Brazilian Student Expelled for wearing Mini Dress

FASHION - Brazil is known for women wearing skimpy clothing, but in university students usually wears jeans and a t-shirt. However when Geisy Arruda wore a tight pink dress to class however she was accused of "immorality" by the university who says she behaving in a slutty fashion and disrespected "ethical principles, academic dignity and morality."

The incident happened on October 22nd when she had to be escorted off the campus by police.

The dress shows off quite a bit of leg, but that is about it. I've seen way worse at universities in Canada.

The private Bandeirante University backed down today on its decision to expel 20-year-old Geisy Arruda following a flood of negative reaction. The Brazilian government also came down hard on the university, giving them 10 days to clarify its reasoning for kicking out Arruda.

I smell lawsuit.

Eye-Catching Ka-Pow Shirt

Nothing beats Pop Art when it comes to making an eye-catching shirt that makes people look.

Much better than those shirts girls sometimes wear which say SLUT or similar offensive things.


Are Niqabs and Hijabs a Fashion Statement?

FASHION/RELIGION - Have you seen any women recently wearing a Niqab or Hijab?

No, I am not talking about Conservative Muslim women. I am talking about women (of any ethnic background) wearing it as some kind of fashion statement.

And an important point is you can now buy them in brand names like Calvin Klein and GAP.

Like WTF? How did that happen? Well, its not so much that these brand name companies are getting into the business, its the fact they're making scarves/etc that can be used as such.

First lets affiliate you with some of the fashion terms:

A Hijab is basically a hood that is worn over your hair.

A Niqab (or Niqaab) is a scarf you wear over your face. A full niqab covers everything but a slit for the eyes.

There's also:

Abaya - Covers you from head to toe except for the eyes, one large piece that looks very baggy. Usually found in Pakistan.

Burqa - Like the Abaya, but it covers the eyes with semi-transparent fabric or a grille. More common in Afghanistan.

Dupatta - Popular in Pakistan, covers the head and shoulders.

Its important to note this is NOT a religious belief per se... and nor is it sexist. Many men in Arab countries also wear headwear to cover their heads. Such things include the Igal, Bisht, Ihram, Kufi / Kuffiyya / Ghutra / Shmagh, Taqiyah cap, Thawb and the more commonly known Turban.

So yes, before you go jumping to conclusions you have to realize this is a CULTURAL tradition, not a religious edict. Some Muslim women choose to wear such things and often make that choice when they are a teenager (ah, the horrors of peer pressure). In that context they see their friends wearing such things and they follow suit.

After all if you're best friend gets a tattoo, or a nose piercing or a pair of high heels... are you repressing yourself if you choose to get the same thing for yourself? No, you're making a choice. Admittedly your friend played a role in making that choice, but thats just a sign of a strong friendship.

Thus when non-Muslim women start wearing such clothing its not simply because they're trying to make a fashion statement. Sometimes they just have Muslim friends who wear such things, they look at it, realize they'd like to wear a hood or whatever, so they go out and buy it.

I myself have a fondness for hoodies, especially on rainy days. I could see myself buying a hijab someday if I found one I really liked. Does it mean I would be changing my religion? No.

Its just a fashion statement and frankly I think thats kewl. It could even be considered sexy.

Granted I am not about to run out and buy any full-length garments that cover me head to toe... they just look too much like radiation suits to me. But I could certainly see wearing a wide variety of Muslim clothing.

Let me give you an example you might not normally think of: Look at the adorable photo below of the little girl wearing a Kufi hat. Those hats are totally kewl and I WANT ONE! It has nothing to do with religion, its just plain a really kewl looking hat. Who wouldn't want one?

David Dixon, Hip to be Different

FASHION - I really like David Dixon's fashion designs. They're simple, stylish and I can see wearing them on a day to day basis. They're sexy too.

What I also like is his choice of models. He picks his models carefully, choosing not just ethnically diverse models, but also being careful to pick models who have more meat on their bones as opposed to the disgustingly thin.

"I don't even think about it," admits Dixon. "It's not a conscious decision to cast women from various ethnicities. I pick the girls I like. I pick girls I think women can relate to."

