Let me begin this post with the admission that I am not a Fashion Diva in any sense of the word. I admire expensive clothes and shoes from afar — but I can’t afford to actually buy them, so instead my wardrobe mostly consists of items picked off the racks at Old Navy, Target, New York and Company and an occasional sale rack at Macy’s or Dillards. Shoes come from Rack Room or DSW or some other discount retailer. That’s just how I roll.
(Note to self: Find new phrase to use instead of “That’s how I roll” immediately. You sound like someone trying WAAAY too hard to be hip and, baby, you ain’t.)
I do like looking good. Even at Our-Market-Is-The-Entire-World-And-Then-Some Target you can find some cute things (thank you, Isaac Mizrahi – you AND your big hair) and if you keep it simple (did you hear that, people? SIMPLE) and buy things that fit properly (did you hear that, people? FIT PROPERLY) you can look every bit as fashionable as Carrie-Charlotte-Samantha-Miranda strolling through the streets of Manhattan with their Bergdorf shopping bags in all their chi-chi-trendy glory.
Well, actually, that is a total lie – but do you really want to look like them anyway? Let’s be honest, I love them, too, but some of the outfits in that franchise have been SuperScary with a capital $. Money can’t buy taste, you know.
And continuing in that whole Admitting-I’m-Not-Hip vein, anything more than $75 for a pair of shoes just seems absurd to me. Why, when there are so much better things to spend your money on? Besides, if I’m going to give the Big Bean a hard time for spending $200 on a bike fitting (I mean, really, can’t you just get ON the bike and tell if it fits you or not? You need a machine to tell you your legs are too short? Come on, Stumpy, get real) , then I can hardly justify spending the same amount or more on a pair of shoes, right?
Oh, and Sharon Stone wore a Gap t-shirt to the Oscars one year and looked stunning, and that old bitch Joan Rivers was just SO SHOCKED and SO IMPRESSED that she wasn’t wearing some big-name designer – so it IS possible to look acceptably Fab-u without spending a Hollywood fortune.
Of course, that was like ten years ago and let’s face it, she pulled it off because she was Sharon Freakin’ Stone – she probably could have worn a camouflage shower curtain with pleather pants and and still had Joan “At this point my face is 95 percent synthetic” Rivers drooling all over her plastic lips to tell her how Faaaabulous she was – but still, I hold onto that moment like a security blanket that’s as worn and ratty as my favorite six-year-old torn, used-to-be-blue Old Navy tee. (I’m too cheap for the Gap.)
So the point is (you knew I’d get there eventually), it IS possible to look good without spending a lot of money, if you just THINK about what you’re putting on your body (did you hear that, people? THINK) and try to be reasonable and don’t convince yourself you’re a size 4 when you’re really a 14 and don’t shop in the little girls’ department if you’re actually over the age of 12.
This all seems like common sense to me, but I work in a place where Common Sense apparently does not apply to Fashion, and actually the word Fashion itself really doesn’t apply to anything in the building. I don’t know if it’s the dreary monotony of bureaucracy that finally did these ladies in, or if they were already fashionably challenged to begin with, but I live in a constant state of Oh-My-God-Did-She-Really-Go-Out-in-Public-Like-That and sometimes I would rather poke my eyes out with a sharp pointy stick than look directly at the horrors that walk before me.
Too-tight neon dresses, 1970s bell-bottomed power suits, 1980s shoulder pads and – I swear to God – DENIM JUMPSUITS fill the halls. Just walking into the office this morning, I saw variations on this:
NOTE: I had to change this from an earlier photo of Melanie Griffith because my mother complained. She thought Melanie looked “nice” and should have been included in the fashion “do’s” list instead of fashion “don’ts.” Nevermind that the photo was taken from the movie Working Girl, which was released in 1988, TWENTY YEARS AGO.)
Now, many of these women are extremely nice and smart and funny and talented and all kinds of wonderful things… which makes this all the more disturbing. I can’t focus on how nice and smart and funny they are because all I can think is “You are wearing a Cowboy Jumper.” I see the lips move and I hear the words come from the lips, but inside my head I’m just repeating “Cowboyjumpercowboyjumpercowboyjumper.”
I won’t even mention the overgrown eyebrows, dirty hair, scrunchies, orthopedic shoes that look like, well, orthopedic shoes, and shocking lack of makeup that I encounter on a regular basis.
I just don’t understand this phenomenon. Don’t these women understand that, at least professionally speaking, they aren’t doing themselves any favors with the tie-dye t-shirt dresses, Disney character denim overalls, sandals with socks, or Cowboy Jumpers?
And yes, each of these items is a piece of Horrible Fashion History that I have witnessed, live and in person, in the halls of my office.
And also yes, I AM fixated on the Cowboy Jumper. I can’t help it. It’s a fucking COWBOY JUMPER. On a woman who is NOT a Cowboy. Or five years old. Or in the 1950s.
Ladies, you are not stupid! You are better than this! Even if you don’t care what the rest of the world might think of you, this is a place of business. Don’t you want the respect and admiration of your co-workers? Don’t you want to be taken seriously? I know I WANT to respect you, but how can I when you’re wearing this?
There’s really nothing I can do about this except complain. There is no way I could ever actually slap one of these women across the face while screaming, “What are you thinking?!?” like I really want to. I do have my professional life to think about, after all.
So I suffer each day in silence, the lambs screaming in my head as I try to avert my eyes from the disasters that I must face.
And so it goes…Stumble it!