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Annie - San Francisco, CA

I don't live-blog from the tents.

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Entries in floral prints (2)

Sunday
Mar112012

Fashion Trends I Don't Understand...

...sorry, sometimes I'm stupid. (File this one under "Rants"...)

Now that my general apology for my stylistic unintelligence is out of the way, let's get down to brass tax. I take issue with a few fashion trends I've been seeing over and over, and now I'm going to say something about it. I've sat by idly, watching the emperor shed his proverbial clothes for far too long, and now I'm reaching for the bathrobe. I have to. That willy is just too sad-looking out there in the cold like that.

Again, have some patience with me. I'm a (somewhat) older, more crotchety, more academic blogger than you young upstarts with your gorgeous selves in daily outfit posts, so perhaps I just don't understand. Maybe I'm David Letterman to your Jimmy Fallon and my routine is a little classic, but there's something to be said for the classics.

For instance, why not paint all of your fingernails the same damn color? I honestly do not get the fourth-fingernail or index-finger painted a contrasting color thing. What is that? What...you ran out of Essie's "Splash of Grenadine" so you had to finish off your manicure with "Armed and Ready" instead? I don't buy it. No one could possibly find ten fingers of the same color so boring that they had to change up numbers three and nine. Is this a drug thing? Because that is the only answer I can think of. The legendary cocaine pinkie spoons of old have given way to this new odd-finger-out manicure...so your party people know which fingertip to load.

And while we're on the subject of manicures...what's with the obsession over "nail art"? I thought that was relegated to the board of plastic fingernails on the wall at the manicurist's shop, but which no one ever actually ordered for themselves because they were too tacky for anyone who had any class. Seriously? Daisies and polkadots to match your outfit? Flames and lightningbolts? Mustaches & monocles? Leather & lace? Florentine paper swirls? Are you fucking kidding? This may be hard to hear for some of you (but with my readership, I suspect not) but, to put it in the vernacular: nail art is GHETTO. Don't do it.

And what about the special polishes that create a craquelature effect? (Ahem, let's leave the special effects to the paint department at Home Depot, okay?) Has technology made our lives so efficient that we have time to waste like this?

SOMEWHERE IN HEAVEN VINCENT VAN GOGH IS WEEPING.

That's basically the whole point: why waste the time? If you get a professional manicure, it's thirty minutes to an hour MINIMUM door to door. If you do one at home it's probably fifteen to forty-five minutes. Who has the time to be changing nail colors with every outfit? That, and have you seen the "ombre" manicure ridiculousness? Clearly this is only something you can do at a nail salon because what idiot would buy five shades of blue nail polish to make this happen? Economically, this is a bad trend. OPI's bottles are now around $8.50 each x 5 = $42.50...You'd better hope those colors don't go out of style in the next six months or you'll be sitting on a whole lot of "Austin-tatious Turquoise" and getting zero return on investment. And it's not like you can consign used nail polish.

Not to say I haven't tried to do these trends. I have. I even have a bottle of OPI's "Gargantuan Green Grape" waiting in my medicine cabinet, but somehow I just can't get myself to break it open. I've also tried to do the glitter thing, but it chipped right away and I ended up with gold glitter in my gluten-free pizza dough. That's not as glamorous as it sounds, kids.

Don't get me wrong, I adore a lot of the "outfit of the day" girls, but I always get a little panicked when they go in for the manicure detail shot. How many hours of the week go to polish changes? Oy! I shudder to think. I'd rather spend that time reading email spam from mail-order-brides in Uzbekistan. I also completely and whole-heartedly admire anyone who has this level of fashion intrepidness that they don't care about the looks in askance they get with such weird fingernails. I applaud them and their bravery! But at the same time, I worry. I worry because they're probably in for a rude awakening, and like Holden Caulfield, I'd like to catch them before they fall off the edge of a cliff...

Floral pants from Anthropologie. There are like, three people in the universe who can wear these.