Its also smart business sense. "I get feedback from women who have a critical opinion. They want to see themselves in these clothes," says Dixon. They're more likely to buy the clothes they can see themselves wearing.

Designer Mark Fast does the same thing. A couple weeks ago he insisted on having plus-size models for his 2010 spring fashion show... which drew a lot of media attention. Fast says: "My knits respond differently to different bodies. Some looks just work better on curves."

Which sparks my belief that "Its hip to be diverse", not just by adding plus size models, but by including models from a wide range of backgrounds.

Sunny Fong for example recently hired two models: One that was a lot older, and other who was bigger. "Other cities look to this unnatural ideal of what's beautiful," says Fong who only hires models with a waist larger than 24 inches. "I've never liked skinny-skinny models. They don't suit my clothes. My target market is real women, not skinny 16-year-old girls. When I put my clothes on skinny girls, they hang like they're on a hanger. I want the body to translate the garment. On a skinny girl, it says nothing."

Curves are sexy. Show em off!

Paris Fashion Gaffs

FASHION - You know what a gaff is right? Its a mistake. Its a blooper. Its the outtake that usually doesn't make it into TV or magazine spreads.

But unfortunately in the fashion world these gaffs do make the news, and in a silly way some people actually take them seriously.

Like the two images to the right.

You see, as an artistic / creative person myself, I would be totally embarrassed to make things that look so ridiculous. They can't be worn, they can't be taken seriously, they're barely even 'art' because they're not making a statement about anything.

And the holes? What is the point of that? There's no statement there. Ripped blue jeans makes a fashion statement, but only if the rips are real. Fake rips are for poseurs.

And then there's the 1/2 dress / 1/2 business suit... WTF is that? What a complete waste of fabric.

Sometimes I swear Paris fashion designers are sniffing glue or something. They could be making fashion which actually helps people, looks good, gives people jobs, makes them look professional...

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." - Mark Twain.

To infer from that, well-dressed people are leaders and go out and change the world. People who dress like idiots will be treated like idiots (and not taken seriously).

And they say fashion isn't important?

Lindsay Lohan's Fashion Line

FASHION - Lindsay Lohan's latest fashion for Spring / Summer 2010 was unveiled on Sunday... and frankly, what brain-dead person would wear this crap?

The brand is Emanuel Ungaro and the fashion itself was co-designed by Barcelona-born designer Estrella Archs, which is a funny way of saying Archs did most of the work. Lindsay Lohan is just the "artistic advisor".

Ungaro has been a fashion house since 1965 and fashion designer/owner Emanuel Ungaro retired from the house in 2004 at the age of 71 and in 2005 the brand was sold. Esteban Cortazar was anointed the head designer...

But pedigree aside, I'd say it still sucks.

Its too... 1980s.

And I realize some people think the 1980s is in vogue again, but frankly this is too much. I am beginning to think people are taking it too far. Its one thing to bring back the "good fashion" from the 1980s, but why would you bring back the crappy fashions too?

Oh and there was WAAAAAY too much fuchsia and pink. Sorry, that is just too Barbie Girl for me.

And before you think I am just being mean, or copying what other people are saying go ahead and Google Lindsay Lohan Ungaro and you will see there are a lot of people who hate the fashion looks being produced at the new Ungaro. There are probably a 'few' who like it, but they are in a minority.

In summary Lindsay Lohan's fashion style... 1980s pink Barbie. Its like fashion for 9 year old girls...

Take the Magnetic Bra Test

FASHION/TECHNOLOGY - There is a new bra coming to North America, and its positively and negatively attracted to itself. In case you didn't read the title of this blog post, yes its a magnetic bra.

Look ma, no hooks or clasps!

The bra is being offered by lingerie retailer La Vie en Rose, but they're not the only ones going magnetic. Wonderbra also has a new magnetic bra out being promoted by burlesque star Dita Von Teese... and not because its easy to take off, because it actually isn't as easy as it looks.

La Vie En Rose's version is called "Magnetic Attraction" and it retails for $33.95 CDN each. It also comes in three styles – the Boost push-up, the Daily lightly padded and the Au Naturel unpadded.

You see in the past attempts to make a magnetic bra always failed because the magnets were too weak to stand up to the stress of say... jumping up and down, running, or even simple tasks like bending over to pick something up.

