My eyes almost popped out of my head twice this morning, on account of two photos posted by Racked. The first pic showed Zach Galiafanakis in a red one piece channeling Marilyn Monroe, faux mole and all. The eye poppage here was obvs prompted by humor – I laughed hard enough to snarf Sugar Free Red Bull through my nose.
The second pic wasn’t amusing so much as appalling: Taylor Momsen channeling a sex worker and/or female action hero in a Robert Rodriguez film. Witness the state of young fame today:
Garter belt? Check. Studded stripper platform stiletto sandals? Check. Sheer thigh-highs? Check. Visible pleather panties? Check. Even so, it’s not the outfit itself that’s offensive: It’s the context in which said outfit appears. Did someone forget to put this behind the counter with the other porn rags? Revolver used to be a music magazine. With this cover, it’s now a music magazine that’s one nipple away from Penthouse.
Let’s forget about Revolver’s use of shock value to keep itself in business for a hot sec, and discuss the starlet decorating the latest issue. I don’t want to hear any gaff about how Taylor Momsen didn’t choose to be a role model or whatevs. Objecting to being photographed in this outfit isn’t grounds for sainthood; it’s a mark of self-respect. Then again, Taylor Momsen is seventeen years old. That’s another way of saying she’s too young to know what the fuck she’s doing.
Who the fuck are her handlers? Where the fuck are her parents? How many high school girls are going to copy their fave Gossip Girl star’s Revolver cover style this Halloween?
Is our over-sexed, over-exposed, celebrity ass-kissing culture desensitized enough to see an underaged babe dressed as a gun-toting dominatrix, and think it’s okay?
I have to go put my eyes back into my head now, and try to forget what I’ve just seen.
You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it OK for guys to call you sluts and whores.
Touche, Ms. Norbury. This nugget of Mean Girls wisdom seems logical enough, but it’s still the stuff of fiction. Prostitution-inspired terminology infiltrates every aspect of our culture – it sounds edgy, so we throw it around, consequences to our gender be damned.
Fashion’s all about anything edgy. It was only a matter of time before slutty turned chic.
Now look, I’m not one to knock risque style. I’ve been known to toe the hiked-up hemline. But there’s a big fat difference between dressing to feel sexy, and dressing to advertise sex. The latter reduces you to the exposed outlines of your va-jay-jay – there’s nothing empowering about a crotch on display.
We’re a celeb-obsessed nation tied to the laws of monkey-see, monkey-do, so let’s observe the outfits currently inspiring our own. And by ‘outfits’ I mean looks conceived in a dominatrix den.
Oh, they’re all musicians, this is concert garb, they don’t reeeally dress that way everyday, and even if they do, it doesn’t mean we have to mimic them, right? Right – in theory. Unfortunately, the volume of images like these doesn’t just make them impossible to ignore – each time we see one, we grow a little more desensitized. Dressing like a sex worker stops sending the wrong message and starts being badass. We get conned into thinking the road to body confidence and feminine empowerment is paved with our T&A, and start dressing accordingly.
Oh, but celebrities aren’t responsible for messages sent by their wardrobe choices. Horseshit. Maybe Fergie’s rocking her look on stage and Miley’s using hers to bust out of the Disney mold. But Rihanna and Katy’s outfits are accompanied by the words HARD and ONE NIGHT STAND.
So, if I dress to make guys hard and have promiscuous sex, I can be hot and rich and famous too?! I’m totally wearing my garter belt in public!
Sports icons who cheat on their wives often use the I-didn’t-choose-to-be-a-role-model defense. Maybe the girls above didn’t choose to be role models, but if you’re lucky enough to be famous for what you do, you should probs be grateful enough to not royally fuck it up. Dressing like sluts makes these ladies sex objects first and artists second.
You want to be taken seriously as a musician? Stop dressing like a stripper. Rocket science, I know.
What happens when we dress like sluts and whores?
Yes, Gaga and Ke$ha are badasses, but their devil-may-care ‘tudes don’t excuse the disgusting evidence above. Slutty chic is a contradiction in terms. There’s nothing classy about a trend that compromises your self-respect.
