9 posts
Fashion writer, watcher of trashy television, lover of college football and drinker of brown liquor in general and bourbon in particular.

The Red & Black, Social Media, and How a Group of Student Journalists Won Their Paper Back

Rarely does anyone fight the good fight and win; the good fight is, by its very nature, a losing one. This week at the University of Georgia, though, a group of students stood up for their rights as journalists, and it appears that their refusal to roll over in the face of censorship may pay off. So how, exactly, did the staff of the Red & Black, UGA’s independent student paper, go from walking out of their offices and starting a Twitter account to being written up in the New York Times in barely more than 24 hours?

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Photo Phriday: Want to hop in the sack?

Welcome to the almost-but-not-really Tax Day edition of PhotoFriday. I’m Pssshwhatever and I’ll be your host for this week’s installment, which is all about handbags. Or your bed. Whichever.

I have a weird fashion industry job that I shouldn’t really be able to get paid for doing, and in my particular case, that means handbags indirectly pay my rent. And then sometimes they make it difficult to pay said rent, as was the case the month that I made the inadvisable purchase of the Celine tote that you see at the top of the page. So ladies, show us your handbags – your favorite one, the one you carry everyday, the backpack that you take to class. Surprise us.

Menfolk: You’re not excluded either. Show us your wallets, briefcases (I’m going to be extremely impressed if any of you actually own leather briefcases) or laptop bags. Hell, even your gym bag, if it’s worth showing. I will kindly ask that you not show us your balls. (Sorry, Gooch.) That’s not the kind of sack I’m talking about.

Or, alternately, show us a different kind of sack – your bed. That is my extremely cheap Target (it’s Dwell for Target, thankyouverymuch) comforter in the background; I felt it only right that as your host, I go for the double-whammy.

A note on posting images:

Upload your picture to a service like Flickr, Picasa or TinyPic and make sure that you have it set as a publicly viewable file. Right-click on the picture (or for Mac users, do the two-finger tap) and select “Copy Image URL” or whatever similar option the menu gives you. Then, paste that URL into the designated space of the code below:

Or, if you would rather have something that you can actually copy:

[img src=”IMAGE URL HERE”]

Replace the [ with a < and the ] with a >.

Et voila, y’all.

Crassthetics: Your Questions About Muffin Tops, Eye Makeup and Ingrown Hairs

Hello everyone, and welcome to our first installment of Crassthetics, where I answer your questions about clothes, makeup and whatever other shallow subjects you guys find confusing. If you have any nagging queries that you’d like addressed in future editions of this column, please send them to [redacted]. Also, many of the products I recommend below can be had through Amazon, so if you’re going to try them out, I’m sure that the Powers That Be would appreciate if you’d investigate what can be found through the affiliate link box at right before using the links I’ve provided to regular retailers.

I received a bunch of questions for this first column, but if I didn’t use yours, don’t worry; if it’s something I can answer, it will show up in this space in the future. Also, don’t be embarrassed! All questions will be kept anonymous, and I will not tell anyone about that gross problem that you have with your feet. For now, let’s hit some of the basics concerning properly fitted pants, eye makeup application and those pesky, unsightly ingrown hairs.

How do you find jeans that don’t strangle your muffin top? I am a size 14, but it’s only my waist measurement that makes that. The rest of me (hips, thighs, and all) is about a size 10. So everything that fits my waist is way too loose everywhere else, but anything that fits my hips and thighs cuts into my nasty stomach.

I think that some people are going to immediately reject my answer to this question, but hear me out: Jeggings. Yes, the reviled, painted-on quasi-pants favored by Ugg-wearing teens at the mall. But! Not all jeggings are a crime against humanity, just the cheap ones at Wet Seal. If you shop carefully, no one will even know that you’re wearing jeggings instead of regular jeans.

Follow my logic here: All clothing is cut on an hourglass fit model. If regular jeans are made to fit the waist and legs of an hourglass model comfortably, and jeggings are made to fit at the waist and be skintight through the leg, then for someone whose hips and thighs are proportionally thinner than her waist, shouldn’t the legs of jeggings fit like regular pants? As it turns out, I have exactly the same body type as you do, and that logic is indeed sound. Jeggings provide the more narrow fit you need, but they still give at the waist because of the stretch content of the material.

