Monday, February 22, 2016
Fashion Faux Pas
RHYS BOWEN: I’ve been looking at my closet and planning what to wear for Left Coast Crime that is held this week in Phoenix. It’s going to be downright hot, according to the forecasts so those blazers and tailored slacks I had in mind might not work after all. So I tried on a Southwestern style turquoise tunic with white pants…. And then I froze. Wait a minute. White pants? Before Memorial Day? What was I thinking.
Then I decided that the rules must be different if one lives in Arizona where it’s been over eighty for a couple of weeks. So am I allowed to break this fashion taboo? And then I started wondering whether other people still obey fashion rules or whether fashion rules have gone out of the window with what used to be fashion. Remember when we used to wait to see what Dior was doing with hemlines this spring? And full skirts? Straight sheaths? All instantly copied by the ready-to-wear houses and bought by the rest of us.
And the rules that went along with this. Handbag and shoes should match. Certain colors should never be worn together. No black with brown. My mother used to say “Blue and green should never be seen.” That’s a rule I broke long ago. I’ve always loved the look of certain blues with certain greens: peacock and emerald. Super!
Short boots would never have been worn with skirts until recently. Bare legs with skirts? Never!!! I must be getting old because nothing that passes for fashion these days is something an ordinary person would wear. Would I ever pay hundreds of dollars for jeans with rips in them? I don’t think so. Most trendsetters look as if they’ve mugged a bag lady for her clothes. If I like something on Project Runway it’s instantly deemed too old and boring and the designer is sent home.
So I’m dying to know your feelings on fashion (or lack of it) Are there still rules that apply? Do you follow them? And most pressingly—can I wear white to Left Coast Crime this week?
HANK PHILLIPI RYAN: Of course. White to LCC? With pride. It's Arizona.
You can wear anything you want, whenever you want.
Now. Fashion-fashion? Is a different deal. No "beige" panty hose. If you are covering your legs, tights. Otherwise, bare legs. Yeesh. But I do it.
No baggy jeans. No sweats out of the house. Flip-flops only at the beach. My skirts and jackets don't ever match any more--no suits. "Matchy" anything is not fashion. There's a too-long too-dowdy skirt--I know it when I see it. There's a too-short skirt--I know it when I see it.
Short boots with skirts are SO difficult. I have TRIED but I cannot pull it off.
I wear black with brown all the time. And black with navy. But I don't wear gold jewelry with black clothing. Shrugging. Unless it works.
My mother use to say "no colors not found in nature." She was adamantly opposed to cobalt blue and lavender. (I mean--separately. Or together. Whatever.)
And have you seen the "new" fashion-y shoes? Chunky boxy heels--straight out of the sixties. And the "new" "Prairie-boho" look? Fringe and peasant blouses Been there, hated that.
I am boring when it comes to clothes, I really am. Jacket, skirt, tights, heels, pearls. So, I'm old.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: Ditto what Hank said, Rhys. Of course you can wear white. All year round. White jeans with boots even. How do I know these things, you may ask? Because I have a fashionista daughter. I don't know where she got this talent because it wasn't from me... She's always put together, trendy but not TOO trendy. She says it's not innate (I disagree) but that her sense of style is due to using Pinterest and organizing her outfits before work.
She Pins things for me, too, so I sort of know what's in and what's not, but that doesn't mean I can pull it off... And then you have to deal with the whole "age appropriate" thing. Ack!
Hank, I didn't know you weren't supposed to wear gold jewelry with black!!! That's a rule I never learned--not that it would matter much to me because I am allergic to gold.
I do, however, know that this year wearing different denims together (which used to be a huge fashion NO NO) is now IN. Who decides these things??
HALLIE EPHRON: Rhys, you look spectacular in white, a Phoenix is a different planet from where those rules were codified. Different denims are ok? Who knew!
In the old days, I remember the rules. No white or pastels or patent leather after Memorial Day. Now no one wears patent leather, ever, which probably means it's due for a comeback. Remember how we obsessed over having our purses match our shoes? These days I pretty much live in black year round. Even my bathing suit is black. I splurge on the occasional Eileen Fisher dress or jacket or pants when they're half-priced and haven't regretted a single purchase, though her asymmetrical hems (what a terrible idea) put me off last year.
I'm happy to see roomy trousers are back. Though I know perfectly well it's a ruse to get us to abandon our collections of leggings.
LUCY BURDETTE: In general I'm hopeless when it comes to fashion--this is because I value comfort so much more highly than looks. I end up wearing the same things over and over--Key West is casual, yes, but I am right there in yoga pants and t-shirts with the bottom-feeders:). My mother was the same way. She's wearing green checkered shorts, a white shirt, and Hushpuppies with white socks on in 75% of old photos. There is one small clothing store in Connecticut that can often help spiff me up for an appearance:).
Speaking of fringe...I saw a young woman wearing a short sheath-like dress the other day, but there was fringe hanging from mid thigh to mid calf--same fabric as the dress. I was dumbstruck.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I am also the beneficiary of fashion-forward daughters to give me advice (or at least not let me leave the house looking hopeless.) As I get older I find, like many of you, I default to a uniform that I know looks good, feels comfortable and keeps me warm (winter) or cool (summer.) Heavy turtleneck and a pashmina with jeans-style pants in cold weather. Bean boots, of course. Talbots sleeveless shirts, cotton cardies and crops in summer. I have a whole basket of flip-flops that get me from May through September. I still do no white after Labor Day, in part because it just looks WRONG in northern New England.
I was thinking about the way no one seems to wear pantyhose anymore. On one hand, it's a look that clearly only benefits the young, unless I'm the only middle-aged woman with scars, spots and uneven skin tone on her legs. On the other, when I think back to my days working in DC, when I HAD to wear pantyhose no matter the 85 degree-85 per cent humidity...! And always, always running them and having to pop into the drug store for a new pair. Remember when you had extra unopened pantyhose stashed in your desk, or your glove compartment, or your purse? I notice men never "
RHYS: The white jacket I'm wearing in the picture above was in a boutique in Santa Monica where Cara Black and I were browsing between events last spring (before Memorial Day)/ I loved it and was so tempted until I saw the price ($2500). Luckily it was one size too small but you can see my attraction to white, can't you? Perhaps it's my innate purity coming through? Or maybe not.
So, dear Readers, do you have fashion rules or wear what you like, when you like?