June 3, 2010
On the forefront of the trend-forecasting trend, Jane Buckingham was a guru before she was 40, deciphering the secret desires of generations X, Y and Z for a who’s who of corporate America including the CW, L’Oreal and Express. With nearly 20 years in the business, she is now president of L.A.-based fashion and lifestyle consulting firm Trendera, a contributing editor at Cosmopolitan magazine, a regular on the TV talk show circuit, and an author.
Her new book, ”The Modern Girl's Guide to Sticky Situations” (Avon, $19.99), is a lifesaver for problems with online dating, at parties, in the kitchen, at the office and in fashion. Pages are filled with thoughtfully-organized solutions to a drunk date, a mother-in-law who wants to wear a sexy dress to your wedding, a botched self-tan, a stinky refrigerator, a one-night stand with a groomsman, an over-salted entree, and on and on. It's the paperback personification of a BFF, and you won't want to leave home without it.
I chatted with Buckingham recently about the book, the third in her “Modern Girl's” series.
How did you get the idea for the series of Modern Girl's guides? I realized I am very good at my job, but I am not so good at a lot of other things, like cooking and cleaning, how to hem a pair of pants well or roast a chicken -- things that other generations knew how to do. A lot of people go to their moms for this stuff, but my mom died when I was 21. Besides, you wouldn’t ask your mom how to give your boyfriend a great massage, but it's in the first book. The second book was about motherhood. I wasn’t sure what to do next, then I woke up one night and said, ‘Oh my god! I have to do sticky situations.' Because I’m that person who gets into them all the time.
Give me an example? Like the invitations for my book party. We used a cute new invitation website, and I don’t know if it had a glitch or we did, but half the people didn’t get the invitation and half the people got it 10 times.
Are we living in a time of sticky situations?
Yes. We function 24/7, we’re always getting e-mails and coping with to-do lists that are too long. The world is intruding now, and everything we say or do can be captured by cellphone or camera at any moment, so we’re bound to get into sticky situations.
How did you come up with the solutions? We talked to women in focus groups, doctors and experts, combed through books and websites.
I'm going to ask you about a few situations from the book. What do you do when you send an e-mail that you instantly regret? It happens all the time. There is the didtheyreadit.com service. It doesn’t unsend an e-mail, but it lets you know the moment someone reads an e-mail, so at least then you can do damage control. Depending on how bad the situation is, you can apologize by e-mail or -- if you really hurt feelings -- make a phone call. Also, both Outlook and Google have a recall function. Some people think that draws more attention. But if it’s your boss and she has a lot to do, typically she won’t read an e-mail that has been recalled.
What do you do when you break a corkscrew in a bottle of wine? You push the cork through, and pour the wine out of the bottle through a coffee filter. The cork will get caught in the filter, then you just pour the wine into a decanter and you’re set.
What do you do if you forget to invite someone important to your party and they find out? It depends on whether it happens before or after the party. If it happens before, say you are sorry and that you hope they’ll still come. If they don’t accept, they’re being a spoiled sport. If it happens after, call them up and say, 'I hope you know I would never intentionally not invite you.' But apologize once and move on. If you keep on going, it only makes it worse. And don’t apologize in front of someone else, it only calls attention.
Jane Buckingham will be solving predicaments and signing “The Modern Girl’s Guide To Sticky Situations” Saturday, June 5 at 5:30 p.m. at Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, (310) 659-3110.
-- Booth Moore
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