Auntie Fashion

I’m the fashion world’s most-enduring muse.

Archive for July 2008

Give ’til It Hurts

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Goodwill

Give, give, give — sometimes it seems as if that’s all I ever do.

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours cleaning out my closet.  That’s a daunting task when you’re a fashion icon like me.  But it’s something I try to do every couple of years with reckless abandon.  The reason?  I believe it’s selfish to archive your clothes.

Let’s face it; if you haven’t worn something for a couple of years, you’re probably not going to wear it again.  Fashion is cyclical, but in twenty or thirty years when everyone is wearing low-rise pants again, chances are that your ass will have relocated a few inches closer to the ground.

In the meantime, all those clothes sitting in your closet are becoming more and more unfashionable.  In a few years, you’ll decide to move or choose to raise a family.  Suddenly, you’ll say to yourself “Why am I keeping all of this stuff I’m never going to wear again?”  However, by that time the only people who will want to wear it are the kids who shop at Value Village for Halloween costumes.

Not every item in your closet is going to turn into a once-in-a-lifetime thrift store treasure, like a vintage Pucci dress or an Ossie Clark coat.  You’re not Tamara Mellon.  Most of your wardrobe is going to become junk that you’ll never need again.

Someone else might need it, though.  In fact, some of it is probably still quite lovely and fashionable.  Wouldn’t it be great if someone could use it?

That’s what I think when I’m stuffing blue bags full of clothes from my closet.  Yesterday, I put a $500 pair of shoes aside at one point and said “I just can’t give them up!”  Five minutes later I came to my senses and put them in the bag.  I know I’m not going to wear them again.  It’s as simple as that.  And I’m going to make someone’s day when they stumble across them on the resale rack!

I’m even a little more sanctimonious than usual when it comes to where I send my castoffs, too.  I only donate to Goodwill.  If you want to know why, just visit goodwill.org for all of the details.  Sure, I could earn a little money selling things through consignment, but I’m happy to know that Goodwill is a thriving force in my community.

If that’s not enough, to convince you to clean out your closet, just think of all the space you’ll make for new things.  Now get busy!

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July 31, 2008 at 2:12 pm

The word “Bohemian”

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Bohemia

I used to like the word “Bohemian.”  However, I’m really sick of it now.  Over the past decade or so, the word has lost both its meaning and its charm.  I blame Marc Jacobs, but I blame Marc Jacobs for everything horrible in the world, so that’s sort of lost it’s meaning, too.  Anyway . . .

Bohemia is a large area of what is now known as the Czech Republic.  During the 1800s, the French erroneously believed that the gypsies came from Bohemia, so they called them Bohemians.  The gypsies were society’s outsiders, and the term commonly used to describe them took on that context.  A Bohemian was someone who lived outside of the conventions of society.  Bohemians were free spirits, unconcerned with matters as frivolous as fashion, manners and personal hygiene (insert Olsen twin joke here).

The hippies of the late 60s were the last generation to truly wear the word like a badge of honor, although it could be argued that the proponents of 90s Grunge were cut from the same cloth.  Yet during the Grunge era, the word “Bohemian” became a synonym for “unconventional,” with the negative connotations virtually disappearing.  Soon afterward, as 90s Minimalism — the counterpoint of Grunge — faded into fashion’s memory, people who preferred to pile on the accessories appropriated the term “Boho” to describe their personal style.  Essentially, the Boho of the turn of the century were simply the anti-minimalists.

Now both “Bohemian” and “Boho” have become nothing more than marketing terms that advertisers and stylists use to brainwash the public into believing that your outfit is nothing unless it consists of a dozen layers of recognizable designer pieces.  If you’re not wearing a Dries Van Noten skirt with an Alberta Ferretti blouse under a Fendi vest with a Gucci coat and 6126 leggings tucked into your Marc Jacobs shoe/boots that don’t match your Miu Miu bag or your Chanel sunglasses or your Ralph Lauren belt but do remind you of an Ossie Clark-inspired look that you saw Mary-Kate or Ashley wear to what might have been a Stella McCartney runway show, then you’re not really Boho.  Boo hoo!  If you can’t afford to pile on the crap, then you’re not good enough to wear the Bohemian label.

