Hello Sunshines <3
You know what made this garbage week easier to deal with? Something that, if we just said it aloud, might sound like a very gentle Real-Person Fiction, namely: What if hardworking actor Daniel Radcliffe spent a few days at the New Yorker offices, working as a fact-checker as he researched his role in The Lifespan of a Fact, which opened recently on Broadway?
Wonder no longer, Dames Nation, for Harry Potter himself did just that last month, and the results are a soothing balm. Behold, the world-famous young actor behaving like a very down-to-earth professional, intent on learning something to improve his craft! Witness, the New Yorker craftily smuggling a restaurant review into a Shouts & Murmurs piece! Be wowed by how much attention to detail goes into high-quality fact-checking! And then! Feel the cockles of your heart being warmed to a soothing toastiness when you learn that the one person young Dan wanted to meet during his brief tenure was veteran political reporter Jane Mayer, currently most famous for her collaborative work with Ronan Farrow on stories about powerful men behaving very, very badly.
Your Dames are pure suckers for diligence, sweetness, and good priorities. Radcliffe appears to embody all three & we can only say: bless his shining head.
Bossy Review: We Love Colors Tights & Socks
Tights warm enough for an ocean-side photoshoot in the autumn dusk and pretty enough to be worth photographing!
Earlier this fall, Dame Margaret had to accept a harsh reality: the random Turkish hosiery boutique, which sprouted like a magical mushroom in Harvard Square 6 years ago and disappeared 3 years later just as suddenly, was never coming back, and she would have to find a new tights supplier to replace the only company whose wares she’d ever truly loved. SO, she did as she always does -- she took to Twitter to see which brands her savvy followers recommended, and We Love Colors won in a landslide. So, we reached out to them, and they were kind enough to send each of Your Dames a few pairs to try out and review.
I live my life in glorious technicolor, breathtaking cinemascope, and stereophonic sound and I really wanted tights that could keep up. I almost never wear black, so most commercially available Actually Good Tights don’t work for me-- the higher the denier (thickness of the nylon), the fewer colors available. You can maybe get a navy, if you’re lucky. And as a person who is both short and round, finding tights that work with my dimensions can often be hard-- if they’re wide enough at the waist, they’re often too big all over. If they fit my smaller legs, then they’re constantly sagging at the crotch, and rolling down at the waist. I am someone who wears dresses and skirts year-round, but also live in a very cold climate, so I need the tights to be thick and warm. Finally, I’m also someone who is careless with her belongings and not possessed of the wealth necessary to replace things constantly, so the tights needed to be sturdy.
When it comes to tights, I keep it really simple: I only wear black tights (yes, even paired with skirts & dresses in all the shades I love. All of my year-round shoes are black and I like my legs to match my feet), they have to be matte & opaque, they have to stay up, and they have to wear like iron. I am round & tall (well, at 5’7”, maybe tall-ish is more accurate), which makes finding a workable size pretty easy.
My steady go-to for the last decade, meeting all of the above criteria, have been Assets by Spanx Original Shaping Tights. I pick up a few pairs at Target every couple of years and wear them until they wear out, which is every couple of years. They’re very serviceable, but I don’t have any feelings about them. Over time, the control-top feature (which, at its strongest is more smoothing than binding, even at the waist) relaxes and the gusset at the crotch usually goes before the toe seam or any other area. At that point, I throw them out and start again. Suits me! But I’m not so brand-loyal that I can’t imagine wearing anything else.
Enter We Love Colors. We loved the options available (51 colors! Splash colors!) and were particularly impressed with the range of sizes they provide (for example, Size EE in their Plus Sized Nylon/Lycra tights fits wearers up to 6’0” and up to 375 lbs-- and options for men as well!). We loved that they’re a small, family-owned company, who do a portion of their manufacturing here in the US. Sophie didn’t have use for the amazing color range in tights (though if they are looking to bring back the lurex tights, she could go for a silvery black or maybe a silvery midnight blue. Maybe), so she happily test-drove black tights in the Solid Microfiber Nylon/Lycra Tights and the aforementioned Nylon/Lycra Tights-- and liked the former so much that she went back immediately and bought a few pairs of the Microfiber Socks in Emerald, Medium Blue, and Orchid Pink. Margaret, color-fiend that she is, test-drove four pairs of the Solid Microfiber Nylon/Lycra Tights-- in Medium Blue, Olive, Brown, and Rust (pictured above)-- so that she could get an idea of how the colors compared to their online representations, and make certain that quality didn’t vary from color to color.
