Rio-cap, days 0-2


Some events had technically started by the time the games formally opened, but Friday was all about the Opening Ceremonies, y'all. The world waited for Brazil's show like you wait for the dinner your children have volunteered to cook for you: it's exciting, but so much could go wrong, and who knows what a mess will be left behind. Fortunately,  the show exceeded expectations and did a lot with its modest budget. ("Modest" relative to London and China, not relative to what anything else costs, anywhere.)
I did not watch the whole thing. I would estimate I caught about two of the four-plus hours. This is still a decent go at it for a program that literally recaps the entire history of a country as an INTRODUCTION to the entire world walking by. That left room, and time, for a lot of song, dance, and color. So much color.
5240Every Brazilian.
The Parade of Nations was next. This is always a favorite of mine because, outfits. I love any event where the dress code is evenly split between track suits and blazers. More events should adopt this dress code. Consider it for your next brunch. The blazered-up guests will lend the event an air of classiness, but individual guests can still opt for an outfit that will let them break into a light jog.
Speaking of understated, I liked this year's torch, which was smaller than previous years' torches and backed by a giant THING that looked like a 1000x scale version of those metal wall hangings I always pick up at HomeGoods and then put down because I don't want to go to all the trouble of hanging something the safe way.
5568Nobody doesn't shop at HomeGoods.
With that, it was time to head home, put those windbreakers back in their duffel bags, and prepare for the first day of full blown competition.
Thanks to the NBC Olympics app, I was able to watch table tennis on my iPad before even getting out of bed on Saturday. It was terrifying. But also kind of funny, because by all appearances, the players are using the basic red ping pong paddles that come with the table.
The only sport where the paddle comes free with the table and the ball can be purchased at the liquor store register, next to the limes. 
I'm sure they're not.
All that aside, table tennis is fascinating, not least because a lot of the ping pong players are noticeably older than other Olympic athletes. This is nice because the Olympics have a way of making you anxious that you have ROCKETED past your physical prime and oops, you didn't do much with it. Even the most secure person will be browsing caskets online after hearing gymnastics announcers comment on a 28-year-old competitor's extraordinary ability to remain competitive despite her decrepitude. ("Her grand kids must be thrilled!") This article examines the age dynamic in table tennis and why many athletes peak well into their 30s and compete into their 40s and 50s.
I caught plenty of other coverage including, Women's Handball pool play, men's gymnastic qualifiers, archery, and some rowing. Regrettably, I did not catch the U.S. Women's soccer game due to being at the mall (I know), but I know there will be other opportunities.
I watched pretty much the entire prime time broadcast. Thoughts:
  • I really enjoyed the U.S. Men's 4x100 relay win over France (and, you know, the rest of the planet).
  • The U.S. Women's Gymnastics team is so dominant that a huge part of why I support the search for life on other planets is to find these girls some dang competition!!!!!! (Sidebar, omg, will Interplanetary Olympics happen in my life?! And what will we wear????)
  • Katie Ledecky!
I can't even do this.

As you've probably heard, Leslie Jones is the best Olympic commentator out there, so we'll let her close this out.

Get pumped for Olympic action with this article about leotard sparkles

This morning Emily sent me this New York Times article, a 2,000-word examination of leotard sparkles. In case you were wondering:

In 2008, when Nastia Liukin won the gold medal in the individual all-around competition at the Olympics in Beijing, her leotard had 184 crystals on it.

 In 2012, when Gabby Douglas won the same event in London, her leotard had 1,188.

This year, many of the Team USA leotards will have close to 5,000 Swarovski crystals each.

In other words, Sparkle is the currency of gymnastic performance and its inflation rate is a billion percent.

Just another day at the office.

This article has so many choice quotes that I'm not even sure what to do with them all, but here are some key points:

“It’s difficult for me to imagine how we could get more crystals on,” said Kelly McKeown, executive vice president for design and corporate relations at GK Elite, the official outfitter of the American national gymnastics team. This Olympics, “we may have hit peak crystal.”

