Fancy or Casual? A Ladyperson’s Guide to All Occasions

From the ad pages of your favorite magazines come these simple instructions. Just follow along, and you’ll always make the right decision.

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1. BE FANCY WHEN you make an exit.

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Even a simple prison break is cause for dolling up a bit. Before you run away along the drainage ditch, take a moment to plan your outfit. Pair leather with lace, and don’t forget a darling ankle boot to show off your Shawshanks.

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2. BE FANCY WHEN you want a promotion.

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Dress for the job you want, ladies: the job of the British taxicab driver who goes home at the end of every day and dumps a bag of cash on her bed and rolls around in it, because she’s the highest earning lass on wheels and she’s got the satin slacks to prove it.

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3. BE CASUAL WHEN you need to reach group consensus.

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Speaking of the workplace… You won’t get anywhere by intimidating people. When you need everyone on your side in today’s budget meeting, here’s what to do: pass up the power suit, skip the bra, and head straight to the boardroom in the clothes you wore to feed the reptiles on your luxury snake farm this morning. Lean in and chill out.

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4. BE FANCY WHEN you watch a solar eclipse.

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Staring into the sun isn’t for the weak — or the weakly dressed. Show everyone you’re serious about your bright future. After all, this is no mere folly for you. You’re going to start a colony in outer space one day.

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5. BE FANCY when you’re dying of consumption.

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First impressions make an impact, but last impressions make memories. Before you hack a final tubercular cough into your handkerchief, throw on a sassy damask frock, some knee-highs, and a bitchin’ pair of clogs. Who knows — you might attract one last suitor. Go out with a bang, girl.

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6. BE CASUAL WHEN you undertake personal maintenance.

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Helpless? Nuh-uh. High maintenance? I don’t think so. Don’t be one of those bimbos in the blowout chair letting someone else take charge of your wash-dry-set for the week. DIY stands for Do It Yourself and Dudes Idolizing You. Cut your own hair with the nearest pair of scissors or a steak knife, throw on a blazer, and arrange that fringed bag right over your crotch for just the right amount of mystery. That’s leadership.

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7. BE FANCY WHEN you’re waiting your turn.

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Patience is a virtue, but virtue can be sooooo boring. While you’re waiting for your diving instructor to finish up with the student before you, catch his eye with your Sexy Baby Bluebird getup. A smudge of waterproof eyeliner, color-coordinated heels, and a go-anywhere clutch complete the look. They say you’ve got killer instincts, and they’re right. This’ll drown ’em every time.

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8. BE FANCY WHEN you dole out vengeance.

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The last thing this mobster you kidnapped will see before he gets tossed off a bridge is you, so now’s not the time to phone it in. A gold stiletto, a versatile black legging, and a bold pleather halter prove you’re a hit-woman with a sense of occasion. Before you slam the trunk, hike up one leg and send that gangster off to his beautiful forever with a look at your groin. It’s a doom with a view.

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9. BE FANCY WHEN you entertain for family and friends.

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Make your camel’s birthday special. Because he only turns 7 once.

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10. BE FANCY WHEN even when it hurts.

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If you’re going to herniate a disc, do it in a way that highlights your best features: a toned shoulder, a brightly colored lip, and a magnificently rounded backside. This classic sheath says “timeless,” while the contemporary print says “I will never ever ever get old.” Age is our enemy, ladies, and we must go down fighting like the rockstar bitches we are.

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11. BE CASUAL WHEN you take in a bit of culture.

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Nonchalance is the name of the game when you and your homies set out to enjoy a day at the museum. If your group can go matchy-matchy with colors, even better. DON’T: Put a cocktail dress with your sneakers like Regina on the far left. (Jesus, Regina, act like you’ve been here before.) DO: Sport some Pippi braids and scowl for all you’re worth. See you on the steps after brunch, everyone but Regina.

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12. BE FANCY WHEN you’re a guest.

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Take note: Everyone attending this town’s lingerie bullfighting festival is nailing it. Notice the attention to detail — the corsetry, the elegant chignons, the fans that are both functional and attractive. Even the matador is pitch-perfect in his peel-down brocade onesie. Wave that pink satin cape in celebration of yourself, Señora, because you have aced Festive Events 101. A+

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13. BE CASUAL WHEN you’re feeling conflicted.

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You’re no simple starfish, no ma’am. You’re a sun-kissed boatload of bodacious contradictions. For example: your bottom half wants to dig for sexy sandcrabs while your top half hankers to cozy up by a fire. The solution? Go casual and mix it up a bit. A modest everyday sweater in a silk-cotton blend, paired with a slim-cut ass bungee in the same color. Swimming or snuggling? Surfing or curling up with a good book? Forget this “or” nonsense — it’s time to embrace the “AND.”

Remember: The world is your sandcastle, and you’re the queen. Rule it.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 8.04.37 AMSpeaking of outfits:

Thanks to US Weekly for adding me to the Fashion Police force alongside my buddies Wendi Aarons and Gloria Fallon. (Look for my captions in the back of the magazine next time you’re getting a pedicure or waiting in a long grocery line.) I shall carry the badge with pride.

17 comments

  1. YES!!! The whole time I’m reading this, cackling, crying, chortling – I’m thinking “WHY is she not writing for Fashion Polices?!” Justice has been served, lady. Congrats. So, so, good.

  2. I think I’ve found my elevator pitch. I’m just going to change this to the first-person: “You’re no simple starfish, no ma’am. You’re a sun-kissed boatload of bodacious contradictions.”
    Thank you for making me laugh in this endless winter. I’m ready to take a pack of camels to the beach now.

  3. Oh my gosh, hilarious!!! I guess I will just stay plan, fancy looks like too much darn work no matter what the occasion although I will work at it next time I have to toss a mobster off a bridge!!

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