Randi Kreiss

Fashion circus: everyone under the big top


I recently went clothes shopping. In my life, that’s a once-a-year event to pick up some more black cardigans to wear over my black pants.

Yeah, it’s true. No one will ever accuse me of being a fashionista. I don’t care enough, and I don’t choose to spend my money on my wardrobe. Also, it isn’t just the chintzy fabrics that rub against me the wrong way; it’s the notion that I have to follow the dictates of the self-appointed fashion gurus — like my mother, who says everyone is wearing sparkles this season.

Last week I did some undercover work at a couple of trendy department stores, and I discovered that in my absence, I had become out-of-date, retro, done. I also discovered that my mother is right. Somehow, despite her advanced age, her isolation at a Florida maximum-security facility, her refusal to learn any technology and the fact that she drives only to the Publix supermarket and back, the woman has her finger on the pulse of 7th Avenue.

Rhinestones, sparkles, sequins and fake glitter of all varieties are au courant. Flashing a line of faux diamonds across your butt is apparently the height of something. There are Brightlings on sweaters and scarves and wool hats and belts and tights and leggings and dresses and shirts. And the glitter isn’t just for dress-up. We’re supposed to shine in the office or at the market or in front of our classrooms. Gaudy is in. It’s for every day. Suddenly it’s tres cool to wear a dozen necklaces studded with semi-precious stones dug out of impoverished lands by oppressed people.

And I mentioned leggings, didn’t I? Now there’s a clothing statement that should not be made by everyone.

Imagine your stuffed derma of a bubbe prancing around in Baryshnikov’s tights. People, that’s what’s happening out there. Leggings are for young things and thin things and yes, you have every right to wear leggings no matter how hefty your thighs, but, believe me, you can find a more flattering look. Just because all the jeans say “skinny” and leggings beckon from every rack doesn’t mean we have to buy them.

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