Monday, March 10, 2008

Fancy Nancies, Unite!!!!

This morning I heard an interview with Jane O'Connor, who is the author of this book:

This is Fancy Nancy. Fancy Nancy, as you can see, is all about the girly, the frilly, the special; the shimmery, feathery, over-the-top fanciness. She embellishes everything, including her socks. She is uninterested in anything plain or ordinary -- Fancy Nancy wants The Works. As I listened to Ms. O'Connor describe her heroine, I thought, "I am down with Fancy Nancy. One. Hundred. Percent."

Nancy would never go bare-headed when she could wear a hat, and would never wear a hat when she could wear a tiara. She goes so far as to teach a class to her peers on how to
be fancy. Evidently, Fancy Nancy is looking forward to learning to speak French, because French words are fancier.

When I heard that I thought, "Good googly-moogly, I AM Fancy Nancy!"
I mean, look at this book from the series:

Because I have to tell you --
this Fancy Nancy is looking for a boy from Paris herself. And may I call your attention to the -- ahem -- curly red hair? I rest my case.

Okay, I may not be THE Fancy Nancy, but I most definitely am A Fancy Nancy, and I always have been. Exhibit A:



Yep. C'est moi. That's the child Style Spy, just shy of her fifth birthday, working the catwalk of a children's fashion show at a mall, circa 1969. My great-aunt Lucille was the manager of a swell little children's clothing store called the Bon Ton when I was a child. If you ever wonder how I got to be the fashion-obsessed creature that I am, consider that some of my earliest memories are of spending entire afternoons at the Bon Ton, trying on & modeling clothes for my mother, grandmother, and dear Aunt Lucille. A lot of that stuff came home with us, because, well, Aunt Lucille was generous with the family discount.

Now, I don't know about the red & white plaid suit (!!!), but I do remember that yellow dress. Apparently I rocked that little number, because it became fashion show loot. The dress was alternating bands of yellow and white lace, the little coat was navy blue lined with that adorable striped fabric (I'd wear that
today if I could find one big enough), and yes, the tam o'shanter with the yellow pompom was part of the ensemble. I worked that tam o'shanter, girlfriend.

I'm still a Fancy Nancy, and I'm proud of it. It's not necessarily about adding ruffles and bows and frills to everything (not that I mind a well-placed frill, of course), but I do believe in going big or going home. I don't think you should save your nice things for special occasions -- if that shiny necklace brightens your day, wear it to the grocery store! I'm not afraid to wear high heels to the dry cleaner. I can't see the point of wearing jeans to go out to dinner -- whyever would you pass up the chance to put on a beautiful dress? I'm appalled by men who won't even put on a tie to go to a wedding (I've been to two weddings in the last two weeks and you do not even want to get me started on that subject) or anyone who is wearing athletic apparel and not actively engaged in athletics. Do I put on a skirt and heels to go to the dentist and have my teeth cleaned? Yes, I do. The nice people at my dentist's office are no less deserving of my best efforts than anyone else.

In my worldview, being a little fancy is just a way of putting your best foot forward to the entire world. It's showing that you respect yourself enough to present yourself in the best possible setting. It's showing that you respect others enough to make an effort for them. I'm not saying a person has to wear a tiara all the time (although
please, do feel free), but a little fancy never hurt anyone.

My challenge for you this week is to express your inner Fancy Nancy. Listen to that little voice inside you that encourages your fancier tendencies (and if you don't have that inner voice, just imagine mine). Wear a dress someplace you ordinarily wouldn't. Put on some lipstick before you walk the dog. Accessorize. Tuck a nice handkerchief into your handbag instead of the wadded-up tissues that usually live there. Thrill yourself with your shoes.

Say it with me now: "Fancy is good!! Fancy is très bon!! I am a Fancy Nancy!!!!"

Trust me, it'll be fun.

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Anonymous said...

Bellisima!!! You and I have the same DNA for sure. I was appalled to see guests at my daughter's wedding who were wearing - jeeze, I can't even describe them. I do think I saw blue jeans - clean, but blue jeans nonetheless. Yes, it was an afternoon wedding; yes, it was at a vineyard, but jeans? And I will not discuss the number of women who were wearing black. To an afternoon wedding. And one of them, I am sorry to say, was MY SISTER. My 6' tall, gorgeous, thin sister. A black pants suit. Right now I'm wearing a pretty knit dress, hose and heels at work. You'd think I'd come in here in a wedding gown the way people are giving me "the look". All the guys here wear Dockers pants and golf shirts. This is getting dressed? I'll bet not one of them owns a suit or a sportcoat and nice pants. We will not discuss footwear. Life is too short to spend your time in that sort of junk. Every day is an occasion.

Susan B said...

Another Fancy Nancy here! Though I may stop short of embellishing socks.

(And also someone who did the child modeling thing, which I wrote about here.)

Jen said...

I swear, I thought the folks in jeans at one wedding reception were lost from the mall or something.

Several years ago I went to a SPRING wedding on a Saturday EVENING in the SOUTH (technically a NC Vineyard.) Everyone looked so lovely, nice tasteful spring florals, lovely colors, charming men in suits. Except this one couple who showed up in jeans. JEANS! I was appalled.

Then again, watching the Thomas Crown Affair on Spike last night, my husband sighed and said "I miss having a three piece suit." I told him to buy one.

HEATHER said...

What cute pictures of you! I was a Fancy Nancy my entire life. Oh how I loved to dress up from childhood on. We lived with my grandparents so they delighted in buying me Cinderella and Angel brand dresses and putting little ruffled panties and tights with little hats and gloves on me. I carried on this way for my entire life until I was stricken with Fibromyalgia. I had to give it up, it has gotten to the point that I say 'I'm clean and that's good enough'. Sad but true, just not able to get it together anymore.

Sian said...

Black to a wedding... don't get me started on black to a wedding. It's becoming more and more prevalent here and it appalls me. Are you all ex-partners of the groom? Are you in mourning for his new married life? I have to say though, I have never seen anybody wear jeans to a wedding in the UK. There are limits.

Belle de Ville said...

Ok...I admit to the facts...I am a Fancy Nancy. In fact my name actually is Nancy. i do believe that the last time this name was given as a surname was some time in the late 1950's because I have never met anyone else my age or younger with that name...but I digress.
I will be attending my best friend's daughter's wedding in Napa Valley next summer and if anyone shows up in jeans there will be hell to pay.

spell me said...

My 3 daughters are all Fancy Nancys. The oldest is a teen studying costume design. When she was in her Terrible Twos, all we ha to do to get her to behave was threaten to make her change into pants! People kept saying that she would change, but now she's 15 and doesn't own a pair of sneakers or a tee shirt. Gorgeous figure, but the world has never seen her navel.

Anyway, wherever I go with any of my girls (and let me tell you--they choose their own outfits), people ask if it's Picture Day... or if it's a special occasion!


Robin said...

I love this post! So cute, I love that you are showing off the lining.