Blog Posts by Jennifer Romolini, Shine editor in chief

  • R.I.P. Eddie Bauer: The outdoorsy chain files for bankruptcy

    This is sad news. The latest victim of this hella recession, clothing chain Eddie Bauer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday. According to the Associated Press, executives at the struggling retailer made the decision after losing $44.5 million in just the first quarter of this year--they now hope to be sold, rather than liquidated.

    How could this happen? Did Land's End win the war of overly useful khaki shorts and personalizeable tote bags? Who will provide the backpacks for hordes of adrift 19-year-olds about to hike the Appalachian Trail? Where will we find the perfect, skirted bathing suit for when we feel fat?
    First Linens 'N Things, now this. Our entire childhood mall experience is just crumbling around us. Yet, somehow, Dress Barn remains. What a world.
    Source: AP

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  • Calvin Klein: Still sleazy after all these years

    Calvin Klein's latest ad campaign sparked controversy this week when a giant, sexually explicit billboard was plastered on a building in New York's SoHo neighborhood. Residents called the image (which depicts four half naked young adults, touching and making out) "borderline pornographic" and "obscene," and many usually liberal-minded New Yorkers felt the oversized pic sent the wrong message to teens, especially girls. As of now, the ad is still up and it's probably selling lots of jeans.

    This is far from the first time Calvin Klein has pushed the envelope with erotic, possibly inappropriate and exploitative advertising. Actually, this "let's throw teenagers into very sexual situations in order to sell our crap" is a game this retailer has been playing at for decades. Consider Brooke Shields, at 15 years old, provocatively explaining how there was nothing between her and her Calvins. Or Kate Moss, all bone-skinny and completely nude, selling us Obsession perfume. Or how about, THE

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  • Did David Letterman's apology go far enough?

    David Letterman issued another apology to Sarah Palin and her family last night for making what he called a "coarse" and "beyond flawed" joke. In the nearly four minute segment, the late night talk show host appeared shaken as he further explained his original intention for the quip (which he thought he was making about Bristol Palin a young woman--and mother--of legal age) and acknowledged that this meant nothing compared to the public's increasingly skewed perception (many believed the highly sexual joke was in reference to Palin's 14-year-old daughter, Willow). Letterman said, "I told a bad joke. I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception. And since it was a joke I told, I feel that I need to do the right thing here and apologize for having told that joke. It's not your fault that it was misunderstood, it's my fault that it was misunderstood."

    Was this rather gentlemanly and sincere apology enough? Too much? Can we

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  • Fashion that makes us sad: Bruce Willis naked, with his toenails painted red

    Photo courtesy of W magazinePhoto courtesy of W magazineSometimes I peer at something in the world and I feel like Lisa Kudrow's dorky, out-of-touch character from the short-lived HBO show "The Comeback," specifically the way she would run into weird situations and balk, "I don't need to see THAT!"

    Because, truthfully, I don't need to see some things and, especially, I do not need to see Bruce Willis having a mid-life crisis, marrying a decades younger woman, and posing for a magazine with said woman while naked with his toenails painted.

    But that's what I got this morning in W magazine. The couple is on the mag's July cover, and I'm guessing the inside photo shoot is supposed to be about bondage and kinkiness and sexual power and (ooh) edginess, but, honestly, who can think about any of this "art" when viewing a skivvies-clad David Addison dominated by his new wife, Emma, AKA Ms. Perky Boobs? (Check out the rest of the NSFW photos here--there are topless shots.)

    The accompanying story says the couple is very much in love and so happy to

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  • Carrie Prejean finally loses her Miss California crown (and why this is good for America)

    So, it looks like our favorite opposite-marriage supporting, fake-boobs flashing pageant winner has finally been dethroned, but not because of her strong moral or political views, nor for the fact that she defied her contract by posing nude. Nope, one Ms. Carrie Prejean was relieved of her role as Miss California for the reason many of us have been fired: The lady wasn't doing her job.

    According to TMZ, Prejean lost her crown because she was not getting clearance for personal appearances and not showing up to the events she was scheduled to attend as an official representative of the pageant.

    Miss USA owner Donald Trump explained that Prejean refused to appear at 30 events on behalf of the organization, "To me she was the sweetest thing. Everyone else--she treated like s**t." Yikes.

