August 17, 2006

Freakishness for fall.

The Style section in today's NYT is full of frightening stories, almost like it's a special spoof edition.

First, we see that the new look for fall is lots of thick, floppy, frumpy, grayish layers. And don't you know it's all a struggle "between clothes that truly attempt to reflect cultural diversity and those that submit to the aesthetic of money"?

Then, we see that eyebrows should be thick and bushy and actively mussed up with clear mascara so they stick up "like plumage" and give the face "a wild expression ... described as 'sauvage.'" But if you don't do it just so, you'll look like Groucho Marx.... a risk you're going to have to take.

Next, we learn that the shoes of the season are "muscle shoes":
The shoes in question are black, bulky and baffling. They have high wedges or cumbersome platforms. Some take the form of demiboots. One pair of leather and suede ankle boots from Balenciaga comes with a harness, a sole thick enough to look like an encyclopedia and a pointy upturned toe, which leaves the top of the shoe looking like a basin....

If the current style has anything to say about sex, it is the suggestion that women suddenly possess little or no enthusiasm for it. Instead the shoes convey the tensions of combative times, said Suzanne Ferris, co-editor of “Footnotes,’’ a scholarly anthology on the meaning of shoes. “This sense of war and fighting and the need to be tougher seems evident,’’ she said.
Blame Bush!

And don't forget your hats.

The unusual stupidity of these styles makes it easier than usual to imagine the articles a year from now that will tell us why no one wants to wear that anymore. Or maybe it will take two years to grow out of this stuff. Since it's Bush's fault, we may need to torture you with this stuff until a Democrat is moved into the White House.

45 comments:

Fritz said...

Ann,
Have you read the terrorist bill of rights ruling? She is also giving attorney client privilege to foreign terrorists.

For example, scholars and journalists such as plaintiffs Tara McKelvey, Larry Diamond, and Barnett Rubin indicate that they must conduct extensive research in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and must communicate with individuals abroad whom the United States government believes to be terrorist suspects or to be associated with terrorist organizations. 12 In addition, attorneys Nancy Hollander, William Swor, Joshua Dratel, Mohammed Abdrabboh, and Nabih Ayad indicate that they must also communicate with individuals abroad whom the United States government believes to be terrorist suspects or to be associated with terrorist organizations, 13 and must discuss confidential information over the phone and email with their international clients. 14

http://www.mied.uscourts.gov/_opinions/judgeOpin.cfm?e_jd_ID=4531

Joseph Hovsep said...

Making your eyebrows unusually bushy seems odd, but I am supportive of ending the opposite trend of waxing and plucking away all but an unnaturally thin line of eyebrow.

Henry said...

The unusual stupidity of these styles...

I would say the "usual" stupidity, but that's just me.

And why must all models look like zombies? They rise from the grave and walk among the living.

But that zombie model look isn't so unusual. It's been standard for as long as I can remember.

Ann Althouse said...

Fritz: I just did a new post. Haven't read the decision yet.

Truly said...

Fashion is an art form, of course; but it still needs to be wearable. It's discouraging to see so many designers either disregarding the female body altogether, making it into something it isn't, or punishing it somehow. That's the nice thing about visual arts (I'm thinking of Renaissance painting)--the artists actually appreciate the genuine beauty of the human body.

This is sexist, but I'm also leery of men who design women's clothes. It's like going to a male GYN; I'm sure he's perfectly competent, but there are some things he simply doesn't get.

Joan said...

I got the Victoria's Secret fall clothing catalog last week and flipped through it, thinking "Well, clothes have turned ugly again." Seriously, who but the most painfully thin look good in cigarette pants? The big top, skinny leg look (not seen in the NYT article, but seen a lot elsewhere) was hideous in the 80s and it's hideous now. All those layers of cloth and the swathing and wrapping make me think that the designers are finally ashamed of their models' bodies -- or that they're catering to the segment of the population that believes clothing is meant to hide our bodies, not complement them. Ick.

I'll stick with the classics.

Truly said...

Joan: The skinny pants are bad, but the low-rise pants are the WORST. Maybe three people in the whole world look good in them. So why is it almost impossible to find jeans, or dress pants, that don't ride down around your bottom, or show off your underwear when you sit down?

Freeman Hunt said...

I especially enjoyed the frumpy sweater with the giant belt just over the ribs with another frumpy sweater layered on top. And the shoes they showed were just hideous. Everything looks like it was designed by people who hate women.