Ladies, we’ve come a long way since not being able to vote, but we’re not there yet. You want equal pay for equal work? Don’t leave the house for the office without pants.
In a post yesterday, Second City Style listed Socks ‘n’ Sandals as one of Spring’s Trends That Must Die, along with a picture of Chloe Sevigny donning the combo.
Cut to LAST JULY, when I said the following In Defense of Chloe Sevigny:
The initial appearance of any trend is rarely met with universal approval, if only because Fashion polices those whose style of dress contradicts its rules of the moment. Post-critique, the industry jacks the ideas of its biggest rule-breakers and later pawns them off as its own: Don’ts become Do’s and Out becomes In, Fashion gets to look original and we get an excuse to buy new stuff.
That Chloe Sevigny’s personal style has inspired more than a few trends isn’t the point. What ultimately matters is the source of her sartorial originality, a.k.a. her mastery of the art of Not Giving A Shit. Chloe Sevigny doesn’t dress to inspire Fashion; the fact that what she wears eventually shows up on its radar is simply a byproduct of her dressing to please only herself.
Chloe’s recent pairing of Socks With Orthopedic Sandals might seem like a total faux pas, so if you need to tear her down to feel sartorially superior, go right ahead. Just make sure you thank her a few years from now, when the Granny Chic trend inevitably hits the runway.
Mere months later and POOF! The Socks ‘n’ Sandals Trend is all the rage. Whatafuckingcoincidence. I’m on board with Second City Style’s assessment of the said trend as heinous, but that’s not ultimately the point. The point is that fashion is an idea-thieving beotch.
Also that I’m clairvoyant.
That is all.
You are all undoubtedly aware of my position on celebrity style: Its obvious irrelevance to your life and mine continually results in my inability to give a shit. Alas, my unwillingness to engage in smack-talking fashions donned by famous peeps, particularly during award show season, is none too good for my traffic stats. In the spirit of compromise, I believe I’ve come up with a strategy that is both (a) relevant to the culture of celebrity in which we live and (b) true to my view of criticism as unfunny unless deserved.
The glaring exception to the above are the Fug Girls – intelligence and writing skills go a long way in an industry riddled with authorities lacking in both.
For evidence of the rule – that those who can’t do, criticize – we must change the channel to E! and watch “Fashion Police: The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards” in its entirety.
Stomaching the self-important dribble of the cast -
Joan “My face is the greatest punchline ever” Rivers; Jay “I’m GAY! Look at my POCKET SQUARE!” Manuel; Khloe “I love my sister’s D-list celebrity/ I hate her for being prettier than me” Kardashian Odom; Giuliana “There’s one thing better than being a famous person, and that’s being thinner than famous people” Rancic
- requires a steady supply of tequila, which I had the good sense to purchase for last night’s occasion.
It’s high time these hacks got a taste of their own medicine.
The dialogue inspired by the below celebs isn’t just a series of vapid, predictable attempts at humor and/or at making fashion deeper than it is. It’s a window into the souls of those spouting it. Today, we deal not with text, but with subtext. E! Fashion Police: Welcome to Judgment Day.
JOAN: She was in Inglorious Bastards… oh my god, and that’s what she should call her design team! Not even a chuckle from these people. I’d shoot them a look that says LAUGH NEXT TIME OR ELSE but I’m having some trouble moving my face.
JAY: The ruffles into the high waist, it was ill-fitting on her body. And really, who takes designers seriously enough to actually don a dress from the runway? That works like never. But that’s between me and my private thoughts.
GIULIANA: It was off the runway though. Which means she’s thin enough to actually wear something designed for anorexic models. HATE HER.
JAY: You did NOT just say that. But you gotta be careful with what you take from the runway to the red carpet. Authority accomplished. Thank you lucky pocket square!
JOAN: Considering she just gave birth to a baby… she looked… I will not say Fat I will not say Fat I will not say Fat… pretty good, ya know. But the ass, I mean… IS FAT! HAHAHA! I am losing my SHIT over here and NO ONE KNOWS! THANK YOU FACE!
