By Teddy Allen
No one in real life ever wears what models in big city fashion shows wear.
You’ve seen clips of these things on television or, in a weak moment, clicked to see the newest styles, all the rave, “the newest line” by (Made Up Designer Names Alert!) Melik Boovoir or Salome deNeuve or Pepe Duboir.
The model looks like he or she is wearing either a pastel Hefty bag — how to you take a bathroom break with this thing on? — or something they stole off a scarecrow. Everything is really tight or really slouchy. Sometimes they have hats on their heads that look like things we used to make in Vacation Bible School.
Who wears this stuff?
Even at awards shows, most of the Who Looked Best On The Red Carpet gang appear to have lost a bet. Tip of the cap for the man or woman who bought something off the rack pulled the standard tux out of the back of the closet, shined their shoes, and showed up looking like a person you wouldn’t be scared to share either a cab ride or a hymn book with.
For the past 10 days or so, between thunderstorms and power outages and picking up limbs, most of us north Louisiana common folk were too busy looking for air conditioning and cable to watch LSU scrap its way to a seventh College World Series championship to notice that the Berlin Fashion Show was underway in Germany which, conveniently, is where Berlin still is.
Dapper dressers were all up in the Neue Natoinalgalerie to become one with the highlight of the week, the Saint Laurent show, quite a spectacle with fans taking phone videos of, as GQ reported, “the latest evolution of Anthony Vaccarello’s seductive menswear collection.”
The fashion writer continued, something along the lines of how “all eyes” would be on “nonstop action on and off runways elsewhere, too.” Yes: after the “hyper-exclusive” affair in Berlin, we are off to places like Florence and Milan, which precedes a “whirlwind blitz through a jam-packed Paris Fashion Week.”
Again, the only real people you ever see in these runway clothes are the people on the runways. And as soon as they’re off the runways, they put on jeans and T-shirts and look much, much sharper than they did wearing clothes that look like balloons.
Granted, when I was growing up my dad told me my idea of being “dressed up” was having my shoes tied. And God love him, he was right. I can tie a tie now and keep my oxfords shined, but the only sense I have of fashion I have is, “Does this look normal? Would this embarrass my grandmother?” It’s about one step ahead of Granimals.
My personal mechanic, old-school country music supplier, and fashion assistant is Shine Broussard, who is from Morgan City. (He goes by “Francois” during Fashion Season; his signature color is brown.) He has assured me that although he can’t “travel abroad” to the Big Shows this summer and fall, he is making the local circuit, which includes stops in Dubach (August 7-11, Denim Week), Greater Sibley (September 18-22, Burlap), Gibsland (October 2-6, Gingham), and Lower Summerfield (November 27-December 1, Dealer’s Choice).
“My main fashion advice,” said Shine, “is to remember that no one pays nearly as much attention to you as you think they do. Save your money and be comfortable and presentable and non-offensive. Good taste never goes out of style.”
Shine, who is a fashionista only during the fall shows, told me this on a break from changing out the transmission on a GTO his uncle willed him. This is a man you can trust.
If you’re like Shine and grease is a common opponent, consider a Dickies jumpsuit. Otherwise, an iron, a white button down, shined shoes, an A-line, a Godet or flare dress, a business suit, jeans that fit, and a clean T-shirt, those are always in style. It doesn’t have to match: it just has to “go.”
Good fashion sense is good common sense.
Contact Teddy at firstname.lastname@example.org