Whoops. It popped open again.

But these new magnetic bras are MUCH MORE POWERFUL and both La Vie En Rose and Wonderbra are daring people to come into their stores and put them to the test.

Because apparently these things aren't budging. You can jiggle it, jump and dance in it, run, whatever.

The magnet's sheer strength is already annoying men too... its even harder to remove than those old hook bras, causing complaints:

"Why did they invent this? Is it supposed to make it easier? 'Cause it's not."

Of course the bra is also causing some jokes, like what if paper clips get stuck to your shirt... or if you can't find your keys and they were stuck to your bra the entire time. Let alone problems with airport security.

"Finally a bra I can open, and also hang on my fridge!"

See Also
The History of the Bra & Breasts
Open-Cup Bras
Nursing/Maternity Bras
The History of the Corset & Brassiere
Shock Absorbing Sports Bras

Short Skirts coming Spring 2010

FASHION - All the top designers are pushing short skirts for women in Spring 2010. Below are: Prada on the left, Dolce & Gabbana in the centre and Versace on the right.

In other news where did the decade go? Its October 1st 2009 already and in only three short months it will by January 2010. Seriously, WTF. Seems like only yesterday the United States was worried about Y2K, and then George W. Bush snuck into the White House... then September 11th 2001, the War in Afghanistan that failed to capture Osama bin Laden, the War in Iraq that failed to find Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Tsunami in Malayasia, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the American Recession started in 2007, Barack Obama got elected in November 2008, and slow but steady economic recovery in 2009.

According to some fashion gurus the trend towards short skirts happens whenever people are short on cash. Skirts costs less than dresses, and the less fabric used often the less expensive the skirts are. Thus frugal people are more likely to buy them.

HOWEVER, predicting fashion trends based on economics are tricky. What if the economy completely rebounds by Spring 2010 and people have more cash to buy whatever they want?

Well, you see there's also a backup issue... global warming and climate change. With hotter temperatures people will be wanting more short skirts anyway, so its also a pretty safe bet people will want them since jeans/dresses will be too hot.

So my advice? If you see shorts skirts on sale and you absolutely love them and think they will be kewl to wear in the future, buy them.

Goth, Courtesan and Kabuki

FASHION/GOTHIC - East meets West, Victorian gothic meets kabuki performer and designer Marc Jacobs takes aim at trends with a scattergun.

Seeing what he did it looks like he ripped off ideas from "The King and I", "Blade Runner" and Queen Elizabeth I era fashion... victorian ruffles, gothic lolitas... mixed with army jackets and khaki trench coats.

He also deliberately played fashion don'ts... like wearing lingerie as outer wear, a luxury fanny pack and socks with sandals.

In other words... you'd never actually wear this stuff outside.

Don't get me wrong, I love gothic fashion... but I think fashion designers playing lip service to gothic culture is just lame. The things they design don't appeal to real goths, and the fashionistas like myself won't wear this crap either because:

#1. Its too expensive.

#2. Its full of fashion faux pas don'ts.

In his latest show Marc Jacobs mixed leopard prints... you know the kind that old women with dyed blond hair, gold teeth (or missing teeth!) wear... seriously. That stuff may look good on a thin fashion model, but marketing that is just a bad idea.

I swear some fashion designers are just complete hacks. They just copy whatever they see and never come up with anything original.

Proof that Haute Couture belongs on the runway

FASHION - To the right you see photos of Sandra Bullock and Madonna dressed in haute couture fashion.

And what you realize is that what looks good on the runway doesn't necessarily look good in real life. In fact it looks just plain ridiculous.

What were they thinking?

Did they not bother to look in the mirror?

Its what I've been saying for years now. Haute couture is the fashion industry's version of Abstract Expressionism. Its something for fashion designers to look at and appreciate, they're experimental. They're not actually meant to be worn in real life.

But apparently there's enough dumb celebrities out there to at least attempt it.

Motorcycles and Heavy Metal Fashion

FASHION - Motorcycles, heavy metal and a darker look are in this Fall. Be on the lookout for a lot of young women wearing motorcycle jackets and sporting heavy metal jewelry.

