Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The 80s Have Me All Worn Out



Register columnist

I don't get to read magazines much anymore, so can someone please fill me in: Are we in the throes of a nationwide '80s party, or are women walking around in their older sisters' underwear for some other reason?

Women - otherwise sane and normal women - are wearing lace-trimmed bicycle shorts. Bicycle shorts! Somewhere in Milan, a demonic designer is rolling in a pile of euros and cocaine and laughing, laughing, laughing. Hide your cameras; you don't want a record of what you're wearing right now.

I saw a mannequin in a "Flashdance" sweat shirt. You remember "Flashdance" sweat shirts? Those ripped-at-the-neckline deals worn baggy over spandex leggings? It's a look that says, "I'm here to give you an hour-long blow job. Or scrub your toilet. Whichever you'd prefer."

It demeaned the mannequin to wear such rags, and yet there were women lining up on a recent Saturday to buy their own.

Yvette, Mary Beth and I were baffled. We went shopping because we thought shopping would be fun. That's what shopping normally is: fun.

But when mannequins greet you wearing (no joke) black-and-white striped leotards over polka-dot leggings, fun chokes to death on its own bile and leaves you wondering whom to blame.

We can start with fashion designers. Do you realize how powerful these people are? No dictator in the world could force flocks of women to dress like Polish peasants every seven years. But designers do. And now these nefarious plotters are sewing their 20-year-old dish towels together and making fools of us all.

Mary Beth was speechless before a window display. Leggings, leggings and more leggings.

We contemplated abandoning our trip and heading to the newsstand. At least we could take our minds off the horrors of shopping by reading about world affairs. But we soldiered on.

Store after store offered sartorial sacrilege. Frilly trimmed cut-off shorts and ruched T-shirts. Sweaters with glitter - actual glitter - glued all over them. Oversized shirts and spandex pants. Every store looked like the wardrobe department from "Square Pegs."

What is going on?

Shouldn't the hoi polloi have some say in what we wear? We get to elect our president - OK, bad example. We get to choose our next top model. We vote on our national idol. Can't we collectively stand up and say, "Hey! I don't wanna wear a 5-inch-thick, studded leather belt over a floor-length T-shirt?"

A few days after my girls-out shopping trip, I went back to some of the same stores to see if I could gain perspective on this current fashion nightmare. Here's what I came up with: The first time designers dressed us like the cast of "Les Miserables," conservatives were in power, the nation was in crisis and the deficit hit the $1 trillion mark. Whether we knew it or not, we were walking around in rags as a political statement.

The fashion world is merely cutting anger on the bias once again, tailoring a protest to say, "You don't want your citizens to dress like they're in 'Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome'? Be wiser with our resources."

You might be saying to yourself, "Leggings as civil disobedience? Has Mayrav lost her mind?"


But the day you go rolling into the office wearing mile-high shoulder pads under your boyfriend's paisley dress shirt, you'd better come up with a better reason why.

1 comment:

  1. Mayrav,
    Wow, I guess being in a different vicinity of the U.S. pays off. I haven't seen hide nor hair of leggings, Flashdance sweatshirts or any of that mess.
    I live in Wisconsin where we think it is cute to where pajamas out as day wear.