Long Live the Mademoiselle Makeover!

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Prudence Baird, Style | 18 Comments

She waves her ink-filled wand and…poof! From frumpy to fabulous! Marvel at Prudence’s dedication to the magic of the makeover.

Like an annoying jingle that—with the right prompt—goes viral in a neural nanosecond, there’s a bit of pop culture ephemera skulking near the surface of my gray matter, ready to be triggered any time a certain visual cue crosses my line of sight.

And what, you might ask, is that cue? I’ll give you a hint: Drab to fab.

Yes, I’m talking about the legendary “Mademoiselle Makeover,” a regular installment of the now defunct Mademoiselle magazine, that glossy monthly that competed with Glamour and Seventeen magazines for smart young ladies’ attention for 66 years before it finally folded in 2001.

Maybe you can relate if you, like me, were a devotee of the column that featured normal-looking (okay, somewhat dowdy) young women, who, with the help of the Mademoiselle fashion and beauty editors (and products from the magazine’s advertisers) morphed into beauties from their former beastly selves. This monthly step-by-step narrative implied that behind every lumpy Plain Jane lurked a paint-by-numbers Anne Hathaway-like princess yearning to emerge from her cocoon and fly off to a new-and-improved life on gossamer wings.

The message: Magic can happen; all you need is the right makeover! Read more

Could Gray Hair Be My Silver Lining?

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Cathy Fischer, Reinvention, Style | 29 Comments

December 2007, photo by Michel Bocande

December 2007, photo by Michel Bocande

Cathy Fischer’s third and final installment of her “hair trilogy”

I thought of writing about a topic other than my hair, but my dear friend and chemo companion Wendy (who accompanied me to all four treatments, where we’d yak for a few hours, leaf through magazines, then go out for a fabulous lunch) insisted that I update those who are anxiously waiting to know if I’ve gone gray or returned to being a slave to color.

First, a quick recap/update:

In January, I posted “Wigging Out” which chronicled my going from hirsute to hairless, in just three days. It started when my hair began falling out after my first chemo treatment for breast cancer. I shaved my head, preemptively, to avoid the horror-induced depression of finding clumps of hair on my pillow or even worse, having a head resembling the cruelest of all male baldness patterns—the Franciscan monk look.

In hindsight, the quote about the “joy” of being hairless was true. It was a relief not having to shave or pluck, cut or color, for a few months. I’m pretty sure that most of the money I saved on hair maintenance went directly to shoe purchases. “Do what makes you feel good” was my motto, which often manifested itself in the form of new shoes, dry vodka martinis or extra crispy french fries. Read more

What Not to Wear

Filed Under All Posts, Connie Stetson, Humor, Media, Pop Culture, Style | 13 Comments

I was standing in the grocery store line the other day perusing magazine headlines: “Madonna Gives Birth to Satan’s Love Child,” “Brad and Angelina Adopt Cat,” “Bulimic Brittany Barfs Barrels—Spagos Diners Disgusted,” when something so mind-boggling, so shocking caught my eye, I gasped.  Glamour magazine’s cover page, in all its glossy glory headlined, “What to Wear at 20, 30, 40, to be Your Sexy Best.”  I was aghast.  All I could think of was when did it happen?  When did I fall off the fashion radar?  What about MEEEEE?????

It hadn’t occurred to me that I would be facing this dilemma so soon.  I’m standing at the crossroads of Juicy Couture and Talbot’s.  I’m pretty clear that at my age wearing the word “JUICY” on my ass is just false advertising, but I’m also not ready for the muumuus and leisure wear that I see in the next department, and I sure as hell don’t want to look like a Republican, all coiffed and suited up so tight I squeak. Read more

Gumby is Fuzzy

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Humor, Style | 12 Comments

Gumby dans la douche

I’ll admit it. I need reading glasses.

It took some time for me acknowledge this publicly. A few years back, this was the scenario: I’d be out to dinner at a dimly lit restaurant. It was bad enough that I couldn’t hear (that’s the fashion these days, over-packed rooms with hard surfaces feigning a ‘happening’ atmosphere), but I couldn’t see, either. Casually trying to hold the menu a few inches away, then farther, a bit farther, finally at arms length—didn’t fool anyone. While my girlfriends of a similar age would whip out their fashionable specs, I would scoff because at age 48, I was still able read the fine print, in the perfect light, that is. But alas, I got older and Gumby got fuzzy. Read more

Older Models In Demand

Filed Under All Posts, Carine Fabius, Media, Pop Culture, Style | 6 Comments


The Los Angeles Times recently published an article about a new trend in the fashion world: a booming demand for older models—meaning 35 and older—for magazine spreads, and advertisers looking to reel in the aging boomer population. That’s us, folks.

The market for these older fashion goddesses is so hot that a former supermodel just endowed with a graduate degree in psychology decided to put off practicing psychotherapy in favor of the ever-so-fulfilling art of auditioning. Talk about going backwards. But, that’s just me being judgmental. The money’s probably a lot better, if you can get it. Plus, I think it’s a fine idea. “After all,” the author of the piece says, “what middle-aged woman wants to buy moisturizer from a model who’s too young to order a martini?” Indeed. Read more

Why Pet Boutiques Get My Goat

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Humor, Rants, Style | 506 Comments

Coach cashmere sweater $148

Coach cashmere sweater, $148

I love my 14-year old cat Cleo. She’s the sweetest, softest, most sensitive little creature on the planet. She demands little except for the basics: food, affection and having her bottom smacked firmly and often. I can understand how people become pet-obsessed—especially when they don’t have kids. But really, Coach collars and Gucci leashes? Quilted handmade booties? I just don’t get it!

From L.A. to New York, Chicago to Austin, beautifully appointed pet boutiques are popping up in the most fashionable parts of town. We’re talking a $30 billion dollar annual industry here, with a projected growth rate of 5 percent—all this while food shortages are occurring around the globe. Not to mention people going hungry right here in the U.S.! Hullo? Is anyone home? Read more