In seems like the younger generation are pushing the late 80s cliques once more.

The Preppies (the preppy look is also in)

The Slackers (lots of plaid shirts)

The Rockers (the heavy metal, motorcycle jackets, big clunky boots, etc)

Look for "leader of the pack" studs, spikes and chains on everything from boots to bracelets. The aggressive biker image becomes a lot softer as women wear buttery soft leather and shapely cuts in real or imitation leather.

NOTE: The process used to make imitation leather isn't very environmentally friendly. So you're either killing some cows or destroying the environment. Your choice. Its either faux leather or the real thing. Plus the beef industry kills the cows anyway for their meat whether we wear the leather or not. The fur industry is a whole different matter because we don't actually eat minx, fox, chinchillas and rabbit that often.

Big clunky boots smothered in nail heads or studs. Wide belts with tonnes of studs. Bullets, Skulls, Fake Tattoos... its all good.

And not necessarily steel! You can also get a variety of colours.

By the time you're done your parents will want to send you to reform school for an attitude adjustment.

Even little kids are getting into the motorcycle jacket trend. They can be found at H&M, Gap and Joe Fresh, giving new meaning to the phrase biker babe.

And even if you don't like the jackets, check out all the kewl accessories.

The last time the motorcycle jacket was so popular it was during the late 80s and early 90s. The era was captured perfectly in 1991 by fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh who featured the top supermodels of that era posing like street toughs in Chanel leather biker jackets.

The don't-mess-with-me attitude with broad menacing shoulders and flashy hardware, buckles, zippers and studs was the ultimate way to tell your parents' you're rebelling. Add biker boots, leather officer caps and mini skirts and there is a variety of looks you can make.

You want the look to be natural however. You shouldn't feel like you're wearing a costume.

Move over jeans, Trousers are in

FASHION - Jeans will always be cool, of that there is no doubt. But its starting to look like they will have a lot of competition from the growing trend of wearing trousers.

You would think that jeans, perhaps the most proletarian piece of apparel, known for durability, strength and versatility, would soar during recession times, but instead blue jeans appear to have fallen out of favour with women (sales are down world wide over the past 8 months). Denim is practically a demi-god in the fashion world, but in this David and Goliath story it seems like the lowly trousers now has the advantage.

It used to be that blue jeans were kewl. Rebels wore blue jeans. Now everyone wears them. My grandma wears blue jeans. High school teachers wear blue jeans. George W. Bush wears blue jeans (he's really trying hard to fit back into civilian society).

Conclusion? Blue jeans aren't that kewl any more. The hip thing these days is the more counter-culture look of trousers, sometimes made of leather or my personal favourite, army camouflage.

In the world of jeans sales for three of the sector's publicly traded players – True Religion, 7 For All Mankind and Joe's Jeans – have declined in department stores. The market is over-saturated with too many jeans brands (and ridiculous prices) and everybody (and I hate to sound like a fashion snob, but everybody includes the ugly people) is wearing jeans now.

They've also run out of gimmicks too. Shredded them, rhinestones, sequins, tread marks, coutured leggings, acid washes, crystals encrusted in them... its been so over done. And its become two other things: Blue jeans aren't worn by rebels any more, they are worn by rich people and by squares.

Such an '80s term I admit, but that is the situation we're in. To borrow a Canadian term, jeans are for hosers.

"Denim was a symbol of youthful defiance, embraced by Marlon Brando, James Dean," writes Daniel Akst, a Wall Street Journal columnist. "Now we're all rebels, even a billionaire CEO like Steve Jobs, who wears blue jeans and a black turtleneck whenever unveiling new Apple Computer products."

So the laws of fashion dictate that its time for change. And if jeans are out, a different sort of pants must step up.

Trousers come in a variety of shapes: Drop-crotch, dhoti, high-waisted, full-leg, peg-leg, multi-pleated, harem – all different styles and all taking great strides to topple jeans in the popularity contest.

The unusual shape of trousers is another part of the new rebel look. It may look slouchy or slovenly, but they're also comfortable and compliment your legs by making them look thinner in comparison. They're more flattering than pants that cling and betray your faults.

