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Friday, March 26, 2010

The title of the 1992 thriller Single White Female always bothered me due to its lack of realism.

In the movie, an attractive New York chick played by Bridget Fonda needs a roommate, so she places this ad.

I wonder what cracktastic neighborhood that $300 2 BR, 2 bth was in.

A less attractive chick played by Jennifer Jason Leigh moves in and starts copying Bridget’s entire life, right down to her cropped red hair.

Bridget in red.

Jennifer in red.

I lived in New York with roommates in the early ’90s. Back then, people would place ads for roommates in a paper version of the Village Voice. Capacity wasn’t infinite like it is now on the Internet, so there would be relatively few ads. We’d have to run out the day the paper was published, scoop it up, run back home to our non-wireless phones and start calling like crazy. I think I cleverly called from pay phones a couple of times.

People also used to run sex ads in the newspaper. (In these Craigslist days, it’s difficult to imagine waiting a whole week to find the perv of your dreams.) The sex ads, not the roommate ads, were the place where you’d identify yourself as a “single white female.” As I recall, race couldn’t be mentioned in the equal-opportunity real-estate section (gender could be specified). Relationship status was irrelevant. Plus, you were charged by the letter. It would be stupid to waste money on “single,” “amicably separated” or “I don’t understand why he didn’t call me because I thought we had a good time after I answered his sex ad in the Village Voice” when you were desperately seeking anyone with $500 for a security deposit and a tolerance for cockroach-infested kitchens.

Of course, the fact that “single white female” is completely unrealistic for a roommate ad didn’t stop the expression from becoming a well-known synonym for “psycho bitch who bites your style and possibly tries to kill you with a shoe.” Even I can’t stop myself from using it, and it was on my mind this week when I went SWF on two gals in one day.

In December, my gorgeous designer friend Stacy of Taffeta Darlings wore a sex-ay menswear vest she made herself, and I declared I had to have one just like it. She finished it this week, so on Wednesday we dressed like twins for a jaunt down to my handsome friend Evan’s vintage store Frock. Evan is selling Linda Derector‘s collection of vintage sunglasses and I wanted to check them out before their official debut. I put on a pair that made me look like a lady from The Far Side, Stacy put on a cupid-adorned pair by Moschino and we posed in our matching vests.

When you care enough to send the very vest.

See the resemblance? She even has red lips!

I decided the Far Side look was a good one for me and tried on more cat’s-eye shades.

Evan in another pair of vintage sunglasses.

Evan and Stacy convinced me that a purple pair with rhinestone corners was the most flattering and the least crazy-looking.

We met Tatyana for drinks after shopping. Note that I'm wearing my swear rings!

After I got them, I realized I had SWF’d the colored cat’s-eye sunglasses recently purchased by gorgeous blogger Jennine of The Coveted and Independent Fashion Bloggers.

Jennine in her cat's eye sunglasses. Click!

In fact, I double-SWF’d Jennine, because I’ve already been wearing round sunglasses that Jennine herself gave me. I’m like her eyewear stalker. Shady! Literally.

Wearing Jennine's old sunglasses last week. Click!

Jennine wearing her old sunglasses. Click!

Even though Stacy and Evan thought the first pair of sunglasses made me look like I should be hanging out with talking livestock, I am seriously considering going back to get them. What do you think?

Dang (as a Far Side character might say)! This post deserves a “where to buy” list and photo credits like a magazine.


Vintage sunglasses: If you’re in New York and want a pair (many styles available in addition to cat’s-eye), you should get to Frock fast. A very, very big designer’s team is already looking at the collection. Frock is always very popular with designers looking for inspiration, so this is your chance to get an original. And don’t leave a comment saying you don’t like those glasses on me so that you can snag them. I’m on to your little tricks.

Custom-made vest: For a made-to-measure vest like mine, you can contact Stacy via her blog.

Even the lining of my vest is beautiful.

Swear rings: At wendybrandes.com, of course!

Jennine’s cast-off stuff: You can ask her or snoop through her garbage, but I don’t know how thrilled she’s going to be about either of those. If you’re rummaging through her trash and she runs out brandishing a shotgun, don’t come crying to me.


1, 2 and 3: From the Single White Female trailer, via IMDB.

4, 6, 7 and 11: Stacy Lomman.

5: Gary Larson’s book is available at Amazon.

8, 10: Jennine Tamm Jacob.

9: MrB.

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38 Responses to “Single White Female X 2”

  1. Alicia says:

    Go get the other ones. Cat eye glasses with the red lip suits you and is plenty Far Sidey. Both are WINs.

  2. deja pseu says:

    Oh, I have such a weakness for vintage cats eye frames! They are *timeless*!

  3. Your twinning is definitely more of a Double-mint gum kind of thing, “Double your pleasure; double your fun” than a Bridget and Jennifer thing. That vest and glasses are so nice that they needed to be worn twice. And I LOVE your new shades even though they are a far side from your usual round frames.

    You made me LOL with “In these Craigslist days, it’s difficult to imagine waiting a whole week to find the perv of your dreams.” You are a HOOT!