Now that we're done with the nail polish thing, let's discuss the floral pants thing. I know that florals are always big for spring, but on pants? Really? I mean we're not all 80 pounds here. Don't designers know that putting a big ol' print on the bottom half cuts out about 99% of their customer base? I know it looks great on some people, but let's get real.

Sloppy stripes, courtesy of weird tucking at J.Crew.

Also...and this is the last, I promise. What is the deal with tucking in just the front part of your shirt? We used to do this in grammar school when we had to tuck in shirts for dress uniform days but we got around it by just tucking in the front where the blazer opened... When did this become the cool thing to do? I get that you want to show off your Hermès belt buckle and what-not, but to me it looks sort of sloppy. I'm already having a hard enough time getting my sleeves to roll just so so that I can show off my arm party. Now you want me to tuck my shirt in just so too? That's a lot of just so juzhing for one busy girl to carry off for an entire day.

Like I said, perhaps I'm just a classicist. I like my fingernails all one color (usually in a shade of red or pink) and I like my shirts either in or out. Okay, so I am getting into the colored denim thing, but I don't do floral prints on the bottom, in fact, the most I'll usually do is a great Windsor check.

Maybe that makes me boring, or maybe that makes me...normal?

Saturday
Apr102010

J.Crew's Florals Are Not Liberty (Yeah, Right)

J.Crew catalog cover - April 2010If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how entertaining I find the J.Crew catalogs. When it arrived last week, I knew the spring catalog would be a lark of styling and trite cuteness, and it did not disappoint in this regard. But I found what J.Crew wasn't saying in the styling and products to be the most interesting thing. There seems to be a pink floral elephant in the room and her name is Liberty of London, and while J.Crew is quite liberally borrowing from said elephant, they never get down to giving her a peanut of acknowledgment.

This is puzzling to me. Why would you go to the trouble of designing a collection that is clearly so influenced by Liberty prints, only to not mention it? It occurs to me that J.Crew wants to distance itself from the Liberty of London for Target collections as much as possible. Still, the similarities are obvious, so not stating the influence makes the brand seem foolishly out-of-touch especially given their style-savvy customer base.

J.Crew definitely takes its nods from many other designers and trends in the market. While their take is always fresh and wearable, they are frequently late to the party.

Looks from Louis Vuitton Spring 2007 collection. Images from Style.com

Most notable in this "lateness" is the cover. A lovely image of a lovely girl, true, but notice how very similar the look is to the Louis Vuitton Spring 2007 runway looks, full of flowered headbands and Liberty prints. Or, would it be best to just leave that out? I thought so.

Then there are the gigantic spreads of wispy floral separates, and even a model sitting amongst a makeshift flower stand that try to bring home the point. Yes, it's spring, yes, florals are on-trend. Thank you, J.Crew for making that abundantly clear.

Images from jcrew.com.

To my eyes this styling looks a bit stale, especially after the lush and playful ad campaign Target sent out for the Liberty of London collection. It's easy to see that everyone has a fascination with the English garden party-reduxed-Alice In Wonderland-for the Brooklyn girl thing, so J.Crew's version looks like a mere footnote. Not coming out and owning the reference to Liberty prints makes this even more embarrassing.

Last spring's J.Crew catalog was also full of stylistic afterthoughts, which were so obvious to me that it was laughable. (Read all about it here.) To repeat the same level of performance again this year is truly disappointing. The brand is solid, so why not push it a little bit? I'm certain J.Crew has a lot of talent and creativity on-hand, so why do their catalogs tend to bore or send the eyes rolling with ridiculousness? Why does J.Crew's catalog team tend to play it safe and re-work old ideas and old styling?

Because of their popularity and brand power I think they are in the prime position to do more creative things with their marketing and product communication, and yet they always fall well below expectations in this area. It's especially hard to swallow when you enjoy and appreciate the brand's products like so many of us do.

What do you think?