    But perhaps even more damning than being called a jerk by Donald Trump (I mean that's a pot/kettle situation, right?), are Prejean's emails to pageant officials, which were leaked to Fox News. They

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  • Is it ever OK to discipline your friend's kids?

    I spent this past weekend with my best friend Natalie, a woman who I've known and been close to since I was 8 years-old. Beyond all of the childhood memories we lived through together, our friendship grew even deeper in high school and college--we attended the same schools and saw each other almost every day for nearly a decade. As adults, we've been bridemaids in each other's weddings and I'm her son's godmother. I can call Natalie at any time, with any problem. I tell her pretty much everything, and I'm quite certain I'll know her until I die.

    But I can't discipline her kids.

    I figured this out on Sunday. I was visiting while Natalie's husband was away for work and she was home alone with her 9-month-old baby and 4-year-old son. She had already explained to me that the mood of the house, unless she times everything correctly, can quickly devolve into chaos, with the two little people needing things, becoming inconsolable, and screaming or running around or throwing a tantrum or

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  • Michelle Obama, I love you, but you're bringing me down...

    As many of you have pointed out, we here at Shine are a bit overly eager and quick to praise Mrs. Obama's usually impeccable style. So, it seems only fair to point out her occasional sartorial misses, too. And what a miss this is. I actually feel afraid of the outfit our first lady wore yesterday. Granted, she wasn't attending anything official, was just sightseeing in London alone, and one could argue that on her days off, Mrs. Obama can wear whatever the heck she wants.

    But I just can't argue that. The ensemble at left is a disconnection from sanity. It involves a tunic with rows of sewn-on, cheap-looking silk flowers; a PLAID belt; unflattering, baggy-at-the-knees pants; and, wait, are those TWO cardigans?? Besides each piece being singularly ugly, the proportions manage to make our president's wife look both short and wide. It is one of the worst combinations of clothes and accessories I've ever seen.

    That sound you hear? That's my fashion heart breaking.

    Please, evil, bad-style

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  • Would you buy "fake" shoes?

    Yesterday, there was a story on New York Magazine's website about an online Christian Louboutin store, Louboutin Mall, which is selling a vast selection of the fancy, red-soled French shoes at a fraction of their original prices (Louboutins are usually $600 up to $1,800, Louboutin Mall styles start at $160). But here's the rub, of course: The cheaper shoes are total reproductions, they have nothing to do with the swank Louboutin brand, and, according to New York Mag, the idea of knockoff versions is "horrid."

    Hmmm. I'm not so sure. Of course, I understand why counterfeiting is bad for the original company, and I also see how it's awful to steal someone else's ideas and make a profit from them (and there's no doubt, it is stealing). However, it equally insults me that retailers get away with selling a pair of shoes for $1,000 just because they're perceived as upscale and posh. I'm not reporting anything new here when I tell you there's no rhyme or reason to it-more often than not,

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  • Do you really need to WEAR a towel?

    I'm a little late to the party on this one, but here goes...

    First we spent the winter bombarded by the inescapable Snuggie (a blanket you can wear!), now it looks like some clever marketing type has come up with the summer version--yet another solution to a problem none of us have. The Wearable Towel is a new garment made for those who require more absorbency than the mere time it takes to dry off and who cannot manage the "wrap and tuck" technique common with your average terrycloth squares.

    It comes in two styles: Toga for dudes and Tunic for ladies. According to the hilariously bad commercial, you can wear this item after you shower or while you're by the pool or to pick up the paper in the morning (gross!) or to dry off your baby (weird!).

    Check out the ad below, and tell me...would you pay $19.99 to be swaddled in a the equivalent of a giant gym towel?

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  • The MTV Movie Awards: All of the night's most pretty, confusing, and sad looks

    I know that the 2009 MTV Movie Awards were geared toward people who are around half my age. I know this because not only did I not recognize half of the audience at last night's show, I didn't even know all of the "famous" people receiving awards. The entire enterprise made me feel like some surly grandfather, shaking my cane at the screen and growling, "These kids today, can't they think of anything better to wear than weird minidresses and bondage-hooker shoes?!!" Apparently not.

    Above, the evening's best and worst.

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