The eyebrow thing--woohoo! I wouldn't mind if that became popular. I have caterpillars resting over my eyes if I forego the trimming and tweezing.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Since it's Bush's fault, we may need to torture you with this stuff until a Democrat is moved into the White House.


They tortured the English language, and I didn't complain.

They tortured terrorists, and I silently acquiesced.

They tortured innocent clothing, and I said nothing.

Then they came to torture me ... but by that time there was a Democrat in the White House, so the torture stopped.

knoxgirl said...

Clothes have been getting uglier and uglier over the last several years. I received an Anthropologie fall catalogue the other day (it is admittedly a very trendy brand, but usually has nice, feminine clothes in good taste), and it is chock-full of hideous styles.

I think the shoe styles they are pushing this fall... well, hideous is the only word for it. It's like, if you want me to wear heels, at least make them pretty. High heels that are also ugly???? insult to injury!

jeff said...

Style (also Fashion) n. Something so ugly it must be changed every 3 to 6 months.

knoxgirl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pastor_Jeff said...

To get the desired look, don't forget to schedule an appointment with your "professional eyebrow groomer" -- as recommended in the article.

Reason #4,271 why it's easier being a guy.

Then again, if I were a woman I'd laugh at this stuff anyway.

Truly said...

I dunno, Pastor_Jeff. I've seen some men who could really benefit from the attentions of a professional eyebrow groomer. Some guys look like they have catepillars glued to their foreheads.

MD said...

I have to disagree! Vehemently and utterly disagree: the retro eighties look is such a relief after the thong-Britney-uber-flared-pointy-toe-butterflyshirt look of the early 2000s (is that the right?) Remember how trashy the muffin top looked?

The girls here in Boston look so elegant compared to the Brittany jeans era: slim fitting preppy shirt dresses over cropped black leggings. Oversized black sunglasses. Gorgeous bags hung in the crook of your elbow, out front. Dark nails. Shapely, but not overplucked, eyebrows. Belts. Buckles. Strands of pearls. Belts and flats and hats and accessories! When nineties minimalism comes back these girls will be sad. No more bangles? Oh, I love the fitted, piled on look of right now. The girls here do it well and I'm inspired, in my late thirties-ness, to shop again. How lovely.

MD said...

Aargh, I meant to hit preview, not publish. I do this all the time. Apologies, anyway, for the errors in the last post.

MD said...

I do, however, agree with the comments about the ugly shoes, but the girls here are doing a different sort of wedge for height, or flats, that looks wonderful. A bit more streamlined.....

Melinda said...

Ah, but the Audrey Hepburn "beatnik" look, always a classic, is back again. At prices that no beatnik ever could have afforded.

tiggeril said...

I never thought I'd ever read the phrase "eyebrow prosthetics."

Pastor_Jeff said...

Truly -- Yes, you're right. I didn't mean to say that men don't need grooming attention, but that our needs are solved more easily and cheaply.

I like to look and smell nice. I clean up pretty well. But I can't imagine spending even $50 for a haircut. And "professional eyebrow groomer" is just a laugh-out-loud concept.

Ron said...

I don't know about puffing the eyebrows up, but hooray for putting down the tweasers. Some women completely destroy their faces with crazy thin eyebrows. How about that chef lady from last season's Top Chef. Didn't that drive anyone else insane?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I'm sort of a fan of these boots. They were really comfy when I wore them in the Army.

Dave said...

Well I have bushy eyebrows.

I think I'll wax 'em right off!

That'll be a trend.

Truly said...

Ruth Anne: Were they $125?

Truly said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bissage said...

Joan: Some of the classics offer good looks plus a useful freedom of movement.

Ruth Anne Adams: Here are examples of the sincerest form of flattery updated with a fresh sensibility.

Dave: It’s a great idea but the competition is tough to beat.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Truly: I was in the Army in the late 80s/early 90s. They were pretty close to a hundred bucks back then.

Bissage: I'm flattered. I think.

ray_g said...

Does anyone remember who said something to the effect that the fashion industry was just a big, long running joke on rich people?

Chum said...

The last time I had my eyebrows shaped three of the four chairs were occupied by young men. Thought I'd walked into the wrong spa. Though I had the caterpillar look the overplucked unnatural half circle arch is as equally hideous.