Peak crystal? Doubt it. Something tells me future sparkle analysts will chuckle at the naivety of this statement . . .

“In the early 1990s, the U.S. team always wore white, because Martha wanted to show off their six-packs,” Ms. McKeown said (referring to abs, not beer).

Incidentally, white is also a great way to display what beer has done to your body.

This autumn, Mr. Wellhoefer said, Swarovski will introduce a new crystal product, called a Concise Crystal, that is 50 percent lighter than previous stones, allowing for even more encrustation and refractory gleam. “We’re in a crystal arms race,” Mr. Wellhoefer said.

Additional evidence that we have NOT reached peak crystal yet. In fact, this may only be the beginning.

Oscars 2014, Part Two (Non-Leto Category)

Earlier today I posted my true thoughts on the 2014 Oscars, but to be less of a slacker, I will now go a little deeper. "Deeper than posting three pictures of Jared Leto's hair?!" you may say. "Don't strain anything!" OK, wise guy, let's see YOUR Oscars recap.
Do I seem cranky? Maybe that is because I sat down at 6 p.m. yesterday to watch red carpet coverage and I did not leave my couch for six whole hours, and in that time I saw maybe 25 minutes of what I would file as "memorable moment," "good speech," or "Jared Leto hair screen time." (23 of that 25 minutes was Bette "Memorable Moment" Midler singing "Wind Beneath My Wings.") Not the best ROI on my six hours of precious time, unless you compare it to similarly paced activities like "American Football" and "life itself."
All of which is to say YES, I am a little CRANKY. It was a boring Oscars telecast and the fashion was equally uninspiring. So, rather than attempt to cover every trend, I'll speak only of those looks that moved me to comment. Selected observations forewith:
Winning Women: Cate Blanchett and Lupita Nyong'o
(click either for a bigger pic)
Let's just start with the high note(s). I group these two women together for a reason, and it's not just because they won the two big awards. It's to save space. JK! It's because on a night where plenty of people looked good, these two looked special. They both chose looks that showed character and personality. Even tried and true red carpet vets have trouble choosing looks that embody charisma while also seeming effortless and comfortable; Cate is an old hand at this, and Lupita is the up and comer. (And Comfortably Charismatic is the name of my new line of pantsuits, coming to a K-Mart near you.)

So that is why I grouped them together. Please buy my pantsuits.
Hollywood Royalty on Autopilot: Brad and Angelina
It's too easy for them and I should just acknowledge their majesty and move on. 
(Here's me doing the opposite of that.)
Angie and Brad have clearly vaulted past their actor/entertainer pasts into this hiz-n-herz pair of esteemed producer/humanitarian and that's great, really, and they're clearly pretty fulfilled with all that, butttttttt. I found them much more interesting before. And I know that being interesting to me is pretty low on their list of priorities (like seven, I'm thinking. Definitely 7-8 range.) But there it is. They bore me.
That is all.
Hey Wow a Blue Dress: Sandra Bullock
I touch on this because I daresay it was a bit overrated. This made several best dressed lists and while It is a beautiful dress and she looks great--at the end of the day it's jussssssssst a navy blue dress. Feel free to argue me on this one. I just didn't appreciate it. 
Hey Wow Another Navy Blue Dress: Amy Adams
This is very much in line with AA's brand of minimalist high fash. I give it a B. Not the most exciting, but it looks relatively smart. And isn't "that looks smart" about the nicest thing you can say to someone in head-to-toe navy? Also, kudos to whoever steamed/ironed this thing, because dayum.
Who Loves Life? Kevin Spacey Loves Life
Also, You Know Who Constantly Looks Great Even When I Don't Like Her Outfits: Julia Roberts

 I'm going to stop writing photo titles now because it's getting out of hand. 