There are two keys to careful jeggings shopping: Stick to dark, non-distressed washes and pay close attention to the fabric content. jeggings that still look like real jeans will have a cotton percentage well into the 90s. My favorite pair is 96% cotton and 4% spandex, and not even my mother (she of the passive-aggressive, “Is that what you’re going to wear?”) had a clue that they weren’t regular pants. If the pants contain more than two materials, move on.

And yes, jeggings are usually skinny jeans, another product to which many people seem averse from the start. You don’t have to be skinny or particularly young to wear skinny jeans, though, provided that they fit your correctly. In fact, if your legs are slender compared to your torso, skinnies will probably be particularly flattering on you because they’ll highlight an area that can help you create an optical illusion of overall slenderness. Pair them with a slightly loose tunic-length top for maximum effect.

Another thing you want to consider is the rise of your pants. Lower-slung waistbands are more likely to cut across an unflattering part of your body, so choosing pants that come up an extra inch or two will also help contain any wayward chub. But really, give jeggings a chance. They come in higher rises too, and there are plenty of pairs that have a regular button and fly like non-stretch jeans. Jeggings are the only growth-producing sector of the denim industry for a reason, and it’s not because those mall-loitering teenagers we mentioned have gobs of extra cash to buy them. Everyone from Old Navy to J Brand makes them now, so finding them in your size and price range should be fairly easy.

I would like to know the foolproof way to keep mascara/eyeliner from smudging, from which product to use, to how to apply. I use waterproof mascara and waterproof eyeliner and yet, it still smudges!

Listen up, because I’m about to change your makeup-wearing life: Urban Decay Primer Potion. It costs $18 at Sephora and will cement any eye makeup in a three-block radius to even the oiliest of lids. (I should know; the oiliest lids in the whole wide world belong to me.)

You just wipe a tiny bit on your eyelids before you do your makeup, let it dry for a few seconds and apply your eyeliner and shadow as normal. For maximum effect, use a liquid or gel eyeliner, which is far less prone to smearing, smudging or flaking in the first place. If you’re going to go liquid, my favorite is Dior’s eyeliner pen. Gel? MAC Fluidline and the MAC 266 Angled Eyeliner Brush. Application of either of those products has a learning curve over a regular pencil, but once you get the hang of it, the results are phenomenal.

If you’d rather stick with a pencil, my favorite high-end option is Make Up Forever Aqua Eyes, although it will still smudge a bit without the primer under it. If you want to stay in a drugstore price range, Covergirl makes a mechanical pencil liner that’s surprisingly budge-proof. For shadow, I tend to gravitate toward MAC’s wide range of choices, although virtually anything will stick like a champ with Primer Potion under it. There have been plenty of nights where I’ve fallen asleep without taking my eye makeup off (Bad, Pssshwhatever! Bad!), and the next morning, it still looks almost perfect. Sometimes I even go place with it like that.

Mascara is a little trickier because I’ve found that many of the drugstore products labeled as “waterproof” still give me terrible raccoon eyes. (The same is true for eyeliner, unfortunately). L’Oreal Telescopic is okay for days when it’s not humid and you don’t think you’ll sweat, but if you want the holy grail, you’ve got to go with Chanel Inimitable Waterproof. Say it with me, ladies. Chanel. Inimitable. Waterproof. It costs an arm and a leg (or $30, if you have it), but it’s about a million times better than any of that similarly priced DiorShow foolishness that magazines always tell you to buy. I’ve tried just about every Dior mascara known to man. Don’t make the same mistake. It’s an expensive one.

Okay, so I’m prone not only to ingrown hairs in my beard, but hairs that grow parallel to the skin and then become infected. Or maybe that’s the same thing. I use an exfoliant (Clinique for Men’s Face Scrub) and little else. I’m reluctant to put too much in the way of chemicals on my face for fears of making a bit of photodamage worse. One dermatologist told me to dig them out with tweezers, but that seems…absurd? ill-advised? prone to scarring? Anyway. Any suggestions or pointers?

