It’s fashion week, again. And just in time, I have the only 10 facts about fashion that you will ever need to know, fresh from the clotheshorse’s mouth.
1) What is fashion?
Fashion is What You Aren’t Wearing. It ceases to be fashion the moment you put it on. The “season” during which any given style is popular extends from the moment you hear that this style is popular to the moment you try it on.
2) Fashion falls into two main categories: Things You Cannot Afford and Things You Would Never Wear.
3) Shoes, likewise, fall into two main categories — shoes you can walk in and shoes that women wear in movies. If someone in a movie is wearing walkable shoes, it is generally either a character flaw or a sign that she is in the throes of some sort of breakdown. People who can accomplish things in heels are another species and should be viewed with mistrust. They also have the unfortunate tendency to complain to you that because of their vivid, undying love of heels they can only date men below a certain height. (“Almost like a roller coaster, but not,” you suggest.)
3) There are two kinds of outfit. The kind you spend hours putting together, gazing often into the mirror until you have them just right, murmuring, “Yes! A vision!” to yourself, and the kind you wear because everything else is in the laundry basket and you had no more socks. Invariably, you only receive compliments on the second kind. This is a corollary of the other general rule that the only time anyone compliments your hair is when you haven’t washed it in three days.
4) If you wear something sufficiently loud, people will assume it is probably fashion and will compliment it, even if they are not sure whether it looks good or not. If you do this often enough you can baffle people into thinking that you have a sense of style. The rule that loudness translates to excellence also applies to furniture and people delivering lines on the Disney Channel.
5) Accessorize does not in fact mean “carry the only purse you own with you everywhere regardless of what you are wearing.” Accessories can make an outfit “really pop,” which, in spite of how it sounds, is something that you want your outfit to do.
6) Fashion has changed a great deal in the course of history. One of the few compensations of being a woman in the Renaissance era was that, yes, you often couldn’t own land and people had the unfortunate tendency to regard you as your husband’s property, but for the most part male wardrobes consisted of pointed shoes, doublets, jerkins and silly-looking hats. These days, by contrast, we can vote, and men have to begin the day by tying a tiny noose around their necks, lest they not be taken seriously. In a way, this is an improvement. In case you suspect that neckties are no longer necessary, remember that Mark Zuckerberg seldom wears them, and look at what happened to his net worth.
7) Outfits are supposed to make statements. Most often, my outfits make statements such as “I haven’t left the house in six weeks!” or “I just lost a bet!” If you carry a yoga mat with you, “I haven’t left the house in six weeks!” can become “I’m on my way to yoga, where I go routinely every day because I am fit and have my life together,” but that requires you to own a yoga mat. An alternate version of this is to carry a cat with you so that “I haven’t left the house in six weeks” becomes “My cat and I are on our way to jazzercise.”
8) Some people know how to wear hats. For instance, Kate Middleton. Some people do not. For instance, Walter White. Many people find it difficult to hear in hats. They say that when one of your senses is cut off, the others become stronger, but I have never found this to be the case. I cannot hear in hats or sunglasses and have the tendency to wander around bumping into large objects screaming “Marco!” If you are at all like me, avoid hats.
9) For a large part of the civilized world, “fashion” consists of “things you think Kate Middleton might wear.”
10) Some people see the world as a runway and themselves as models. Other people see the world as a runway and themselves as airplanes. You can tell that you are an airplane person if you keep knocking the model people over, but on the flip side, their hair is much glossier than yours will ever be.
11) The same item of clothing can be high fashion on one person and look absolutely terrible on the person standing next to him or her. This is why if you ever notice someone wearing the same outfit, you are at liberty to bludgeon him and leave him somewhere with an apologetic, handwritten note. He will understand. One person can look like a put-together, fashion-forward template of style, and the person next to her can look like she was attacked by a rabid couch and did not get the vaccine until it was too late. For instance, anything that Suri Cruise wears is high fashion until you try to put it on, especially if you forgot to adjust for size.