Barr Service

In a new column, Barr Service, Robert Barr gives advice as a high-fashion life coach. This week, he counsels Svetlana, a mail-order Russian bride who needs a conservative look to meet her new husband’s mother…

Hintmag Dear,

I write to you seeking help to situation. I come from Vladivostok. I am recently becoming engaged with American gentleman I have met on He proposes that I am flying to America this June to encounter him, his family and the wedding. He says that I am to buy new clothes for the encountering of his mother. He explains me that she is ancient woman from province of Greenwich and is wasp. He says I am to dress like wasp too. I look up “wasp” in dictionary and it says this is insect. Do American men wish their women to costume themselves as insects?

Very much thanking you,

Dear Svetlana,

First, mazel tov on snaring yourself a man! (Does this have a sister site for Russian men seeking double-jointed, mixed-race men pushing thirty?)

Now on to your conundrum. A “wasp” is so much more than an insect! WASPs are a socially prominent group of “upper-class” Caucasians who used to be very important in America. They’re sort of like your oligarchs, except instead of putting a hit on you, they just glare scornfully while they push around steamed-root vegetables on their bone-china plates. But don’t be scared of your mail-order man’s mama. Just smile, nod your head a lot, mention your Fabergé collection and your cousins, the Romanovs, and she’ll love you.

As for your look, follow these instructions carefully. I assume you have your husband-to-be’s platinum card?…

Anita Ko 18-karat gold “Panther” studs: $1,380
Ancient WASP women love animals more than people. These earrings are the perfect way to subtly mention your “fundraising activities” for a “pet shelter” back in Russia.

Bottega Veneta “Cocolave” crocodile tote: $24,000
WASP women hate anything that looks expensive, unless it looks really old and has a weird color (see George Hamilton). Plus, if this engagement doesn’t work out, he might take back the ring, but not the purse, so you can sell it and retire in St. Petersburg.

Fendi chiffon and leather shoes: $545
These are high enough to keep your man excited, but not so high mama will realize you’re a hooker.

Kiki De Montparnasse leather bra: $295
Jean Yu garter belt: $435
WASP men often have Madonna-whore complexes. Slutty lingerie beneath a ladylike ensemble is a must. How do you think Jackie Kennedy kept Jack faithful?

Kenneth Jay Lane gold-plated coin belt: $245
Chances are your future mother-in-law just adores “Kenny” Jay Lane (he’s an honorary ancient WASP woman). Also, the coin motif on this belt subliminally reminds your man what really matters in your relationship.

L’Wren Scott bow-embellished straw sunhat: $625
Worrying about skin cancer is every WASP’s favorite pastime—besides tax fraud. Casually mention how scared you are of “the sun” and mama will roll up her St. John sleeve and display her collection of melanoma scars. Total bonding experience!

Michael Kors rose-gold chronograph: $250
WASPs feel better if they can find something to pity. This watch will let all the women in your man’s family think: Sure, she’s pretty, but did you see that poor immigrant’s cheap watch?

Emmanuelle Khanh sunglasses: $510
Be sure to take these off inside the house. WASPs like to look into a person’s eyes while backhand-complimenting them.

Rochas silk dress: $1,225
As long as a stiff wind doesn’t blow, you’re good to go in this virginal white number.

Chloé bouclé jacket: $1,995
Don’t you just love the flower buttons on this Chloé? There’s a certain Barbara Bush quality to a jeweled button on navy bouclé. It’s like catnip to a WASP.

Grand total: $31,505
Never forget, you’re the best money can buy, so you should wear the best money can buy!

Целую, Robert

Email your problem and picture to Robert. If he’s moved, touched or turned on, he’ll virtually style you in the best fashion has to offer. Also visit his blog, The Barr Code.

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