Monthly Archives: May 2012

Thine own self

Polonius was a dick. That much is pretty obvious; but even a dick looks out for his own son, and Polonius did have some wise words for Laertes: To thine own self be true. For those of you who don’t have a hardon for Shakespeare, Polonius was the conniving counselor to the new King Claudius in Hamlet (after Claudius murders his own brother to take the throne and sleep with his brother’s wife- double ew).

The long quote is “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Polonius means to impart on his last heir one final piece of advice as he goes out into the world (Polonius’ daughter having offed herself by drowning after her lover Hamlet spurned her). After bearing witness to the ruin all his underhanded social-climbing manipulation had wrought, perhaps the old guy finally had an epiphany. Reading the quote from this context, it is perhaps most meaningful. A father, looking at his son, at the potential life which lays ahead, and then looking back at his own life, struggles for the words that might protect his son from making the same mistakes- the one wish every parent has for their child, a better life; and Polonius’ wish for his son is “to thine own self be true.”

In a feudal world with a court jockeying for favor around a king, it is hard to stay true to oneself. In a fickle multimedia status- and possession-obsessed world moving at the speed of tweet, remaining true to thine own self is perhaps the single greatest challenge. There is so much in this life to distract a person from themselves; companies and people telling them what they should desire and work for, fighting to protect your own identity through all that can be exhausting. And if you can’t even put a finger on who you are, how is anyone else supposed to figure it out? Thus we often find ourselves in relationships with complete and total strangers, not just the person sleeping next to you, but the one staring back at you from the mirror.

If every day you see yourself through a kaleidoscope of what you have come to believe you should be, refracted at every angle, how can you begin to show anyone else who you are? There are a lot of influences in our lives which tell us who we should be. Characters in movies and tv: they show us what kind of people others look up to. Our friends let us know what kind of people they expect us to be all the time, in subtle and not so subtle ways. Parents and families are a forever presence in our lives. How do you find a way to be everything to all these people, meet all these expectations?

Polonius simply told his son, don’t. To thine own self be true, and thou canst not then be false to any man. Suppose for a moment that anyone worth showing your true self to would accept you as that; and all others are simply details.


High Style: Bouquet of bustiers

Welcoming Spring is yet one more throw-back galmour garment; the bustier. A derivative of the literally breath-taking Victorian corset, the bustier is the contemporary sexy little sister whose flirty construction pays homage to a woman’s up top assets; the girls and waist. The bustier is surely to make the lesser of sexes swoon, instead of the other way around.

The one rule to remember with the bustier is to keep it classy. The material and construction should be quality and it is generally best to stay away from anything shiny, unless you’re working with a brocade. Also, keep your bustier from looking like a bathing suit top. It might have worked for Selena and Madonna, but that was the 80’s, and they were pop stars.

The bustier pairs well with skinny pants or jeans in a peddle-pusher cut with a platform sandal. Alternately, wear a long full skirt and gladiator sandals for a bohemian look. Urban Outfitters certainly has the corner on the market in bustiers but you can find the look at a few other places as well.

Free People Embroidered Bustier Top with Shorts (Ok, I broke my rule for this one, it’s $207, but the top is fabulous!)

Urban Outfitters Lucca Couture Sweetheart Stretch Bustier Top

Urban Outfitters Silence & Noise Denim Bustier

Chloe K Stripe Corset Camisole at Nordstrom

American Rag Tap, Strapless Sweetheart Quilted Piped Peplum Bustier at Macy’s

Free People New Romantics Corset Tank

High Style: Pleasantly peasant

The Summer season is again embracing the free love, free flowing easy glamour of the peasant. Tread carefully through this field of daisies, though, a cute whimsical look turns into a raging dumpster fire if your dress or shirt doesn’t offer enough structure or resembles something from Little House on the Prairie.

If you go with a dress, the shape should compliment your body, not hide it. The look is blousy, not baggy. If necessary, belt the dress, especially if it’s a maxi, to define your natural waist. If you’re petite, look for a dress with a cut that defines your waist, rather than a straight shift. If you have a generous bust, go for the shift with a dropped spaghetti strap top and use a skinny belt at your waist.

For a top, the twist in the trend is a cropped blouse, showing off a little belly for fun. The more traditional trend is a blouse which hits at the waist or a few inches below. To give some shape to the waist with a waist-length or longer blouse, tuck in just the front of the top and blouse out, or some blouses have elastic smocking at the waist. If the blouse is generous with fabric and flowing and you’re not going to tuck it in, pair with skinny jeans to balance the look. Tucking in the blouse or wearing one with smocking pairs well with the natural compliment to the peasant blouse, belled or flared jeans. Go with a light wash for a full on 70’s flower girl. A cropped peasant is cute with shorts or capris.

Finish the look with wavy hair and natural make-up with a pink lip.

(Everything under 200!)

Free People Maharani Bubble Sleeve Dress

Express Floral Maxi Dress

Willow & Clay Print Maxi dress at Nordstrom

Anthropologie Shiloh Silk Peasant

Urban Outfitters Ecote Gauze Blouse

Hinge Flowy Sheer Print Chiffon Peasant Top at Nordstrom

Express Lace Banded-Bottom Blouse

Lucky Brand Marakesh Mena