Hello, my pretties! Here we are, instinctively matching the Royal Wedding’s jewel tones!
We Your Dames found both the tights and the socks excellent for three-season wear: they’re comfortable, hard-wearing, and are just the right thickness to wear with snug shoes. The colors in person are very loyal to how they’re represented on the site and often truly beautiful-- Margaret was complimented on hers incessantly as she traipsed up and down the eastern seaboard last month. Despite our differences in height, both of us found the 1X-4X size perfect-- throughout the course of the day, the tights do need to be pulled up, but much less frequently than with many brands. They’re listed as preferring handwashing, but Sophie has been slinging both socks and tights in the wash in a mesh bag on cold and air drying them, and they are 100% fine. No pilling, no stretching, no incipient runs. They are-- dare Margaret say it???-- even better than the Turkish tights that had previously been her gold standard. And
Sophie’s been wearing the socks as she breaks in a new pair of clogs, and might go absolutely wild with some splash prints in her next sock order (she’s more of an argyle girl, historically, but who knows what’s possible now that she’s down this rabbit hole?). Their description says they’re the same fabric as the Microfiber Tights, but they feel a little less heavyweight than that, somewhere between the Microfiber tights and the Nylon/Lycra tights. But, much like the microfiber tights, they feel sturdy and comfortable and have held up to heavy wear quite beautifully.
The Nylon/Lycra tights (the variety available in explicitly labelled plus-sizes, despite the fact that the microfiber tights come in a size 5X-8X) were also totally comfortable, and stayed up without any awkward adjusting, but they’re a lighter-weight fabric, so they’re a bit more sheer than we like. Bottom line: because we’re so hard on tights, we were concerned they’ll need replacing sooner. They are still good-- particularly for people where the climate is warm year-round. But we did not like them as well as the microfiber tights, and cannot recommend them quite as unreservedly.
And Now, For a Little More of the Same!
A good recommendation is a little bit of everyday magic, you know?
If you think tights is where our product bossy begins and ends, you’re in for a pleasant surprise! We decided to each share a selection from our most recent issue for paid subscribers, in which we copycatted one of our favorite features from The Strategist, What [Insert Celebrity] Can’t Live Without. Top-notch everyday faves in categories ranging from skincare to cardigans to footwear to YouTube channels! If you want to read the whole thing, please do upgrade to a paid subscription, and if you’re happy enough with one portion from each of our lists, here you go!
Dame Sophie’s Strategies for Living in A Corporeal Prison
The exact opposite of Dame Sophie’s hopes and dreams, re: corporeality.
As longtime readers of this newsletter know, I have a love-hate relationship with being forced to live in an unreliable corporeal form and occasionally long for the day when my consciousness can exist in an elegant, self-propelled jar of some kind. But since I am both trapped in this gradually-failing meatbag and am almost hilariously vain for someone blessed with completely ok looks, I have a lot of thoughts and recommendations regarding skincare, health, and bodily comfort. Let’s go!
I 100% concur with Margaret regarding the pleasures of snooping on friends’ shower products, for that is how Bioderma’s Atoderm shower oil entered my life in July thanks to DamesPal Kamille’s good offices, and it is life-changingly good. It feels like a dream and is super-moisturizing, to the point that I didn’t need to apply a secondary moisturizer to my arms & legs once this entire summer, yet it rinses clean away. My skin is so hydrated, it’s practically bouncy. You know how Caity Weaver described Kim Kardashian’s boob in that GQ profile a few years ago? That’s how my entire body feels, all the time. It’s amazing, and I want that for you.