JAY: I love the mermaid silhouette. I think it’s a perfect selection for someone who just gave birth. Giving birth. That’s disgusting.
KHLOE: She looks like Cinderella. I made a comment! Yessssss.
JOAN: Look at those bazookas of hers. I thought she was smuggling in two orphans to sell to Angelina Jolie! I. Am. Brilliant.
JAY: My biggest problem with the dress is the color… the beige doesn’t suit her… also, are those boobs or just fat? Or are they one and the same? I never know these things!
KHLOE: So much is wrong here, and like, just like the back fat and everything, I mean like we all have it but I think you just have to know how to dress for your body… if this asshole holding the camera zooms in on MY back fat…. my inner monologue isn’t quick enough to finish this thought. Whatevs. I’m on TV!
JOAN: It looked like Prince’s old purple prom dress… which he let me try on when we blew lines back in the eighties! Oh Prince, you DOLL!
JAY: Here’s the thing: She always looks better when she wears a longer bodice. In fact this made her look really short, like long legged/short-waisted… it didn’t fit well. Sometimes I get lost in my words.
GIULIANA: She’s too pretty for this dress… and by ‘too pretty,’ I mean ‘I see cellulite.’ Ha.
JOAN: She needs a subtitle person with her, that accent – I don’t know what she’s talking about! These Europeans… something’s up. Penelope, Sophia, that French chick… what’s in the water over there? I want it NOW.
JAY: This dress was fit beautifully, but guys, did you guys not think the mystic tan was a liiitle much? I should have been tanning on the beach with Javier. This hetero thing is so last season.
KHLOE: She’s frolicking on the beach with her hunky boyfriend all day long! Is two months into marriage too early to cheat on your husband?
JOAN: First of all, what is that growing on her shoulder? It should be lanced. I didn’t know that word until I saw it listed as part of my last procedure. Cosmetic surgery: Inspiring AND educational.
JAY: I think it’s art, I really do think it’s art. Donatella paid me to say that. LOVE HER!
KHLOE: Besides the sea urchins, the dress is perfect… OMFG I think I just used a, what’s it called, a metaphor? But it’s like coral growing on the woman’s body… another one, eek! But other than that it’s stunning. I sound smart on tee-vee, naa-na-naa-na-naa-naa.
GIULIANA: I obviously like the shoulder growth, so I gotta disagree. I thought shoulder growth would make my arms look smaller which is why I’m rocking this ridiculous oversize bow but, oh god, did I commit a faux pas too?! They’re looking at me and they hate me. Stop looking at me. STOP LOOKING AT ME.
JOAN: She brought two of her own golden globes! Did Jay say that already? Too bad, I’m stealing it. I’m Joan RIVERS. I do what I WANT.
GIULIANA: They were hanging out all over the place. I didn’t even see her face. Blinded by the faaaaat…I SO could have been a singer.
JAY: Well that’s what I said on the red carpet was that she brought her golden globes… Take THAT, Rivers…No wait I’m sorry I love youuu… I agree with you Joan. Please don’t eat me.
KHLOE: I mean the hair, the dress, is awful. But I fluctuated my weight, I know she does too, but I think I dress to what my weight fluctuates. I don’t speak English. I speak DIVA.
JOAN: She looked divine, she looked… another word for Fat, what is it?… heavy… YES, very… but it doesn’t matter. But it should. It’s hurting my eye lift. MAKE IT STOP.
KHLOE: I think she is a bigger woman, but I mean definitely a beautiful bigger woman. AS IF!
GIULIANA: She looked happy, she looked confident. I mean, you knew she was gonna win. Can we move on now please? All that well-fed confidence is making my stomach growl. Again.
JAY: THIS is how you do cleavage. See? It’s simple. Just be thin!
JOAN: It looks like Scarlet O’Hara made that dress. I do not know who this person is and I’m texting Melissa to find out.
KHLOE: For someone as tiny and thin and beautiful as she is… I hate her more than Kim… I mean if she can’t pull it off who the hell is gonna wear something like that? That’s it. I’m getting gastric bypass.
