Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vague is the New Vogue

The right hand page preceding a fashion magazine's major editorial pages ("the well" in the lingo) is generally an amuse bouche— a delicious little tidbit to introduce what follows. Sometimes the editors will let us know where they stand on things. Page 85 of Vogue's July issue gave us some food for thought. Herewith (including Vogue's bold-face type):

   The most careworn cliche in the fashion-magazine book is to breathlessly announce that it's time to "break the rules!" Rules? What rules? Sure, there will always be those who fret about white after Labor Day and would never dare to mismatch Liberty prints with checks or to put a punk spin on Paris couture— but we've all been ignoring so-called dress codes with a vengeance for decades.

   The average American closet is a creative cauldron. Who would we like to be this morning— a preppy in shrunken blazer and driving loafers? An haute hippie, trailing handkerchief hems along with the sound of bangles? An eighties rock-'n'-roller in black lace? Of course this kind of absolute freedom— life as an endless costume party— can sometimes seem like its own endless procession of rule books of a different kind.

I got very excited as I read this. Yes, yes, there are no rules. Yes, yes, it makes dressing harder. My closet is a creative cauldron. Every day can't be Halloween. Who has the time? Besides, if I pick out something to wear at bedtime, when I get dressed next morning I've changed "personalities". How is Vogue going to get us out of this mess? Then I got to the third paragraph.

   That's why so many of us are in an identity quest right now. Women no longer dress in lockstep— that's clear. Standing out as an individual is what we all want and need. The key is to home in on your own distinct look— and then write your own rules around it. Forget what anyone else says or wears— this is the true soul of chic.

Instead of answers we have been given another Excalibur, another Rosetta stone, another Martian cookbook like "To Serve Man".  In my best Nancy Drew-fashion, if one interprets the bold faced type as subtext and key to the piece, the secret of looking chic this year is St. Laurent's hippie Liberty prints look (already panned as being too retro fast fashion). We'll never know. But if the really chic stand out as individuals and don't care what anyone else says or wears, why do we need you, Vogue?

Of course I can hardly wait till the September issue.

St. Laurent's lamentable take
 on Fall 2013


  1. Ha ha...well, you certainly have your own style and don't need Vogue to tell you what to wear. I just buy it out of habit, to keep an eye on trends, not because I expect any solutions. And blimey, that St Laurent Paris outfit is dreadful.

  2. "Write your own rules" until some fashion editor decides your look is "out" or a "don't". I think the upshot of this is to keep many women in a perpetual state of anxiety. And the word "chic" has become entirely meaningless, used to describe everything from a floral romper to a Chanel runway look.

  3. The whole ideal of "no rules" and "write your own rules"? Is there such a word as "rulewind"?