The soft, comfy fabric is what wearers seem to love about the new-look trousers, especially the slouchy jodhpur-style pants. Quite a few are made from Lycra or rayon, giving them a bit of the '80s glam-rocker look.

See Also:
Jeans, Pants and Trousers
Levi Strauss

Cycling Chic

FASHION - I've been doing some research and I think the hot new look for Summer 2009 is cycling chic.

And I've got the photos to prove it.

If you Google "cycling fashion" you will find a tonne of websites selling fashion for cyclists, both professional and amateurs. What I prefer however is clothes that is multi-functional, great for doing-whatever, but close fitting enough that you can ride your bike without hassle.

Note the text on the buttocks: Lucky Saddle. (Saddle is another word for bicycle seat for those out there not familiar with bike lingo.)

You may be tempted to go for the tight fitting clothing, which looks hot.

Or even a short skirt, which is cool too, but you will have to be careful about the length and how you sit to make sure it doesn't get tangled up.

A lot of girls, especially if its really hot out, prefer to shed some layers and maybe even opt for a tank top or bikini.

On cooler days you will want to maybe accessorize or wear something warmer because the breeze when biking can be chilly.

Think of your bike as an accessory. You don't want to ride any rusty piece of wheels. Think retro and fully restored, that or opt for something new and snazzy.

Depending on what you wear you start to realize how chic and hip you look. Definitely a way to attract hot guys who are also into cycling.

Don't be afraid to make your own riding uniform if you're planning to ride daily. Something that will allow you to shed or add layers depending on the weather, and won't show off your sweat (although some guys tell me there's nothing hotter than a woman dripping with sweat and smelling of pheromones).

If you get a summer dress just the right length you don't even have to worry about it getting caught or tangled up.

If you opt for something a lot longer, make sure its something you could hike up around your waist more or is more smooth flowing so it doesn't interfere with your ability to pedal.

Depending on where you are going (busy streets) you may want to get a helmet. You may feel a bit dorky so look for a helmet you feel makes you look hot, and while you're at it find a backpack or satchel so you can carry things easily. That or buy a bike with a basket.

IMPORTANT NOTE! Don't forget to keep your bike in tip-top shape by visiting your local bicycle mechanic for oiling, greasing, truing your tires, removing those nasty rust spots, replacing an uncomfortable seat and making sure the handlebars, pedals, etc. aren't behaving sluggishly.

After all, how fashionable will you be if your bicycle is a wreck and/or you end up in a crash and drooling out the side of your mouth all the time?

Surgical Masks: The Latest Fashion Craze from Mexico

FASHION/HEALTH - When it comes to fashion, its become a cliche to wear a gas mask on the runway. Especially when it comes to fetish or BDSM garb. Its been OVERDONE. Stop doing it already! (I swear people are so unimaginative at times.)

But... with the recent spread of the Swine Flu (H1N1 virus) from Mexico, a lot of people are taking the wise precaution and are wearing surgical masks to protect themselves from the deadly plague.

Before I get into this I think its really important that people wear protection, even if you're not sick. You could catch H1N1 from somebody else, just by shaking their hand, opening a door, handling money, someone coughing nearby (or in an elevator) or any number of ways since its an airborne bacteria. The best way to prevent it is to be very careful about what touches your hands, what touches your face or goes in your mouth, and be mindful of washing your hands regularly.

So buying food at the cafeteria or restaurant near your workplace... big no-no. Bring a bag lunch. No, you're not poor, but you are cautious. Who knows what people are coughing onto the food in the cafeteria's kitchen... its best not to take that chance.

Far too few people in epidemics even take these things seriously... and they're the ones who get sick first. It is better to err on the side of caution, even if you feel weird about wearing a mask in public.

However, there are two things that concerns me:

#1. How effective are surgical masks at preventing the spread of the H1N1 virus? Really we should all be wearing gloves, washing our hands and faces multiple times per day, and wearing masks which are much more effective.

#2. How fashion friendly are surgical masks? Well... not very. But you could wear lots of blue to match them... or maybe even buy nurse scrubs and wear those, which would be kinda kewl even if you're not a nurse.

My solution has been to skip the mask and opt for a bandanna, folding it in half diagonally and wearing it as per bank robbers in the Ol' West. I firmly believe the bandanna, which comes in many fashionable colours and designs, is more effective because it covers the sides of the mouth much more effectively than a surgical mask.

