What to Wear: Accessory-Making for Wonderland

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 2, 2014 by chifferobeevents

-By Melissa Freitas, Chifferobe TropiGal

In just a few weeks, Chifferobe will work their collective magic and welcome guests as they tumble down the rabbit hole and into this year’s annual gala at the Providence Public Library: Wonderland – Through the Looking Glass. With just a few weeks to go before this very important date, there’s no time to waste in planning your ensemble! To help you along, TropiGal Melissa Freitas has teamed up with the Tweedle Dee to her Tweedle Dum, Joelle Burdette of SparkleJ Designs, and whipped up a few craft tutorials for items that will add some Wonderland flair to your look.

You’re Such a Card! Fascinator

Supplies:

  • Playing cards
  • Single hole punch
  • Paper fasteners
  • Hot glue
  • Pipecleaners
  • 1inch of ribbon that is about ½ inch wide
  • Rhinestones, feathers, and additional ribbon

 

Step 1:Select three cards from the deck. Choose two to form the front of the fascinator. Line them up so the outside corners overlap. (They should line up in a way that forms a heart shape.) Punch a hole in the cards, about ¼ of the way in from the pointed part of the heart.

 

Step 2:Add some glue to the back of the card that will form the top layer of the heart. Carefully line up the cards and glue them together so they’re still making that heart shape. Allow to dry.

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Step 3:Take one of the paper fasteners and pass the tabs through the hole. (The tabs should be on the back side of your work.) Arrange the tabs into a V-shape and glue them down.

 

Step 4:Take the third card and center it behind the cards you’ve already glued together. Rather than perfectly lining up all the points of the cards, let the center card come up a bit higher than the others. Glue this card into position and let dry.

 

Step 5: Grab one of the pipecleaners and twist the ends together. Pinch the loop together in the middle and squish along the length so they’re fairly close together. Place the pipecleaners so that they run horizontally across the back of your cards. (They shouldn’t be visible, so you may have to untwist them and trim them down.)  Once you have the right size, secure them with some glue, and then glue down the short piece of ribbon over them for extra stability.

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Step 6:In a recent conversation Chifferobe director Kristen Minsky said to me, “sometimes it’s the bling that makes the thing.” Wiser words have never been spoken. Grab your rhinestones, ribbon, and whatever else you have on hand and go to town! I kept things pretty simple here, but feel free to let your imagination run wild! Just be sure to keep in mind the weight of whatever embellishments you decide to add on.

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To wear: Bend the pipe cleaners so they work like a mini-headband. Secure the pipecleaners with bobby pins.

 

Painting the Roses Red Fascinator

Supplies:

  • White silk flowers (The number and size are up to you!)
  • Scissors or wire cutters
  •  A pen
  • Red acrylic paint
  • 1 paintbrush
  • Clear-drying adhesive
  • Red glitter
  • Spray sealant
  • Hot glue

 

Step 1: If your flowers have long stems, cut them down so they’re only two or three inches long. Leaving on a bit of the stem makes it easier to handle the flowers, and some gals like to use the stem to help anchor flowers in their hair. If you’re not keen on keeping the stem, you can always trim it off after you’re done.

 

Step 2:Carefully remove the plastic base from your flowers, set it aside and take the flower apart, layer by layer. As I went along, I put a teeny number in the center of each piece so I would know how to reassemble it.

 

Step 3: Get your red paint and let out your inner Jackson Pollock! Remember, the cards were stopped in the middle of their attempt to paint the roses red, so don’t aim for perfection; leaving some parts of the petals unpainted as well as a few streaks or splotches will add to the overall look of the piece.  Once you’re done painting, set all of the pieces aside to dry. (See manufacturer’s instructions for drying time).

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Step 4: If there’s one thing that consistently makes the list of the TropiGals’ favorite things, it’s glitter, so  grab some and get your sparkle on! Mix some glue and glitter until you achieve a density that you like. Use a clean paintbrush to add glitter over the areas you painted red. Keep in mind that you might need more than one coat of glitter to achieve the desired level of sparkleosity. Set aside to dry.

 

Step 5:Fire up your glue gun and get ready to put everything together. Place the plastic base on the stem, add a bit of glue to the center, and add the first layer of petals. Continue to stack the pieces in order and  secure each round with a bit of glue. Once the glue is dry, trim down the stem if you like. Give the flowers a quick coat of spray sealant to help set the glitter. Let it dry and you’re done!

