Tanya Gold announces in the Guardian: "I hate fashion." Evidently she means it:

I scowl at Harper's. I snarl at W. I spit at Vogue. Sometimes, I tear them up, these glossy pages full of anorexic children part human, part makeup, part computer program just because I'm worth it. Then I put a colander on my head.

You may say that I am bitter. How is my sex life, you ask? Do men flee my fashion-free person? What is my weight? What has happened to make me reject the things we women are supposed to hug wedges, fringes, shifts, tassels, linings, bows? And don't forget shoes! Surely I love shoes, the icons that Carrie Bradshaw worshipped instead of a god? No? I must be ill. Weep for me in my giant knickers. I am outcast.

Not at all. I am a reasonable example of a normal woman. I like food and men and comfort. It is just that at some point, the unceasing prattle of fashion has become a scream in my head. I cannot ignore its idiocies any more. I walk past a shop that sells 6in heels and I am angry. Banana Republic? Angry again. Selfridges and its loathsome "I shop therefore I am" adverts, a manifesto for morons? Don't even go there. I have had it with this tyrant-fool throwing darts from every billboard and magazine and TV screen. I want to hurl a spear back at it.

"Unceasing prattle," of course, is a ploy to get your attention; otherwise you'd stride into Talbots or Brooks Brothers and buy basically the same stuff your Aunt Midge bought twenty-five years ago. (Still looks good on her, too, but you're not supposed to notice that.) One of the reason I scan the fashion blogs is not so much to see the Latest and Putatively Greatest, but to see how people who can't afford five-figure couture are making their own style statements. You can be absolutely certain, incidentally, that they won't be wearing anything like this.

"Style is originality; fashion is fascism," wrote Lester Bangs. This is not to be confused with the "fashion is stupid" mindset, as described by Tavi:

The people I know in real life that share this view hate it when clothes are just about being attractive then they scoff when I show them the work of any designer whose work is out of the ordinary or not focused on making its wearer look sexy.

It should be noted here that Tavi is thirteen years old and, perhaps refreshingly in these overheated times, doesn't feel any pressure to come off as "sexy." And I think she's figured out that there's a line between looking distinctive and looking like you're doing your thesis for Clown College, and dresses accordingly.

Besides, not everything you wear is supposed to make you look sexy. The woman who amps up her appearance at the workplace is likely to get more attention, but it might not be the sort of attention she wants. And anyway, I have work to do, so you don't want me hovering over your desk. (Actually, you don't want me hovering over your desk anyway, but that's another issue.)

And we're living in a privileged era, notes Diane from Romania:

[T]here still are important differences of class seen in clothing, but the strong fashion and clothing industry today allows us to better express individuality in personal style than, let's say, a girl a few hundred years ago that had to sew her clothes at home from the materials and pigments that came from the family's animals. Of course I'm not talking about the wealthy people that had the privilege of having tailor made clothes, but about the biggest part of all nations, the common people. And concerning the rich ones, even they were far away from the diversity that we have now. This is important regarding the power of expressing an identity and crossing cultural barriers.

I have to admit, I am greatly amused by the concept of a really expensive designer-original peasant skirt.

One advantage and, simultaneously, one disadvantage of being a guy-type person is that we have our uniforms prescribed for us: variations on those themes are decidedly limited. It may be presumptuous, therefore, for me to try to characterize any female viewpoint on fashion as "typical." But I have to believe that there will always be people who get caught up in the hurly-burly, demanding the latest and greatest and that there will always be people like Tanya Gold who want nothing whatever to do with it. Life is like that.

The Vent

  23 January 2010

 | Vent menu |

 Copyright © 2010 by Charles G. Hill