I am a fashion failure when it comes to clothing. I’m good with hair and nails, a total pro with makeup (I’ve been wearing it for forty years), but when it comes to covering my body with what’s hot and in, I’m cold and out.
I don’t understand it. I come from very fashionable family. Paternal grandfather, father, uncle and brother worked in the clothing business and a great-uncle sold ladies shoes all his life. My paternal grandmother never left the house without looking perfectly coordinated. Somewhere, I lost touch with the family’s fashion sense, or maybe I never had any in the first place.
I felt better about my lack of clothing coordination when I visited New York last month. I thought that one of the great fashion capitals of the world would make me feel worse. But truthfully, it didn’t turn out that way.
I did see some high style while I was there. It was cool and getting colder, and the boots and coats and sweater dresses were everywhere. But there were things I saw that perhaps should have stayed in the closet:
- Shorts and a fur coat, worn with bare legs. Why?
- Patterned tights? I remember those as a kid. Not a good idea back in those days, and unless your legs are really in good shape, not a good idea now.
- Ankle boots and patterned tights on girls with fat legs? There’s so much wrong with this, and the unfortunate gal I saw wearing these was also wearing a red leather skirt and jacket. The skirt was too short and too tight, so she was wearing black bike shorts under it. As if that was going to fix anything. Sweetie, don’t do it. I’m not a single-digit size either. Don’t try to redistribute or pretend the pounds aren’t there. Trust me, it never works.
- Ankle boots on men? No, no excuse – ever.
- Spiky heels on a New York City street? Dangerous, at best, thanks to the uneven pavement. And to see women running in spike heels made my feet hurt.
- And while not strictly clothing, I have to comment on the “fashion” of plugged-in New York. Everyone, it seemed, was wearing an earbud for an iWhatever, and iTuned into their own little world, or just texting away, not even looking around or keeping an eye on the street or traffic. A SmartPhone is a dumb idea in traffic like this, and I doubt any electronic accessory makes you look that good when you are stuck under the wheels of a honking cab or stinky garbage truck, since neither is going to slow down for you, traffic signals be damned.
Then again, I’m out of touch with the dialed-in world. I prefer the screech of the trains along the rails, and the grabbed bits of overheard conversations in restaurants and elevators to shutting them out with any hand-picked list of tunes. The metal clunk of vehicles hitting manhole covers and metal plates on the street, the diesel drone of tour buses, never-ending honking horns and the whine of police sirens were part of my city childhood, and I enjoyed those sounds on my last visit. Those sounds fit me like the oldest pair of jeans in my closet, and wrap my memories like a perfectly fitted pair of gloves.