Valentine's Day is just around the corner, so this is your last chance to decide if you're going to A) dress like a hooker, B) succumb to the obligatory dinner and chocolates, or C) say screw it and hide indoors. No matter what you choose, we'll show you how to make it memorable. Plus, we rag on celebrity swag, Buy Clueless tackles the age-old quandary of how to look hot while fishing, and we share the inside scoop on a Black History Month fashion show. It's a sinful Buy Curious!
STYLEFILE We turned to a few knowledgeable locals to find out what sure-fire fashions are most likely to seduce (your partner) or induce (feelings of tremendous satisfaction, in the knowledge that you're so damn hot and sexy that you're clearly single by choice. Who could possibly stack up?)
Oh, and a fun fact that should perhaps make you reconsider doling out for a card this year: The Greeting Card Association estimates that women snap up more than three-quarters of all V-Day cards. Kind of depressing ï¿½ until we remember that ï¿½ duh! That's because men are so darn creative that they often spend hours concocting fabulous cards replete with such enormous quantities of love and passion that they nearly knock us off our feet. How could we possibly forget?
But back to our mission: We skipped over Victoria's Secret, not only because we like to shop local but because really, who the hell wants to pull on lingerie in a cramped dressing room with crappy lighting after gazing at the montages of Giselle & Co. that are splashed throughout the store? Not us.
Down at Lulu's There's nothing more original ï¿½ and cheaper ï¿½ than going vintage for V-Day.
"Leopard print brings the animal in all of us out!" ï¿½ Heather Jewett, sales associate, who hopes to be wearing this jumpsuit on the big night.
"Wear a hot pink peek-a-boo nightie and red lipstick." ï¿½ Tina Lucchesi, co-owner
A Diva's Closet This sassy downtown Oakland boutique is definitely worth a peak ï¿½ and who could pass up the chance to sit on a giant plush leopard print stiletto chair?
"It's sexy and comfortable ï¿½ and it's 20 percent off!" ï¿½ Gert Hays, owner, who swears by the Honeydew-brand underwear
Britches At this unexpected Piedmont Ave. treasure chest, sales associate and lingerie buyer Michelle dished the dirt on what men fork over their cash for. (Hint: it's not the opaque cami and panty set you think will cover your tiny pooch of a stomach. Think minimalistic!)
"I've never had anyone be disappointed by this," Michelle says of a black crotchless fishnet body stocking with a scoop neck and long sleeves. Buy Curious (who up until now have been quite fond of pricey French lace lingerie) was intrigued. "But be careful putting it on ï¿½ it snags easily." Guys also love the red lace, halter-neck singlet (of sorts), and anything with a cherry-print pattern, like thigh-highs or ruffled underwear.
Something else that flies off the racks? A trampy-at-first-glance but surprisingly- sexy-upon-closer-inspection satiny red thong with a cascade of rhinestones (and little else) across the back. Michelle says that she wore a similar pair for a boyfriend once, and a year after they broke up she got a call from him asking if Britches still carried them. "He wanted to buy a pair for his new girlfriend," says Michelle, who was happy to let him know when the next shipment arrived.
Heather also doled out a tip for garter newbies: skip the underwear. And that bodystocking? Layer over it ï¿½ a ruffly elastic mini-skirt, for instance ï¿½ and never, ever forget the sky-high heels.
SHOP TALK More Valentine's Shopping Options
As mentioned above, A Diva's Closet is offering 20 percent off their selection of practical yet sexy Honeydew lingerie, including lacey boy-shorts and exotic animal prints, now through Friday, February 16. While you're at it, pick up a bottle of their scrumptiously-scented body cream, or one of their colorful kimono tops. And in case you're still looking for a date to impress, the Oakland boutique is also sponsoring a speed-dating event on Valentine's at the Silk Road Lounge. Call (510) 836-6600 for more info. Where: A Diva's Closet, 383 17th St., Oakland
Having trouble deciding how much is enough? Hush has convenient Jimmy Jane Valentine gift sets, sure to please even the most fickle lover. Each set comes with a special soy wax candle, Ember, which melts into a rich massage oil; fragrances Wit (to spark conversation), Charm (to seduce), and Kink (to stimulate); plus Wink, a suede mask with a long silk tie. Sounds good to us! But hurry, these gifts are only available today through Sunday, February 11. If that's a little too forward for your mate, the Walnut Creek boutique also has some charming, delicate gold jewelry from St. Kilda.
Where: Hush, 1354 N. Main St., Walnut Creek
Need super-strength seduction? Head over to Elmwood's newest lingerie store, Ce Soir. Whether you're looking for ultra-seductive French styles from Aubade, lace undies from Hanky Panky, or naughtier looks from Spoylt (like this tool belt?), you're sure to find something to make the occasion memorable.