Naomi Watts
Before I start delving into the bitchier portion of this post, I'd like to say that Naomi consistently looks lovely at these things. She knows her strengths. 
Matthew and Camila (1)
First of all, I am a proud Matthew McConaughey supporter who has been throwing around the term "McConnaissance" for OVER TWO WEEKS now (take that, people I saw using it on Twitter last night), but I do not like what is going on in this photo. There's only so bad a tux can be, so it's not all on Matthew. It's just that Camila's dress happens to be a color I haaaaaate and therefore the combo of her pale pink with his white is a little too King and Queen of the Bubblegum Machine for my tastes.
On another note-know how I always rag on celebs for not seeming more composed in their acceptance speeches because they clearly had to have known, as nominees, that there was a decent chance of winning? Well, Matthew McConaughey was clearly taking notes because his acceptance speech had an intro/thesis statement, three supporting paragraphs, and a conclusion. In other words, it was majorly prepared in advance, and possibly with the assistance of my fourth grade teacher.
 Kate Hudson
Rs_634x1024-140302165209-634.kate-hudson-oscars-030214I was going to call Kate Hudson out for being at the Oscars despite not having much going on, career-wise, but a quick gander at her IMDb page reveals that, with several projects in production, Ms. Hudson could very possibly be up for her own McConnaissance in the coming months. So I'll instead say I enjoyed this look and am eager to hear more about "Rock the Kasbah."
Elsa Pataky
Oof. That is what I said when I saw this. It is honestly one of the oddest cuts I have ever seen happen in nature ("nature" being Hollywood, the least natural place on Earth). Elsa is admittedly dealing with a (literal) curve-ball in dressing around a pregnancy, but I still find this choice hard to fathom.  
Also, the print is ugly.
Kerry Washington
This dress was a bit drab for moi. But I loved the dark lips and the overall hair/makeup so much that it all won me over.
She does need to get a hold of Amy Adam's dry cleaner, though.
Charlize Theron
Those clear straps ain't foolin no one, lady. Let's just say this ain't my first day at Looking at a Dress School. No ma'am. I know that dress is held up by something other than magic. Nice try, though.
(Why do clear straps exist?)
Am I hallucinating, or does Gaga kind of look like Barbara Walters here? That isn't even a bad thing, unless you're Barbara Walters and you don't want a bunch of rumors going around that you wear scarves that serve no function. That's the kind of thing that destroys a journalism career.
Pharrell Williams and Helen Lasichanh
Hell yes. HELL. Yes. Pharrell is at the forefront of man-pris and formal shorts and I am not even being facetious right now when I say I have room in my heart for those things.
So all the headlines today were about the woman in blue who stole the show. And I hope Liza read the headlines, but not the details of the articles that followed. And I hope she had a great day.
That's it from me. As always, I would like to hear your thoughts on who I missed. But please McConaughize them in proper five paragraph form.

2014 Oscars Recap: Literally Just a Series of Pictures of Jared Leto

 Perfection, thy name is carefully painted man strands of ombre splendor.


 Between the hair (that HAIR) and the white jacket/red bow tie, Leto looks like a caterer in HEAVEN serving crust-less half-sandwiches of world peace.

Jared leto ap oscars 2014

I may update this post with more comprehensive Oscar fashion commentary IF I can get myself to stop cruising internet black markets for LetoHair sweaters.


The Most F-ed Up Commercial of the 2014 Superbowl

The Budweiser "Puppy Love" Commercial, embedded below, is regarded by many as the best commercial of the 2014 Superbowl. Please watch it if you haven't already:

Reviews were universally positive.

Budweiser's 'Puppy Love' Ad Wins Super Bowl Viewers' Hearts

"Puppy Love," Budweiser's latest sentimental spot to use a cute dog and photogenic Clydesdales to sell beer, won USA Today's annual Super Bowl Ad Meter.

"Never mind that it aired with just two minutes left in a dog of a game," USA Today writes, the ad "about a spunky puppy who is adopted but keeps coming back home to the Clydesdale horse it loves" scored highest with the newspaper's online audience of 6,272 voters.

The commercial, which Budweiser had put online last week, had been a pregame favorite to win viewers' hearts. After all, a similar spot won last year's Ad Meter.

