Monday, June 12, 2006

Fashion Faux Pas

There's been a lot of talk among authors and readers about some recent articles on booksignings. One in USA Today talked about how chick lit authors were doing more signings in non-bookstore locations like boutiques and department stores. I'm not sure how well that would work for me because my books aren't too fashiony (aside from a minor shoe obsession in the latest). And, as much as I try to fake it by not looking like a complete mess and by having a few fabulous pairs of shoes, I'm certainly no fashion plate.

For instance, supposedly you're not supposed to dress head-to-toe in one designer. That shows a lack of imagination. It's like Garanimals for adults. The true fashionista can put together a creative outfit from a variety of pieces from different sources. Of course, in my wardrobe there aren't really any "designers," so to speak, just stores. I've become more conscious of how "matchy" you can get when you do buy a lot of your clothes from one place, especially when so many of your friends also shop there. I've got that problem with Ann Taylor Loft, so that I have to be careful about how I put together any outfits I get there because so many of my friends also wear those clothes, and I'm terrified of showing up at church in the exact same outfit as someone else. I can only avoid that by mixing things from different seasons and years and throwing in items from other stores.

But the other day, I realized I'd really done the head-to-toe thing. I was dressed in head-to-toe Target, and I was in Target! I just knew the Fashion Police were going to be kicking in my door at any moment. I was, however, wearing things from a variety of Target "designers," and from different years, so it wasn't like I was wearing adult Garanimals. The top was a basic satin-trimmed, scoop-neck t-shirt from a few years ago, and I wore it with a denim skirt from 11 years ago (I remember because I remember the specific date I bought it for). Then I was wearing a pair of ballet flats I got last year, with a bag I bought recently.

Meanwhile, on an episode of What Not to Wear I was watching a couple of weekends ago, they made the victim of the week throw away something that I actually own! And just when I thought I'd never be a candidate for that show ... It was a little handbag with the famous photo of the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square at the end of WWII on it (Target!). They told her it wasn't "age-appropriate" for her, and she was about five years younger than I am.

I've rationalized it since her wardrobe was all punky schoolgirl, and the picture handbag as part of that didn't help. I tend to use that bag to add a touch of fun to an otherwise severe "ladies who lunch" outfit. That's yet another one of those fashion guidelines, that if you're dressing in vintage or retro, you shouldn't do the same period head-to-toe or else you'll look like an escapee from the set of a period film. I have a few 40s-looking suits, and I like to throw that bag in as a bit of whimsical irony to show that I know I'm not literally in that era. So, I think I'm safe from the Fashion Police on that account, too.

I saw the musical Bombay Dreams last night, and between some of the audience members and the costumes on stage, I've now got a case of sari envy. But again, I don't want to look like I'm wearing a costume, so I don't think I could get away with flat-out wearing a traditional sari (let's just say that the pale redheaded woman sitting near me wearing Indian get-up looked like she was at a costume party), but I'm considering buying some sari fabric and using it to make a dress or skirt that would have a bit of East meets West about it.

Gee, from the sounds of my shopping choices, it seems like I should have a booksigning in Target. I certainly spend enough time there (and money!). Just one problem: Target doesn't carry my books! How's that for gratitude for all the money I've spent there, all the people I've sent there by giving them a heads up about something cool they have? I'm like a walking billboard for them, and yet they don't sell my books. Hmmmphhh. My editor says they're weird about the way they choose books. If they like something, they'll keep it around forever, but that means they don't have a lot of slots open for new books coming along. Maybe I should get people to ask for my books when they see someone shelving books at Target and see what happens.

In other news, I hope to have the web site updated today with some fun Stilettos info. Plus, today is the deadline for Blogging for Books. You'll need to post a link to your entry in the comments trail at Joshilyn Jackson's blog today by around 7 p.m. Eastern Time. (And her gods in Alabama is out in paperback now, in case you didn't get the hardcover last year. It's a great book.)

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