FRIENDS!! Your replies to our birthday survey have left us all:
To the 102 (!!!!) of you who have already taken the time to respond: THANK YOU SO MUCH! Both the anecdotes and the data about likes, dislikes, and how you found us are _super_ helpful and we so appreciate you for sending them our way. As for the rest of you! We are going to be gathering replies tothis survey throughout the month, so head on over and share either an anecdote about how the newsletter has affected you, information about what you like about what we do, OR BOTH. We are preparing for the inevitable:
Sing Me a Song of A Dame Who Is Gone/Say Could That Dame Be I?
With Jaime, Claire, and their luxurious knitwear, there is an almost infinite amount to delight the eye in Outlander.
Based on the aforementioned survey results, it may be entirely redundant to note that Dame Margaret was on Pop Culture Happy Hour today, discussing Outlander, since so many of you seem to have found us through PCHH. HOWEVER, this episode was a particularly fun one that (1) also features beloved former Guest Dame Barrie Hardymon and (2) its discussions of the Starz show Outlander hits on a lot of subjects near and dear to this newsletter's heart: female desire and its problematic depictions in most media, nuanced love stories, beautiful people in gorgeous knitwear, Tobias Menzies, and more. Dame Sophie reports that it was a fun listen even though she does not watch the show discussed, but then it’s arguable that she loves Dame Margaret even more than you guys do, so your mileage on that suggestion may vary. A few links to pertinent things mentioned in the episode:
Here is The New York Times profile I mentioned of Ronald D. Moore (the show runner of Outlander) and his wife, Terry Dresbach, the show’s phenomenal costume designer. I would argue that their real-life creative partnership is as swoony as anything that happens between Jaime and Claire on the show.
Here are two hilarious and informative interviews with Terry about the show-stopping, breast-baring dress she made for Louis XV’s mistress, one with the quote “There’s not a store that sells pierced nipple jewelry with giant swans with pearl-encrusted eyes” and another that speaks more directly tothe historical research that Dresbach did when creating the dress.
And here is a link where you can pre-order the book I said was making me happy this week, The Wedding Date, by Jasmine Guillory (a #Damespal and future guest editor!). As noted on the show, it’s a warm, grounded love story about a black woman falling in love with a white man, where their respective jobs (chief of staff to the Mayor of Berkeley, CA and pediatrician) have real weight in the story, where their friends are well-rounded characters who matter to the plot, and where their chemistry is so believably rendered that it will leave you almost dizzy. The book does not come out until February, but if you order it now, it will arrive in the winter like a gift from your past self, and you will be so grateful. It’s the first book I have encountered that works as a good readalike for Lucy Parker’s excellent contemporary romances set among actors in London’s West End. if you love those books as I do, well, you have something new to look forward to! And if the description of this book sounds great, but you haven’t read Parker, you have something to tide you over until this book is widely available in February!
It really is absolutely spectacular.
Dame Margaret’s Konsumerism Korner: Buy Dresses So She Doesn’t Have To
Today, I am the computer and you, our beloved readers, are Cher.
As those of you who follow me on Twitter already know, I have a problematic addiction to the website eShakti, a purveyor of reasonably priced, beautifully made, and whimsically printed dresses. Since I spent this afternoon browsing their sale section instead of reading the links I'd hoped to share for the week, you are getting a round-up of my favorites from said sale. All cost less than $50 and all can be made custom to your personal measurements for an additional $9.95. I do not typically use the custom fitting-- too lazy to do my measurements-- but my straight size of a 14/16 usually works. If the dress is made from stretch fabric, or contains an elastic panel, I will got for a 14. If it does not, I opt for a 16-- something I buy very rarely in commercial stores, but something that fits me really well at eShakti. Their sale right now is particularly fruitful, so do browse around further-- my highlights are not comprehensive! eShakti has NOT paid this placement; their clothing just delighted my eye today and I felt like sharing. If you are entirely new to them, you should be able to register and receive a coupon for $25 off your purchase and free shipping. GOD SPEED AND GOOD LUCK!
If you want to buy a fully Dame Margaret Approved dress, this wonderful green maxi dress is one I myself own and it makes my boobs look so good that every time I wear it, I am irresistibly compelled to take at least 18 selfies in it. It Instagrams Beautifully.
Contrarily, if you want to taunt Margaret as much as possible, you should buy this floral striped maxi dress, for which she has been pining lo these many months, but which she can under no circumstances justify buying. It’s so lovely, though, and it would be wonderful to *sniff* see it go to a good home, or homes.
If you want a casually lovely fit-and-flare dress that would look perfect with a Dames-approved braid crown, this blue chambray dress with tulle accentsis sweet and pretty without ever being fussy.
For when you want to cosplay as someone who uses the word “summer” as a verb, how about this cool-toned linen shift dress?
If you are open to the powers or chartreuse and Mid-Century modern abstract prints, the fabric on this sweetheart necklined number looks particularly nice and the cut is impeccable.
If you’re looking for something a LITTLE EXTRA, in the style of our beloved son Harold Fashion, might I interest you in metallic brocade palazzo pantsor an autumnal floral jumpsuit? And, because we cannot mention Harry without our resident expert weighing in, Dame Sophie would like to add that these trousers, on clearance at Boden, are really well-made and exuberantly loud. Dame S. bought a pair feeling very empowered by the knowledge that a) they were just $30 in her colorway and b) Harry would approve.
But if you want to get the most of your eShakti purchase, you want to get yourself a WHIMSICAL PRINT. And BOY is there a bumper crop of great ones in the sale section right now. To wit:
A platonically ideal (and astonishingly elegant) halter dress covered in giraffes! (N.B. a normal bra can be worn with this as long as the straps are pretty enough that you don’t mind them peeking out-- I have this dress in a different fabric and it’s A++++)
If tropical prints are your thing, you can go full Trader Vic with this parrot-print dress or opt for something more restrained, like this palm-tree print that would be completely at home on the endpapers of a Children’s Illustrated Classics edition of Treasure Island.
