After a Fashion

State Democrats party, David Byrne gets shorn, and "After a Fashion" readers learn more about how to be a good customer and how not to be a fashion victim.

Vylette Boutique's Christina Klisanin and Amy Weaver at the Driskill
Vylette Boutique's Christina Klisanin and Amy Weaver at the Driskill (Photo By Bob Sherman)

THE SHOPPING BAG If you're serious about your vintage accessories, New Bohemia (1606 S. Congress, 326-1238) invites you to their Jewelry & Handbag Holiday Party, Sunday, Dec. 8, 7:30-9:30pm. Covering pieces from the 1870s to the 1970s, collectors and experts alike can share appraisals and holiday cheer, and New Bohemia will be offering up selections from their very special secret hoard of merchandise.

I SAW WHAT YOU WORE Your friends lied to you. You didn't look cute. There you were -- on Sixth Street -- thinking you were da bomb in your fashion-victim, Forever 21 outfit, with its teeny little midriff-baring rock & roll T-shirt, hip-huggers, and strappy sandals. But before you spend another dime at the mall, make sure you rush over to Home Depot and invest in a full-length mirror. Perhaps then you might realize that the teeny little T-shirt that looks so cute on your petite friend looks ridiculous on you, as it crawls up your ample torso, exposing pendulous rolls of fat at your waist. But even that could have been overlooked (or we could have averted our eyes), but as you walked away, it was the plumber's crack (also known as trouser cleavage) appearing above your low-riders that truly mortified. Oozing out above the top of your waistband, the fleshy orbs of your buttocks were bisected by the T-shape of your oh-so-visible, too-tight thong that was strangling the life out of them. Now, granted, there is a certain element of men who might find this attractive, but those men are more likely to be found reading " Coach's Corner" rather than this column.

BIG MONEY Last month, major Democrat funder and honcho Ben Barnes threw a congratulations/thank you party for Nancy Williams, newly appointed executive director of the State Democratic Party (Nancy is a great lady who has worked in the trenches for many years, only now being awarded the job she should have had years ago -- which means more work, of course). Barnes' house is hidden away on the swankiest section of Windsor Road in Olde West Austin -- if you have to ask directions, you don't belong there. After the congratulatory speeches from Barnes, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, and Party Chair Molly Beth Malcolm, Williams managed to get a word in edgewise: "You all better enjoy yourselves, because this is probably the only time you'll get into Barnes' place without having to pay." It got a big laugh, but was hardly a joke, since Barnes is throwing yet another fundraiser Dec. 6 for gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez -- tickets begin at $1,000 for patrons and spiral up to $10,000 for hosts.

STARS IN THEIR HAIR Recently prowling the Guadalupe shopping strip was none other than musical auteur David Byrne. Taking a break before heading to Australia, Mr. Byrne was having his hair cut at Avant by stylist Connie, who was recommended by a local friend of the musician. Byrne was apparently very pleasant, stocking up on his Aveda hair products and then slipping into the ever-stylish Shiki for a bit of holiday shopping. (Tonight, Thursday, from 6-9pm, Shiki is throwing their Holiday Fashion Bash. 3407-H Guadalupe.)

LOUNGE ACTS The best thing I can say about the Lounge Against the Machine benefit for SafePlace at the Driskill Hotel last Saturday night is that the producers were all very nice and that the Driskill's renovation is gorgeous. Unfortunately, the PR aspect of the event was a mess, and geez, these guys must have lost their shirts on the deal. Better luck next time.

FEAR THE MULLET Yet another Web site memorializing the mullet in all its glory, www.mulletsgalore.com is a riot. Wickedly funny and searingly on-target, it is a disturbing look into one of the most unpleasant hair trends of the last century (and, unfortunately, one that continues, in certain circles, into this century). Featuring the popular MOTW (Mullet of the Week) section, as well as different classifications of mullets (such as the Camaro and the MiniTruck Mullet), the Mullet Hunt, fan mail, stickers, and calendars, it is your complete guide to mullet mania. Warning: Do not confuse the profusion of mullets shown with anything resembling an actual trend.

SERVICE WITH A SMILE As you may know, I am obsessed with receiving good customer service. But lest you fear that I am a shrieking harpy of a customer, let me say that demanding good customer service demands that you, in turn, be a good customer. Being a good customer does not mean spending a lot of money, or shopping at the same place all the time. It means conducting yourself in a decent manner and behaving respectfully toward the establishment and its employees. Having an attitude of graciousness and understanding goes a long way toward ensuring that you'll be treated the same. These rules seem simple enough, and if we all behaved this way, in addition to receiving merchandise and services worthy of our hard-earned dollars, it would be consumer heaven. But for every establishment that's willing to offer slipshod service and merchandise, there are also a half-dozen customers with nothing better to do than subject some hapless waitress or department store clerk to sheer misery just for trying to perform a service. And you can almost always tell right off the bat when you get one of those customers, with their pissy pursed lips and arched brows. But it's far too late by then. It doesn't matter whether you've done your job competently or not. The lips get more pursed and the eyebrows are moving like the hands of a clock, and suddenly the smell of trouble is as potent as a catbox on a warm day. And all because Mrs. X is unhappy with her own life or Mr. Z hates his job. At that point, there is no solving of problems, only another charming psychodrama created by someone with way too much time on their hands. Workers in service and retail operations have names for customers like that. They're called a**holes. Don't be one.

Write to our Style Avatar with your related events, news, and hautey bits: style@austinchronicle.com or PO Box 49066, Austin, 78765 or 458-6910 (fax).

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Sixth Street, Forever 21, Coach's Corner, David Byrne, Avant, Shiki, Holiday Fashion Bash, Ben Barnes, Nancy Williams, State Democratic Party, Windsor Road, West Austin, Lloyd Doggett, Party Chair Molly Beth Malcolm, Tony Sanchez, Lounge Against the Machine, SafePlace, Dr

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