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To wear: Secure by bobby pinning the bottom layer of petals to your hair.

 

 

Tea Time Alice Band

Supplies:

 

  • One or more craft flowers, the flatter the better
  • Tea time miniatures – tea cup and spoon, tiny cakes (!), tray
  • Tea themed fabric
  • Needle and thread
  • Hot glue

 

Prepare the flower:

If the flower won’t sit flat on the headband, take apart its layers and hot glue them back together, omitting the bits that were making it stick up. You can even discard the center of the flower because you’re just going to cover it up anyway.

 

Prepare tea tray:

Hot glue your miniatures together in any arrangement you like. Note: if the tray you’re using is actual metal and not painted plastic, heat will transfer through. Be ye forewarned.

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Prepare band:

If you don’t have time to fiddle with fabric covering, you can hot glue the flower directly to the headband and call it a day. But if you want to get a bit fancier, you can cover it with whimsical tea time fabric.

 

Measure the headband and cut a rectangle of fabric according to the following forumla: The length of the fabric should be equal to the length of the headband (tip to tip) plus one inch. The width of the fabric should be twice the width of the headband at its widest point plus one inch. 

 

Fold the fabric right sides together and stitch lengthwise, giving yourself a 1/2 inch seam allowance. You can either use a machine or hand stitch, whichever you prefer. Turn the fabric tube right side out. Insert fabric to the underside of the headband and stitch flat. Make sure to fold up and stitch the ends of the tube as well.

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Try on the headbandand play around with the position of the flower before you hot glue it into place.

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Children in Wonderland: Crafting Through the Looking Glass

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 28, 2014 by chifferobeevents

- by Serena Pyle, Early Childhood Educator and Chifferobe Team Member

Lucky for all of you Chifferobe is teaming up with Providence Public Library this year.  We will be bringing all the curious characters and the curiouser land to life on multiple occasions, beginning with the library’s spring gala on April 11th!  Shortly thereafter, Chifferobe is doing its first ever kids’ event with our Story Time Tea Party Saturday, April 26th at Bravo Brasserie.  This all may appear to be just around the corner to us busy adults, however, it can seem like an entire lifetime to a child waiting.  Don’t sweat your little mad hatted head; we’ve got just the answer for you!  We have compiled a list of easy Alice themed crafts you can make with your child or children in the mean-time.  Use them wittily around your house or bring them to the tea party.  Either way your child is happily entertained.

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1. Playing Card Bows

Items Needed:

-A deck of cards, or better yet an incomplete deck of cards.  Pull out any cards your child is drawn to; for the Alice theme we have chosen some from the suit of hearts.

-Red ribbon, if you can obtain red glittered ribbon even better!

-Barrettes, elastics, or headbands; basically whatever you want to attach the bows to.

-Scissors

-Hot glue gun

Procedure:

-Choose the playing cards you would like to make bows out of.  Hold the cards horizontally.

-Help you child scrunch in the middle of the card.  Folding in the ends accordion style tends to help.

-Have your child hold the scrunched card while you tie the red ribbon around the center.  Going around the center two or three times with ribbon makes the bows much sturdier.

-Decide what the bow is being attached to and hot glue to your heart’s content.

-Voila!  Be a member of the Red Queen’s court and play some flamingo croquet, or dare to have a tart.

                                                                                                                                                                       

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2. Cheshire Cat Smiles

Items Needed:

-Either a couple wooden craft dowels, some leftover chopsticks, or sturdy drinking straws

-White paper

-Scissors

-Coloring utensils: crayons, markers, colored pencils

-Clear packing tape

Procedure:

- Click here to see some Cheshire Cat coloring pages.

-Help your child draw just the cat’s mouth.  This can be done in four pieces: the outline of the mouth, the teeth, the nose, and the whiskers.

-Have your child color in the grin.  Make multiple grins if so desired, do a classic purple one and a mixed up rainbow one and one of your child’s favorite colors- the more the merrier!

-Cut out the grins.

-Use the clear packing tape to “laminate” the grins.  Put a piece of tape over the back side and the front side.  Cut off the extra tape.

-Tape the grins to whatever you chose to use as your handle.

-Laugh and smile and grin all around your Wonderland house.