If I wanted to go all out I could get a gas mask, but they're pricey and apparently take a lot of practice to learn how to wear properly. If the H1N1 virus epidemic reaches that point... I think its time to just call in sick (even though I am not) and avoid going to work for several weeks until this whole plague thing is over.

But in the meantime I think the bandanna option makes a smart (and much more fashionable) way of keeping myself safe. A thick scarf could also work, but depending on the weather that may be unpractical.

See Also:
Swine flu spreading faster than expected
Worldwide Influenza Pandemic Warned
Swine flu hits Mexico and western United States

The Purpose of High Fashion

FASHION - What is the point of high fashion?

Last year supermodel Carla Bruni (now the First Lady of France) wanted to bring herself down when standing beside the Queen Elizabeth II... She also chose a sombre grey dress-coat so to not upstage the Queen and for her shoes she wore a pair of plain black flats, while the Queen wore black heels.

Had she worn something exquisitely beautiful it would have been wildly out-of-place... plus with Carla Bruni it doesn't really matter. She'd look good wearing a burlap sack.

Most of us however are so ashamed of our bodies we wouldn't get caught dead wearing a burlap sack smock (or anything like it). We know we don't have the figure and we try to wear things that make us look better than we really do.

That's the purpose of high fashion. Its like make-up in a way. Or high heels. Or corsets. Its to make us look better. We aren't naturally stunning to look at, so we need high fashion as a prop.

If we all looked like supermodels there would be no need to go to such lengths.

Are we doing this for men? Not necessarily. Sometimes we just want to stand out or blend in. Depends entirely on the circumstances.

"We look at a beautiful person and think they are lucky," says Elizabeth Semmelhack, curator of Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum. "But if we look at a particularly fashionable person who is not possessed of raw beauty but rather a socially constructed beauty, then we're impressed. Real style is considered a magical skill."

High heels are now inextricably linked to pornographic imagery. Six-inch heels have elevated women's sexual allure to the point that flat shoes are now derisively described as "sensible."

Although frankly if I see a woman on the street wearing 6-inch heels, chances are likely she's a prostitute. She knows exactly what she's doing, especially if she has a fur boa, a short skirt and is showing a lot of cleavage.

Its always possible she's just a clubbing chick, but with those clothes she's still selling sex, except her payment is liquor and a guy good-looking enough to pass her drunken standards.

This is the POWER OF FASHION. It transforms a person from whore to madonna and back to whore again.

For women who are plain, or downright ugly, fashion is the way to even the playing field.

Lets take for example Susan Boyle, the bushy browed, wild-haired Scot who recently became world-famous as a contestant on Britain's Got Talent. The 47-year-old ugly duckling with the angelic voice has become a pop culture icon since her April 11 performance on the show partly because of the enormous disconnect between her appearance and her voice.

She's since had a makeover. Her grey hair has been coloured and styled. Her famous caterpillar eyebrows have been tamed. And she's traded in the unflattering mother-of-the-bride beige dress she wore on TV for a pair of fashionable, wide-leg trousers and a cool leather jacket. Though her supporters worry the makeover could diminish her chances of winning the competition, it's undeniable that she looks a lot better.

"This is why stylists are so popular," says Barbara Atkin, vice-president of fashion direction for Holt Renfrew. Women presume they can't learn these tricks themselves, so they hire a professional.

"Fashion offers women an alternative route to the spotlight, some sense of pride and dignity that they might not have if they don't approximate conventional standards of beauty," says Holly Brubach, former style editor of The New York Times Magazine.

Brubach is convinced the recent evolution of feminist culture has allowed women who aren't beautiful to participate in fashion. Feminism's first wave in the early 20th century liberated women from corsets and constructed silhouettes, she says. But in the 1960s, fashion was denounced as a male conspiracy.

"It was the hemlines issue, when the miniskirt was popularized and then seemingly one season later the maxi-skirt was in. Fashion was revealed as a commercial endeavour intended only to make women spend money."

In this era of post-feminism we have softened our dogma and now everyone can be stylish (or sexy).