Where: 2980 College Ave., Suite 2A, Berkeley
Because one bra-and-panty set is not enough: Find more French lingerie, loungewear, and fragrances at A La Folie, including lines like Christian Lacroix and Nina Ricci. Where: A La Folie, 1816 4th St., Berkeley
If your idea of romance is a good night's sleep, check out the pajama party possibilities at Jammies Sleepwear. Where: 2284 Fulton St., Berkeley
Fashion Rewind for Black History Month The girls and boys of Youth Uprising's modeling class will be strutting down the runway for the third annual "Say It Loud," an Afro/hip-hop/'70s fashion show extravaganza. Produced by Mario B (their teacher, mentor, and all-around fashion diva), the event promises fly fashion and confident youths strutting their stuff. Check it out for just $10. When: Sat., Feb. 10, doors at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Where: The Black Repertory Group Theater, 3201 Adeline St., Berkeley
FASHANALYSIS: STYLE NEWS & VIEWS
One of the great, stinging ironies of being a celebrity is that while you're already making oodles of money, jet-setting around the world, partying every night with other hot people in VIP, and your biggest worry being what couture dress to throw on next, you also get tons of free, expensive shit. If that isn't tragic, I don't know what is. Since the IRS started to crack down on celebrity swag (it's taxable income, you know), the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said it would stop doling out its golden gift baskets to its Oscar presenters. And surprise, surprise, that hasn't stopped a damn thing. We've got an idea: why don't they make tax-deductible donations to the swag-needy? Just sayin'...
BUY CLUELESS: HOW TO REEL HIM IN?
Dear Buy Curious,
I'm going camping next weekend in the mountains, where temperatures will dip down to freezing. Since I live in the Bay Area, I don't exactly have clothes for such frigid weather, not to mention anything remotely stylish. I'll also be poke-pole fishing (using a long pole to poke into holes for fish that hide), so I'm going to be wearing waders ï¿½ those rubber boot thingys that stop practically at the armpit. My question is this: is it possible to look somewhat cute in arctic and wet conditions without catching pneumonia? Here's the other thing: I'm going with a male neighbor who I have quasi-romantic feelings for. I'm trying not to think too much about what may or may not happen, but who know? The bottom line is: I don't want to look like I'm too eager, nor do I want to look like an amorphous blob. Have any affordable recommendations of where to go or what to buy? P.S. Contrary to what a prior column of yours espoused, I love tucking my jeans into boots, and I also wear button-down shirts. Am I really a fashion catastrophe?
Hopefully Not Buy Clueless
Dear Hopefully Not,
Good news first: if you're even questioning the sex appeal of waders, then you're certainly not clueless. And jeans tucked into boots can indeed work on some people ï¿½ we'll just assume you're one of them. It's when the masses start doing it that all hell breaks loose in goodtasteland. Now the bad news: creating a sexy look around waders is no easy feat unless you're comfortable fishing in a bikini, a la the models in the Women in Waders calendar that our colleague has displayed in his cubicle. And as it seems frigid temperatures are one of your concerns, going the skimpy route is not an option. Still, with a little resourcefulness, you can pull it off. Accessories are key here. If you're wearing an overall-style get-up, cinching your waist with a belt will make you look more svelte than snow-suited. Think simple, like a canvas or ribbon belt that weaves through double rings or a flat metal buckle in the front ï¿½ you know, the kind you used to wear when you were a kid. Another option is to wear a cute hat ï¿½ something that accentuates your eyes, say, rather than flops down over them. Outdoors companies are increasingly making stuff just for womenï¿½you can buy a killer pink vest, for instance, at Char Bloom, an online outlet started by a female fisher who hated anteing up big bucks for ugly clothes.
Another way to catch his eye is to wear a bikini top that ties at your neck beneath your top, so that it peaks out just a bit. You'll have him wondering, "Why on earth is she in a bikini?" and when he asks, you can reply something along the lines of, "Well, I was hoping I could peel off my clothes and just hop into a hot tub later." Uttering the words "hot tub" will help you determine if he's interested or not. If he's not, he'll say, "Oh, okay," and he'll be thinking, "What a whack she is!" If he is interested, he'll say, "Oh, right, I think there's a hot tub place on the way to the hotel ... oh, wait, I didn't tell you this was going to be an overnight trip, did I? Well, is that okay?" And he'll be thinking, "Man, am I lucky!"
But ultimately, your best chance of reeling him in ï¿½ if you decide you want to ï¿½ is to have a good time. Don't bitch about being cold. Don't complain that your hair is getting all tangly in the wind. Don't wince when you kill a fish by whatever means you pole-pokers use to kill them. Swig a beer with him, make him laugh, impress him with your sunny disposition and willingness to muck about. Because chances are good that ultimately, he won't even notice what you're wearing.
Forever Yours in Fishing and Fashion,
Has a shopping or style quandary been eating away at you for months? Send your query to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every Friday, Buy Curious posts photos of the fashion fabulous of the East Bay, as well as news on store openings, closings, new items, and sales. We want to hear from you! Tips? Send them to us! ï¿½ Lauren Gard and Kathleen Richards
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