Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Scarves and stripes

-Fashion-advice columnist Hadley Freeman explains that contrary to what you might expect, she doesn't care about shoes, and that this is because she doesn't/can't walk in heels. This seems a bit like announcing that because George Clooney doesn't do anything for you, you don't care about men's looks, and would be unmoved by, for example, Keanu Reeves walking into your coffee shop.

If I found a pair of Louboutins in my closet, the first thing I'd do is look into how one goes about selling stuff on Ebay. If I can't walk in six-inch stilettos, it's because I don't like how they look, and have never tried. And yet, I like shoes very much. Shiny ballet flats and pastel oxfords, metallic clogs, motorcycle boots, certain thicker-heeled iridescent sandals...

Why is it assumed - by Freeman, by everyone - that women who like shoes like either $600 Manolos or, as of the past few years, the $1,000 red-soled stripper-inspired variety? Presumably for the same reason as a professed interest in clothing/personal style/fashion is interpreted as coveting a Chanel quilted purse, or $400 jeans, or - more ridiculously - as a desire to please men. An interest in the material is conflated with materialism in the brand-conscious, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses sense. Shouldn't be, but is.

-Prepare to have your illusions shattered: "Ninety-five percent of clothing sold in France is foreign made; the other 5 percent consists largely of luxury brands." Turns out the crap you spent your hard-earned library-book-shelving money on while on study-abroad was not, in fact, hand-stitched in ateliers by artisans with three-hour five-course lunch breaks. All those scarves and stripes were made in the same factories that produce our vanity-sized Old Navy.

-This week had better be the last of the Napoleon chapter. Enough's enough. All that prevents me from falling asleep at the library is that the bookshelver here has a bit of a talking-to-himself problem. Not a paranoid one, but like he's in conversation with what's on his headphones, or talking along, or who knows.


Britta said...

Exactly. Fashion is either "$200 for a t-shirt is cheap" or "I spend hours thrifting and nothing I wear was made before 1970 or cost more than $20." There are plenty of people who like fashion and who buy new clothes that are mass market but who are not slave to fashion trends or wear whatever. You can like and have strong opinions on shoes in the $20-$100 range, or pants in the sub-$40 range, etc., and despite what the fashion world assumes, there are actually tons of options in these ranges, especially if you don't mind searching for sales.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

Yeah. I'd take it even further, though. I have opinions on affordable clothes I might wear (and am beyond thrilled with my new neon-pink Gap khakis), but am also drawn to the occasional item beyond my price range. (Galaxy-print dresses don't come cheap.) They're not super-obscure or Art items (Christopher Kane and Risto Bimblilowski are, well, fashion designers), but they're also not things like quilted Chanel purses or Louboutins, if that makes sense. The point of such items wouldn't be to show that I'd spent $X. While I don't think this interest ought to give me serious-person points, nor do I think it ought to mean detracting any. That it effectively does strikes me as an example of an interest being thought idiotic precisely because it's one generally attributed to women.