I was sick yesterday, and the cable was out (it froze right in the middle of a VH1 special on Britney Spears, which, by the way -- totally depressing. She was so pretty once upon a time...), so I caught up on my fashion magazine reading. I have subscriptions to pretty much every magazine out there (no, seriously: Elle, Glamour, Vogue, Lucky, Jane, Vanity Fair, InStyle, Self, Entertainment Weekly, UsWeekly, Harper's Weekly, New York, and The New Yorker), and still end up buying all of the 'B List' (Star, InTouch, Life & Style, Marie Claire, People, Harper's Bazaar, and even, God help me, O - The Oprah Magazine) when I have nothing to read on the subway, so I am pretty well steeped in all things fashion (and pop culture, and useless celebrity minutae, and, occasionally, actual news!)
Let me take a moment here to say that I have never been particularly enraged by the fashion world. Yes, they use increasingly emaciated models and dress them in things they call "couture" (which, I think, given the yearly parades of oversized tarpaulins, jagged metal belts, and tartan bloomers, must translate roughly into "May Cause Corneal Bleeding"), and yes, all of the designers are batshit crazy and hail each other as visionaries for finding yet another way to force crocodile into the lives of unwitting consumers, but in general I just dismiss the fashion world as kind of ... kooky, and leave it at that. I never thought that it was an evil empire until the arrival of the skinny jean.
Okay, first of all? I do not wear a jean. I wear jeans. Secondly, seriously, what the fuck? I am five foot three and petite, and when I go to buy pants (again, say it with me -- "a pant" does not exist) everything is about five inches too long and about two butt sizes too tight, insinuating that someone of my weight (in the low-to-normal range for my height) should be five foot eight, with an ass the size of two silver dollar pancakes. To add insult to injury, the fashion machine decided to make jeans even skinnier, and to suggest that women of all shapes and sizes should flock like lemmings toward the unforgiving taper of "the skinny jean". I wore tapered jeans in 7th grade. They had zippers on the bottoms, and my legs were like toothpicks (this was pre-puberty, the body ideal as far as the tastemakers are concerned). Oh, if only my cursed period had never arrived! If only I could be flat-chested and 80 pounds forever, my nonexistent hips hidden under the my billowing XL Bart Simpson tee shirt and leggings! Oh, I would have been the toast of Fashion Week in my skinny jeans! I hear Doc Martens are coming back, too.
Anyway, just when I thought it couldn't get worse than the skinny jean, I see this all over the place:
That, my friends, is Dolce and Gabbana's metal corset. Yup, a hard piece of metal wedged right between your ribs and your hips, like a chastity belt for your belly button. It even has locks! Wow, that looks comfy, doesn't it. You can almost hear Jennifer Lopez thinking 'This will do wonders for my scoliosis!' I'm sorry, but if I saw a woman wearing this on the street, I would think she had probably just escaped from solitary confinement and/or a strict S&M master, and was running from the law. I would also think that she is a moron for spending over $3,000 for something that you can get from the hospital for free, provided you injure yourself badly enough to necessitate a brace.
My other major qualm with this fall's fashion offerings (seriously, y'all, when did a simple cardigan go out of style?) is the "hot" shoe of the season, which is the oxford bootie. I know that makes no sense to normal people, so I'll use a visual aid:
I do not judge these shoes based on looks alone (hey, to each his own, right?); rather, I take issue with the fact that they are, to put it quite simply, canklemakers. There, I said it. No one with normal (read: unskinny) legs can wear a bootie without looking like their ankles have the approximate girths of tree trunks. Booties are to ankles as capri pants are to calves, by which I mean they are painfully unlattering. Why, fashion? What is wrong with a normal boot? Why must grown women wear booties? Look, with jeans (I'm sorry, "a jean"), fine. But wear those things with a skirt and you are suddenly two inches shorter and ten pounds fatter. Who put you up to this? Was it that crazy pirate John Galliano? Was it Naomi Campbell? Did she hit you? Was it Janice Dickinson? Did you give her a breathalizer first?