Puttin' on the Ritz [he also does a mean "Chim-Chimney"]
It's not what you wear, it's the way that you wear it.
The way this guy inhabits the trombone, the specs, and the head to ankle monochrome set him apart as someone who could wear anything and still have presence. That's the best kind of style there is. Alright, the basketball shoes throw me off a little, but his tunes were rockin' so let's cut him some slack.
And she wants you to know: the beaver fur was sustainably trapped by a wild Minnesota man. Now, before you go thinking about little beaver babies wondering what happened to their dad, imagine this Paul Bunyan character in the woods, eating beaver stew all winter. This guy gave PETA the bird a long time ago, and with good reason: rather than shipping highly processed soy products (wrapped in toxic, non-biodegradable plastic) from a thousand miles away, he catches a few wild mammals, eats them, and makes warm mittens out of their fur. Very little waste, and all biodegradable. Call me old fashioned, but a favor to nature is a favor to beavers everywhere. Those Minnesotans know what's up.
Admittedly, this ad has visual appeal. But when you look closer, something's off. The girl looks appropriately high maintenance, but the guy is less convincing. Since when do punk boys wear cologne? Or drink perfume for that matter? Yeah, yeah, punk got Sold ages ago -- what's interesting is this sort of blend of the punk aesthetic with a more insatiably consumerist, L.A.M.B. sensibility.
What are we supposed do when movements get sold? When the very idea of revolution can be sold on a t-shirt, or as a jug of scent? I see a couple of options.
First option: ethical consumption. Since corporate bigwigs are clearly giving us what they think we want, why don't we figure out what we really want and need and buy it. Unless you'd willingly live your next life as a sweatshop slave, don't let it happen to someone else by pleading ignorance. Pony up for fair trade, legally made, living wage, sustainable shit. Yeah it's more expensive, but that's how much this stuff really costs when labor laws aren't broken to bring it to you for less. Just buy less crap. I know that's really gonna rile the masses, but admit it -- we don't really need half the stuff we own. Besides, the cost argument doesn't work with the designer stuff: it's beyond expensive and still often involved in sweatshop dealings.
Here's another idea (and I'll probably get a cease and desist order for writing this): jack the corporate logos. I'm not talking knockoffs, I mean make fun of that whole paradigm. Buy an old shirt at the thrift store, get a big, fat marker and write "Juicy Couture," "Hollister," or "Prada" across the front all sloppy. You're not stealing anything but their thunder, and it's funnier than a LOLcat.
If you were a piece of rope or a skinny old leather purse strap, wouldn't you like to be re-purposed as an accessory for some hottie's waist? Thought so. This kind of thing is probably just lying around the house -- if not yours then your friend's, neighbor's, or parents. Not to mention the thrift store. Use your Powers of Resourcefulness -- a knife or scissors might be helpful too -- and go to it.
The northern hemisphere has officially frozen into a malicious icicle. The sun is shining, but make no mistake, it's time to break out the serious wintershit. That makes it harder to look hot, but these brave Williamsburg folk managed to bundle up, face the wind, and still look rad.
Whether boho was really over or someone at Harper's Bazaar just f***ed up a memo, it's easy to see that the kids are rockin it hobo style. Finally we can have some fun. All the rules you ever learned about clashing have been thrown out the window, landed on their heads, and are now roaming mall corridors like zombies.
Pair an overtly "ethnic" print with office attire, and mix in a trend that died a decade ago but you secretly never got over. If you look in the mirror and think I couldn't possibly go out like this, then you have it just right. Don't change anything -- unless you're going to add a belt for the finishing touch, because waistlines are back. And yes, wear the belt over a dress, blazer or whatever -- it doesn't have to hold your pants up. I've even seen a couple of guys pull this off. Like I said, no rules. If someone asks, "Does that belt have a function?" (as if that's the only fashion sin you're committing) smile mischievously and say, "Yes, it defines my waist. Isn't it doing a great job?"
The best part about hobo chic is that even the picked-over thrift stores still have this stuff in them -- these items were abandoned long ago by anyone with a glimmer of style. So rescue the cloth orphans, get experimental, and remember this quote from designer Christian Lacroix: "very often the most exciting outfits are from the poorest people" (from Vogue, April 1994).
Am I right to assume that this woman is supposed to look like she just slammed some pretty good heroin?
Before our government declared war on Terror, it threw lots of money at finding and confiscating mind-altering substances. For most of us, this conceptual war seems like a relic from the '80s, but it was initiated by Nixon in 1971. Apparently, when people started to think for themselves about how they would, or would not, participate in mainstream U.S. culture (as was the case with 1960s counterculture), Nixon blamed drugs.
After all, who in their sober mind would not want to live the American Dream: a house in the suburbs, a wife with an Old Fashioned in hand at the end of every day of your 40 hour week -- only 32 more years till retirement! In your free time golf a little, wife-y can shop at the mall and raise a couple of thankless offspring who won't take care of you later on. Instead, you'll go to the Old Folks' Home until it's all over. If it took psychedelics to clue people in to the drab futility of modern existence, well, that just shows you how well everyone had been brainwashed by "the Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism" (to accurately if inappropriately quote Max Weber).
Meanwhile, Timothy Leary is telling everyone to "turn on, tune in, and drop out," but the government couldn't let that happen -- there were taxes to be collected. If the Merry Pranksters had declared Nixon the winner of one of their surprise trips, things might have been very different. But they didn't, and he conjured up his War with Leary and the Pranksters heading the list of Most Wanted.
At some point the government did succeed in putting a serious lid on the availability of coke, LSD, heroin, and so on. It doesn't take a mad scientist to hypothesize that -- in a true display of human ingenuity -- this was probably when huffing was popularized and crystal meth invented. You can take drugs from the people, but you can't take the people from drugs. Besides, the biggest pushers (pharmaceutical drug companies) were never pursued, so people of all ages are addicted to painkillers, anti-depressants, ADD meds -- you name it.
The government doesn't talk too much about the War on Drugs anymore -- they have more pressing matters at hand. But make no mistake, they're still spending billions of dollars on it. And peddlers of clothing and perfume are left to use images of drug-induced euphoria to seduce us.
I hope they gave this model real drugs, because you'd need something good to endure lying almost naked on all that dry grass. I bet she was itchy for the rest of the day -- or maybe the drug-like Promise of Fame was enough to ease her pain.
But here's the real question: if these images are seductive because we're secretly bored as hell and dissatisfied with life in general, why would we waste money on perfume or a slip? Why not buy what they're really selling?
Break out the champagne! Anyone who ever ruined their favorite shirt (or dress, apparently) while painting but couldn't bear to get rid of it can stop pouting. Dig said item out from the back of the closet, pair with a sweet bag, and your mistake has been reborn as high fashion. It's like a "get out of jail free" card, but more colorful.
I'm all for the paint-smeared aesthetic, just don't ask me why Dolce & Gabbana is selling this shirt for $550. Buy an acrylic paint set for $10 and make one yourself -- it's a lot more fun than buying it anyway. If you're really ambitious, throw a shirt-making party: upon arrival all guests must go topless until their shirt is finished. Other rules may be concocted as you see fit: shirt swapping at set intervals, rewards for winners, punishments for losers. . .