19 September 2007

"Fa, Fa, Fa, Fa, Fashion" --David Bowie (Harper's Bazaar)

I fill out marketing surveys. Sometimes I get cash for my efforts. Sometimes I get "rewards". Recently I hit a threshold on one of the reward-granting sites and I got a 1-year free subscription to Harper's Bazaar. For some reason I was thinking this was the magazine with the "Harper's Index", those thought-provoking statistics that play off current topics, but, nay, that's in a magazine entitled Harper's Magazine.

What I got was Harper's Bazaar. Okay, so it's free, I'll try it, I think. It's gotta be better than Fly-Fishing Gazette. I'd already requested and received the first issue of a year's free subscription to Sherman's Travel and that was pleasant.

The first issue of HB arrived this week. I applaud the postman for hauling this anvil of a magazine to my door in what must have been a Quasimodo posture. This is the largest magazine I've ever seen--and I'm old enough to remember the Sears Catalog. This is the Fall Fashion issue and, according to the pagination, weighs in at 574 pages! Yee-doggies, that's a lot of fashion.

I sat down with it and worked my way through it slowly, taking breaks for rest and nourishment much like I might chug through a text book on the night before an exam, trying to glean what I could from this alien world. I do not use the word "alien" casually. Look at some of these fashion models in their couture and you are surely looking at some creative marketing genius' idea of an alien creature. These are some of the most bizarre, no pun intended, creations I've ever seen. I get that advertisements are supposed to be memorable but holey moley!

In the midst of all this glitzy fantasy is the occasional application article: what colors are coming in, what style of pants are going out. And so I dutifully try to apply it.

Gold is in. Hm, not good for me as yellow's not flattering to my skin tone. Jewel tones are back. Great, that works! The high-water pants are out, good news for me since they just make me look shorter. Hugely wide belts are in. Bad news for us short-waisted people. Pencil skirts are back. Wonderful--tailored skirts are good on me.

And so the pendulum swings back and forth, back and forth, with the more than occasional moment of incredulity: Who the heck wears an 8-inch wide belt unless you're in wench clothing at a Renaissance Fair--sorry, I mean--Faire? And have you seen the angle on the shoes that are coming in? I can't wear those, I'll break my neck!

Now don't quote me on any of these fashion trends. After all, this is from memory after only my first pass through. Clearly, I'm going to need to devote a lot of time and energy to studying this if I ever hope to not be laughed out of the room by the fashionistas.

Then, again, maybe I'll just pass the issues of HB on to my sister, who totally gets fashion to begin with, and stick to less perplexing conundrums, like peace in the middle east.

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