Thursday, April 27, 2017


One of the great things about getting older is becoming detached from popular culture --
Coming to a theatre near you:
"I Was A 1980s Fashion Clone."
particularly fashion. Browsing through my photo albums provides proof that the last thing designers want to do is create a timeless look that doesn't make you say to yourself, What the hell was I thinking?

Nowhere is that more obvious than jeans, or "dungarees" as they were once called -- possibly because there was a time when the only people who wore them were covered in animal dung.

Bad enough the industry cashed in on '70s punk by selling pre-ripped jeans, a clothing staple still in demand. But now, Nordstrom's -- an alleged "luxury department store" -- is selling jeans covered in mud for $425. Or, as its PR department wrote while trying not to spit out their coffee from laughing, "Heavily distressed medium-blue denim jeans in a comfortable straight-leg fit embody rugged, Americana workwear that's seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you're not afraid to get down and dirty."

Construction workers don't get
this dirty.

That's some rich irony there, brother -- richer than even the dopes who will undoubtedly buy these to wear at the Whitney Biennial. For their hardest work comes in the form of convincing everyone that this is a fashion statement that doesn't say "I am an idiot."

Don't be concerned that the jeans will outlive their purpose after going through the wash a few times. These pants are covered in fake mud. The crap that went into making them, however, is real.

Wondering what to wear with muddy jeans? Nordstrom's got you covered -- in more faux-filth, that is, in the form a similar denim jacket which will set you back another 425 bucks. That's $850 total to look like the $15-an-hour shlub who works for your landscaper.

The emperor's new pants.

Lest you think this kind of habiliment bamboozlement is unique to the USA,  Britain's Topshop chain just introduced something they call MOTO Clear Plastic Straight Leg Jeans, a steal at $100.

This is misleading for two reasons. First, Mr. Moto had far better sartorial style. Second, jeans are supposed to be made of denim. These things are closer to Tupperware than any item of clothing currently hanging in your closet. If you ever wondered what happens when designers literally run out of ideas, wonder no more.

So what's the point of wearing something that, in a sense, doesn't exist? Let Topshop's website explain it to you dullards: "Think outside the box with these out-of-the-ordinary clear plastic jeans – guaranteed to get people talking." Yes, saying things like These are about as stupid as those fake-mud jeans.

Thank God for
To give Topshop credit, at least they own up to the scam by suggesting you wear the pants to costume parties. The company doesn't explain what character you're supposed to be, however. Allow me to suggest "Nincompoop With Too Much Money To Drop."

Topshop isn't even being all that original. Nordstrom's -- you remember, the home of the deliberately dirty clothes -- already has something called Clear Knee Mom Jeans. As with Topshop's jeans, these, too, are misnamed. Not only do I not know any mom who wears clear knee jeans, if they did, they should have their children taken away from them, because they're crazy.

But give Nordstrom's and Topshop credit for being clever. They're using wool less for clothing and more for pulling over the eyes of consumers.


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