GIULIANA: You guys are not gonna believe it but I think the dress is beautiful. This was actually a best dressed nominee of mine! Maybe if I stalk her and lie about my age we can be besties, and then people will start to think I’m tiny and thin and beautiful too!
JOAN: Adorable. Cute. Pregnant. When did actresses stop planning their pregnancies around award show season? Those were the days. Perfect look for a woman in her trimester… or Mariah Carey. Aaaand I’m BACK. Zing!
JAY: With a lot of women who are pregnant, they wear these long flowy dresses… I kind of like the length. It suited her well and I really love the bodice and the asymmetry. Do NOT throw up JAY, DO NOT THROW UP, think happy un-pregnant thoughts, like licking the peach fuzz on Robert Downey Jr.’s baby-soft buttcheek…Mmmmm!
KHLOE: See just because you’re pregnant, you don’t have to look old. I can’t WAIT to be preggers and eat EVERYTHING. Like i think this dress makes her look so old, I wish she was in a gown, like, you feel pretty-pregnant, not old-ugly-pregnant. I’ll be pretty-pregnant… but not as pretty as Kim. Bitch.
GIULIANA: Matronly. I thought she looked matronly. And massive, hello?! I know she’s pregnant. But it’s no excuse.
JAY: Did you want her in something like skin tight? Must… Stop… Nausea… Ommmmm. Robert Downey Jr. Robert Downey Jr. Robert Downey Jr… Chase Crawford! YES!
JAY: Well he had a bit of a cold… Ice Ice Baby… he was actually flying out here on my flight… and he told me after we joined the mile-high club, tee hee, I WISH! I didn’t like the skinny tie. But I did like the fact that he wore a pocket square! He’s so young, so nubile, so inspiring. Sighs.
GIULIANA: I thought he looked super sexy, really great… I’d so be his cougar He’s definitely one of my best dressed nominees for men, and I love the hair off of his forehead, I mean sometimes it comes forward and I think it looked really nice that way. It looks like he just had SEX. With ME. Mrrow!
JOAN: I thought she looked very good… I mean for someone who bought from the Ellen DeGeneres collection! A man’s haircut and no plastic surgery is a mockery of the temple that is the red carpet. The nerve.
JAY: It looked cheap… kinda like Khloe… I mean it wasn’t well constructed.
KHLOE: The material is so cheap-looking… I would know… and, she just looks so uncomfortable in it though. I never am!
GIULIANA: She is such a funny woman but sadly, you know, the dress was funny too. No it wasn’t. It’s not funny that someone that ugly gets to be famous and I don’t. It’s not funny at all.
JOAN: She looks a little bust-heavy in this…Bust-heavy. I just pulled a fabulous new adjective for obese out of my fat-sucked ass! But she’s a gorgeous girl. And Melissa was pretty before her nose job. HA!
JAY: I think the problem here is this beautiful contrast waistband – which i’m a huge fan of – it’s not quite an empire waist – it’s just a little awkward… aaaaand I’m tapped out of officious style terminology.
KHLOE: I think she’s pregnant or I hope she’s pregnant and if so…oh, she’s not pregnant… Oopsies. I hope they still ask me back next year!
JAY: I think it’s totally where this band is hitting her… Cut to commercial, I can’t keep us afloat much longer!
GIULIANA: And this cut on a lot of women does give you this pregnant look. I mean, you gotta be careful. We’re all assholes. Oh well. At least I’m the thinnest asshole here.
The first time I heard Michelle Obama speak was on the campaign trail, when her hubby took the day off to visit his ailing grandmother. I remember thinking, This woman’s going to be the most badass First Lady EVER. What I don’t remember is what she was wearing. And that’s exactly the point.
That Michelle Obama knows how to dress is fairly obvious; it’s all the media can talk about. For a First Lady aspiring to be America’s Favorite Wife, Hostess and Mommy, being heralded as The New Jackie O. is the holy grail of compliments – sartorial and otherwise.
But for a First Lady who’s already as much of a world-changer as her husband, the comparison is an attempt to box her into her faaahbulous clothes; a veiled suggestion that perhaps she’d be more comfortable at home choosing flatware for the next state dinner than at the podium pitching a $50 million national service initiative.