This answer isn’t just for the menfolk, because ingrown hairs plague all of humanity, as far as I know. You said that you’re tentative about using chemicals, but I’ve been using Tend Skin for several years on my extremely sensitive, persnickety, pale skin and have never experienced any irritation or discoloration. (And not to put too fine a point on it, but I’ve used it in some…err…sensitive areas.) There’s a bit of momentary burn if I use it right after I shave my legs or when irritation has already had a chance to set in, but it’s well worth the result: A near-complete end to razor bumps and ingrown hairs. I’ve tried every exfoliator on the planet (or at least it seems that way sometimes), and nothing works as well at preventing irritation as a little dab o’ Tend Skin. Buy it at Sephora and use it in an inconspicuous spot; if you don’t like it or you’re still nervous, Sephora will let you return practically anything.

If you want to exfoliate better without using chemicals, then get yourself a pair of exfoliator gloves from The Body Shop. They’re super inexpensive and can be reused a million times as long as you keep them clean, and it’s difficult to get a more thorough non-chemical exfoliation. You don’t have to use them every day, but once or twice a week with my regular soap has made a big difference in the smoothness of my skin. They can also be used on your legs, arms or anywhere that you have rough skin or problems with ingrown hairs.

As far as removing hairs that are already ingrown goes, your instincts were right about your dermatologist’s advice to dig them out with tweezers. That will create a tiny scab and possibly a temporary scar, and while the spot is healing, the hair will likely grow in again and be unable to penetrate the surface, causing the problem to repeat itself. Positively Sisyphean, right?

Instead, if you need to remove the hair, you’re going to need a needle or safety pin, a sterilizing agent and a pair of good tweezers. Because picking the hair out, even very carefully, can introduce bacteria into your skin and make the area infected, either wipe your needle down with alcohol or heat it with a lighter until it glows. Then, gently poke the needle or pin at the hair in an effort to bring it up above the surface. After it’s free, pluck it with the tweezers. If you need a tweezer recommendation, suffice it to say that there’s a reason Tweezerman is so famous.

That method creates the least amount of disruption in the skin, which means less irritation, less scarring and fewer future ingrown hairs.

Thus concludes our first installment of Crassthetics, but remember, there will be more. Well, if you send me your questions, anyway. Amull85 at gmail dot com. Do it, fool.

Photo via Flickr

The Best Looks of London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week always gets the shaft. New York is first, Milan and Paris are bigger, and London is wedged among them, shorter than the rest and generally a bit maligned. Over the past few season, though, London fashion has had a few things working in its favor, namely its growing and talented crop of young designers. After a bit of a lackluster showing in New York, the vibrance and enthusiasm of the clothes from across the pond were a needed reminder of just how much fun fashion can be.

There are a few big names on this list, most notably Christopher Bailey for Burberry and Vivienne Westwood, the grande dame of British fashion, but the week’s true standouts were the smaller shows full of colors, prints and new ideas. The old trope of youth being wasted on the young doesn’t seem to be true for London’s next generation of designers; these collections felt urgent and directional instead of neophytic and tentative. American fashion should take notice, because the British are coming.

Photos via and

Your College Rivalry is a Cotillion Compared to Auburn-Alabama

Are you one of those people who leaves a football game in the fourth quarter if it’s raining, or if your team is up by four touchdowns, or you want to beat the traffic, or you’re just generally kind of feeling like a pansy that day? If so, you are not qualified to be a University of Alabama fan. In fact, I hope you never meet any Alabama fans, because they would sense the pansy in you and eat you for lunch. Perhaps literally.

Yesterday, Auburn University announced that the two giant oak trees at historic Toomer’s Corner have been poisoned and will likely not survive, which comes two weeks after an Alabama fan who identified himself only as “Al from Dadeville” called in to Paul Finebaum’s radio show (which is a whole different circus of insanity that I encourage you to explore on your own time) and claimed to have administered a lethal dose of herbicide to the trees following the Crimson Tide’s defeat in the Iron Bowl. Since Al from Dadeville is an Alabama fan, he obviously didn’t claim responsibility by using such big words, but you get the idea.