 

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3. Mad Hatter Hats

Items Needed:

-Large paper grocery bags

-Washable tempera paint

-Paintbrushes

-Playing cards and feathers if desired

-Hot glue gun

Procedure:

-Open the bag and stand it up on your table.  Help your child roll down the edges three or four times.  This is the hardest step to do I promise.

-Try the hat on your child’s head to be sure it fits before you paint.

-Have your child paint all four sides and the top of the hat.  Remind them to only do one coat otherwise the paint will become too heavy.

-Let the hat dry for a couple hours.

-Hot glue some feathers or playing cards or anything else your child dreamt up.

-Join us at the tea party!

 

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What to Wear: Wonderland Edition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 17, 2014 by chifferobeevents

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- By Kim Hobby, Providence-based Owner of Etsy Shop, Archetype Vintage

***Items that are displayed below against a white or grey backdrop are available for purchase in Kim’s store, among many others! Visit Archetype Vintage today! 

 

On Friday April 11th, Chifferobe will transform the Providence Public Library into a fanciful recreation of Lewis Carroll’s literary classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for the library’s 2014 Gala, WONDERLAND  – Through the Looking Glass.  What should you wear to such a fantastical occasion? Perhaps you have a favorite character that you’ve loved since childhood. Wonderland is a place of color and curiosity, so now is the chance to put on a stunning dress fit for a queen or to don your best madly colored suit. Just make sure you’re not late for this very important date. 

Adventures in Wonderland was written in 1865 and it’s heroine Alice is a seven year old English girl who is wildly curious about the world. She is polite and very ladylike in her demeanor, yet longs for something beyond the stifling boredom and routine of Victorian society.  While most of us remember the classic blue cotton dress and white pinafore that Alice has worn in many movies over the years, she actually wears a yellow dress in the book. Any knee length blue or yellow short sleeved dress would work well. Add a white pinafore or plain white apron and a white petticoat. Wear a  black, white, or blue satin headband or ribbon in your hair and a pair of black mary jane shoes to complete the look. If you can’t find mary janes, a pair of black ballet flats with a black elastic sewn across the top would work just as well.  In the Tim Burton film version, Alice wears a lovely array of blue hued dresses, most notably the long blue tiered dress with Victorian touches like a button up bodice and ribbon trimmed lace. Image

Perhaps you’d like to be Queen for a night? The Queen of Hearts’s signature colors are red and black with hints of gold. A statement making red or black gown with a full skirt would certainly command attention.  A crinoline would add extra fullness and can easily be found at bridal shops or second hand stores. A slinky red floor length dress with hints of golden heart-shaped jewelry would be subtle yet still convey regality. If you have a shorter length dress, shoes or tights with a heart motif would work well. If you want to go all out, you could wear a diamond tiara or crown and make a small scepter with a quick trip to the craft store. 

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For men or women, the Hatter, often referred to as the Mad Hatter, is a very fun choice indeed. The term “mad as a hatter” pre-dates the book but refers to the dementia and madness suffered by 18th and 19th century milliners who inhaled mercury vapors used in the curing of felt.  He is a slightly disheveled dandy and a boldly patterned three piece suit or waistcoat with trousers would work well. Think sharp tailoring with lots of color and pattern. Anything worthy of an eccentric English gentleman would work, such as a brightly colored ascot tie or velvet suit jacket. A top hat would finish the look and you could even add a small card that reads “In this style: 10/6” to the side of the hat, as described in the book. This is the hat’s price of ten shillings and sixpence, which at the time was a hefty sum for a top hat.

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Another fine choice for both ladies and gents would be the White Rabbit, who wears a waistcoat and walks upright carrying a pocket watch. A white or light colored three piece suit would work well with some small accessories, such as a small white or black bowler hat, a pocket watch or a cane. He is a time checker and schedule keeper and presents himself with an air of polished respectability. I can’t help but think of author Tom Wolfe in his crisp white suit and bowtie when I think of the White Rabbit.  For women, Marlene Deitrich in her stunning white tuxedo comes to mind. 

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There are other characters to choose from such as the Cheshire Cat, whose striped colors of purple and pink could easily be found in a suit tie or patterned tights.  A basic black or pink dress with striped accessories, such as stockings or gloves, would work well. If you have a date that is game to dress up with you, matching outfits like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum would work well. Think matching patterned suits or trousers with striped shirts and suspenders. 