It’s sad that such an interesting word has been spoiled by fashion, but that’s the way of the world.  Like fashion itself, words come and go, and I’m sure a time will come when hearing the word “Bohemian” will no longer make me furrow my brow like I’ve just caught a whiff of a real Bohemian’s armpit.

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July 30, 2008 at 5:04 pm

Posted in Things I Loathe

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Look, it’s Furonda!

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Not Furonda

Actually, it’s a lovely girl named Nina Keita in a WWD spread.  But she does look like Furonda.  It makes me wonder what Furonda is doing nowadays.  She never calls.  She never writes . . .

I really, really need a Top Model fix.  I don’t know if I can wait until the premiere.  I might have to break down and watch Project Runway online before it debuts on regular Canadian TV.  I can’t click on a website lately without having every detail of the show spoiled, anyway.

A little Heidi Klum will probably be enough to keep me going until fall arrives.  Still, it’ll be like strolling to the methadone clinic when I’d rather ride the white horse all the way to Tyratown.

Now excuse me while I phone my sponsor.

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July 29, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Weathering the Storm

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Wal-Mart

Get ready for an onslaught of bad service!

WWD is currently featuring an article titled Fashion’s First Aid Kit that includes interviews with several business leaders concerning the downturn in the retail market.  Citing a “10-point business health plan,” the article’s authors award first place to that old standby of business “Manage costs and overhead.”

Of course that comes up first.  It’s always what comes up first.  Somewhere at the top of the chain there’s an executive who says “We need to cut costs.  Let’s start with layoffs!”

Unfortunately, the problem with retail is that everyone wants to compete with businesses that don’t serve their customers.  I won’t even walk into a Wal-Mart if I don’t have to.  I won’t use a self-checkout anywhere I go.  When I’m spending money in a retail store, I want to be served.

But when the bottom line is being scrutinized, it’s always the employees at the bottom who suffer.  When top executives should be saying “Let’s differentiate ourselves from the competition by training our staff adequately and serving our customers.” they dither in their boardrooms, unaware of the condition of their sales floors.  They’ll dump millions of dollars into advertising how great their service is without spending a dime on those employees who provide great service.  And now no one with the manners to work in retail wants to work in retail.  Who can blame them?

Point number two on the list makes a little more sense.  “Be conservative with sales and inventory” it reads.  Yes, and CONTROL YOUR SHRINKAGE, please!  When I go into stores, I often find no staff on hand and too much inventory on the shelves.  On a busy Saturday, the sales floors and change rooms are littered with clothes that have been mangled on the racks and ripped apart by customers who feel entitled to try on anything and everything.  What doesn’t go out of the door in the hands of shoplifters gets trashed by trashy shoppers.

There’s no shrinkage control on most retail floors nowadays.  What’s worse, though, is that there’s no control of the bad customers who drive up costs by increasing shrinkage.  In most chains where the executives have lost touch with the realities of the retail floor, the staff are obliged to honor that patently false dictum “The customer is always right.”

Yet those customers who would tear up a Wal-Mart sales floor just because they can shouldn’t be shopping in the same places that civilized people shop.  They should be carefully watched by attentive sales staff and asked to leave if their behavior is compromising both the inventory and the way that the store conducts business.

I am so tired of standing at a sales counter where I have to wait behind a difficult customer who can’t be satisfied because they have completely unrealistic expectations of what the retailer owes them.  I’d pay double to shop in a boutique where the staff have the authority to tell the jerks who would rip apart their racks to get out and stay out.  They can go to a Wal-Mart if they don’t want to pay for service.  They don’t need to be allowed to ruin my shopping experience.

