It's easy to spot a fashion faux pas on someone else.
Much less so on yourself.
Do a Google search under Images for "fashion don'ts," and it's amazing how many of the top hits are of Britney Spears, followed by Lindsay Lohan. I've committed my fair share of "don'ts" in my life, so why aren't I so famous?
Some faux pas are immediately apparent, like Ugly Betty, but some only become clear with the passage of time. A friend of mine from Costa Rica was married in the '70s. In his wedding picture, he's wearing an all-white suit with enough gold chains to buy a small country. I'll bet it seemed like a good idea at the time, but in time, no doubt it became something for the kids to laugh at. Then there was the cousin, who also got married in the '70s, who thought that brown and peach made the perfect color scheme. It was a large wedding party, the men all in brown tuxes with peach ruffled shirts, the woman all in peach. Hard to imagine any time when that seemed like a good idea, but there you have it.
[As always, my uploading images have gone all kablooey on me - ah, well!]
And then there's me.
Back in my bookseller days, I went through a very thin period where I could wear almost anything, and did. Unfortunately, "could" and "should" are two very different animals. There was this one...outfit for want of a better word. The short-sleeved top was white with navy sleeves and on the front was a sequined picture of Rosie the Riveter with the slogan "We can do it!" The matching flounced mini skirt was navy with white trim on which was another "We can do it!" patch along with several peppy slogans. And somehow I'd gotten it into my head that I could pair this with red stilleto pumps. Yes, I even looked in the mirror that morning, and yet I still went out into the world this way. What was I thinking of???
Well, clearly, I wasn't thinking, although I should have been. When you're 4'11, you usually try to avoid cute at all costs, while this outfit was just so so so... Five minutes into my workday, the error of my fashion ways came home to me. The elderly Dutch woman who worked one department over - and whose own idea of daily fashion included a long gray braid tied around her head like a crown, twin sets, long tweed skirts and clogs with knee socks - came up to me and pronounced, in all sincerity, "Now *that's* the way to dress!"
I hadn't committed a fashion faux pas that would only become apparent with the passage of time. I'd committed an immediate fashion faux pas! Worse, I lived thirty-five minutes away and couldn't go home to change. Double worse, I was going out to shoot pool with my girlfriend right after work that night. So not only would an elderly Dutch woman be seeing me like this, but so would nearly everyone who mattered in my world.
If you're going to wear it, wear it proudly - sounds like good advice, doesn't it? But even adopting a proud approach didn't help as I sauntered into the pool bar that night. It's kind of hard to look proud when you look like a combination of "Betty Boop meets Minnie Mouse meets World War II." Really, the top itself would have been fine with jeans. The shoes would have been fine with almost anything else. (That mini skirt would never be fine with anything.) My friend's reaction? She started laughing as soon as she set eyes on me and I don't think she stopped all night. I finally promised that when I died I'd write it into my will that she was to be bequeathed the whole outfit. She thanked me and started laughing again. When I got home that night, I retired the skirt to the bottom of my closet. Oh, yeah. "We can do it!"
So now it's your turn.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: WHAT GTAVE FASHION FAUX PAS HAVE YOU WITNESSED OR, BETTER STILL, COMMITTED YOURSELF?
Be well. Don't forget to write.