Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dresses and Calamari in New Orleans

I have returned from New Orleans, Fashionable Reader, I what I lost in water weight due to the heat I regained in fat from all the fried food. Orbit put me up at the Sheraton on Canal Street and here's the view from the bedroom window, such a  beautiful city!

On Friday evening, after recovering from a rather hectic plane ride, the AB and I headed out for nibbles. Following instructions from a fan, we sourced Maspero's fried calamari, which was indeed delicious. The AB was also favorably impressed with the draft beer.

New Orleans if full of the nicest people! I often get compliments on this red dress, which suits well enough but I feel is rather basic. However, never before have so many lovely ladies said how much they liked it. The AB suggested this was the Marilyn effect, as the top is quite boobilicious.

On Saturday for speeches, panels, and a publisher dinner I chose something a bit more conservative. It turned out to be a fortuitous choice for that was the "coolest day" and it was the warmest of my three dresses.

 I did learn, however, that stilettos and humidity are mutually exclusive with blisters popping up instantaneously. Sadly, I consigned my peep toes back into the suitcase.

I ended up wearing my oxfords the entire rest of the trip. For these first two outfits, which involved a lot of walking around in the sun I also wore a white straw hat as well. I had alternating flowers for the hat to match each outfit (expect immanent blog on the subject).

Oxfords are BP from Nordstrom and they are very light-weight and great for travel. I think a shelled out good money for them, $60. It was worth it. I like them so much I bought the second pair in a darker mushroom color which I am going to stain to be brown two tones (again, expect a future blog).I LOVE millinery ~ one of my favorite hobbies. The hat is from my usual Bon Mar Thrift store, $10. I did entirely redecorate it, though.

I know, I know, white and cream, but sometimes a girl's just gotta protect her skin. For Sunday, however, I was inside all day, so I switched hats to a cream mini topper. It was the hottest day and luckily I wore my lightest dress. Still, because of the AC, I regretted not packing a light shawl.

Note that the bra straps are invisible? Success! Although, the hat kept falling off (when I talk I get very animated and gesticulate wildly and wiggle around a lot). I had a nice hat pin but it broke, time to invest in another stronger one.

I paired all three outfits with crocheted gloves (from Bon Mar Thrift Store Sonoma, CA ~ $2) and a vintage cream purse (from Moon Zoon in Santa Cruz, CA ~ $20) with added octopus bling (gift).

So, coping with humidity and avoiding sweat blisters. Any advice or thoughts, ladies?


  1. Baby powder -- and lots of it. I went to New Orleans at the end of April and had a similar experience! :) My advice to you, though -- coming from the daughter of a foot doctor -- please don't pop the blisters! They'll go away on their own and will just hurt more if you pick!

  2. Totally coveting the pink dress. Wow.

    I was just thinking this morning how unfortunate it is that this weather makes me want to forgo my closet full of adorable clothes in favor of tank tops and cotton jersey skirts and lying on the hardwood floor under the fan. So if your readers have any suggestions, I will be here, lying on the floor under the fan, waiting to hear them.

  3. Baby powder would be my suggestion aswell. I'm sure it is not as bad here in Finland as it is in New Orleans, but I'm just not compatible with heat. I tend to have baby powder (or just plain talc) and pretty wooden fan as my weaponry against the heat. I use talc everywhere: armpits, feet, under bust, between thighs and any areas where skin irritation might occur.

  4. To the blister issue, I advise a search for a blister stick/block. I've been applying this item to my feet this past season and have yet to experience blisters, even when breaking in new shoes! As to the humidity issue, I hate to admit it but we locals usually just given in and go for comfort over style most of the time. When a heel is a necessity, a sandal with secure ankle straps is THE way to go. It lets the foot breathe, and won't take you down arse over teakettle in an embarassing fall by slipping off the foot (voice of experience there). Also, in shoes like clothing - natural materials (even leather) allow your skin to breathe.

  5. I rather adore what you wear! I may be in forever love with the red dress and the white hat.

  6. So glad you had a good time in NO! Your outfits are fantastic!

    BodyGlide is the answer to blister problems. I pretty much coat my feet with it--it comes in a stick form, rather like deodorant--and my feet just slide along all day. I also use it on my thighs, but you don't look like that's an issue for you. Unlike baby powder, it doesn't ball up or get pasty when it's damp.

  7. Thanks for all the suggestions, I'd rather avoid the smell of baby powder but I have put in an order for bodyglide and will give it a try on feet and bra-band next time I am in the humidity. Thank you!

  8. Lush has a wonderful array of dusting powders that all smell positively lovely!
    Although, in all honesty, the only way to effectively cope with humidity is to stay within air-conditioned environs: it's a most unpleasant weather condition :)

  9. My co-worker returned with a signed copy of Blameless for me! Thank you so much, I was afraid he would miss you and I would have to do some harm to him, but all is well. And the red dress is awesome!

