Friday, May 02, 2008

Fashion don'ts

Who'd have thought it possible? Everything wrong with fashion today is captured in this single image of someone I'm assuming is a teen idol (my pop culture knowledge doesn't extend past the Lohan-Spears center to the periphery I'm assuming this young woman inhabits.) So, for the list of what's wrong with the outfit--which, by the way, is a fine example of how every young woman below 14th Street is dressed--see below:

1) Leggings-as-pants. From the back, this never looks good, but from this photo we just have to infer that Hilary Duff is no exception.

2) Keffiyeh (says, "I support the underdog") paired with "it" handbag (says, "I like to spend gobs of money on myself, in the most conspicuous way possible"). This is a combination I've noticed all around the city, this strange symbolic mix of an earnest concern for Gazans and a no less sincere attachment to Louis Vuitton.

3) Cheap-looking flats: I do this, but I'm a grad student (thus the "cheap-looking" part) and I have a decently long subway commute for which I typically have to stand, often carrying a heavy backpack (again, grad school). A movie star driving around Los Angeles (note the car keys in the picture) does not need practical shoes.

4) The baggy sweater-shirt: Seeing as every teen idol is pregnant with triplets until proven otherwise, this is not a wise move.

There's more, but I'm bored with the subject. Point is, we as a generation need to figure out some look better than this.


Whitney said...


Withywindle said...

A fashion show at the Met several years ago highlighted some designer of the 1940s and 1950s. It would make you weep, to see what elegance and style, tailored for real women rather than for anorexic Martians, existed then, and how much fashion has decayed since.

Anonymous said...

A lot of women look pretty hot in those leggings. Sorry.

Petey said...

"which, by the way, is a fine example of how every young woman below 14th Street is dressed"

Ugh. That's LA fashion, not Lower Manhattan fashion.

I've never seen a single young woman below 14th Street dressed that abominably. The army checkpoints at 14th keep them out.

Are you sure you're not actually blogging from the San Fernando Valley, Phoebe?

whitney said...

In defense of Phoebe, I'd say she's right. Though maybe I'd alter it to "within a three-block radius of Washington Square Park".

Phoebe said...

Yes, it's true, the look is mostly an NYU phenomenon. But NYU these days is pretty much all of lower Manhattan, and I'm not convinced that non-NYU New Yorkers below 14th look so different from NYUers at this point. See here for plenty of examples. My knowledge of LA style is limited to going to the city for a weekend, and what I remember noticing was that every woman wore workout clothes (not fashion-leggings) and looked like she spend a lot of time working out.

I'm not quite sure how anorexia versus "real woman"-ness enters into it. This Duff doesn't appear to be anorexic, nor do the vast majority of girls wearing leggings as pants. My own favorite style-era, the mod look of the early 1960s, was meant for, well, Twiggy, but can certainly be worn by less-twiggy women (or so I hope...), and is far more elegant than the Duff look.

As for some women looking good in leggings, you can be sure that these same women would look great in anything other than leggings.

Miss Self-Important said...

The keffiyeh seems to be the it-thing in Madrid. There are even colored keffiyehs, b/c black-and-white gets boring after a while. I'm almost certain that none of the kids wearing them has any idea what they symbolize.

What I don't understand is, why two scarves? Is her bag also cold?

Phoebe said...

The multicolored keffiyehs have certainly made it to NYC, but I'd thought Europe had had enough. Guess not. I was surprised by a maybe 8-year-old boy--who did not look especially Palestinian--wearing one on the bus in Brooklyn last weekend. He was with another kid who looked any younger, and no parents, so maybe it just stands for being hardcore. Which would make sense, since being Jewish/pro-Israel stands for being geeky and obeying authority figures. Even if the individuals wearing keffiyehs don't think of it this way, that is probably how it evolved.

Her bag, meanwhile, is legitimately cold, and not just wearing a scarf to support the cause of rebellion.