Monday, April 26, 2010

Mary's Musings: More on Globalization, Bowler Hats

Above: Unique Assorted Looks from Across the World, courtesy of Lookbook, which I always want to make fun of but can't because it is basically this photo repeated 10,000 times.

1. Apparently the Face Hunter has decried globalization, saying:

"Globalization is a myth. The belief that international brands and pop culture are making the world a standardized society populated by clones is an old-skool science-fiction vision of the future, not the reality of the 21st century."


"we should talk of 'creole-ization,'" which is "customizing identity from fragments of culture from different parts of world."


"Trends are dead, baby! Become what you are' is now a reality."

Well, obviously he's not going to say that everyone looks the same everywhere because of globalization, and that the ten million people wearing a bowler hat and posing pigeon-toed from Norway to Korea is indicative of that.

But it's not like globalization only relates to big brands and corporations. Cultural globalization has everything to do with the fact that everyone with a computer can view people and trends from across the planet, whereas once cultural influences were insular and therefore had to be somewhat unique. It has to do with the fact that people's cultural references came largely from where they were from, instead of from a glowing box. And let us not forget that street style can trickle up or down- the current trend of wearing huge, teetering platforms with crap hanging off them (or "big ugly shoes" as I call them) obviously started with designer fashion, as the style is one of the few thoroughly modern looks popular, and there's not really any skewing going on there.

I have been using my razor-sharp observation skills to look at the people of New York City, where I currently am (uh, do you have a job for me? List of jobs I'm interested in will follow at end of post.*) People in New York look a little more polished, a little more on-point, but they are overwhelmingly just wearing the same trends we have all seen so much and made so much fun of: Saggy pleated shorts, chambray shirts, boxy blazers with rolled sleeves, the aforementioned bowler hat (for the love of god, stop wearing those!!!!!) and, for guys, the Sartorialist look which is at least a cute one.

Lastly, everything today has gotten so fashion-y. There used to be a huge divide between designer and plebeian. Maybe this is apropos of nothing, but remember that Britney Sometimes video? I do. I remember watching it in horror as she capered around in a white cropped turtleneck and baggy pants, like her stylist had walked blindfolded into a Deb sale rack and shortened the first thing he could find into a half-shirt:

Anyway, it blew me away how fugly it was. It was that really thick ribbed knit, too.

I just think this sort of thing wouldn't fly anymore, you know? Everyone collaborates with a designer, and every fashion blog features some fourteen year old jerking off over the new
Alexander Wang collection. When I was in high school, no one knew about this stuff. To them,
"designer" was the Paul Frank monkey or Mavi jeans or something. The pervasive idea that you can take designer looks and "skew" them and make them your own is supposed to democratize fashion, but you're still echoing the establishment- the same with designer capsule collections for cheap stores.

The point is, globalization and the like is more insidious than you think. It's not just kids in remote China eating happy meals, man! And as for the "old-skool [skool??!!] science-fiction vision" of the future, let's not forget if someone from the past flash-forwarded to today and saw a zillion people staring at little glowing screens and wearing wet-look leggings, they'd be pretty freaked out!

2. Words I wish never to hear again:
panini, I hate saying this word, and I hate how every crappy chain restaurant in the world is all over ciabatta and microgreens and all this fancy stuff that only makes sense when it doesn't come out of a baggie in the freezer.

pimp and all its variations. The 2000's were the worst, and now that I am reflecting upon them a lot, I am getting more and more angry that I had to come of age in such a horrible, turtleneck/half-shirt wearing decade. Using the word pimp as an adjective or verb is not okay.

3. Here is a funny blog for you guys to read: Godmammit I'm Mad. This is a lady after my own heart, who hates Sea of Shoes and whose hero is Patti Smith, and who posts amazing photos of herself as a teen runaway hanging out on Sunset Boulevard in the 60's and 70's. It's worth reading the back entries, except that most of 2008 is just anti Sarah Palin posts.

* Jobs:
1. Malcolm McClaren-esque band manager. Give me a band clad in turtleneck half-shirts and I will turn them all into stars!
2. Gaddabout. Hire me for your magazine and I'll make droll observations about parties I attend for free.
3. Costumer for whatever. No longer will no one sit in the audience and fume about how this movie supposedly set in the 1970's clearly features people wearing modern jeans!
4. Simon Doonan or Amy Sedaris or Judy Blume, or assistant to Simon Doonan or Amy Sedaris, but not Judy Blume because I guess she is retired.
5. Vintage museum curator.
6. Trend forecaster, but used for good, not evil.
7. Glam rock expert.
8. Basically any other sort of job, hopefully something to do with vintage clothing, YA fiction, feminism, writing, editing, or similar.