Perhaps you’d like a Boden-esque print of TINY BUCKINGHAM PALACE GUARDS on a tie-neck shirt dress????
Dame Sophie’s Energy-Rationing Linkstravaganza
Do y’all mind if I just zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
My parents have a wonderful friend, Susan, whose mother was not really into the whole 1950s June Cleaver perfect housewife thing. So much so that one day after school, Susan & her siblings were delighted by her scattering a bunch of Hostess cakes on the kitchen table & cooing, “Look, children, Mother baked!” (Susan’s mom's carefree attitude: #GOALS) All of which is my slightly roundabout way of saying that this is going to be real brief because I am T I R E D this week and am saving my energy for the Harry Styles roundup below.
I’ve got some playlists for you! If you’re not ready to give up summer, please enjoy Half-Drunk on Rosé with your favorite beach read. If you, like Mr. Autumn Man, are ready to enfold fall in your loving embrace, try either the elegiac yet peppy Back to School OR Autumnal Ennui & Luxury.
Did you know that celery was the avocado toast of the Victorian Era? “It was fussy to grow and difficult to obtain—and this made it irresistible to the Victorian upper classes.” Ugh, same same same.
I don’t really like actually sugary soda or the Insane Clown Posse, but I am very, very into this story about how Faygo, a soda company founded by Russian Jewish immigrants, is integral to the Juggalos’ anti-Nazi, anti-fascist fandom.
There is so much seltzer news out there these days, it’s wild! I love seeing how popular The Jewish Champagne has become over the last couple of years. Flavors undreamed-of by my teen self are now readily available everywhere I look, and my greatest joy on Facebook is a seltzer aficionado group. Here’s some seltzer journalism I’ve spied recently:
Mixing La Croix and Booze: The Best Flavor Combinations
How Ranch Water Became the Unofficial Cocktail of West Texas
5 Spiked Seltzers That Will Make You Forget Your La Croix (In Town & Country? At some WASPy country club, Buffy & Miffy are simply agog.)
Drink Seltzer, Live Forever - no cheeky recipes here, this essay is just really moving.
This has been a YEAR for Robyn Rihanna Fenty. Winning Harvard’s Humanitarian Of The Year Award in February, leveling everyone at the Met Gala yet again, and now launching her eponymous Fenty Beauty line. Fenty Beauty was a project long in the works, but both the timing -- in the wake of L’Oreal firing their first Black trans model for speaking out about systemic racism -- and the line’s smart choice to create 40 shades of foundation for a wide variety of skin tones are particularly auspicious. She’s Elle UK’s cover star for October, and they’ve teased their cover story with a bit of Q&A between Riri and some of her famous fans. The following exchange between her and Laverne Cox illustrates how very practical she is, and puts her squarely in the running for the final competition of World’s Most Casually Brilliant Woman.
The Harold Herald
~*~ Being an occasional round-up of the antics of His Grace, Harold Elizabeth Styles, Esq., once & future of One Direction, presently of Dunkirk and his forthcoming international tour of small venues. ~*~
I’m not going to bury the lede, friends: I hypothesize that Harry is about to be memorialized forever as a car in John Green’s forthcoming novel,Turtles All The Way Down. Let me explain. BuzzFeed has furnishedthe first chapter of TATWD on their handy website. This chapter reveals that main character Aza and her friend Daisy have a guilty love for “brilliant and underappreciated boy band”, also referring to them as “the infallible boys in the world’s greatest pop group”. Come on. That’s a very clear dog whistle to Directioners, who love to talk about the boys and their excellence.
Aza’s most prized possession is her car, a Mystic Teal Mica Toyota Corolla named Harold. Aza spent all $400 of her life savings on getting Harold roadworthy after years of him sitting in the garage, "so, in a way, Harold was the culmination of my whole being, at least financially speaking. And I loved him. I dreamed about him quite a lot. He had an exceptionally spacious trunk, a custom-installed, huge white steering wheel, and a backseat bench clad in pebble-beige leather. He accelerated with the gentle serenity of the Buddhist Zen master who knows nothing really needs to be done quickly, and his brakes whined like metal machine music, and I loved him."
Please consider the above, view the reasonably characterized as Mystic Teal Mica suit below & tell me this is not a 1D/Harry shout-out. Sorry, you can't. Everyone loves Harry, none can resist, not even America's biggest-selling YA author.
In other news, as he prepares to head out on tour later this month, Harry appeared on Jonathan Ross’s chat show last weekend to be razzed about his freakishly good looks, play a silly game, and perform Two Ghosts. He’s due to appear on Smallzy’s Surgery, a hugely popular Australian radio show, on Monday.
Harry’s lovely yellow suit on Jonathan Ross’ show has led the world to realize that he is a tall & gentle Human Daffodil. Obviously, William Wordsworth was a time traveler who tried to alert the entire 19th century of the time when Harry would sally forth. We just weren’t ready to understand the full message, ALAS.
This week included a very important International Holy Day for our people, the anniversary of the Poutine Routine, in which Harry waxed first rhapsodic, and then increasingly giddy on the subject of the magic combination of cheese curds, gravy, & fries from the stage at a 1D show in Montreal. It really must be seen to be believed. It really must be seen, period.
And! Look ahead to November, when the one-hour solo special Harry taped with his buddy, Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw, will air on BBC 1! We will share GIFs and video as soon as they're available.
This couture-draped scamp.
Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth,
though it does make a great shade for a suit.