. . . etc etc. Which is cool, except the commercial is a completely messed up tale of one man's personal tragedy. In order to understand this, you simply have to view the commercial without the scenes with the puppy and horse together--in other word's, from a human point of view.

Let's take a look.


Welcome to Warm Springs, where the sign clearly says "Puppy Adoption!"
Warm Springs is home to many sad-looking puppies in need of loving families.
[30 seconds of blank tape]
But look! This sweet little puppy is getting adopted. What a great day for him and his owner, a totally normal-looking guy who has absolutely nothing visible about him that would indicate that he is unfit for puppy ownership. (Sure, he's a little glued to his smart phone, but he's probably texting his friends "OMG JUST GOT THE PUPPY. BE HOME SOON. PLEASE HAVE SO MANY TREATS READY AT THE PUPPY SURPRISE WELCOME HOME PARTY! I WANT THIS TO BE PERFECT.")
But as the new puppy owner drives home, something in his rearview mirror catches his eye--
 A motherf*cking Clydesdale coming after him.
I'm pasting this still again just to reinforce how terrifying this situation is. Imagine your car--where you sit with the tiny precious puppy you are about to begin a life with--surrounded by huge, vengeful horses.
So the dude does what any normal human would do when confronted with a horse stampede and gives them what they demand. He then presumably drives off in tears, back to a house full of shiny new puppy toys and treats that will never be used, wondering what the f*ck just happened to him.
Back at the ranch, the dog breeder and the Clydesdale owner are pretty nonchalant about the fact that a) all the priceless Clydesdale horses escaped, and b) one of the puppies they sold just randomly re-appeared. In fact, they are so nonchalant about this that they decide to let one of the horses raise the dog instead of calling the puppy's owner on his CELL PHONE which we all KNOW HE HAD ON HIM.
So. Those are the facts. A man tried to adopt a puppy from a PUPPY ADOPTION PLACE and then got terrorized by horses until he returned it to a crafty woman and a rugged man with preternaturally white teeth. Buy some beer.

