Read something this morning in what passes for a newspaper these days. The writer opined that “nude is the new black.” For those of you (as I am) decidedly NOT a member of the fashion cognoscenti, allow me to decode that statement. What they meant to say was “a particular color – in this case ‘nude’ (whatever that is) – will be this year’s favorite color with fashion designers.” What they really mean is “the fashion industry wants you to throw out everything in your closet that they told you was ‘hip’ last year, and buy all new stuff in the new ‘hot’ color.”
Pardon my whilst I laugh my lower posterior region off.
I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but I have this reoccurring vision of some old fat white guys (collectively, "the MAN") sitting in some skyscraper in NYC that overlooks the fashion district discussing style. The discussion probably goes something like this…
[Captain of the Fashion Industry #1]
Well, they bought those stupid knit ponchos, last year.
[Captain of the Fashion Industry #2]
Yep. I thought we might be pushing things too far, but those sheep lined up for blocks to get ’em. Even the little girls fashion toys come with them now.
[Captain of the Fashion Industry #3]
But there’s a problem. We’re out of ponchos. The price of polyester skyrocketed, and we’re victims of our own success. Now what do we do?
[Captain of Industry #1]
Didn’t I read where we have an oversupply of taupe dye? Then it’s simple. We spread the word that ponchos are "so last year." Then we announce that "nude is the new black" and use the taupe dye to color all the junk gathering dust in our warehouses. We’ll make billions.
[Captain of Industry #2 ]
It’s hard for me to believe that anything can suddenly, without warning, go out of style. It’s even more suspicious that anything can become hip overnight. If you discard the theory of "roving bands of fashion-conscious gay men" (and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy notwithstanding, I do), what’s left is a massive, fashion-wing conspiracy that makes the grassy knoll look like…well, a grassy knoll. And fashion is not the only area where this kind of insanity runs rampant. Back when I lived in the DFW Metroplex, we once shopped for a house in a suburb north of the city. When we couldn’t find anything to our liking in Plano (DON’T get me started about Plano Style architecture) we went looking a bit farther north, in Frisco. The real estate agent (with a completely straight face) said, "you know, Frisco is the new Plano."
Give me strength.
I learned a long time ago that there’s a reason that "fashion," "fad," and "fraud" all start with the letter "F." My momma taught me that if I would buy well-made things that had a classic look about them, that they’d both last a long time, and they’d be "in style" a lot longer than what’s hip. See, fashion, like just about everything else, runs in cycles – like a pendulum. Hemlines go up. Hemlines go down. Ties get narrow. Ties get wide. But if you buy things that are classic in design, they fall in the middle of the pendulum. Guess which part of the curve gets visited twice for every one time the extremes get hit?
A lot of people look at me and think "ooh…fashion victim." These are the same kinda clowns that go to some "colorist" and get a pack of cards to lug around with them that purport to show them their "colors," i.e., what colors look good on them due to their skin tone. The first time I ran into this particular scam, I was both taken aback and intrigued. I asked how it worked. The victim explained that the "colorist" matched their skin tone with hundreds of color samples until they came up with the best of all possible choices for clothing, makeup, et cetera. The victim remarked that she’d paid hundreds for this service and was very happy with it. I thought about all this for a minute, then asked "what happens when you get a suntan?"
In attempting to discuss fashion rationally, I’m afraid that "logic" will never be the new black. Sigh…