The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

28 November 2005

Bazaar outcroppings

It's hard to imagine a magazine less relevant to my existence than Harper's Bazaar; it's aimed at (1) women (2) with a lot more money than I'll ever have (3) and the willingness to spend it on clothing, for Prada's sake.

So I just renewed it for another year, because, hey, it's about as realistic as those science-fiction magazines, and what's more, it's a whole lot cheaper. Besides, fashion is fascinating, and not just because the Bazaar version is hyperexpensive and presumably designed for women with the general contours of twelve-year-old boys; in some ways, you can read it as an informal poll of how things are going otherwise, as the Princess explains:

If there is any indication of the mood of the country, it is typically how the consumers feel: if there is a chance that they might be depressed, the mood at the mall will be sullen and low, with people crowding around the clearance racks instead of trying on bright formalwear and expensive shoes. Skirts get longer, colors get darker, and the salesclerks are rude and unforgiving. But today, shopping was pleasant for the first time in a few years. The colors on the Gap sweaters didn't fade into the background, people were conscious about saying "please," "thank you," and "excuse me," which is an oddity even inside Club Monaco. I have to take this as a positive indication.

And it's not just socioeconomic phenomena that are filtered through fashion. In the December issue, Maureen Dowd (of course) draws a bead on the unfortunate (according to feminist theory) fact that Looks Matter:

It's still a catch-22 for women. If you pay too much attention to fashion and looks, you may be deemed superficial; if you don't pay enough, you may be deemed sloppy.

And here she quotes a friend of hers in the D.C. establishment:

"I'm constantly asked by my male colleagues ... how much I spend on shoes and how many pairs I own. Do I ask them what they spent on their super-high-tech home-movie theaters? No. It makes me defensive."

I'm not even going to try to decide whether a $3000 HDTV is worth more or less than five pairs of Manolo Blahniks at $600 each.

Posted at 6:20 AM to Rag Trade , Warn Mode Due

I'm not even going to try to decide whether a $3000 HDTV is worth more or less than five pairs of Manolo Blahniks at $600 each.

More, obviously. I mean, c'mon. You can only wear one pair of shoes at a time, but you can watch the TV all at once.

[/stereotypical guy, whose attitude really isn't all that different from my own]

Posted by: McGehee at 10:59 AM on 28 November 2005

"I'm not even going to try to decide whether a $3000 HDTV is worth more or less than five pairs of Manolo Blahniks at $600 each."

It depends:
-- On who's wearing the shoes;
-- Whether she has a boyfriend;
-- Whether she's busy this coming Friday;
-- Whether she enjoys televised ice hockey;
-- On which of us gets to clutch the remote control.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 4:10 PM on 28 November 2005


[insert reference to "opportunity cost" here]

Posted by: CGHill at 4:19 PM on 28 November 2005

Can't we have the shoes AND the TV? [trying to find the middle ground, work with me people].

Oh and Francis, I like ice hockey and I'm not busy Fri - but is it even relevant considering all the vast water surface between us and that monkhood of yours?

EM is absolutely right about the Grey/Mediocrity/Socialism connection and bright colors and designer crowd/liberals: it's an inherent controversy - remember the PETA and the fur coats on models?

I can only regret not being an Americal retail consumer in my 23...

Posted by: Tatyana at 11:18 AM on 29 November 2005

I'm a layman, not a cleric, dear. The hood is just to keep my neck warm. But the question of the remote control remains unsettled!

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at 4:40 PM on 29 November 2005

Correction: "contradiction", not "controversy". Damn English.

Francis: the issue is negotiable. I'm open to discussion, if you stop calling me dear ("darling" is much classier, thank you)

Posted by: Tatyana at 10:26 AM on 30 November 2005