2014 Golden Globes: Print this Out and Wear it as a Dress

As the first major red carpet event of the year* the Golden Globes are usually a harbinger of trends to come. Just as last year at this time we were treated to peplum overload, certain trends have already clearly emerged for 2014.  
This year's recap is structured in order of the various trends I noticed on the red carpet last night. Some of them are real trends that there is an actual fashion term for. Some are . . . not. We will start with an example of the latter--one of the most visible trends of the night. Like, really visible. Yep, I'm talking about . . .
*The People's Choice awards are dead to me
First, a true story: for my high school graduation party, my mom requested a cake with black and gold icing since those were my school's colors. The resulting confection said "Congrats" in bright yellow icing, bordered by approximately 30 extrremely creepy black flowers. It looked like a really poorly worded funeral cake. 
What I am saying is, yep--this is a thing. Dresses with random stuff hanging off them is happening, and Brigid Coulter (above) is modeling the most restrained version we were treated to last night. Suggestion: when the lowest-key look in a particular fashion category rips off my accidentally creepy Graduation Cake of Death, it might be a bad trend.
On that note, I guess the best thing I can say about Drew Barrymore's dress is that it makes for a much better cake concept.
I did not come up with the term "mullet dress," but the shoe fits. And speaking of shoes, that is one good thing about high/low hemlines--if you are wearing $500 shoes, it's nice if people can actually see them. Here, Michelle Dockery looks elegant and sophisticated and owning-of-feet:
So it's possible to do this trend nicely. But when it's done wrong, it takes things in a comically bad direction, like with Caitlin Fitzgerald:
This dress was already channeling Spock a little too hard up top, and with the hemline it just becomes a ridiculous mess. 
See also: Zooey Deschanel
If the styles above are a nod to the mullet, Emma Watson's look presents a reversal:
Much like a well-run Chuck E Cheese, this look is party in the front and business in the back. And I like it! Granted, I'm not super sure it will work on people who aren't LITERALLY LISTED ON THE WIKIPEDIA PAGE FOR GAMINE, but kudos to Emma on taking an intriguing fashion risk that somehow didn't look insane.
  Zoe saldanaThis was the only dress last night that I had an actual, visible, physical reaction to. THE STRAPS. I mean, are they even straps? The whole point of straps is that they . . . strap something. These are just droopy vestigial fabric strips with no function whatsoever. Except making me cringe. They're doing a nice job of that. (P.S.: the other 98% of the dress is also ugly.)
Elsewhere in the Land of Strapless Abominations, we have Megan Mullally's Tudor Sleeves to Nowhere:
But lo, lest we think it is impossible for curiously contrived strapless garments to look cool, we have a spot of hope--Lupita Nyong'o's strapless cape:
Lupita nyongoFunctionally, I'm not sure what a strapless cape brings to the table. (Pretty sure shoulder warmth is a major priority of your average cape-wearer.) But visually, it's working--she looks cool and the lines are interesting. This look ended up on many best-dressed lists--and deservedly so.
Black and white is fashion's home base: a safe, foolproof way to look elegant and timeless. Usually. Last night had more misses than hits in this area. We'll start with the (relative) highs, like Laura Carmichael:
Laura carmichaelI admittedly didn't love this at first (hello, arbitrary hip panel), but it has grown on me a little more every time I've looked at it. (Like every old dude on Downtown Abbey has grown on Lady Edith, amirite?!)
And while J-Law's parceled gown was not everyone's cup of tea, I landed more towards liking it than disliking.
J lawI will not be quite so generous with Heidi Klum, whose dress was ruined by poor styling choices.
Heidi klum
 Nor will I excuse Julia Roberts, Olive Garden manager, for not bringing breadsticks for everyone:
Julia robertsAditionally unforgivable is Allison Williams in "animal print that does not actually occur in nature on any animal:"
Allison williams
Enough black and white for you? Time to overcorrect with . . .
Let's be real clear: I do not hate colorblocking. In fact, I love it. I'm drawn to it. It never gets old. But taking this trend into formalwear territory? PROCEED WITH CAUTION. Cases in point:
Julie bowen
Julie Bowen tops a deep purple skirt with red velvet and a Nutcracker belt. Woman to the left says, "ummmmmmno."
Aubrey plaza"EXCUUUSE ME, is that 2014 PANTONE COLOR OF THE YEAR, RADIANT ORCHID?!?!" Said no one. I'm a fan of Aub's hair but the purple-purple pink is a little too Twilight Sparkle. (Yes, I do correspond frequently with a kindegartener.) 
Speaking of My Little Ponies, the beautiful Sandra Bullock wants us to cry ourselves to sleep at night asking whygodwhyyyyyyyyyy.
Sandra bullock
Perfect hair. Perfect makeup. Dress made from black satin and unicorn skin.
I'm placing Amy Adams in this category as well, with a look I gave a B-minus:
Amy adams
Kinda liked the dress; kinda hated the hair.

Those were the major trends I noticed, but here are some other notes.
Kerry washington
Kerry Washington has an interesting sense of style. She tends to mix it up and I can usually appreciate most of her choices. And if I could look half as professional at work as Olivia Pope looks just ga-lugging vino in her jammies, I'd be happy. But. Did not like this dress and strongly felt that she looked like an oyster. STRONGLY FELT.
Paula patton
Re: Paula Patton, it's a time-honored rule: if you can't be the best dressed, be the most dressed.
And if you can't be the most dressed . . .
Mario lopezCuz it looks fun.
Olivia wilde
Finishing up: I'm in agreement with those who called this one of the very best looks of the night. (Also enjoyed KateAmyJulianna, and both Emmas.) So we'll end on that. 
As usual, I'll conclude by asking--who/what did I miss?!

2013 Oscars Recap, Part 3

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2

So. We've done the good and the bad; time for the in-betweens.


Sandra Bullock

Not bad in the full length, but can I get a zoom? For science?

SAAAAANDY. The Queen of England called. She wants her diamond-encrusted Bluetooth back.