  4. stacy says:

    Thanks for the mention my dear. I’m so glad you are happy w/ your custom piece. You look mad hot in it! So, when are we going back to Frock to get you those glasses? I love that you gave MrB a photo credit!

  5. eli says:

    Oh man, roommate searching is awful. and frightening. I hope I never have to do it again in my life!!

  6. Sher says:

    My Mom had cat eye glasses back in the 60’s. It’s about time they came back in style 🙂

  7. i didnt know the story behind the SWF ads & saying haha– thank you for educating me wendy. that vest is adorable as are the kooky sunglasses. sometimes its fun to be twins!


  8. roxy says:

    I love cat-eye glasses…. I’m glad their back in style..

  9. Amazing that you had similar Vests, or Waistcoats as we call them here, you both look great.

  10. sharon rose says:

    Hi there-you both look gorgeous in these vests, Stacey is very talented indeed!

  11. “waiting a whole week to meet the perv of your dreams” LOL you crack me up!!!

    P.S I posted an award for you on my blog.

  12. hiyaluv says:

    I say go get the other glasses because you can totally rock them and if nothing else because of what you stated in your post, “Frock is always very popular with designers looking for inspiration, so this is your chance to get an original.”

    Always a fun read my friend. Bravo.
    smiles, gina

  13. I’ve had my share of nightmare roommates, so I found this post particularly funny…Live and learn. Anyway, love the vest and the shades!

  14. Sheila says:

    That vest is gorgeous. You should give it to me. 🙂

  15. Natalie says:

    I love all three pairs but then I do have slightly weird taste so you might not want to trust my judgment.
    I do the SWF thing all the time! And now that I have found so many stylish blogs it just gets worse and worse…

  16. Get the first ones! I love the Far Side woman!

  17. meligrosa says:

    love these sunglass switc – clicks.
    nice post lady wendy /xoxoox.m

  18. Eric says:

    *clicking on Amazon to purchase more Gary Larson*

    By the way, what a lovely pair of vests there in the photo with Stacy.

  19. Alya says:

    I always assumed that the “SWF” was because a) you’re single – meaning you live alone and b) female – meaning you might have some preferences as to what gender you wanna room with and c) well, again I’m assuming, that during that time people weren’t as racially indifferent as nowadays, so they would identify what race they were..

    That’s what I thought anyway 🙂

    • WendyB says:

      We were a little more enlightened than you expected, Alya! 🙂 In New York at that time you couldn’t indicate a preference for race. As for the “single” part, you don’t see a lot of couples or families looking for a roomie. That would be the exception to the rule and worthy of specifying with an ad such as “Family with room to let.” But “single” was the standard, expected situation. Of course, you could express a preference for gender for the obvious reasons.

  20. marian. says:

    love this post and the whole SWF spin on it! that movie still scares the crap out of me!
    Love the round shades,the cat ones are cute too.

  21. enc says:

    The vest is incredible! You two look great together in your vests.

    I vote go for the glasses; crazy cat-eye is a great look on you.

    (Dang! Now everyone is going to know I SWF’ed my favorite expression!)

  22. I love all the photos of you, and that vest is adorable. Totally my style! 🙂

  23. I love that movie. Any time I get to see a high heel induced death is a good time to me. The vest is tres chic as well, madame.

  24. You so can do the cats eyes glasses.

  25. Maddy says:

    I’d be honored if you did a SWF on me! Lol! And I have to agree with the other commenters, the cat-eyes suit you!

  26. stacy says:

    I meant to comment before about the “less attractive” Jennifer Jason Leigh — soooo true and so funny!

    And Sheila, I can make you your OWN vest 🙂

    Oh, I need to add that my anti-spam word is “foxylady”

  27. Love the first pair on you, I nearly bought some very similar in Harvey Nics but my friend talked me out of them … I am so sorry now xxx

  28. Wendy B I really enjoy your writing. It makes me laugh. 🙂 That vest is pretty cool.

  29. drollgirl says:

    wasn’t that movie pretty much retarded? i saw it way back when, but i am shaky on the details. i think it was probably as goofy as the hand that rocks the cradle.

    regardless, you look fab. i think we all copy/and or get inspired by a zillion things around us. no shame in that! 🙂

  30. Nina says:

    i’ve always loved cat eye glasses. swf movie scared the heck out of me.

  31. Midtown Girl says:

    I LOVE that vest. And def going to check out Frock’s inventory 😉

    ps – you & Stacy make quite the adorable pair of Vest Friends!

  32. Audi says:

    I never understood that title either, because I had only ever seen those acronyms used in personal ads.

    That vest is faaabulous!

  33. ash fox says:

    totally amused by your description of swf and the days of posting sex ads in the village voice.


  34. apparellel says:

    i love knowing that just by coming here i can get a good laugh. you are such a witty writer. love it.


  35. Shay says:

    SO much good sunglasses inspiration here!!

  36. All the sunglasses are really lovely.
    Very vintage looks;)