Auntie Fashion

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

Archive for the ‘Two Dozen Reasons’ Category

Reason #24 to Hate this Past Decade

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Reason #24: 24/7 Cocktail Dressing

When I look back at the 90s, I consider contrived nonchalance to be the stupidest trend that defined that decade.  Imagine a time in history when a product named “Bed Head” became popular and designers like Marc Jacobs showed collections based on thrift-store chic.  I could never understand why people didn’t choose to just get out of bed without combing their hair and put on something they got at the Goodwill.

In ten years, I may look back at this past decade to find something that I hate more than 24/7 cocktail dressing, but I don’t think I will — I really loathe it.

Life isn’t a cocktail party unless you’re the daughter of a rock star or a hotel heiress.  Even then, it’s probably wise to put on something besides a cocktail dress occasionally.  Don’t get me wrong: I do like dresses.  However, the line between daywear and eveningwear has become blurred.  I see sequins and glitz and tits and the highest of high heels on girls working at the bank.  A line has been crossed, and it’s the line between good taste and bad taste.

If your life is a party, good for you.  Wear whatever you want.  Just don’t expect people to condone your behavior.  It is tacky and inappropriate.

The Antidote: Separates

The greatest American fashion design empires have been built on separates.  Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and Michael Kors are legends because they’ve offered modern women the choice to be chic in any garment they choose.  This American way of dressing hasn’t been fashionable since the 90s, which means it’s ready to come back.

Bring on the sportswear!

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December 31, 2009 at 4:25 pm

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Reason #23 to Hate the Past Decade

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Counterfeit Bags

Reason #23: Counterfeit Bags

It’s bad enough to make yourself into a walking billboard for some luxury company by carrying around their logo bag.  But why would you carry a fake designer bag?  Anyone worth their weight in fine leather goods knows a counterfeit bag when they see it, so who are you trying to impress?  Your Nascar-loving boyfriend?  The broads down at the bingo hall?  Your parole officer?

Listen to your Auntie: Fake ain’t fabulous.

The Antidote: Anything Else

A thoughtfully-chosen bag that reflects your own personal sense of style will make a good impression upon people who matter, like me.

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December 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm

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Reason #22 to Hate this Past Decade

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The Swan

Reason #22: Makeover Shows

A few years ago I had the chance to star in the pilot for a makeover show.  While I jumped at the opportunity, I also did everything I could to try to dictate the terms in which I’d participate in the program.  I didn’t want to make another show about the journey of self-discovery that defined every other makeover show.  The reason?  Self-discovery doesn’t happen when a light bulb goes on overtop your head.  It happens all day, every day, and it will continue to happen throughout your life.

If I thought anyone could get their life on track by purchasing a new face or a pair of heels, I would be all for makeover shows.  I wish people could figure out that life is more complex than that.  Then perhaps they would stop producing these programs that perpetuate the notion that your life can turn on a dime.  For most of its victims, it’s crash and burn TV.

The Antidote: What Not To Wear

I put “What Not To Wear” into its own category for one reason: It focuses on fit, and fit is the cardinal virtue of style.  Stacy London is fabulous, too.

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December 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm

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Reason #21 to Hate this Past Decade

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Ferdinand & Imelda Marcos

Reason #21: Shoe Whores

In 1986, when Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and his family fled the country during a revolution, the world was disgusted to learn that his wife Imelda had 2,700 pairs of shoes in her palace closets.

In 2009 many women believe a ridiculously large shoe collection is something to brag about.  I disagree.  If you aren’t wearing it, it isn’t worth keeping — especially when there’s someone else out there who would love to have it.  Why archive your possessions until they become so unfashionable that no one would want them?  And do you really believe that you’re going to wear the same shoes in a few decades when they come back into style?  Not a lot of women do.  Believe me — I’ve been around the block a few times.

The Antidote: Donating to Goodwill

Give it up, ladies.  Hoarding is a psychological disorder, and not nearly as stylish as being nice to other people.

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December 29, 2009 at 3:23 am

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Reason #20 to Hate this Past Decade

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Reason #20: Ridiculous Retail Hours

It seems like only yesterday when stores were actually closed occasionally.  If you didn’t bother to shop during regular business hours, you were out of luck.  Sure, there were the few people who worked graveyard shifts that were inconvenienced by typical operating hours, but they had days off like everyone else.  If they needed to shop, that’s when they shopped.

Nowadays it seems as if we’re just a step away from having stores that never close.  Sure, there are some of them around already, and I believe that they’re the trailblazers.  The trend in retail is to stay open longer, but to serve your customers less.  I don’t notice more staff on the floors of these establishments that are operating with extended hours.  In fact, it seems as if many retailers have just stretched out the staff they’ve got to deal with the situation.  Why hire more people when you’ve proven again and again that your idiot customers would rather drive ten miles to save fifty cents on margarine than go shopping in a pleasant environment where they’re served by competent staff?

No one needs to go to Wal-Mart at 3:00 am, anyway — do they?

The Antidote: Harry Rosen

I don’t suppose I’ve been in a chain store in Canada that has better service consistently than Harry Rosen.  It’s as if the staff are trained and nurtured by a company that values their talents.  It makes me want to spend more money there.  Wow!  What a radical concept!

