Monthly Archives: February 2013

Cropped

Crop top

 

There really is nothing good about a cropped top. I don’t know how Olivia Newton-John did it, but she made it look fun in her music video Physical. Or Madonna in the movie Desperately Seeking Susan. But that was in the early 90’s.

Today, too many young ladies are baring their midriff.

So when is it appropriate to wear them?

First of all, let’s define the crop top as a t-shirt that, in essence, looks like it has been cut to reveal your torso from as high as your belly button. They seem to have no other purpose than to attract the passerby’s eyes to the girls waist. Obviously, this is to publicise what she deems a physical highlight.

Rule 1: Never wear them to work. It doesn’t matter how svelte you think you are. Even if you work in a surf shop, or at the beach. It is unflattering, and definitely not elegant. You can’t possibly be taken seriously if you walk around amongst your colleagues with your midriff bare. It is better to wear a t-shirt that is snug (note, not tight), than to wear a cropped top. If you think of restaurant chains like Hooters, you can imagine the type of client you’re going to get. They aren’t going for the quality of food, but for the display of bodies.

Needless to say, never wear them in an office environment.

Rule 2: Never go on a date wearing a crop top. Even if it’s to meet up with your boyfriend at the gym, or to the beach. Even if you want to grab his attention, you will likely get the attention of other men, and this is inconsiderate, and tactless.

Rule 3: Never go dancing in nightclubs in cropped top. It really does scream “skank” (It’s not a word I use freely… but is the only one that comes to mind). All the women will think you’re asking for trouble, and all the men will too. Sadly, they may oblige.

Rule 4: Never wear them to formal events, even if they are part of a matching skirt, pant or jacket.

Rule 5: If you absolutely must wear such a top, the only place to wear it, is going to the gym, on top of another layer of workout wear (see picture above). Or, in the privacy of your own home!!!

The other day, on a hot Sydney summer day, I watched a young girl, about 15 years old, wearing a stripey cropped t-shirt, over a fluorescent bra, and tight denim cut-off shorts. She checked her reflection as she passed shop front windows. She was attractive and her body was neither ample or skinny. She seemed rather like a healthy teenager. I just thought that she is trying to get attention, but for all the wrong reasons. She is too young to know what’s at stake.

Of course, if you your religion or cultural background requests it, then it is rarely, if ever, confused with Western etiquette on fashion and attire.

And if you’re going to a fancy dress party from the 80’s, then it’s possibly the most integral piece of clothing that you’ll need. Along with tight capri pants, lots of thick chains around your neck, a chunky head band, and lots of bright makeup, whilst chewing gum.

Maybe if you’re in Ibiza, at one of the wild nightclub parties. But then you’re unlikely to be reading my blog. Nor worried about etiquette.

I always wonder with all the hundreds of fashion styles available to women today, why do they get it so wrong? Maybe my next career will be in styling. For today, I watch, I listen, I see, and I pass these observations to you, and especially to my young teenage daughter, and hope that she will always be making choices about her appearance based on what makes her feel confident and safe.

 

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“He loves me… He loves me not.”

he loves me he loves me not

I love flowers. And receiving them even more. They are a simple way of making the recipient feel special, whether for a special occasion or just because you can.

You will never offend anyone by sending flowers.

I recently celebrated a birthday. My daughter raced to the florist in the morning, and brought home a bunch of magnificent white lilies. I don’t care how many people say that they expect receiving them, it still makes you feel happy.

Today, Valentine’s Day, is collectively the one day where flowers outdo any other festive gift. It surpasses even the chocolate of Easter.

So, I thought it just apt to write about flowers, and what type of flower suits what type of occasion.

Roses, red roses in particular, are the flower of love. Though all roses denote love, the red rose symbolises romantic love.

Yellow roses are to be sent to friends or co-workers. Pink roses are more about a secret love. White roses are for an innocent love, for family or family occasions, or even for funerals.

I discovered that carnations are for young love, though I’d say that it’s far less common nowadays than in the eighties, when carnations were at the height of their popularity.

Daisies are for loyal love and ideal for Mother’s Day. And giving your daughter lilies seems to denote purity and sweetness. And chrysanthemums are for the bonding of friendship, though probably not ideal for romantic loves.

In the British¬†Debrett’s Guide for the Modern Gentleman, 2009, reprinted 2012:

Flowers are the perfect impromptu present, but follow these basic guidelines to ensure that you get it right;

MIXED BOUQUETS can look cheap if they aren’t of a decent size and well-styled. Instead, buy just one type of bloom, or go for just one colour.

GREENERY is also important – it’s there to bulk up the bouquet and complement the flowers.

DON’T PANIC and just pick the first blooms you recognise. Consider her tastes and style. Classic or contemporary? Minimalist or vintage? Talk to the florist. Explain the style you’re after and the occasion.

BE PREPARED to spend – you can never economise on flowers.

BUY HER FLOWERS on her birthday, on Valentine’s Day on your anniversary and on no particular occasion.

USE THE CARD that accompanies the bouquet to its full potential. For example, include details of a surprise date: “See you in the bar of the ABC Hotel at 7pm”; tell her something you find hard to say: “Thank you for being there for me’; state the obvious: “I love you”/

NEVER ORDER cheap arrangements online; never buy bunches from the supermarket or the garage; never buy carnations or chrysanthemums (the kiss of death); never send flowers as an apology without some verbal backup.