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Whatever you choose to wear, have fun with it because it’s Wonderland, a place of curious madness and absurd wonder. Get your tickets today!

A Few of My Favorite Things

Posted in Uncategorized on March 5, 2014 by chifferobeevents

- by Nicole Purcell, TropiGal

I’m not Oprah, famous for her “favorite things” episode, and I cannot present you with an actual physical sampling of my favorite things – including a brand new car – but I’ve got some doo-dads (both simple and extravagant) that I think are pretty amazing and I thought I’d share the greatness with y’all! 

Retro Greeting Cards 

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I sent this one to my dad, an avid golfer and pretty much as a cute as a button as Lucy in her caddy-attire.  You can find this one, and dozens of others (including Dorothy and Toto, TV Dinner, Elvis, and cocktail images) at www.retroplanet.com.  I’ve also at times taken images I love – or that I know a friend or family member loves, tacked them to card stock paper with Modge Podge (http://www.plaidonline.com/mod-podge/brand/home.htm), given them one top-coat of modge podge and then written a (usually too long, too sappy) message inside of my homemade kitschy greeting card

Hats

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Though I own only a few vintage hats, I found a great Etsy dealer in Carolina Vintage, here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CarolinaVintageCo?section_id=7647330&ref=shopsection_leftnav_4.  The owner is fantastic about sending measurement/condition details, so you know what you’re doing to get and so that you can feel some comfort in terms of sizing.  What I love about this etsy dealer is that she’s always got a decent selection and the items I’ve purchased have been in great condition.  I have been eyeing this one lately.  Yes?

Hue Fishnet Tights

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I wear a lot of fishnet tights.  A lot.  In the summer, they are pretty standard leg wear for me.  Hue Brand fishnets have honestly never let me now.  They fit like a dream (no bunching at the ankles or knees, not too much fabric in the hips/crotch area, they last through dozens of wears (even if you’re really moving/dancing), they come in a variety of colors dependent on season (black and nude are made all year, with winter colors in the past including navy and gray and summer colors including white and soft pink), for folks who use them for costumes – they are net all the way to the waist, and they don’t cost an arm and a leg.  Generally, at any retailer online www.amazon.com (keywords: Hue fishnets) or www.hue.com or at your local Macy’s store, they’re $13.50 per pair or 2/$22.00, though you can often find coupon codes for online purchases or in-store coupons at Macys.  They’re worth every penny! 

These Two Dresses  

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Like many other Chifferobe guys and dolls, I have lot of vintage pieces in my wardrobe.  Dresses, hats, pins, scarves, skirts, coats.  These dresses are my two favorites. 

This green tulle beauty, a vintage late 40s-early 50s handmade, was purchased from Alexis Grace consignment http://www.alexisgraceconsignment.com/.  This cute little store on Green Street in Worcester is part of the Crompton Collective http://cromptoncollective.com/ – a gathering of vintage, retro, kitsch of all kinds.  The price was a STEAL for this dress, which called to me from the store window and fit like a dream.  The ladies of Alexis Grace are very sweet, they have a decent selection of vintage items (most of it focused in the 60s-80s with occasional 20s-50s gems like this one). 

 This plaid piece came from Circa Vintage in New Bedford http://www.yelp.com/biz/circa-vintage-wear-new-bedford.  If you haven’t been there – Go!  Now!  The selection is ENORMOUS, Chris – the owner knows his vintage and is extremely helpful in selecting items that will fit your style, the event you’re attending and your body shape, and like the Crompton Collective it’s housed in a cool old mill filled with vintage furniture, lamps, jewelry and other goodies.  This dress, says Chris, is an early fifties day dress, tea length.  It is in excellent condition, with just some slight fading through the lower part of the bodice and lower part of the skirt (not noticeable when worn) I also purchased a very pretty, adjustable waist crinoline to wear beneath it.  I’ve got two or three other dresses from Circa, but this one is my favorite.  Their selection is pretty much unmatched in this area, with lots of pieces from the 20s-90s – and a particular focus on the 40s-80 and their items are usually of wearable – or better – quality.  Expect to pay a bit more than at other area vintage locations, but it’s worth it.

