Category Archives: Strike a pose

A crash course in couture

*From the 2010 Dior show in the gardens of the Musee Rodin in Paris.

The Paris couture shows are underway, and Cathy Horn of the New York Times, as well as many other fashion-oriented media outlets, are reviewing the bejeweled, be-ribbioned, be-ruffled confections stomping down the runways. Couture is a small but revered part of the fashion industry, so I thought I’d provide a little history to put these incredible (and incredibly expensive) collections into context. Continue reading

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Where will all the fetish shoes go?

According to the July issue of Vogue, chic is the new chic. Yes, that sounds redundant. Chic – looking ladylike, put-together, emulating screen stars of yore rather than rock stars of today – is in. Chic. How convenient, that one word can convey so much.

For the past several years, the look beloved of fashionistas and editors everywhere (save the personal style of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who never wavers from her tailored dresses and sharp bob) has been a sort of rocker-chic – there’s that word again – comprising skinny leather or denim pants, military-style jackets and huge platformed ankle boots festooned with spikes and buckles and all sorts of hardware. These boots were made for walking. Or clomping – their precarious platforms make moving around very difficult. Continue reading

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Specs on a chain

Usually, wearing glasses on a chain around your neck falls into the realm of bubbes in Palm Beach who drive pastel-colored Cadillacs. But according to Vogue, these chains have the potential to be the next big thing. It’s “granny-chic,” meant to be combined with cardigans and frilly blouses, because fashion has stopped chasing youth.

Ha. The only way granny-chic could work is if it’s worn by someone young and fresh and preferably tall and leggy. The young can look old; the old cannot. Perhaps this is one reason why vintage clothing has been so very popular over the past few years?

Other aspects of the granny look, such as lace-up boots and mismatched florals, have been on the runways for a few seasons, and have hit mainstream popularity. But glasses chains? Even Vogue doubts they’ll be big with anyone besides the fashion crowd.

I, for one, am planning to abstain from attaching my spectacles to any sort of chain. When I was little, I was forced to attach my sunglasses and prescription sports goggles (yes, I was that cool) to a neoprene strip known as a Croakie, and wear them around my neck. Not a good look. So while I love jewelry, I am loathe to relive any aspect of the embarrassment that the Croakie so kindly lent to me.

I could see the chains working, perhaps on a cute librarian or someone who likes to dress like Emma Pillsbury from Glee, in pencil skirts and patterned cardigans. But only if done deliberately. No one wants to look like I did at 10, I promise.

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Beige in fashion

On Monday, the New York Times published an article discussing Brazil’s model export business. Brazil seems to churn out tons of successful models, girls with the right mix of height, lanky limbs, long hair, light eyes and tan skin. The secret, according to model scouts interviewed in the article, is the right mix of German, Italian and Russian or Slavic genes. The problem is, this mix does not represent greater Brazil.

The article admits that the debate over the composition of Brazil’s population is confusing; the country is populated with people from many different nationalities. But the nation-wide search (with particular focus in Rio Grande do Sul, which seems to have a high percentage of girls with these desirable traits) reflects the state of race in the fashion industry as a whole. Continue reading

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On shapewear for men

The New York Times ran an article the other day about the surprise retail triumph of shapewear for men. Spanx, the shapewear brand now ubiquitous for sucking in the tummies and thighs of even the skinniest celebrities, has introduced a line of undershirts meant to smooth out a man’s belly. According to the Times, the shirts are a huge hit.

When I first read the article, I was a bit bewildered by the concept. Why should men feel the need to suck and tuck? Aren’t women the only ones who have to care about unsightly bulging? That’s what the majority of women’s magazines say. Remember, this is the time of third wave feminism, where women can – and should, if convention be taken –  be intelligent, accomplished and fabulous, all at the same time. Continue reading

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What’s wrong with the romper

A romper is a combination of shorts and shirt, a sort of one-piece that looks adorable on babies and toddlers. It is also now, if the runways and shelves at Urban Outfitters are to be believed, an ‘it’ piece for summer. For grown women, not toddlers.

I suppose that whoever conceptualized the romper as a fashion statement had a ’50s pin up-type image in mind, a woman in a romper and wedge-heeled espadrilles, her legs stretching for miles. The idea is summery and carefree. But the reality of the romper is not nearly as glamorous. The often floral printed one pieces can be both blousy and ill-fitting. Camel toe is a common side effect, and the shorts are often an odd length that strikes at the widest part of the thigh, which is never flattering. Basically, the romper makes women either look frumpy or like a two-year-old, neither of which (despite the other current trend of bloomers/briefs instead of pants) is a desired effect. Continue reading

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