PS: Malcom McClaren's coffin:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Hey there! I won't be posting for a little while because I'm on one of my famous road trips, but since you are so bored and looking at the internet, why don't you vote for Willie Mae Rock Camp on this Pepsi Challenge thing? You can vote at least twice a day. I have volunteered at rock camp for many years, and it is truly the best and most empowering feminist cause ever, directly affects and helps young girls, and is the kind of thing you are upset you never got the opportunity to do as a kid. The community center they want this grant for could really help out a lot of girls- after all, camp lasts only a week, but this would be open year round.
Anyway, I will post for real eventually, etc.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Horrifying and Horrible Things I have Found on eBay Lately

This went for like $160! Huge blazers are getting their sleeves scrunched up these days, in order to distract you from the fact that you are wearing a huge blazer.

This dress was identified as being by the designer Kathi Lee. God, I wish I could go back in time to a Wal-Mart in 1996 and get these fresh off the racks!

Now it's not just shapeless short floral 90's dresses, but the long Mormon-y ones have also hit the scene. If you don't believe me, look at this photo of fashion icon Lindsay Lohan:

Also, this jumpsuit photo is worth posting:

The shape of this makes for an unsettling look.

Oh god, it's rayon floral shorts attached to a denim top! And it has two bids.

Isn't this darling? I'm also predicting these denim and chambray pieces embroidered with Winnie the Pooh and friends but made for adult women are what simply everyone will be wearing by fall. One needs only add strappy platform bondage heels and a bowler hat. In the parlance of fashion blogs, I am totally "coveting" and "obsessing" over these!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dressing Up

The pages of fashion magazines are constantly urging us to mix high with low, old with new, casual with dressy, because, while once fashion was about wearing things that went and looked good together, it is now and seemingly always will be about everything going all the time. It's a free for all, it is meaningless, and it's why Alexa Chung is considered fashionable.

First she is wearing a wool jacket, tights, biker shorts or something, and a straw bag. Hey, straw and wool don't go together. One is summer, the other winter. They look awkward, right? But, no, they are quirky, it turns out. Especially if Karl gave you the bag. Or maybe you are just hanging out, wearing the worst, boxiest cut-off overall 90's dress ever, should you pair black patent low-heeled pumps with it?

First of all, the constant refrain of high/low is stupid, because no one has much high to begin with. There was an article awhile back from Bazarre that introduced the chic/totally recession-proof idea of cost per wear, noting that all the designer-clad young ladies were doing it- wearing things more than once! One lady bought a $6,000 gold bolero but she makes it work because she wears it with jeans, too! It practically pays for itself. In fact, have you noticed you can wear anything with jeans? Check out Sea of Shoes' mom, below. They don't even have to be crisp dark denim jeans. They can be a repulsive faded pair with cut-off hems, and do they go with velvet high heels, a tailored blazer and a sequined cardigan? Yes, they do.

Back in the day, no one would have dreamed of wearing formal cut-offs or leggings as pants with an above-crotch length top. People didn't wear pajamas on the street, boots with bathing suits, tank tops to dinner and flip-flops with wool coats. You wore your winter clothes in winter and your summer clothes in summer and you always had a hat.

Chambray diaper-esque onesie with black tights, and black velvet jacket.

Blazer, high heels, tailored bag, saggy, frayed cut-offs.

This doesn't go. Unless you're a teen. If you're a teen it is cute to mix and match and you are supposed to look like a wacky slob. But then if you are a teen your bag doesn't cost $12,000.

Obviously, fashion was more of a tyranny then, so it is good we have evolved out of it in many ways. Today, women have much more freedom, and the availability of fast, used and cheap fashion means you can look elegant clad in inexpensively-bought clothes. We have the option to be really creative and amazing, but we don't take advantage of it, so, as Simone and I have often discussed, we might as well issue standard clothing to people, because all those people wearing Juicy suits and leggings are just wasting their freedom anyway.

However, fashion is still a tyranny. We still cling desperately to ideas of masculine and feminine (Thank god guys pants are finally getting tighter!!!), we still dress the way we do because society tells us to. Women are often unwilling to present themselves as adults. No one wants to be statuesque or polished, everyone wants to be coltish and undone, like Kate Moss. And people seem to think dressing up is not punk rock/too much work/for other people.

It saddens me when I dress up for a fancy event and everyone else looks like a slob. Why not look nice? If you're a butch lady and resent having to dress up, try a well-cut suit! If you don't have a lot of money, you can find good shit at thrift stores. As I've previously written about, too many people think fashion is about labels and a non-accessible world instead of how they dress every day. It's not about being tied to fashion ideals, trends, shopping a lot, and the world of high fashion (as previously noted, they all look like slobs too), it's about presenting yourself with the dignity that comes from being turned out. It doesn't mean being boring or having to sacrifice yourself. And cut-offs with high heels look like TRASH, but not in a good way.

Friday, April 2, 2010

eBay Auctions

Sorry I haven't done a real post in while. Perhaps you want to buy some vintage, or a Betsey Johnson dress, from my eBay auctions? Don't be shy. I'm also selling a pair of Harley Davidson boots, just like you've always wanted.