous make up palettes. They cost a small fortune but the colors are hyper-saturated and are fantastic to blend together to create your own unique colors.

I  hear the collective groan around a return to 80s fashion (shoulder pads, really?), but I find the hair and makeup from that era simply awesome.  Cyndi Lauper, anyone? Can anyone think of a more colorful, vibrant, just plain fun style icon since?

I love Hadley Freeman, the Deputy Fashion Editor for The Guardian and (shockingly) a contributing editor to British Vogue. Hadley has zero-tolerance for the usual fashion shenanigans and she’s vocal about it! Her dispatches from London’s Fashion Week are, in a word, brilliant.

Check out her coverage of Paul Smith’s runway show , where she muses on the model who walks like she has a dislocated hip and says that Smith’s coats that look like they belong in your “mad Aunt’s” closet.

She also has a new book out, The Meaning of Sunglasses: And a Guide to Almost All Things Fashionable. I’m buying it!

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