Car Shows

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I love me a car show!  Put me around a souped up hotrod or a vintage BMW or a GTO or an old 50s pick up and you’ve got one happy girl.  I like to monkey around in the shop too, turning wrenches and learning how old cars work/worked.  They look pretty cool, but they were also built to last and are completely different than today’s.  There are often vintage and retro aficionados at these shows, who know lots about the history of the automotive industry and the evolution of automobiles and have lines on lots of other vintage products, retailers, and the like.  In other words, if you visit a car show, you’ll see some cool rides, have some fun, and you might learn a thing or two.  Two of my favorite Car Shows in the late spring and summer months, days of the week not yet released for this year, are the dusk shows at A&W Drive-In on Putnam Pike in Greenville and in the BJ’s Lot on Route Six in Seekonk, MA.  I leave you with photos from shows in 2013 and 2012. 

 On to Hair and Makeup

Lush Ayesha Mask

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I’m a fan of Lush products.  They’ve got great smelling soaps and perfumes, excellent shaving products for men and women, fantastic lip balms and lip smoothers.  But probably my most favorite product?  Their Ayesha mask.  If I want my skin to feel smooth, firm, but also touchable and soft for a date or special occasion, I put this mask on the afternoon before.  Its effect is noticeable and lasts through events, dancing, sweating, etc.  You can get Lush products through their website at http://www.lushusa.com, but I would strongly recommend visiting a Lush location near you.  The staff is generally very helpful, they’ll often make you samples of things you haven’t tried, their prices are reasonable and all of their products are all natural and environmentally friendly. 

Bumble & Bumble

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I hear they make lots of amazing products, but this line (Quenching) is my favorite.  It makes hair shiny and soft and beautiful and for a girl like me, who can tend toward dry locks, the moisture it provides is great.  Pricey, but worth the cost with ingredients that are (once again) mostly natural and environmentally friendly.  My hair just isn’t the same without these…  They ship for free and if you spend more than $50, they’ll send you a ton of samples with your order…  http://www.bumbleandbumble.com/product/spp.tmpl?CATEGORY_ID=CAT51&PRODUCT_ID=9232

Besame Lipsticks

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I was introduced to Besame products by Lulu Locks at Suite Tart www.suitetart.com, and I’ve been in love since.  The lipsticks are wonderful.  They go on smooth, they last for ages, and they come in wide selection of classic and vintage colors.  Want to look like a movie star?  Grab the Red Hot Red…  Going for the ingénue look?  I recommend the Debutante Pink.  They are gorgeously packaged too, coming in a tiny velvet sack.  I was also pretty thrilled to find that Besame makes a violet powder that helps with brightening skin and smells beautiful.  

Diorshow Mascara

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I swear by this mascara.  My lashes are on the thin side and this makes them look really full and lush, without lumping up and creating spider eyes.  It also STAYS ON.  Through dance rehearsal, through runs at the gym, through hot yoga class – no raccoon eyes, no Tammy Fay Baker!  Fair warning, the brush is HUGE and a little difficult to get used to, but it really makes a difference in volumizing lashes.  It’s reasonably priced for a high-end cosmetic product at around $22-25, at http://www.Sephora .com or www.dior.com.   

So, those are a few of my favorite things.  There are, of course, dozens of others – including beets, really nice men’s shoes, stars and a full moon over the beach at Point Judith in front of a fire surrounded by friends, dance, yoga, bananas, and Gray’s Ice Cream on East Road in Tiverton.  I hope you’ll check out some – or all – of the vendors or products.  If you’ve got specific questions about any of them, please reach out! 

Oh, how I wish I was Oprah and able to send you all home with one of each.  

The Object of Your Affection…a Special Edition Blog

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 1, 2014 by chifferobeevents

