Sunday, March 20, 2011

Evacuee Chic

Diplomats have been at the forefront of the news in the past months, working feverishly in places like Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Japan, New Zealand and the Ivory Coast to fend off civil war, protect citizens from their own leaders, and help Americans get out of harm's way and nations to rebuild.

Our brothers and sisters have sacrificed their own personal safety, have broken up their children's school years, have sent loved ones away from their homes - all in order to serve the United States and represent our interests abroad.

We at "Your Bottoms" remains eternally grateful for their determination, dedication, fearlessness and sacrifice. We know the challenges they face, and we know how much it takes to 'Keep Calm and Carry On'.

This blog post is about the lighter, fashionable side of the recent evacuations, and does not in any way minimize the total respect and admiration for our friends and colleagues and their work.

When you're told "You have one hour to get home, pack up, and report back here to get out of the country," your mind races in a million directions at once. Is my passport valid? Do I have my vital papers? Do I have some cash? Are my spouse and kids safely at home? Are they packed? What about my pets? Stilettos or flats for a boat evacuation or should I go for the 'sailor look'?

Just kidding on the last one. But seriously folks, many friends have had to throw things into one (not the Foreign-Service Fashionista's standard TWO giant suitcases, usually evacuees only get one) suitcase and hustle out before the going gets to be untenable. So how do you decide what to pack? What will the weather be like in ______ (fill in evacuee destination of choice)? Will I have report to Main State right away? What do I have in storage? What can I reuse and re-pair to make a small suitcase have some big value?

It's all about versatility in an evacuation. Layering, classic cuts and neutral colors, and the knowledge of what can transition from day to night, from work to play, and can be dressed up or dressed down.

One friend got it just right, as shown in the photo - she's got a classic trench, slim fitting black pants, chic yet comfortable shoes and a Hepburn-esque (Audrey) black turtleneck. Yes, she'd been through some tough times at her post, and yes, she left a career's worth of books, treasures, clothing and sentimental items behind. No, she hasn't slept decently in weeks, and no, she's not sure when she'll see her home again. But does she define "Evacuee Chic"?


Thursday, March 17, 2011

What the Well-Shod Woman Will Be Wearing This Year

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. These are shoes, not only made of horsehair, but made to look like horse feet. (Don't worry, the hooves are not real.) Not only are they incredibly ugly, but they cost a cool 1300 British pounds, which comes out to approximately $1 million $2000. Yep, money well spent.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Treasure Hunters

For those of us who travel the world for a living, there's a certain cache from acquiring the 'real thing' from our travels and posting. "Oh, that's just a 70 year old carpet from the mountains of Armenia," we say casually, belying our pride in having bargained for that particular carpets over 17 cups of tea. "That old thing? It's just a fabric remnant from the Ottoman Empire - it comes from a bride's dress, it's only 150 years old, no big deal," we demur when someone admires our framed pieces of gold-embroidered fabrics lovingly selected from 'the only man in Turkey' who takes the time to track down these fabrics. These items and many others combine to form an aesthetic fondly dubbed "Foreign Service Chic". Pottery Barn it isn't. Crate and Barrel catalog begone. Our African masks are right at home with our antique Latin American trousseaus which happily take their place on top of our natural-dyed rugs.

But what happens when it goes too far? What happens when we start dressing like our treasures? Ladies and gentlemen - above is a photo I would like to caption as "A Bridge Too Far". This woman may have bought this coat thinking "It matches my rugs, fabrics, bridal dresses, everything all in one!". And that's precisely the problem...

Share it, don't wear it!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Air Travel is Chic For Everyone

I am a fan of Stuff Expat Aid Workers like in general, bu tthis post deserves a special plug because:

1) Max is a an old friend from the days of Dushanbe
2) There is a picture of a Tajik Air AN-26
3) It's all true
4) I also love planning air travel

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Family That Shops Together

According to the Kansas City Star, the Bidens are shopping at the Marimekko store in Finland, and Finnegan is trying on the new Marimekko for Converse sneakers. I like a few things about this: Dr. Jill is serious about this little excursion, the shoes are cute, and nice plug for a Finnish-American joint venture! Well done.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Qaddafi vs Sheen - War of Words

Charlie Sheen and Muammar Gaddafi have a few things in common. Awesome hair and megalomaniacal statements are two of them.
Click on the title to test your knowledge of which of our two favorite nut jobs made which absurd statement.
This blogger thinks Charlie might replace Hugo Chavez as Gaddafi's new BFF. Watch out, Tio Hugo!