If there’s one thing that I really, really don’t understand – other than quantum mechanics and why my Twitter feed stopped downloading to my Facebook fan page – it’s the world of fashion. Every week it seems that a new fashion “season” is announced, and with it, the latest “in” colors, fabrics, patterns, and themes. These mysterious pronouncements from the high priests and priestesses of the World of Couture inevitably contradict the rules for the previous “season,” (a.k.a. last week). Today, orange has become the hottest color, linen the fabric, paisley the pattern and recession the theme. Naturally, this presents a problem for the shopper who is still awaiting delivery of outfits that combine mint green, cotton, zebra prints and a “Happy Days Are Here Again” theme. Those are now so last week. Hemlines zoom from nearly illegally high and then suddenly plunge with no warning by several feet, in search of the long-forgotten ankle.
Do we have a national fabric shortage or something?
These fashion dictates are often so arbitrary, contradictory, and ugly that I suspect many designers are dosing up on some serious mind-altering substances. How else to explain the phenomenon of threatening-looking biker jackets with metal studs that look like they should be worn by a giant man named Thor, wildly oversized Alice-in-Wonderland hats shaped like mushroom clouds, and metallic suits inspired by Optimus Prime from “Transformers?” These outlandish duds would be the envy of your friends at a Purim party, but otherwise, unless you are also under the influence of mind-altering substances or the influence of too much Vogue magazine, they are just plain duds.
Recently, the media has issued a volley of stories about the so-called “war on women.” Political operatives of both major parties naturally accuse their opponents of supporting anti-woman policies. But isn’t it obvious that the real war on women is instead being waged by fashion designers? They wield sketch pads as weapons of mass couture destruction, spewing forth into the world of commerce truckloads of dangerous and painful things that women are supposed to wear. Millions of otherwise sane women totter around on five-inch stiletto heels, nearly as tall as my kitchen step stool. Some even claim these lethal bootikins are “comfortable,” but probably because they feel guilty for what they paid for them. These same women will eventually slink into the chiropractor’s office wearing Crocs, begging the doc to unravel their lower vertebrae.
Ladder-high heels may be the most egregious enemy of women’s comfort and self-respect, but they are not alone. “Skinny” pants are often worn so tightly they nearly cut off circulation. Belts can pinch. Designer purses are so heavy and humungous they have to be checked with the suitcases, dragging one shoulder down to dramatically close contact with the floor.
And women thought 19th-century hoop skirts and bustles were bad!
Honestly, I had considered myself pretty much unshockable when it comes to crimes of fashion after I regretfully discovered photos of “Lady” Gaga (I use the term loosely) who once wore a raw meat “gown” at an awards ceremony. (Maybe she was going for a “Best impersonation of a future T-bone steak” award?) But I was wrong. While far less gross, today’s trend in fashion is plastic. That’s right. Even Marc Jacobs, one of the most influential style mavens in the known universe, is pushing it. Claiming that plastic-coated silk pants are the wave of the future – at least till next week – they can be yours for only $1,275.00. If anyone is dumb enough to pay that much money for a pair of pants that you clean with a kitchen sponge and a spritz of household disinfectant and which normal people will ridicule behind your plastic-encased back, well, it’s a free country.
Fashionistas intend high praise when they remark that a new collection is “eccentric,” “decadent” or “futuristic.” Personally, the last thing I’d want anyone to say to me when I’m donning a new outfit is, “Wow, Judy, that outfit is so. . . futuristic!” Maybe I’m just old-fashioned. Fortunately there are still designers out there who are not deranged and create tailored and elegant clothes meant to compliment women’s figures and not humiliate them, but normal people rarely get media play. Instead, the media foist photos of female celebrities stepping out for A-list parties without pants (the “decadent” look), and even the longish tops they have somehow not forgotten to wear are still missing the material on one shoulder. Do we have a national fabric shortage or something?
No wonder the models strutting down the catwalks look so desperately unhappy. Not only are these poor people being starved half to death, their knees sticking out like daggers, but how happy can they feel when they are forced to wear togs that look like they were designed for a Vulcan? Now it may help the economy if people keep shoveling money into it to buy new wardrobes all the time, but I don’t think designers who make clothes meant to shock and demean should be encouraged. And if you are one of those people who are worried about the earth’s “sustainability,” just remember that buying new stuff all the time uses the world’s resources and is delivered using fossil fuels. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Besides, who will want your castoff metallic suit last seen in the movie “Transformers”? Think about it.
Fortunately, this ready-to-wear war on women is one we can easily win, girlfriends. All we have to do is band together and just say no to crippling five-inch heels, mushroom cloud-shaped hats, clothes so tight you require an oxygen mask, and patterns that you know if you tap into your reservoir of common sense are just plug ugly. And if anyone tries to tell you that a polyurethane skirt – even in a color that works for you -- is a great idea, ask them what they’ve been smoking.
I’m armed and ready for this fight, wearing a metal-studded biker jacket (everyone’s entitled to one fashion mistake a season) and a small, shoulder-sparing purse. Who’s with me?