- by Nori Dubusker Swennes-Croce

Artist and Writer by Day, TropiGal and Bartendress by Night

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When I was twenty-one, I had a boyfriend. He blew into town from Denver one day with his three bandmates, all waywardly thin and scraggly, the kind of young men I hadn’t seen too many of by the time I was twenty-one. They were all between twenty-three and twenty-nine years old, but they seemed much older. I thought it was because of their arresting confidence, their casual coolness, their infinite knowledge of cool music, and the way they hand-rolled their cigarettes. In hindsight I think it had more to do with the fact that they were from Colorado– the arid mountain climate delivered them to the eastern coast with taut, dry skin replete with the crow’s feet and worry lines that our more humid home was kind enough to prevent at such a young age. Alec was very handsome and completely cool, introducing me to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and flirting with me in a bold, playful, direct way that I hadn’t experienced before, like the time he shoved three whole doughnuts into his mouth and then told me I was pretty.  Stray flecks of glaze clung to lips that couldn’t touch one another around their bounty of crushed dough, and he bulged his eyes out and used a voice that may or may not have been intentionally strangled. I was charmed. He and his bandmates sat outside of the small cafe where I worked each day, drinking black coffee (of course) and scouring the newspaper for job listings until we just decided to hire him ourselves. He was the kind of practical joker who is actually just an asshole who likes to laugh while he tortures you, which I didn’t mind until the night we were closing the cafe together and I got mad because he had sprayed me with whipped cream. Spraying whipped cream onto someone may sound sexy to a person who has been deprived this dubious pleasure, but Redi-Whip maintains its chemical integrity for about fifteen seconds after exposure to a human’s body heat, at which point it woefully deflates, runnily separates, and reeks of sour milk. “I’m sorry,” he said, then, “Here, let me wash it off,” and gave me a prison shower with the industrial hose from the three-bay sink.

He had gone too far. I refused to talk to him. I cleaned up his stupid mess, closed the restaurant, and sat outside. On the ground. In my soaking wet clothes and work apron. Waiting for the cab I called. At 3:00 AM. In December. I was cold. He pleaded with me to let him give me a ride. I was silent. He continued to whine. I was mad. I stormed off down the road. Three blocks later, his car screeched up behind me. He got out. He pleaded some more. I said, “No!” He grabbed me by the shoulders and said, “Come with me!” I said, “No! I hate you.” He said,

“I don’t hate you.” AND THEN HE KISSED ME. AND THE WORLD

melted away, and it was not my first kiss, not by a long shot, but it was my first good kiss. The kiss you have where you’re not thinking about if your breath smells or if you’re ugly, where you’re not terribly aware of the other person’s nose or awful habits or the possibility that they’re thinking about your nose or awful habits, where you can’t feel the cold even if you’re two feet away from hypothermia, and there is no worry, there is no fear, there is no nervous, there is only KISS. A warmth that spreads from his lips to your lips and into your mouth and over your face, that goes down BA-BOOM! into your heart and lifts the soles of your shoes three centimeters off the ground. The world comes to a slow, melting pause, and you know that every person within a fifty-mile radius just got one extra second added to their lives, because for just one second, the clocks all forgot to go “tick”. Then the world came back and we ended up dating for a while and at first I wasn’t sure how much I liked him but then I decided I really, really liked him, and we dated for three whole months and for the last ten weeks of our relationship he was the quite possibly the worst boyfriend I have ever had in my whole life, and the only reason that “possibly” is in there, that tiny margin of error, is that I’m sure there’s a small handful of men I’ve just completely drunk away and for whom I lack the ability to account. In brief, he preferred to love women from afar, and the moment I returned his wild affection was the moment he said, “You like me? EW!” Except, you know, not with words, with actions. Terrible, neglectful, hurtful, irresponsible actions.