The idea that an attractive woman with an innate sense of style is more than the sum of her suit/bag/shoes combo – that she is a free-thinking individual seeking to better the world (one outside of her White House realm) by living and actively participating in it – still makes us just a teensy bit uncomfortable. In an article on Michelle Obama’s Ambitious Agenda, Politico referenced these words of wisdom from some PR chick (Oxymoron Alert):
I think (her agenda is) fragmented. She stands for so many things right now, she’s doing so many things. She’s in the kitchen at the White House, she’s building houses, she’s digging in the garden. It’s all very nice, but I thought to myself, “Why is she planting herbs?” said Mindy Sabella, director of marketing at Siegel+Gale.
Let’s review this choice quotation again, and ask ourselves the following question: Why is Michelle’s standing for so many things and doing so many things framed in such a negative context?
Because Mindy, along with most of the media, is too pea-brained to see something that can’t be packaged, stamped and sold as something good. If we’re to appreciate Michelle, we must mold her into something with which we’re already acquainted first. Viewing her in the context of Fashion alone supposedly simplifies and humanizes her. As such, it lets us do really fun things like tear her down for wearing $500 Lanvin sneakers to volunteer at a D.C. food bank.
Because I’m easily riled by all things heinously expensive, one would think I’d balk at Mrs. O’s casual shoe choice. One would be wrong. I highly doubt anyone at the food bank that day knew or cared about what those sneakers cost (outside of the press core, obvs), and I highly doubt Michelle obsessed over what the media response to said sneakers might be when she got dressed that morning. The woman doesn’t have time to think about that crap, nor should she. Of course she’s got pricey shoes – she’s the First Lady, for fuck’s sake.
Discussing her French footwear instead of her commitment to national service is our faux pas. Not hers.
(Those still bothered by her Lanvin sneaks should note the following: Mrs. O’s already worn that knockout Tracy Feith dress on two separate occasions, and the woman lives in J.Crew argyle cardigans. Those sweaters are to her what American Apparel leggings are to me. RESPECT.)
Last night, Michelle spoke at the TIME 100 Gala to an audience of co-honorees, among them Suze Orman (heck yeah), Lorne Michaels (mmkay), and a Liv Tyler/Stella McCartney/Kate Hudson trifecta (Most Influential People my ass). She didn’t discuss who she was wearing or gush about being, like, sooo flattered to be in the company of, like, sooo many famous peeps. She did what she does best: She got down to biznass.
Her remarks included the following:
There are few things more rewarding than watching young people recognize that they have the power to enrich not only their lives, but the lives of others as well. But careers in public service are not always encouraged. We push our young people to strive for things, an advanced degree, a job title, a big salary. Rarely do we urge them to stop and think about what their passion is, what kind of life they want to live, what kind of neighbors and colleagues and parents they want to be.
I like to imagine Michelle as finishing the above thought by saying to herself, (and very, very quietly): “Those of you paying $500 an hour for SAT tutors, take note: Even an Ivy League education can’t teach the child you’ve spoiled rotten how to be a decent person. But public service can!” I mean, I don’t know her personally or anything. But we’re both huge fans of Sesame Street and I do a killer Grover impression. So there’s hope. ;)
It’s lucky for us that Michelle Obama isn’t a woman easily swayed by the opinions of others – I don’t see her fading into the background clad in designer garb anytime soon. She’s fashionable, yes, but she’s a hell of a lot more too. And she’ll continue being the kind of woman who’s so much more than political arm candy – the kind of woman who visits elementary schools and puts lift under every chair in the room – long after we tire of dissecting the outfits she wears in the process. That’s what matters. That’s what makes her a role model not just for African-American women, but for all women.
Fashion can be fun, but it’s not all we are. Where this First Lady’s concerned, it’s merely the tip of a whole iceberg of awesomeness.
Remember Gatorade’s I-Wanna-Be-Like Ad? Us gals finally have a Jordan to call our own. Let’s not take her for granted.