The indignity of managing skin that is both aging and acne-prone is a real bastard. Oh, and also, I’m super-pasty. Thank you, Eastern European & Irish ancestors! This winter, I set about breaking myself of the expensive habit of being devoted to Shiseido’s Urban Defense Shield sunscreen. It’s an infuriatingly good product, since for me, it functions as both a sunscreen and a skin treatment, keeping shine down and actually helping zits heal. I attribute this to its high zinc content. That’s great, but $34 for 1 oz was just too much to justify for a daily-use product, so I went in search of a dupe and quickly found recommendations for Etude House’s whimsically named powerhouse Sunprise Mild Airy Finish sunscreen. Guess what? It’s 90% as good for about one quarter of the price. SOLD. Then Nicole Cliffe mentioned it in her newsletter a few months ago & I immediately bought a two-pack as a bulwark against a sudden shortage. It goes on a liiiittle chalky, but on my pasty face, that disappears within a minute or two.
I am extremely #blessed to have both chronic allergies and some scar tissue inside one of my nostrils, so that I’m at least a little bit congested all of the time (I know, so hot!). As a result, I have become expert at keeping those nasal passages clear with a combo pack of generic Flonase, Extra-Strength Breathe-Right Strips, and my true love, saline nasal spray. By using saline nasal spray regularly, I keep my nasal passages hydrated and that nasal mucus flowing instead of drying & shriveling up into horrible nose-stalactites (again: I know, I am the literal sexiest!). It’s such a help, and absolutely essential in the wintertime.
For bodily aches & pains, I’m working my way up to a foam roller but while I’m in this liminal space, I rely my Zensufu Acupressure Mat & Pillow. Now, I grant you, that mat and pillow look like torture devices but they are actually so helpful and restorative. Just...don’t brush against them or scootch around once you’ve placed yourself on them. You have to lie down on them and stay there, and then lift yourself up when you’re done using them.
Dame Margaret’s Single Must Buy, and A Few Fresh, Fun Links
A gif related to the BEST correction Margaret saw all week.
In April, I did a very foolish thing. I walked into Sephora and asked to find a cheaper dupe of a fancy moisturizer I’d fallen in love with via free sample. The well-trained sales lady took one look at me and said “Okay, but first I’d like to do something about your facial redness.” She lovingly took my elbow, steered me to a new aisle, and dabbed a $52 cream on my face, instantly taking my skin from its usual state of flirting-with-rosacea redness to a smooth, even color-- the much-lauded “no-makeup makeup” look. And then, having engendered in me a deep and insatiable need for a NEW product I couldn’t afford, recommended an only marginally more affordable dupe for the one I’d come in seeking. THANKFULLY, I resisted Sephora’s Siren Call and managed to find the same product on Amazon for only $28-- which is how Dr. Jart’s Cicapair Derma Green Recover Cream became the last thing I put on my face as I head out the door every morning. It’s green in the jar, but transforms to beige on the face, leaving it somewhere above a color-correcting primer and below a tinted moisturizer. It’s a Korean skincare line, so the tint can work on a range of skintones, from my WASPy pallor to a medium beige, but I don’t think it would work on anything darker than that, so try it in store if you’re at all concerned. It’s thick enough that only a very small amount is necessary each day to create the illusion of perfectly even skin I so enjoy-- my 0.5 ounce jar has lasted nearly 3 months. However, Sephora might have the last laugh, because they are presently selling both a travel-size kit of Dr. Jart’s whole Cicapair line (including the Camo Drops, which Certified Skincare Expert Nicole Cliffe recommended as a dewy-finish version of the Recover Cream) for just $36 and a full-size jar for PLUS a half-dozen trial-sized versions of all Dr. Jart’s other best-sellers for $52 and I am… mightily tempted by both.
And, in addition to this purchasing recommendation, let me share a trio of great profiles about some of the 21st centuries best pop stars:
From my Sister-in-Arms-Thrown-Up-to-Roséwave Lyndsey McKenna comes this delightful meditation on our dearly beloved Carly Rae Jepsen, and what pop stardom looks like when it’s affirmed mainly by memes.
Then, from The New York Times, a piece on Robyn, the pop star who paved the way for like… 80% of our favorite pop of the last 15 years, and her quiet iconoclasm. If you don’t know about how she went from a Max Martin-molded one hit wonder to Sweden’s greatest pop star, you really have to read this one. ONLY ONE WEEK UNTIL HER NEW ALBUM!!
Two Bossy Dames is brought to you by:
Chris Evan’s continued attempts to murder us with feelings,
And the blessed arrival of Chillian J. Yikes season!
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