Trees might not seem like a big deal to the uninitiated, but they’re central to the most Auburn-y of Auburn football traditions: Rolling Toomer’s Corner with toilet paper after a victory. Killing the trees at Toomer’s Corner is akin to a Michigan fan blowing up The Horseshoe and then pissing on the rubble or an Oklahoma fan shooting Bevo in the head and butchering him for steaks. Not only is it a drastic act of crazed fandom (and, it must be noted, sore-loserdom), but it’s also at least vaguely illegal; the FBI has opened an investigation because the poison used to kill the trees may have seeped into Auburn’s groundwater. Al from Dadeville potentially succeeded into sorta-poisoning not just the trees but the whole town, the prospect of which I can only imagine would make him nothing less than sexually excited.

The Great Toomer’s Tree Tragedy marks the second time in the past six months that an FBI investigation has rubbed up against the Auburn-Alabama football rivalry (the first involved dog track impresario and Auburn booster Milton McGregor and his possible financial involvement with some guy named Cameron Newton, a young man of whom I have certainly never heard and on whom I would cast nary an aspersion), clearly setting some sort of asinine fan-scandal record for American sports. We all have a lot of catching up to do in order to be the kinds of fans who commit not just regular felonies, but federal offenses for our teams of choice.

As a Georgia fan and somewhat impartial third party, I’m not really sure where I stand. My first thought was, “Sounds like something an Auburn fan would do,” which is perhaps even more telling when you consider the fact that my sainted mother is an Auburn alumna. And really, the only way that an Alabama fan could have cut further to the core of the Auburn fanbase would have been to hide Cam Newton’s Crest WhiteStrips. Killing the trees could have been an act of vicious brilliance if Al from Dadeville had only found it within himself to let them die silently, but like the moron he most surely is, he had to call in and claim ownership for the Crimson Tide. If a redneck sports fan does something rash and doesn’t document it on sports talk radio, does it still count? Of course not.

Which means that the real endgame of this whole debacle is not that the historic trees are about to be actual history, but that Auburn has a free shot at Alabama, one which surely no one will begrudge them, and Auburn fans can take that shot on as grand a scale as they see fit. Mostly because Alabama deserves it, but also partly because they’re already Auburn, the Dick Cheney of modern college football, so no one will be surprised when they retaliate. If I were them, I’d start trying to figure out some way to sell Nick Saban into white slavery immediately.

UPDATED: The man arrested this morning for the tree murders, Harvey Almorn Updyke, has children named Crimson and Bear. You cannot make this shit up. He was also never an Alabama student and has never been a season ticket holder.

Earlier: Trees at Toomer’s Corner poisoned via

Bestow your New York City wisdom upon me

Do you live in New York City? Did you live there in the past? Were you born there, or did you move there from another part of the country once you reached adulthood? If any of those things sound like you, I need your assistance in the small matter of my impending move from Atlanta.

I’ve been to New York City plenty of times, I have some friends who live there and I’m moving with my job, so I’ve got a lot of the basics of a major move covered. I’d like to live in the East Village or another neighborhood with other people in my age range. I’m 25, single, female and can pay $1100-$1300 per month for my part of the rent. I anticipate having a roommate, of course.

I like to go out to eat and drink and I don’t mind living in a noisy area, so long as it’s reasonably safe. I don’t have an office to which I’ll need to commute, so while close subway accessibility would be great, it wouldn’t necessarily be as important for me as for someone who needs to get somewhere on a schedule in the morning.

So tell me about your favorite neighborhoods. If I move to the East Village, how far is too far into Alphabet City? Am I going to hate it for the first six months? Am I going to miss singing at the top of my lungs in my car as much as I think I’m going to? Because I really think I’m going to miss that. Any advice for savvy subway riding?

If I’ve left anything out, tell me. I appreciate any and all feedback that you can give me, it’s invaluable.

A Little Shoe Porn

The title of this post is rather self-explanatory, but in case anyone didn’t know, bitches love shoes. This bitch gets to play with them for work, and I’ve put together a little gallery of footwear for which I’d be willing to break one or both ankles. The designer information is in the file name, but I didn’t include the prices. You don’t want to know, believe me.