Although our relationship was brief, we did have a Valentine’s day together. He knocked on my apartment door and I ran to open it, as I had been poised to do for the last several hours that I had been expecting him. He thrust a bouquet of white carnations at me. “Here,” he said, “I had to wait in line for half an hour to get these. It was terrible. The shop was packed and the florist lady was ignoring me. They cost $20 and they were the cheapest ones she had.” He walked past me and slumped on my couch. “I think they have some mold in them but they were literally the only flowers they had.” Indeed, they did have mold in them. The outer ring of baby’s breath clung to the first row of white carnations (??????????!), and with each successive layer the flowers gave way to gray decay, yellow on the edges and black and sunken in the center, in which nestled a solid webby wad of powdery mold. Like a bullseye. LIKE HIS HEART.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” he muttered with disdain. My heart swelled with joy. He got me flowers! He loves me! “Thank you,” I said, saturating my voice with as much genuine appreciation and acceptance as I could muster. This wasn’t just a glob of wet prom garbage, this was a step in the right direction. I wanted to use positive reinforcement to show him that he need not feel pressure when doing a nice thing for me, he need only do a nice thing, and that no matter what it was, it would be good enough, because it was the thought that counted. My adult self very much wants to travel back in time and slap that idiot girl that was me and then hug her and take her out for coffee and a long talk. I respond well to mixed messages. What I would like to encourage her to accept is that yes, it is the thought that counts, but also that the thought has to count. Thrusting a biohazard at your girlfriend while you let her know how much you hated buying it for her is not a very nice thought. It’s a shitty thought that doesn’t count. If you ask anyone why they hate Valentine’s day, you’re bound to get some stale iteration of “Blah blah blah, Hallmark holiday, blah blah blah, let her know year round, blah blah, don’t need a holiday to show I care, blah barf blooorp blaahhhghghg.” Basically, this person is saying that they cannot be bothered. The same asshole that buys Made in China clothing, plays $100 video games, loves receiving Christmas presents and drinks Coca-Cola doesn’t want to “buy into” this one thing. It concerns me because it demonstrates an aversion to love. It extends the same, “You like me? EW!” to the person who actually puts your genitals into his or her mouth. Why is romance a burden? Because it’s as disposable as your shoes? As disposable as the string of people that you loved before her? Because once you’ve trapped your lover the only reminder of your love she’ll ever need is the pee drip on the floor in front of the toilet that she awkwardly dances around each morning? I would hold my younger self close, over coffee, and I would urge her, for the sake of all the women who must walk those unhallowed lands after she is disposed, to not validate failure. Do not smile and gift your benevolence unto him whose thought is shitty and does not count. Think twice before you think you don’t want to be high maintenance, because the other end of that line is a fistful of garbage. Victorian men gifted handwritten, two-verse rhymes. Paper gloves. Real gloves. Hand-painted notecards. How intimate, how delicately thoughtful. In Finnish tradition, eligible women would wear a sheath about their girdles and if a man were interested he would make or purchase a knife and slide it in. How wonderfully bold. In Wales, men hand-carved beautiful wood spoons to bequeath to their lady loves. How strange, but I like it, and imagine the effort involved. Civil War soldiers carried with them locks of their lover’s hair. I pine for this type of romance in the world, not because it’s old-fashioned or because it’s quaint, but because it carries weight. It’s firm and unafraid and decisive. It doesn’t pretend that life is cheap and love is replaceable. If it loves someone, it woos them. If it doesn’t, then it leaves them alone. Romance stories live mostly in the past because ultimately it is a disposable world we live in, a gray and webby and sometimes rotten one full of maybes and maybe-nots. Sometimes though, if you seek, if you pry apart the clock hands to open the space between the “tick” and the “tok” and slip between, you can walk that narrow golden path upwards and onwards, each step a Yes! and a Yes! and another YES! Don’t ever turn back.

New Year’s Eve – What to Wear

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2013 by chifferobeevents

This New Year’s Eve, Chifferobe is giving a respectful nod to the Golden Age of Hollywood.  The Wizard of Oz came out in 1939, the tail end of the 1930’s, on the eve of the 1940’s.  The film famously has scenes shot both in black-and-white and in glorious Technicolor.   You, too, can dress in black-and-white (black tie/cocktail attire) or in Technicolor (in the style of old Hollywood)!
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In the 1930’s, some of the brightest stars were Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Carole Lombard, Vivien Leigh, Myrna Loy, William Powell, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Fred Astaire, Errol Flynn, to name a few of the pantheon.   Their luminous images on the silver screen transported people to other worlds for awhile, blissfully allowing them for get reality during the screening of a movie.
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For ladies, evening wear was slinky and form-fitting, gowns often being floor-length halter bodices. Satins and silks were rich and sumptuous, and the material’s cling showed off natural female curves.   Other popular features to dresses were tight-fitting bodices, butterfly sleeves, plunging necklines with flounce collars, peplums, and ankle-to-floor-length hems.  Shoes were strappy heels, often in metallic hues, along with Mary Janes and T-straps.

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For gentlemen, formalwear consisted of tuxedos with black, highly-polished dress shoes.  The look of the day for men was the three-piece suit, made in tweeds, herringbone, houndstooth, usually with narrower ties.  Suit jackets had broad, padded shoulders, broader, exagerated lapels, a narrower cut in the waist, and pocket flap.  They wore trilby hats (like a fedora, with a wide brim, but with a sharp indentation in the top going across the crown from front to back).  Wingtips and cap toe shoes were considered sharp accessories to put the shine on those outfits.

