Fall Fashion Magazines Not Based in Reality

There is something that compels me each year at this time to buy the fall fashion issue of Vogue. Why I have this compulsion is a true mystery, as I spend sixty percent of my life in generic beige twill pants and a black Gap t-shirt, and the other forty percent in my pajamas – one of the perks of being a writer and working at home. That being said, I also don’t want to show up at an event this fall and find out that shoulder pads are back. Or maybe I do.

There is some bad news on the fashion front, my friends. First of all, big purses are still in, only now they are even bigger. Some look like they could hold a Volkswagen bug or a baby elephant. And all that fringe! I personally have never liked fringe on anything, and I suggest that unless you want to look like a leftover flower child of the sixties, you, dear reader, avoid it.

It seems that every fall the flower child look is re-marketed in a way that will make it more appealing to women. This year you will see the words “bohemian,” “eclectic,” and “global ethnic” used to describe the layers of mismatched patterned fabrics that somehow mistakenly found themselves together on one unfortunate body. Although these outfits might be appropriate if you are thinking of joining a Ukrainian circus troupe or a caravan of traveling gypsies. Continue reading

Paris Fashions Don’t Cater to Real People

(A Beach Reporter column from 5/12/90.)

The word is out. At the recent Paris fashion shows for the fall collections of the big designers, the buzz was hoods, velvet, and hardware. The hardware: chains interwoven into the fabric or on leather, or even chain mail. Are you as excited as I am? I know I’m going to rush right out and buy a chain mail vest for myself and a hooded velvet dinner jacket for my husband.

Let’s get real. Do the fashion giants honestly think the average guy is going to wear a velvet jacket with a hood? Sly Stallone, maybe, but he isn’t really average. For most men, the highlight of each seasonal fashion change is the arrival of the new L. L. Bean catalog. They order two new pairs of khaki twill pants and tan cargo walking shorts. The exact same ones every year. They will not be wearing, “A pair of slim pants that hug the leg as they get closer to the ankle.”

The only hoods in clothing belong on sweatshirts. To keep your head warm. Or maybe bald men will buy into this hood thing, for obvious reasons. Maybe all the men who wear this stuff hang out at the Polo Lounge, wearing $500 loafers without socks. Continue reading

My Big Purse

(Originally published in Main Line Life 1/23/08)

Scanning the current fashion magazines, I notice with dismay that the trend of gigantic handbags is still with us. Up until now I have resisted getting a purse that could hold the entire contents of my house.

But something happened to me one day as I strode through Saks on my monthly pilgrimage to the cosmetics department for the most up-to-the-minute age-defying potions. I spotted a Big Purse out of the corner of my eye, and it seemed to say, “Buy me now.” I sidled over to it, warily checking out its many looped chains and muscular straps and deep pockets. Suddenly my little purse, dangling so flimsily from my shoulder, seemed to mark me as someone trivial. The Big Purse would confer on me substance and gravitas. I picked it up with two hands (I could hardly budge it with one), and hauled it over to the sales counter where one of the flinty-eyed Barbaras who works there rang it up with a knowing look. It was very expensive, my Big Purse.

Continue reading