The Cutting Edge of Fashion

I should probably be writing about Valentine’s Day (Or as i like to call it, “Single Awareness Day”), but screw it. I want to talk about clothes.

Last night, while snuggling under the covers with my ersatz valentine, my SiriDog, i was reading the latest edition of InStyle. And no, i don’t read it for the articles. I like to keep up on the latest fashion, both the couture art and the stuff that people can actually wear. I won’t spend $2K on a dress, but i will use the latest trends to alter something i found at the thrift store. It also is a good way to gauge if i’ll be able to find t-shirts in the colors i like (For those of you unfamiliar, the fashion illluminati gather at the beginning of every season and determine which colors are “in”, and woe to the shopper who wants something in a color that isn’t on that list!) Plus, let’s face it, the couture stuff is sometimes a great source of chuckles. Also to note,  i have a bit more of an interest this year, as i actually can wear clothes to work now.

So anyway, perused the whole thing yesterday. Then checked the websites.  It’s colder than Delores Umbridge’s heart outside, but in the fashion world, it’s springtime. And apparently, this year, that means the seventies are back with a vengeance.

Normally, in any given season, i can depend on my favorite designers to put out, if not something i actually covet, at least clothes that are pleasing. Then, to top off, there are usually a few other labels that hit a mark with me. Shoes, well, i’m picky, so there will be fewer. And maybe one bag strikes my eye.

I in no way imply that i am a fashion icon. Tho my personality is the lovechild of Mae West and Cher, my wardrobe godmothers are Fran Lebowitz and the lesbian poets of the mid 20th century. I like jeans with blazers, tailored slacks, tank dresses in the summer, and tuxes without shirts underneath (Scandalous!). I will never be on the cover of Vogue, even if i looked like Charlize. But i’m ok with that. My style works for me. I’m comfortable in it. It makes me feel pretty and strong and sexy and badass. Isn’t that what clothes are for?  But even tho my style isn’t as common as some, i can still appreciate fashion that i wouldn’t wear, but would look beautiful on the right person. A gingham bikini on a girly-girl with a sweet face is the sexiest thing in the world, even if that girl isn’t me. I can dig it. Aesthetically, it pleases. But i saw very little like that between the pages last night.

Lots of architectural and sculptured creations. Squared collars. Straight lines. Ruffles you could spread pâté with. As a museum piece, quite striking. As clothing, not so much. Who wants to wear a dress that will cut your arse when you sit in it? This isn’t the Victorian era – There is no need for women to suffer for appearances.  Not that i think Valentino should be invoking comfort law and dressing everyone in mu-mus and pajama pants. Structure is nice. Steel beams in my blouse are not.

Another big trend seems to be the reemergence of the 1975 palette. Burnt orange, avocado green, harvest gold, samsonite blue. It’s as if the discovery of skin tone never happened.  Seriously, do you know anyone who looks good in pepto pink?

Jumpsuits. Really? Only for people who never go to the bathroom.

Shoes and bags? Sharp edged, impractical, and not foot or wallet friendly.

Pompoms. On everything. I’m sorry, but i am not an Airstream.

On a positive note, i do like the return of the airy poet’s caftan. More than one designer had them updated in shorter lengths with beautiful watercolor painted fronts. A perfect thing to pack for the beach-side bar and grill or the first pool party of the season. I may even take a bash at making and painting one myself.

Another bright side, the makeup this season is very light and pretty. Hair, other than the couture shows, very wearable. And the coolest part, a lot of the older houses who have been quiet for a while are putting out some great collections. Brooks Brothers is gorgeous this season (Ok, yes, this is the one case where my fashion sense actually matches a fashion house.) Ralph Lauren has some great fresh takes on Americana. Versace has some amazing choices for the bold and unafraid. On the retail end, White House Black Market, Talbots, and H&M are all showing smart, flattering, wearable clothes. So in spite of my discontent with the majority, there is still a lot to choose from.

Granted, in the magazines and on the web, all these clothes are shown on stick figures. Sexless baby dolls pulled to six feet tall a la Stretch Armstrong. Olive Oyl with expensive makeup. Women of modeling perfection. I wish a magazine would take some of the season’s offerings and put them on real women. Show us how those knife-sharp pleats look on a pizza-fed ass. Most women my age can afford an occasional fashion splurge of some sort, so why not help us find one? That Versace tux with the bandeau top that i am salivating over… Let’s see what it looks like on a woman who weighs more than a prize Thanksgiving turkey. The buttery soft WHBM blazer, would it clear the hips? You can’t tell from the ad because the model is too small to have any. There are more full-figured women, and women of that certain age, on the red carpet than ever before, so we can see what those offerings look like on curvy and gravity-tamed bodies. Yes, real women are sometimes rail thin. Yes, real women are sometimes 20 years old. But not most of us. There is a veritable buffet of body types out there. Can we see your couture creations on them?

Hey, there’s a thought! Let’s take one ubiquitous outfit of the season and put that same outfit on a bunch of women: Thin, thick, boyish, curvy, young, old…. Different sizes and colors… And see how it translates. That would be cool! Sociologically interesting and consumer useful. That Battenburg lace Malandrino sheath dress… What does it look like on a woman like me? Or you? Or my Aunt Julie? Or the woman next door? Because none of us looks like Gigi Hadid. Hell, our names weren’t even mentioned in the socialite pages, never mind nominated for model of the year. But we like pretty dresses, too.

Even those of us who wear tuxes.

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