As for thick frumpy clothing, the slimming clothes I buy end up making me look this way anyway. Now I'll be sweating in wool at the same time....always an attractive look.

'But if you don't do it just so, you'll look like Groucho Marx.... a risk you're going to have to take.' Hilarious!

Chum said...

Hate not had.

Richard Dolan said...

The inane contortions of women's fashion proves the wisdom behind the ancient Jewish prayer, traditionally recited by men daily thanking God that they were not born as women.

Ann says "Blame Bush" for the "muscle shoes" that seem to be this fall's offering. Why not, since he is already being blamed for the weather, Islamofascism, and just about everything in between.

Perhaps that also explains why Bush and Repubs generally do better with men than women. Men don't have to "Blame Bush" for changing shoe styles or imposing on them other unwearable stuff. Like most men, I don't need to worry about changing shoe styles -- I've been buying the same black cap-toe shoe for decades. As for business attire, the choice is between blue or grey, preferably both dark, while you get to choose whether to have a stripe or cuffs. And for an added bonus, decent men's clothes are standardized -- one maker's size 42 reg fits pretty much just like another's -- and are well made.

It may well be that the "new look for fall is lots of thick, floppy, frumpy, grayish layers." But that's only for women. Thank God.

Jeff said...

Lord, for almost 5 thousand dollars, you should be able to look much much better than that. So does anyone spend that kind of cash to look like that?

Maxine Weiss said...

Double knits.

Double and triple knit dressing.

Hosiery. Tights, silk stockings, knee-highs etc.

--Thick cable-knit socks.

Shetland, camel's hair, and lambswool.

--Pleated plaid skirts

The plush brow.

---hides a multitude of sins.

Peace, Maxine

Elizabeth said...

Truly, it occurs to me that there is a whole generation of young women out there, with another on the way, who have no sense of what it feels like to have their pants actually cover their asscrack. (I feel crass. Sorry, is there a polite term for that?)

Ann Althouse said...

Rear cleavage?

Elizabeth said...

Does anyone remember who said something to the effect that the fashion industry was just a big, long running joke on rich people?

Shhh, don't tell them or they'll think of something other way to make a spectacle of themselves. It's not just women; Esquire always has some ads for men's fashion that makes me cringe.

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elizabeth said...

Rear cleavage?

Ah, that's good!

Rusty said...

"Ann Althouse said...

Rear cleavage?"

No:


callipygian cleft

Stolen from the Limelighters rendition of "Vicci Dougan"

MD said...

Oh you fashion-cynics :)

The pictures linked to are pretty atrocious but the on-the-street versions are flattering to a variety of female body types (if you know what to wear and what not to wear), and as Maxine Weiss stated, cover a variety of sins. With the longer layered look, rear-cleavage is a thing of the past.


As for eyebrow shaping, good old Indian threading is the best for a 'natural' brow.

*I cannot believe I am so invested in this discussion. I guess this is just an interesting fashion moment and I'm glad to see the back of, uh, the back-cleavage styles....

knoxgirl said...

I guess this is just an interesting fashion moment and I'm glad to see the back of, uh, the back-cleavage style

Won't argue with you there! One thing I'm really grateful for is longer shirts... I was really sick of the "tiny tee"

knoxgirl said...

Where the heck is jennifer, anyway, this thread has her written all over it...

Elizabeth said...

knoxgirl: I was really sick of the "tiny tee"

Also called the "baby tee," I think; no grown woman ought to be wearing something so named.

knoxgirl said...

Elizabeth,
I remember hearing "Friends" had really caused them to be the rage... of course, it was Courtney Cox and Jennifer Aniston--both teeny, tiny skinny women with giant chests--who wore them on the show. Hey, more power to em, but only about .001% of the female population fits that demographic, and we got stuck with them for like a decade!

JoeOlson said...

I think the shoes have a much greater influence from the strip club than the military. There is no such thing as a platform combat boot. In fact anyone who has worn combat boots knows that they have thin soles to provide flexibility. However, anyone who has been in a strip club (admittedly I was not always as mature as I am now) knows that you can't swing a dead cat in a strip club without hitting a pair of platform shoes.

It is not that surprising to see strip-club influenced clothes given the general acceptability of strip clubs and porn in pop-culture. Sad but true,

Any way not Bush's fault, not the war's fault - simply a symptom of pop-cultures little perversion.