Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Slaves to Fashion

Every year about this time, women’s fashion turns inside out, upside down, and just about every way except the one that makes sense. You start seeing parts of their bodies that you don’t normally see. Like their ankles sticking out from beneath their pants.

They’re called capris; pants that are almost long enough, but not quite. When I was growing up, “high-water” pants were any pants that didn’t quite meet the top of your shoe. And it wasn’t meant to be a compliment.

In the early 1960s, Laura Petrie delighted men with her amazingly-tight, painted-on capris. The culture of the time wasn’t quite ready for explicit displays of sexuality, but the producers of the show saw that young Mary Tyler Moore had assets that they couldn’t afford to ignore. So capri pants became popular, women showed their ankles, and men smiled.

Men are still smiling, but not because they are seeing women’s ankles. That’s old news. Seeing women’s body parts is no big thrill any more. But watching women being total slaves to fashion is still a hoot.

Capri pants left us after the Dick Van Dyke show went off the air, but they reappeared on the scene in the late 1990s. And for only one good reason: fashion designers — mostly men — love to mess with women’s minds.

The fashion mavens have convinced women that they need two completely distinct sets of wardrobe; one for winter and one for summer. It has nothing to do with the weather or with comfort. Rather, it concerns arcane rules like not wearing white after Memorial Day. Or before Labor Day. Or something like that. I can’t keep it straight.

Men like me have it easy. I have only a couple of fashion decisions to make every day. If I’m not going to work, it’s blue jeans. If I’m going to work, it’s not. Other than that, short sleeves or long sleeves. That’s not hard.

Before my company went to that oxymoron called “business casual”, the decision was basically my gray suit or my other  gray suit. Well, it really wasn’t a decision, I just rotated them. Luckily, I had two suits and there are five days in each week, so it wasn’t like I wore the same suit every Monday or whatever. (Think about it.)

My ties were in a similar rotation. After all, every tie goes with a gray suit and white shirt.

But women. Poor women. They have suits and pants and dresses and skirts and sweaters and shirts and blouses and shoes and shoes and shoes. And tops. I never have figured out what a “top” is. Isn’t it a blouse? Or a shirt? Why does it need its own name?

And double that list because winter pants can’t be worn in the summer. And summer pants show ankles and we can’t have that in February, can we? And tops may be sleeveless, but only a few months every year.

And sweaters aren’t built to keep women warm; their purpose has something to do with showing curves or hiding curves or something like that. But not in the summer. No, during that time they are moth food in some drawer somewhere.

I’m glad I’m a guy. I show my ankles only when I’m not wearing socks, which is usually only in the bathtub. Nobody tells me what to wear or when. I can wear the same shirt on Christmas or on the Fourth of July. My shoes are practical and functional, not fashionable.

And my “tops” are never sleeveless. For that, you should be eternally grateful.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting read!