It’s time that retailers developed a backbone.  It’s time that they recognized that their good customers shouldn’t be paying exorbitantly higher prices to satisfy the needs of their bad customers.  Nevertheless, I’m a civilized person– a good customer — and I’m more than willing to pay a little extra to keep the savages at bay instead.

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July 28, 2008 at 4:35 pm

“Like paying a parking ticket.”

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The Happy Couple

My idol and mentor Simon Doonan is getting married to design star Jonathan Adler!  Unlike the Evil AntiZob, who was the subject of the previous post, Simon has admitted his intentions to The Cut.  Comparing the ceremony to paying a parking ticket, he’s requested that no gifts be purchased to celebrate the event.  “We have enough tchotchkes at home for one lifetime.”  Well, what about a gift card to Red Lobster?  I’d feel terrible arriving to the event empty-handed!

I’m thrilled for the happy couple — Doodler, as I like to call them.  The nickname is sort of like Bennifer or Brangelina, only without any of the horrible connotations that those other couples bring to mind, since they’re the loveliest, most-charming pair of guys on the face of the planet.

I sent a message to Simon the moment I found out, and he responded a moment later with a typical “THANKS LUV!”  I’m always amazed by how well-mannered a few celebrities are.  Even some stars who won’t talk to anyone make their publicists call and thank you for your interest.  Joan RiversDame Edna and Heather Locklear, for example, have all declined to be interviewed by me, yet all three have had very polite publicists call to let me know that they wouldn’t be available.

Good manners go a long way with me.  Fashion and manners aren’t really that different.  Sending a nice thank-you note is like wearing your thong inside your pants: It’s just the right thing to do.

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July 27, 2008 at 8:01 pm

The Bride Wore Teal

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Mr. and Mrs. Evil AntiZob

I wasn’t sure what horrified me more: The rumor that someone was going to marry Marc Jacobs, or that suit he’s wearing over a black tank top in the above photo.  Isn’t that crotch-between-your-knees trend over yet?  Is iridescent teal the new black?  Are his fiance’s jeans as ugly as I think they are?  Is the person to his right wearing a fur coat?  What season is it, anyway?  Sheesh!

Oh, I should stop being such a catty bitch.  I should be happy for him!  He’ll be able to run off on a hedonistic honeymoon, forgetting that he has three major collections to present over the next few weeks, and then he can attack the press when he’s in over his head and unable to meet his commitments due to poor time-management and alleged substance abuse.  I can already hear the excuses: “Suzy Menkes hates my collection because she’s jealous that I didn’t invite her to my wedding blah blah blah Jewish holidays!”

Anyway, I wonder how superstitious Jacobs is?  I bet he’ll follow that old adage “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”  I should help him out and send him something borrowed to wear down the aisle.  How about this?

Meow.

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July 26, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Say No to Fur?

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David Hasslehoff

It’s summertime at the gym, so I’ve been seeing a lot more skin than usual.  Guys who normally cover up have been showing up in sleeveless T-shirts, tank tops and those godawful deep V-necks from American Apparel.

One thing that puzzles me, though, is the current trend to grow as much hair on your face as possible while shaving hair from other parts of your body.  In the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen a lot of shaved armpits (and a shaved chest or two) on these geeky guys with full beards.

I’m all for the natural look — if that’s what floats your boat.  I just don’t understand why this trend is being applied in such an arbitrary manner.  At the moment, hair on the face appears to be a counterculture statement.  Guys with shaggy beards seem to be saying “Take that, all of you manicured pretty boys who don’t live in your parents’ basements playing WoW all day and night!”  I just don’t get what the shaved armpits and chests are all about, and what they have to do with the anti-establishment.

It makes me wonder what sort of selective shaving is going on south of the border.  Oh well!  If this trend continues, all men are going to be clipped like fancy poodles in the future.  Now there’s a trend I can get behind!

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July 25, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Trend Warning

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