If you want to offer flowers to the host of a dinner or party, it’s best to have the florist deliver them earlier in the day of the event, so that the host has time to arrange them, so as not to be distracted when her guests are arriving. As to the arrangement, it is ideal to ask the florist what is appropriate. They will arrange something either by colour and/or by what is available for that season. Of course your budget also is a big factor, but these days to send a lovely bouquet of flowers, you would be spending about $100 (Australia dollars, or USD). It’s very easy to spend more than this. You can check if the florist has pre-prepared arrangements, as they will tend to be a easier for the florist to pack, rather than arrange on site, and may have a reduced price by the end of the work day.

Online sites for flowers are also becoming very popular and easy to use, and terrific for ordering flowers as gifts for long-distance or international deliveries.

Or going to the local flower markets is always fun, and something of a novelty if you get up early to see the action.

I once picked lavender in a field and was heady from the scents and had to mind all the bees swarming around the pollen. It was lovely to make my own lavender pouches for my dresser drawers.

If my partner came over with a bunch of flowers he picked himself, either from the flower market, or even just as he was walking home by the side of the road, I would be tickled pink… or red. But really, any colour would be wonderful.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the romantics at ETQT.

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The excess of excess

the excess

It’s happened all over the planet, and it’s happening to a woman I know.

Her world of excess, and the lack of modesty about her excess, is getting her more publicity than she probably desires.

It seems that the Eighties and Nineties (that’s the 1980’s and 1990’s) were years of overt wealth and excess. We, if you were establishing your careers during that time, enjoyed a world with less social and economic consciousness, and rarely any environmental conscience. Just watch the movie Wall Street to get a taste of the extreme perversion of wealth.

Curiously, this woman I know would have been a toddler during those times, so it’s been interesting to watch her plough head first over all the current concepts and practices of social, economic and environmental awareness. She has made a career of publicising and promoting brands and products that are expendable. Luxuries to some, definitely not a necessity. She attends, or appears to host, many of the most sought after social events in Sydney, and even Melbourne. Her reach extends to London too.

I’m wondering why then do people, a few people, live without humility?

Her baby, now, at 18 months old, has her own blog, written by her mum. It paints a very decadent picture. Dressed in the most stylish and expensive clothes, traveling in private jets. It is odd to think that any mum would want to depict her daughter as so tasteless and indulgent. I have raised my children spoiling them as much as I could, but I can’t imagine proclaiming the details on their behalf. Especially when they don’t yet have their own voice. What’s to come of this little baby when she becomes a young lady with her own sense of self, and looks back at the portrayal her mother has given the world.

Is it not enough that this woman spends most of her waking hours basking in the whirlwind world of press events, launches, red carpet moments and rubbing shoulders with local and international stars? Is it not enough too that her husband is currently getting himself lots of press over his alleged insider trading and could face time in prison.

I’ve always thought that talent should be indulged. If fame or notoriety follow, then it will either be embraced or shunned by the individual. Fame has become a product on its own, as with the likes of Paris Hilton and the Kardashian’s. It humours me, and entertains me (especially at the hair salon where I tend to read most of my trashy magazines). But to pursue recognition for a baby. It feels ugly to me. I feel that this baby is unjustly exposed.

I do think of women who have not had the success or fame in their lives they yearned, who push their children to succeed in artistic talents. That somehow seems understandable, not terrific, but understandable. But why would a woman who already has such a following?

I think that this little baby is going to have an interesting journey.

I’ve yet to find any past or present etiquette that encourages any such behaviour. So, speak only for yourself, not for others. Especially not for those who have yet to form their own opinion.

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Hey kids, what’s with the middle finger!!!

middle finger

I have a thirteen year old. She is a contemporary. She has diverse interests, and also mainstream addictions with her mobile phone and apps like Instagram and Facebook, and lots I can’t recall. Last night she hosted her first party. Yes, she’s had lots of birthday parties, but most of them included lots of parents, lots of entertainment in the form of clowns, pets, rides or bouncy castles. This was her first party where none of these would factor. We did hire a great DJ, but otherwise it was all very simple.

They had a fantastic time. She invited 70 boys and girls, who stood around sheepishly in their respective gender corners for about an hour, and then miraculously merged into a sea of dancing bodies for another two and a half hours. There was lots of soft drinks, pizzas and junk food. Perfect combination for sugar zealots. Parents were not asked to join in, but to stay a safe distance in the front of the house.

She melted into her bed afterwards with a smile stamped on her face. This mum was pleased.

This morning we perused her photos. There were over 800 taken (phew!). Most of the photos were of happy faces. Young teens enjoying themselves without a care in the world. 450 of these photos made their way to a Facebook album.

But why, oh why, do these kids need to stick their middle finger up for the photos?

I just don’t get it!

I know these kids. I see them every day. Not once have I seen them strike these gestures out in the street. Nor when they meet each other, nor when they speak with anyone for that matter. I didn’t see them use this gesture amongst themselves during the party. And yet, one in every four photos included that dreaded middle finger. Most often it was the boys doing so, and yet, there were a few girls who repeatedly offered it up too.

I got to thinking what is it that makes people, including kids, behave like this. The correct etiquette is obvious… but just in case, it should never, under any circumstance be done. Or should it? On further research, I started looking at various hand gestures, and which ones are acceptable, which one’s aren’t. As with most rules of etiquette, it really depends on culture and geography.

etiquette 101 gestures 4

It’s quite amazing how many gestures have more than one meaning. Above image taken from a past issue of Conde Naste Traveller’s magazine.

I’ve discussed this with my children at length. I’ve explained to them that gestures like these are disrespectful. It is likely that most people make these gestures after being provoked. But, nevertheless, it’s much more appropriate to remain silent. Silence has much more impact. It also gives you time to gather your wits, and if necessary speak more specific and deliberate words.

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