I don’t know if it is a function of my age. I’ve been around long enough to see fashion and social trends come and go and then come around again. One thing I’ve figured out over the years that the “coolness” of a style has a direct relation to the price. In other words:
Inexpensive + comfortable = you should not be caught dead wearing that item or combination (I have always ignored this rule)
So expensive you could use it for a down payment for a car + so uncomfortable that you hobble around in pain = the cutting edge of fashion (I spring for expensive on rare occasions, but not the uncomfortable part)
I treat myself to manicures and a few days ago I was in the salon reading a fashion magazine while waiting my turn. I flipped through the pages chuckling at the same silly articles on “how to get your man” that have been in women’s magazines for the past 50 years.
Then I came across a picture of a young woman riding a bicycle. She had on the most ridiculous combination of different must haves and fashion faux pas I’ve ever seen. A quick glance down the list of items she was wearing told me that it would cost about $6,000 dollars to get her complete look.
Let me see if I can paint a picture of this woman. Shoulder length hair, red lips, interesting eye makeup that would last 5 seconds on hot day. On top she wore a thigh length hounds tooth coat, and elbow length black leather gloves. Right, a perfectly practical outfit for a bike ride.
Then down her body, sticking out under the dressy coat was a pair of faded, ripped at the knee jeans, rolled up to her calf. And then we get to the pièce de résistance, her feet. On her feet was a pair of crumpled off white gyms socks and a pair of black patent leather Birkenstock shoes, with her funky gym sock covered toes sticking over the front edge of her shoes. Elbow length gloves and gyms socks? Oh please. I was so outraged that I had to stand up and walk around. I pretended to contemplate nail polish colors to hide the fact that I was pacing around in a major snit.
Anyone who was alive in the 60 and 70s knows what wearing Birkenstocks used to mean. You get an immediate picture of a hippy girl wearing a matchstick skirt with unshaven legs and armpits, hauling around a guitar and burning incense, thinking that it covered up the smell of pot smoke.
So why are Birkenstocks suddenly the height of fashion now after all the years? I’ll tell you why. The fashion industry got ahold of them, tricked them out with a bit of rhinestone and patent leather and now they cost NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS a pair. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
So anyway back to my original statement. There are no rules worth paying attention to when it comes to fashion. To make my own statement I tried out some hair chalk I saw advertised in the magazine. The result? I walked around yesterday with lavender streaks in my hair. Yee ha! And happy Mardi Gras. Mr. Husband and my mother-in-law were taken aback, but the ladies in my art class got a kick out of it.