Okay, I was gone from New York for 30 days, and in that time there was a fashion revolution. Oh, I'm sure it's actually a constant thing that you barely notice if you live here, but this...it was like when you see a young relative only once or twice a year. They look so different every time you see them.
When I left, some people were rocking the ugly, baggy boho look. A few sad souls were emulating Madonna's most recent look with '70s disco-exercise attire. Sundresses and peasant skirts with long tops abounded. The hot new fashion accessory for that outfit was to cinch your waist with a wide, '50s-style belt. Culottes were improbably popular (ugh). Most girls, myself included, were wearing A-line skirts with fitted t-shirts.
Then I came back, and now tons of girls are wearing sundresses over jeans, miniskirts over leggings and the skinny jean. Now I'm not a fashion expert, by any means, but I suddenly find myself very opinionated on the subject, so I'm going to get it out of my system.
I am willing to support leggings under a skirt or dress. I used to rock the leggings look back in the mid-90s, and it can be cute as a button. What's more, this will allow women to rock minis they'd previously been unable to wear due to shyness, being too lazy to shave, veins, pallor or cellulite. All I ask is that no one go back to wearing them under baggy shirts, sweatshirts and sweaters. It made everyone look like they were shaped like a fudgesicle-- a chubby oval on top and a skinny little stick on the bottom.
The sundresses over jeans look...well, it's just strange. It only looks good on...no, I can't think of anyone it looks good on. The jeans make the skirt of the dress bunch up. I think the outfit is intended to look free and artsy. Instead it just looks like the girl got distracted while changing her clothes, or ran out of clean shirts.
The skinny jean. Oh, the skinny jean. Here's the deal. Clinton and Stacy on TLC's "What Not to Wear" have valiantly spent several years trying to convince the public that tapered pants are evil. They also did a tremendous public service by educating the fashion-challenged on the horror of pleat-front pants. On a recent episode, they warned a woman they were helping (I'm paraphrasing because I'm too lazy to look up a transcript), "For some reason, tapered pants are going to be really 'in' this year, but you should ignore that. Tapered pants only look good on the skinniest models...and they don't really look that good on them."
The skinny jean makes you look like a ham hock if you have a butt or thighs. If you're petite and very skinny, they will make you look like you have short little toothpick legs. If you're tall and skinny (like a model)...well, chances are you have big feet. Tall usually means big feet...it's a physics thing. Big feet are okay. I have big feet, and I don't mind them... but it's not a feature I try to highlight. Well, the skinny jean is like a giant neon arrow pointing at your feet. You might as well strap on clown shoes.
Perhaps worst of all, I fear the skinny jean will encourage those poor women who persist in wearing "mom jeans." Mom jeans have tapered legs, pleated fronts and high, often elastic waists. They are, perhaps, the ugliest form of clothing in existance. The pleated fronts make women's stomachs look pouchy. The seat of the pants are strangley cut with large, ill-placed pockets that make a woman's rear look both flat and dumpy. Why would anyone wear them? WHY?
I hear women who wear them call them comfortable. How can it be comfortable to look that bad? Besides, ankle room is comfortable. Get a pair of jeans with a middle rise and a little bit of stretch in just the right size. They'll be comfortable, and you'll look so much better, you'll feel like a million bucks.
You know, sometimes I wish Iowans were more stylish. I sigh when I look at a room full of people all dressed the same, reguardless of age. All of them wearing jeans or jeans shorts with a baggy t-shirt...it's depressing. But, at least Iowans have the good sense to resist most idiotic fashion trends. I think the worlds of New York and Midwestern fashion have a lot to learn from each other. New York teaches us that fashion can be fun, and we can all find a specific look that expresses who we are. Iowa teaches us that we don't have to jump on the fashion bandwagon. Stay strong, people. Resist the skinny jean tyranny.