Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fashion Sense or Nonsense

I was going to do this hours ago, but there has been just one interruption after another. My dog has been sick all week and she needed her pill and walk. My cats meowed until they got their backyard time.

Then my son needed to eat before he went out to a party. I thought parties had food, but I guess I am just old fashioned. So, we went out for pizza. The surprise was that Steve Carell (The Office, The forty year Old Virgin, Evan Almightly, etc) came in to pick up a pizza. I guess even actors who can open a movie get pizza on a Saturday night.

When I got home, my husband told me the light burned out in the freezer. Besides being the I.T. person around here, I’m the fixit guy, too.

And now finally to the subject of my blog this week.... I was in the dentist’s office thumbing through a fashion magazine when I came across this what’s in and out list. The things on the “out” list were described with disdain. I kind of got it with the sunglasses that were really a visor. I had to wonder if they ever were in. When I saw the picture of the Crocs and some comment that they were only for kids, I had to object. For those of us with chronically hurty feet, they are a godsend. How else could I have walked all over Disneyland on Monday? As far as I’m concerned they belong in the fashion hall of fame. But that’s beside the point.

All the “ins” and “outs” got me thinking about the whole idea of fashion. There was nothing intrinsically better about the things that were now deemed out of fashion than those considered in other than we are sold a bill of goods that something looks good. And being told that, we alter our taste.

Take colors for example. Navy blue and black always looked awful together to me. It was a terrible color combination until recently. But once men in navy blue suits and black tee shirts started showing up on TV talk shows and in magazines, my perception changed. Me, who was horrified when my husband wore a black tee shirt with navy blue shorts and told him he looked like a bruise, started liking the two colors together.

When I was in high school the in color combination was pink and cranberry. Prior to being told they looked good together, I always thought they clashed.

It’s true of clothing styles too. Faded jeans used to be something to wear to clean the house, then came the eighties and we all thought acid washed jeans and shaggy hair cuts looked good. How did I ever think that kinky perm was attractive?

Styles change in crochet, too. I have a Sunset crochet book, and a Woman’s Day magazine featuring granny squares, both from the ‘70s. I remembering drooling over all the photos in both, thinking someday I wanted to make all those things. Some of the designs still seem okay, but the color choices they were made in verge on ugly. And to my 2008 eyes, some of the patterns look pretty bad, too. There is a man’s tie. It’s wide, one color and a little crooked. What man would want to wear that to work? And there is a page of men’s hats. Would some man really want a kelly green crocheted fedora, or a crochet cowboy hat?

When I was working on my third book, Death and Doilies, I got an old booklet about filet crochet. The patterns in the book were impressive in terms of being ornate and requiring a lot of work, but they weren’t appealing to my contemporary eye. While a much simpler pattern of spaces and some hearts done in filet I saw in a current book seemed more attractive.

It just fascinates me how our perception gets manipulated. I always laugh when I see things like bra straps that are supposed to be showing, people in the grocery store in pants that look like pajamas, and socks with high heels. Today’s high fashion was yesterday’s bag lady.


Kathryn Lilley said...

I'm right with you on this topic, Betty. By now, I've seen and worn so many ridiculous "in" things that I've settled into more or less knowing what I really like. I get emails from salesladies at clothing stores, and one of them recently said, "...and come check out the cool new styles that are reminiscent of the 70's!" All I could think of was, "Ugh. Not again!" But who knows, maybe next year they'll convince me that neon is a "must wear" look again! Or was that last year? (grin)

Monica Ferris said...

It's not just clothes and colors. Hairstyles, especially women's hairstyles, go from looking ridiculous to looking cool to looking dated to looking cool -- the same hairstyle. I have noticed that no matter what care is taken with costuming a period movie or television historical piece, you can always tell when it was made by the hairstyles. And often the underwear, too. Who knew breasts were so malleable? (Is that a naughty remark?)

Camille Minichino said...

Love it, Betty!
I was a college teacher, resident dorm "mom" in the 70's ... I can't tell you how many students crocheted granny vests for me ... I think that's what you'd call them ... made of all squares and each square trimmed in black. UGH.

[and those were from the girls who LIKED me!]

And Monica, what about those naughty pointy breasts!

Betty Hechtman said...

Kathryn: I'd forgotten about the neon colors. Double ugh!

Monica: A costume designer spoke at a writer's group I belong to. She's the one responsible for Indiana Jones's hat. She said they don't go for accuracy, but create something that feels like the time.

Camille: Those vests you are talking about were prominent in my book from the 70s. Actual granny squares seem to be a classic, but how they are used and in what colors seems to change with the times.

Barb said...

Monica and Camille, you hit my "dated" looks. The perfect "beauty shop" hairdo with no hair out of place surely is someone who "hasn't kept up". And I can't count the granny square vest (and ponchos) I made for my kids, their friends and the neighbor kids in the 70's, with what ever I had left the yarn basket many times!