Monday, September 27, 2010

Are You a Closet Fashionista?

ROSEMARY: I have a confession to make - I'm a closet fashionista. Chalk it up to all those summers of waiting for the September issue of Seventeen Magazine to arrive on the newstands. (I'm showing my age here, but what the heck.)

Thick as a brick, inside its covers all my schoolgirl fantasies came alive, in living color - coordinated, of course. The cute outfit I'd wear as I climbed the stage in the school auditorium to receive an award (in the daydream it was never clear what my particular area of expertise was.) The fetching ensemble my football hero boyfriend would see from the field as he carried the ball into the endzone, me cheering in the stands like Ali McGraw.

Needless to say, that's not what happened. By the time I got to high school I didn't care what I wore as long as I looked thin and my hair was straight. (Mercifully I had good skin.)
That it "the memories" or the ancient rituals of primitive tribes, but, every fall I'm once again drawn to the fat,glossy magazines filled with pictures of gaunt young girls wearing clothing I will probably never wear. Why do I do it?

The editors breathlessly announce leather,tweed and boots will be in fashion this fall and winter. And animal prints. What concepts! Brilliant! Camel hair coats! Who knew? So why do I keep plunking down cash for these things every year? Is it the promise that maybe this time I'll be one of the cool kids? Not really. I'll resurrect the few things I already own that are temporarily in fashion, and then either forget to wear them or feel stupid for trying to be "in fashion."

As anyone who's ever seen me knows, nine times out of ten I'll be wearing a black jacket with jeans or black pants. A friend called last week to ask what I was wearing to the funeral of another friend's mother - I thought about it.."Oh, I'll probably wear black pants." We both burst out laughing. Last year there was a flood in my apartment and I had to take everything out of one closet. The stuff just kept clowns out of a tiny car. I had forty-seven black jackets (that's not counting the ones I bought this year.) And nothing noticably fashionable. Almost everything could have been bought twenty years ago and much of it was. So what's up with the fashion magazines? Is there a name and a support group for this? Please tell me I'm not alone.

HANK: Oh, me, me. The big fall VOGUE? Irresistible. (I read it for the articles, of course.) It's so glossy and gorgeous. INSTYLE, too, now that Rosemary is getting me to confess.

ROSEMARY: I can top that - LUCKY MAGAZINE? I can't miss an issue. Love it.

HANK: VOGUE is essentially incomprehensible, clothes-wise, because there is NOTHING in it a real person could ever wear. But you know, my mother taught me about it, yes, sitting at her knee. I remember saying--but Mom, this stuff is so weird! She said honey, you're not supposed to wear what's in VOGUE, you're just supposed to get ideas. (She'd be so embarrassed if she heard that's what I remember of her advice...sigh.)

RO: What IS Audrey wearing on her head? She should have listened to your mother.

HANK: And this time of year is so wonderful for clothes, sweaters and scarves and, yes, boots. Talk about confessions. I just got grey suede ankle booties with really high heels and a ruffle around the ankle. Will I EVER wear them? Well, actually, they go with everything...
(And oh-oh. I bet this is gonna illustrate how we JRW's do not all think alike... :-) )

ROSEMARY: I don't think so...I just bought black suede booties with a ruffle on the top. For the grey ones I kept it simple, just a side zip. Your mother was (is)brilliant.

JAN: Rosemary, I am definitely guilty as charged as a fashionista. New clothes and especially boots are my vulnerability I used to love Fashion Dos and Don'ts in Glamour magazine. I loved the part where they had to put a black stamp over the person's face to protect their identity because they had committed such a fashion faux pas.

But I'm afraid that as soon as I had my daughter to raise, I started to view all fashion magazines, and pretty much all fashion designers as the enemy. After I once saw a Prada ad in In Style, that featured an anorexic teenager in a bra and a FREAKING diaper (I kid you not) under a trench coat - I threw the magazine across the room. I still hiss at it whenever I see it at the hairdressers and won't buy anything from Prada - not even a knockoff - to this day.

HALLIE: I truly detest clothes that look like 'fashion.' As long as it comes in black, is machine washable, fits, doesn't make me look like a blimp, and is at least 30 percent off, I'm good to go.
So why am I addicted to Project Runway? It's so not the clothes. I guess it's my version of Vogue.

RHYS: Okay, confession--I'm another Project Runway addict. What I do is go for a look I like and about every ten years what I like is fashionable. I just watched the fall collections from Europe and they said neutral colors, beiges, flowing, soft... and I thought hey, that's me. And last year I found an incredible camel coat on sale so I will be so fashionable this winter. But I refuse to wear dresses with a waist at my boobs and a hemline at mid thigh. I think one reaches an age at which knees should not be shown, however cute they are. As long as Ralph Lauren stays alive, I'll be okay.

ROSEMARY: Yes, black and on sale. I've never watched Project Runway but I did have a brief flirtation with What Not To Wear. I was flying from San Francisco to NYC one and the guy from WNTW got on the plane..I swear I th0ught he was coming for me..I had a friend who was threatening to stage an intervention because she said I wore too much black. Rhys..there's always opaque pantyhose for those knees.

So we can be serious writers and still want gray suede booties...I feel so much better!

Stop by tomorrow for True Crime Tuesday when I recall the time I met the chimp responsible for the horrific attack on a Connecticut woman last year.


  1. My wardrobe could most kindly be described as "classic"--which means no one can tell how old the stuff is. There's nothing remotely high-fashion in the mix.

    I'll confess to watching Project Runway, but I have a question: what the heck does "editorial" mean? So far I interpret it as "something that no one could possibly wear, ever."

  2. "editorial"? That one's got me...although I am dangerously close to making a snarky comment about the fashion choices of some of the people I've met in publishing.

  3. Whoa, Hi all! Had a busy day today..saving the world from unemployment check problems.

    I thnk that's a watermelon on Audrey's head...

    oops, gotta run

    (ANd I "read" LUcky, too... :-) And MORE!

  4. Oh--I think "editorial" is the articles..

  5. Sheila - editorial - from my multiple viewings of PR and America's Top Model.. (and a few others... The Rachel Zoe Project? Anyone?) ... anyway, I think editorial is magazine ready shoot. So the hat that Audrey was wearing on the cover would be editorial.. or at least as Lynn describes it.

    Of course I'm catalogue all the way.. (the damning description of a not so Top model.)

    And if it's black and at least 30% off... so much the better.

    My favorite buy this summer was a black pasley skirt (calf length) and a brown tank for $1.84.

    And I used to love the Sept edition of Seventeen...