In Style I

The August issue of In Style fell into my hands at a recent trip to the manicurist. (I forgot my rule – reading material, never leave home without it.) I was actually reading about extending the manicure when I had to put down the magazine. But I had read enough to find good advice, fun stuff and some truly wacky ideas that I decided to spend the $5 and buy one for my very own. So while I’m beating my brains out on various projects I’ll blog my experiments with hair, nails, etc. I’ve got to buy a few things – a very few things. This is an experiment-free installment.

Usually I flip through magazines from back to front. For some reason I started this one from the front, and the first thing that caught my eye was the reader poll. The question: “Do you play by the rules?” The topics involved makeup, clothing, jewelry and etiquette.

Here’s my take on the rules and the readers’ answers:

  • Never wear white to a wedding. More than three-quarters of the readers said they follow the rule. I agree with the majority unless you are the flower girl, in which case you’re too young to be reading In Style.
  • Attend “a cocktail party or formal affair” in flats. More than two-thirds break the rule. I didn’t know it was a rule, but if it is, I concur. The dissenters seem to think that all heels are uncomfortable and that one can’t “dress up” without them. Wrong.
  • Apply lipstick in public. A whopping eight-four percent break the rule. I don’t wear lipstick (or as they call it lip “color”) except at Halloween. I thought that touching up was the only “grooming” permitted a lady in public and she only did it at the dinner table following a meal.
  • Matching accessories. An even greater eighty-nine percent “freestyle.” Again, I didn’t know it was a rule, and I don’t own enough accessories to match shoes, handbags, belt and jewelry. Even some of the outfits in the magazine broke this rule, for goodness sake.
  • That eighty-nine percent tied with the eighty-nine on whether women over thirty should wear miniskirts. Again, this is a rule?! Did they take a look at Angelina Jolie? Or even on their own pages, Courteney Cox? The line used to be “the legs are the last thing to go,” which means you flaunt them as long as possible. I seem to remember some designer (Isaac Mizrahi?) saying women should shorten, not lengthen, their skirts.
  • I was disappointed in the ratings to what I regard as the most important poll item: “A proper thank-you not is handwritten, never e-mailed.” Sixty-six percent of respondents said they follow it: “Taking the time to write, seal, stamp and mail is the ultimate expression of true gratitude.” The thirty-four percent who e-mail said it’s “the new norm.” I beg to differ. Good manners are always the norm, and if someone has gone to the trouble to purchase a gift, prepare a meal, play hostess, or whatever, she deserves a handwritten note at the very least. The only time I would say an email is acceptable is if the gift or whatever is also electronic – i.e. an e-birthday card, or an e-book. In then end suppose, though, some acknowledgment is better than none. My mother, who was my arbiter in all things etiquette, would concur.
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