It the dual faces of fashion – the model as front person and her plainer sister as participant. (Except behind the scenes the fashion models are hiding in plain sight wearing skinny jeans and t-shirts, because they're comfortable and they know they look hot wearing whatever.)

On TV's Ugly Betty the show's frizzy-haired protagonist stands alone as the unattractive employee of a fashion magazine staffed by beautiful people... except in real fashion magazines, the opposite is true... If you think the front row of an international runway is lined with lithesome Paris Hilton types, you'd be dead wrong. We're usually pretty butt ugly and our obsession with fashion is really about wanting to look better because we physically are below our own standards.

(We also work in an industry with an unusually high number of suicides, but thats another topic for another day...)

Try doing a Google image search for:

Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune.
Isabella Blow, the late stylist and fashion muse.
Ingrid Sischy (who looks like a man), formerly of Interview magazine.
Anna Piaggi of Italian Vogue.
Kim Hastreiter of Paper magazine.
Lynn Jaeger, formerly of The Village Voice.
Glenda Bailey of Harper's Bazaar.

They are some of fashion's most powerful players, always a breath away from the runway but never on it... and they're all pretty plain or ugly looking.

So we ask again, what is the purpose of high fashion? Its not to make beautiful people look better, its to help the rest of us raise ourselves a bit up on the beauty scale... without having to exercise.

Tween Fashion and the Girl-Next-Door

FASHION/ENTERTAINMENT - Young teens (aka Tweens) are all abuzz about the new Hannah Montana Movie, starring Miley Cyrus... but their adoration has also sparked an unusual fashion trend...


In an era when teenagers and young girls seem to be showing a lot more skin, this trend is a welcome change for parents concerned about their kids' promiscuity.

So instead we have the wholesome girl-next-door.

As opposed to the skanky Britney Spears look or the slutty Paris Hilton look. Or punkish Avril Lavigne or heroin-chic Amy Winehouse.

Adapted from the hit TV series from Disney, Hannah Montana is covered-up, ladylike and wholesome.

But what do the fans say?

"I saw the movie and really liked the clothes – I really liked the looser jeans and I want to get a flannel shirt. I liked that it was sort of peasant-y and plain," says Ruby, age 14. Ruby admits "I'm too old to have this admiration for her," and admits she had to pick her way past throngs of 8, 9 and 10-year-olds for a seat to watch the movie.

"I've always worn skinny jeans, but I liked that sort of casual, farmy look," says Ruby, who says she will be going shopping for baggier jeans, flannel shirts and peasant skirts.

Wow. Maybe clogs will become fashionable too? (That was sarcasm BTW.)

The Hannah Montana franchise is important fashion for tweens and young teens.

"Hannah Montana dominates the tween market," says Nadia Casarcia of La Senza Girl. "I saw the movie myself and we're definitely seeing a softer side of Miley. Even though there were two very different looks, she was more subdued. Maybe that's a reaction to some of the pressure she's faced in real life."

Miley Cyrus, who plays Hannah Montana, wore a very grown-up couture gown on the Oscars' red carpet this year, and has been criticized for appearing in Vanity Fair swathed only in a sheet, sparking controversy about her age and the amount of skin she was showing.

Fashion tends to go in cycles (hence why Madonna keeps changing her look). I think this new modest-look is simply a reaction to the overtly-sluttiness of the previous look being pushed on young teens.

So will this stick around? Maybe awhile, another year or two, but after that tweens will be older and moved on to something new.

Besides... aren't we forgetting something?

Miley Cyrus and her character Hannah Montana don't always dress the same... and Miley Cyrus is hardly the only female rolemodel out there that young women are emulating.

And then there's also feminists and their chance every summer to go topless and upset the religious wackos who think nudity is a sin. Or the opposite... there's young women going topless during Spring Break, etc...

So is America's young women becoming more modest? I think not. This is a quaint idea, but there's so much other stuff in the mass media and the internet now that young women really have a lot to choose from when it comes to deciding to dress like a madonna or a whore.

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The FASHION SALON is accepting sponsors. Why? Because we're totally awesome and we can always use more shoes... and handbags... and shirts... jeans... you know, stuff!

Email suzannemacnevin{atsymbol} and ask about our advertising and sponsorship rates.