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December 27, 2009 at 11:20 pm

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Reason #19 to Hate this Past Decade

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Courtney Love

Reason #19: The Lack of Appreciation the Fashion World has for this Dress

Here’s a blog post of mine from April 28, 2008:

“If I had to pick the one dress that has influenced fashion the most in the past ten years, it would be this one.  John Galliano designed this gown for Christian Dior Haute Couture.  The collection was inspired by hobos, and the dress originally was presented on the runway with dangling fake mice and tiny beer cans.  Courtney Love cut those off before walking the red carpet at the 2000 Golden Globes in the name of “good taste.”

Love had recently been reinvented for the red carpet.  Cleaned-up and looking undeniably gorgeous, she literally made the jaws of the fashion press drop to the ground when she stole the show at a couple of events leading up to this particular red carpet.  Jeanne Beker has even cited Love’s appearance at another event in a glorious Versace number as a career-making move.   Up to that point, Love wasn’t even on the fashion radar.

And then she showed up wearing this dress.  I couldn’t have been more delighted, but the world reacted rather unfavorably.  Even W magazine couldn’t decide what to say about the ensemble, calling Love “trashy” on one page, then simultaneously praising Galliano’s collection on another.

But, as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.  Looking back, this dress basically encapsulated the decade that would follow it.  The deconstruction/reconstruction trend, the red carpet craze, the return of Hollywood glamour, the embellishment fad, makeover madness — all of the movements that have defined the ’00s are evident in this one snapshot.

Of course, I wish I could find a better photo of this dress.  But it seems to be forgotten by most people, including the people who write about fashion.  That’s sort of tragic, because this dress needs to put in a museum for the sake of posterity (maybe it has been, for all I know).  It’s an icon.

Many people who write about fashion don’t attempt to understand the garments in the context that they were created and presented.  This gorgeous gown was ripped to shreds and put back together again only to be met with mixed reviews by an audience who was mostly unqualified to offer its opinion on the subject.  If that statement doesn’t describe this past decade in both fashion and fashion criticism (and Courtney Love’s life, for that matter), I don’t know what does.”

The Antidote: The Costume Institute

There are people working hard to put fashion into a historical context.  Overshadowed by a high-profile party that helps to raise their operating funds, they toil away in the background like so many anonymous bloggers.  They not only deserve your admiration, but also your support.

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December 26, 2009 at 3:25 pm

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Reason #18 to Hate this Past Decade

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Giorgio Armani

Reason #18: Designers Behaving Badly

In a business where the product is often associated with class, it’s surprising that so many fashion designers have no class.  For example, take Marc Jacobs’ comments after his now legendary S/S 2008 show where he couldn’t bring himself to apologize for being two hours late.  Or take Stefano Pilati’s unnecessary criticism of Tom Ford, which incidentally pales in comparison to Tom Ford’s tales of how awful Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Bergé treated Ford when he was handed design duties at YSL Rive Gauche.  The worst of the worst, however, seemed to be when Giorgio Armani uninvited Cathy Horyn to one of his fashion shows in Milan for writing the sort of stuff she always writes.  Do you guys really believe that no one is watching you?  Do you really believe that being the figurehead of a brand doesn’t carry any responsibilities?

We fashion critics might forgive, but believe me, we don’t forget.

The Antidote: Michael Kors

Without compromising the integrity of his brand, Michael Kors became fashion’s bitchiest designer when he signed up for “Project Runway.”  Now that’s what I call “the best of both worlds.”

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December 25, 2009 at 6:00 pm

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Reason #17 to Hate this Past Decade

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Smoky Eye

Reason #17: The Smoky Eye

There probably isn’t a single trend in fashion that has become a bigger cliché over the past decade than the smoky eye.  Both Danielle Meder and I have blogged about it, and I even posted a poll to suggest some alternatives to the style (click the link above).  I don’t mind the look, but I am sick of hearing about it.  Let’s move on, okay?

The Antidote: Danielle Meder and Auntie Fashion

You know, we’re both really good at what we do, and we often come to the same conclusions quite independently.  I was reminded of that when I reviewed my own original post about the smoky eye.  Next year when we’re both nominated for a P&G Beauty Award, if we’re not having a hair-pulling chick fight on the red carpet after we both show up wearing the same dress, one of us should win for “Best Fashion or Beauty Blog.”

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December 24, 2009 at 2:48 pm

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Reason #16 to Hate this Past Decade

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Dove Ad

Reason #16: Hypocritical Photoshopping

Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty” may have had its heart in the right place, but that didn’t stop the company from retouching their own “real” ads.  Click the link above to read more.

The Antidote: Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks has the uncanny ability to turn every conversation into a discussion of the obstacles she’s overcome on her road to stardom, but her “warts and all” approach to exposing her own insecurities and physical shortcomings does appear to be genuine.  Moreover, she makes no excuses for making money while she’s doing it.  Now if she could only come clean about the Paulina thing . . .

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December 23, 2009 at 5:01 pm

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Reason #15 to Hate this Past Decade

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Ralph Lauren Ad

Reason #15: Hideous Photoshopping

The Antidote: Tom Ford’s Grey Vetiver Ad

What?  Fashion designers have pores?  Get out of here!

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December 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm

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