  10. ARG! I typed this big, huge, long reply and what happens? I GOT A FREAKING "CANNOT FIND SERVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    *deep, calming breaths before she goes over to the Google offices and smashes everything*

    OKAY - as I TRIED to say before -

    Ahem - I know they're no longer considered fashionable and style experts freak out when you wear them with open toed shoes, but I find I get fewer blisters while wearing nylons. I also powder my feet before putting them on and I put those clear sticky heel guards in the shoe. The latter has a tendency to roll down when you put your shoes on if you're not using a shoe horn. However, while my feet are wide, my heels are narrow so when shoes fit the front of my foot, they're always sliding off the heel, and if they fit my heel I can't even get my toes in.

    This is why one of my dreams is to have a pair of custom made shoes. *sighs wistfully*

    As for the style "experts" who freak out - well, I'll tell you right now there's at least one group of people who would find the look of a nylon covered set of toes peaking out or even a whole foot in strapy heels sexy - foot fetishists. So if you want to distract a large secret population of humanity away from your bust, wear nylons with peep toe shoes.

    Plus since you do the retro thing, you could totally do stockings with garters. Maybe even do research for a future novel with them. Like what weapons can a woman actually carry in her garters without ruining the lines of her dress or running her stockings! Maybe even work out special little holsters for those tiny guns you see in old movies that can be attached to those same garters.

    Kind of like a leg version of these purses that you either clip on your bra or wear like a bra - for those who don't know what I'm talking about....

    (Hopefully my HTML will work....)

    Cleavage Caddy

    Bra Stash Pouch

    Bra Stash Pocket

    As for healing blisters - well, I'm one of those bad people who burst them. I also pop my pimples. Yes, I am pure evil. But it's mostly ceremonial. I find soaking in hot water with epsom salts helps. In extreme cases I get a pair of thick, stretched out socks and coat my feet with a poultice made of epsom salts, Bag Balm, Neosporian, and if I can get some, Tiger Balm before bed. And whenever I can go barefoot so air can get to them. Washing them with peroxide every little bit to keep infections out. Merthiolate on the burst ones helps too.

    Now, this one better go through. However, I'm copying it to my clipboard just incase!

  11. I particularly love the pink dress although I think the green one suits you best. In terms of the heat and humidity - natural fibres are the way to go, including linings which is something many designers ignore, especially in vintage. I hate finding a lovely cotton,linen or silk dress and finding it's been lined with sweat inducing polyester! In terms of shoes: paint your toenails bright pink and wear sandals. As open as possible.

  12. You know you've been following @gailcarriger a little too closely when you remember the post when she was deciding between two types of shoe

  13. I forgot to add - carry a fan. Not only are they fabulous when it's really humid and you aren't in AC but you can match them to your outfit and really go with the whole Victorian vibe.

  14. Being a Navy spouse dealing with humidity is a big part of life. We've lived in HI, Southern CA, NY, VA and now coastal TX so.... Pretty fans lightly spritzed with your favorite cologne and white or natural linen dresses, skirts and shirts. Nothing beats linen for coping with the heat and humidity. Even a fitted linen dress with a full skirt is better than shorts I've found.

    I have rather bad bunions from too much ballet as a girl but very, very narrow heels. I'm talking AA and sometimes AAA heels. So I swear by heel grips. You can find them in clear gel or fabric coated. Or you can wear mules or slides if you don't like ankle straps on sandals.

  15. Consider this a plus one to the BodyGlide suggestion. And sandals. In the south, they're almost part of the dress code.

    I would also suggest carrying a shawl or light cardigan to any southern event where you're going to be both indoors and outdoors. I have a cotton/spandex cardigan that I refer to as my "portable sleeves." It's quite useful for going from the sweltering heat to the icy indoors. We really love our AC down here in the south.

  16. I'm going to second the suggestion for Lush's dusting powders. Their <a href="" title="Lush Silky Underwear>Silky Underwear</a> dusting powder is very smooth feeling and smells divine (very sexy starlet). A cheaper option is Johnson's Lavender and Chamomile pure cornstarch powder. It doesn't smell like standard baby powder.

    I'm no help for preventing blisters, but keep Bandaid blister cushions in my purse for when they appear.

  17. If baby powder smells too awckward then just body talc might do, if you can find any of your liking. I got body talc in very faint rose scent which I absolutely adore. Package is huge so it has lasted me years and years even though I use it every summer. I'm pretty sure there are all sorts of body talcs and powders available now-a-days.

  18. Oh yes, and popping the blister actually makes it heal faster. Skin under the blister doesn't start healing until it gets dry and it naturally doesn't get dry until the liquid comes out. But you have to make absolutely sure that you use loads of desinfection stuff when you pop and when you're done protect it with plaster. Otherwise it might get infected and that is nasty.

  19. I just want to say thank you for the lace under the straps idea. I may not be as well endowed as you, motherhood has not been kind to me, and bras are a necessity. I have alway had a bit of an issue with the duel strap showing. I'm am so excited to do some alterations to some of my dresses and tops!


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