Jennifer Anniston

She looks frozen in time, and I mean that in the good way and the bad way. Jennifer mayyyyy have accepted the Gwyneth Paltrowian deal with the devil where you can stop aging if you also arrest your personal sense of style at the same point in time. (Fortunately for Jen, she has a much more timeless sensibility than Gwyneth does.)

Reese Witherspoon

Reese witherspoon
Great hair, but meh on the dress. I think I would have preferred it without the black.

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer lawrence
People loved this, but it just wasn't my bag. I know I'm in the minority, and I can't even really explain why I don't like it (some kind of reptilian/Flintstonian vibe I can't quite articulate), but every now and then, you disagree with one of the universal faves. This was one of those times.

Jennifer Lawrence

J law
While I'm completely losing you, I'll go ahead and throw it out there that I didn't love Jennifer's look. I know. Don't murder me. I like her. And it was a big night in a big year for J-Law. Good for her. However, neither the hair nor the dress felt spectacular to me. They weren't bad--just not my favorite look of hers. But there's no denying she was queen of the night.


B coop and mom
Forgot to put her under best dressed, but this woman really needs her own category anyway. She's wearing SNEAKS. And that furry thing. She's to die for. 

So that's that. Your comments are, per ALWAYS AND FOREVER, welcomed.

2013 Oscars Recap, Part 2

Continued from Part 1

We've discussed the winners. Time for . . . 


Anne Hathaway

Anne hathaway
Uh, yeah, I hate Anne Hathaway, and yeah, it's just personal. Sorry. Them's the breaks. Regardless, this was a no. In her red carpet interview, Anne joked that the (backless) dress was "business in the front; party in the back." A great follow-up question would have been to ask what business emphasizes awkwardly drawing everyone's eyes to your nipples all night long/forever.

Anyway. Didn't like the color, didn't like the neckline/necklace, still don't like Anne.

Halle Berry

Halle berry

I will admit that this is the best-case scenario for what you get when you say "Beetlejuice" three times.

Helen Hunt
Helen Hunt made a statement by wearing a gown from the H&M Conscious Collection. Appreciate the idea behind it, but, uh, it doesn't look good. I totally emphathize, though, because everything I have ever bought from H&M has ended up fitting improperly and wrinkling instantaneously.

Kristen Chenoweth

Kristen chenoweth
The personality of a teenager aggressively campaigning for Homecoming Queen combined with Disney villain styling. Weird that that didn't work.

This is also the first of several high buns I hated. 

Salma Hayek

Salma hayek
Here is Bun of Death #2. I know this crazy "turtleneck made out of Reese's Cup wrappers" thing doesn't leave many hair options, but the dark bun is just way too severe here.

Renee Zellweger

Renee zellweger
The dress wasn't all that bad., although it was not my cup of tea and it definitely washed her out. But I hate the hair.

Brandi Glanville (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills)

Brandi glanville
OK, so a D-lister dressing badly for attention is the oldest trick in the red carpet book, but what can I say? I like low-hanging fruit. It is, at least, much better than fruit that has been awkwardly smushed upwards at a painful angle . . .

Kristen Stewart

K-Stew actually ended up on a lot of best-dressed lists with this, but C'MAN. She showed up on crutches, her hair was a mess, she glowered through her turn presenting and had a huge bruise on her arm. So yeah, nice dress, but I'm over this low-energy sourpuss and it's gonna take way more than White Swan to change that.

Amanda Seyfriend

Amanda seyfried
This was a bit predictable--it echoed some of her recent looks--and the hair is approaching the preliminary Bride of Frankenstein warning zone. When you combine that with the automatic 5 point SO SICK OF LES MIS deduction I factored in, it's straight to the bottom for Ms. Seyfried.

Amy Adams
It's probably harsh to put her in Worst Dressed, but I think she's lovely and was disappointed with the blah color and last-season trend of whatever that huge, tulle-ified skirt is called.

Zoe Saldana

Zoe saldana
I like that she takes risks, but sometimes risks don't pay off. A belt that looks like it has your high school diploma tucked into it falls firmly into the category of "not paying off."

Next up: Part 3