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Some of the biggest names in Hollywood in the 1940’s were Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake, Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Gene Kelly, Gregory Peck, and Jimmy Stewart, among others.  They were radiant, emanating class and style, something to aspire to when dressing up and going out.

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Ladies’ fashions accentuated a woman’s curves.  Dress features included the sweetheart neckline, tight bodices, swags, peplums, flared tea-length or floor-length skirts and faux-bustles and trains, all geared towards glorifying the female form.  Evening wear often consisted of rayon crepe, lace, taffeta or sheer overlays.  Black and jeweled tones were popular, made elegant with embroidery, studs and beading. Pumps or open- or closed-toe slingbacks completed an ensemble beautifully.
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Of course, gentlemen still wore tuxedos at formal events.  Suits grew larger: simple, wide lapels, padded shoulders, wider ties, fitting less tapered at the waist.  Fedoras, wingtips and cap toe shoes finished the look smartly.
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If you are inspired to dress like Dorothy Gale, grab your gingham pinafore and white blouse, braid your hair…and of course, don’t forget your ruby slippers (glamorize your red shoes with red glitter)!   There will be a “Best Dorothy” contest, and the winner will be announced before midnight!
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Here’s a list of local shops where you can find something magical:

The Rhode Island Antiques Mall
345 Fountain Street, Pawtucket, RI 02906
(401) 475-3400

Halls on Broadway
145 Broadway, Providence, RI 02903
(401) 272-0000

Rocket to Mars
144 Broadway, Providence, RI 02903
(401) 274-0905

Circa Vintage Wear
73 Cove St, New Bedford, MA 02744
(508) 997-9390

No matter what finery you decide to don, the evening is going to be memorable and spectacular for all in the merry old land of Oz!   Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Dorrance!

NYE

Silver Belles – Ladies Who Dance

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 16, 2013 by chifferobeevents

-by Gina Terzino

Our most recent Chifferobe dance workshop, Silver Belles, found eleven lovely ladies who wanted to try their hands (or legs!) at dancing like showgirls.  During seven Sundays in November and December, the ladies have been learning a dance choreographed by our director, Kristen Minsky, and also putting the shine on that number.   It culminated in a star performance at Luna’s Ladies Night at GIRLSPOT in downtown Providence.

The gals are: Rachel, Sammy, Melissa, Nicole, Melanie, Brittney, Christina, Sarah, as well as TropiGals Jeannie, Nicole and Nori.   Some of them have been with us in our previous workshops, and for some this is their first time learning a dance and being onstage.  It’s something they’ve always wanted to do but have wondered where they’d get the chance (short of packing up their lives and heading to the Big Apple!).

Melissa has performed with us in several workshops now.  “I’m having the best time ever!” she says happily.   Christina sang as part of the Stars and Stripes pageant over the summer, and this is her second time performing, this time as a dancer.   Rachel has been with us for three workshops so far—and counting!

“It’s just great that you can come to something like this and not have any experience and really learn something and be able to do something like this—it’s kind of amazing,” Christina enthuses.

“For somebody like me who geeks out on Busby Berkeley musicals, and you think, I wanna do that!  And you think, when am I ever going to get the chance to do that?  Well, there you go!” adds Melissa.

Nicole, for whom this is a debut, gushes, “It’s funny because I’ve seen the TropiGals for a year now…I was always saying to my boyfriend, that looks so fun, I wish I could do that…and then seeing, oh, there’s a workshop, I can try it out!  It’s really a nice option.”

“I just love being onstage,” Brittney says with a smile.

The ladies put finishing touches on their hair and makeup, add show eyelashes and glitter, and don their costumes (silver, aptly enough).  Crowned by silver stars, they glow with the excitement and anticipation of dancing their hearts out.

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They take their places on the dancefloor.   And as the music begins, so does their transformation into dancers.  Stepping in time, kicking, elegantly moving their arms, they smile and thrill to the audience.   They link arms for that chorus kickline, in unison.  Finally, they gracefully take their bow, the number at an end, as the music slowly fades.

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Did you miss it?   Fear not!   These amazing ladies will be doing it all again for our New Year’s Eve extravaganza, where you’ll get to see the number for yourself!

Come be part of old Hollywood on New Year’s Eve and see what YOU could be doing next year with us at Chifferobe!

NYE

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