17 October 2007

In the spirit of 'High Fidelity'...


The Top 5 Fashion Crimes* Perpetuated by DC Women:

No. 5
The on-display butterfly collars you see blanketing the clavicles of women from Senator Clinton to the 22 year old Georgetown grad who sat next to you at the CIA information session. Not even pretty Katy Heigl can get away with a subtle variation of this look, so chances are you and your kite-sized shoulder runners aren't pulling it off, either.

No. 4
Those of you who encourage or allow your boyfriends to wear skinny jeans. "Junk outline" wasn't attractive on my of-large-carriage OAKS softball coach back in the third grade, and I've discovered - courtesy of my apartment's close proximity to the Black Cat - that it's still mouth-squinchingly unsettling, even on a rail-thin hipster.

No. 3
Mistaking a t-shirt for a blouse. Just because you wouldn't pack it in your WSC gym bag doesn't mean it belongs under your suit jacket or paired with a tri-acetate pencil skirt. If it has a crewneck, loosely-fitting short sleeves and nary a hint of waistline tailoring (think: box-shaped), do yourself a favor and save it for the next Nationals game.

No. 2
Those stupid, stupid scarves. I realize this is an obvious one, but just walk down any block of NW DC and you'll realize that despite the large number of legitimate critiques, these puppies are as prevalent as ever. The only women who can get away with wrapping one of these toxic accessories around their neck/shoulders or tied to their handbag straps are the kind who are so inherently stylish they could get away with wearing leggings, pooties and a newsboy cap. For the other 99.9% of us, a decorative scarf, be it from the Herm├Ęs flagship store or a Steinmart discount bin, has us looking about as fierce as Dorothy Zbornak. Less so, actually.

No. 1
The short, fat heel. I mean, really, why even bother? A one-inch boost neither accentuates your calf muscles nor lengthens your frame. Does 5'5" honestly make you feel more in-the-zone than 5'4"? I find anything more diminutive than a three-inch heel - not just for me but for any woman - a real waste of the wearer's time. If you have a medical condition or you simply have an aversion to looking overtly feminine, just wear a cute flat -- there is certainly no shortage of them these days.

*this list inspired by my fashion-crime-filled walk home last night and the cozy viewing of High Fidelity, my second favorite** John Cusack movie, shortly thereafter.

**not a better movie, I realize, but it holds a very dear sentimental place in my heart

33 comments:

not impressed said...

So if we don't wear a high heel we have an aversion to looking overtly feminine? YOU ARE THE PROBLEM, Johanna, not short heels. Are you happy with your life, because I'm guessing you're not. It takes a real unhappy bitch (and one whose not getting any love) to rip apart other women the way you do. See a shrink and visit eHarmony - that's my advice ot you.

elle said...

If I may, I think your #1 fashion crime is less about the height of the heel and more about hideously ugly shoes. There, I said it. I clicked on that link you have and let out an audible sigh of disgust. But height, on its own, isn't necessarily the issue (e.g., the kitten heel, who I once loathed, has her moments, as can a 2 inch heel on an otherwise modern shoe).

Johanna said...

Elle-

For sure, the most important factor in determining how worthy a shoe is lies in the shoe itself, not the heel-height. That being said, even a pretty shoe with a one or two-inch heel...dunno, I just don't see the point. Then again, I wear heels primarily because of how flattering they are to my gams and how H-O-T I feel at 5'11".

Show me a kitten heel that has "a moment," missy, and I'll eat my weight in pasta.

XO
J

Johanna said...

not impressed-

yes.

maybe.

on most days, yes.

never claimed not to be a bitch.

insurance would cover it, so perhaps I will. eHarmony? Yeeek, that old guy creeps me out. Maybe slate.com, though.

kiss,
J

Anonymous said...

I so just tucked my butterfly collar under my jacket...

me! said...

where does Say Anything rank?

Anonymous said...

Heigl looks gorgeous - she definitely got away with it :)

west coast devotee said...

Darlin' you need to get sitemeter on this blog so you can smoke out people like "not impressed". clearly this woman (I'm guessing) is the ex girlfriend or new girlfriend of some guy you used to date. and by the sound of it...is still in love with you. Meeeow!

laura_m said...

I just looked around my office and found multiple offenses of all these fashion don'ts (except for the male skinny jeans THANK GOD). You're doing the Lord's work here, Jo.

Not impressed, you sound like the last person on earth who should be telling other people to see a shrink.

N said...

I saw a girl in my office wearing black mary janes (and not the cute kind like the CK ones; think chunky block heels) with white socks.

I can't make this stuff up. I told you my office needs an intervention, J.

m street admirer said...

Seeing a guy in skinny jeans makes *my* junk hurt.

I just did a quick walk-through of my floor and saw nothing but butterfly collars and 1 inch heels. I'm thinking about adding your blog to their Favorites when they're not looking ;-)

AY said...

OMG, I HATE the one inch block heel. And I've seen it on women in their TWENTIES. WHY look like a sad grandma when you don't have to?

Anonymous said...

or mayybee.. not impressed is the wife of a guy she used to date.

Anonymous said...

(continued)

or the boyfriend of a guy she used to date. lol.

no one knows, and it doesn't matter. she's probably just mad because she owns a closet full of one inch block heels with pleated pantsuits. ha!

Anonymous said...

The Lord's work, indeed. It's hard to take your boss seriously when she looks like her 4 yr old dressed her. Appearance DOES matter, naysayers.

brown rowergirl said...

For Serendipity to trump High Fidelity, this "sentimental reason" must be reeeeeeallly sentimental. No comparison!

oh wait, I know what it is now...okay fine I guess he qualifies.

dara said...

Why do I cry every time I watch that clip from Serendipity? No offense, but it's not that great a film. That scene just kills me tho!

I'm shocked the French pedi didn't make your list. Ever since your post a few weeks back, I've been noticing them everywhere in this city. Yuck.

Anonymous said...

I think high heels work out best for petite to average height women, but if you are 5'8-5'11, it doesn't work out well. They make you look like the jolly green giant or at least feel like the jolly green giant. :| Also, most women wear heels to look tall and slender, if you are already tall and slender, it doesn't help as much. It's like a D-cup wearing my padded bras; it is just unneccessary.

I am 5'9 and usually wear kitten heels. I try to find the most delicate feminine shoes I can, but it is difficlut given that most of these shoes usually have higher heels. I love the look of higher heels but I think they just make me look too tall. When I do wear my high heels, I always get negative comments. For example, "Why do you need to wear high heels? You are already too tall." Also, my significant other is 5'10. He is fine when I wear high heels, but I prefer to just stick with lower heels. It is more comfortable that way too.

Would you consider posting some Johanna-worthy lower heeled shoes on your blog?

elle said...

You're lucky it's not 2005, or you'd be one chubby girl. Chubbier than L-Lo post-rehab, I mean.

k said...

to 5:00, just because you don't like to wear heels doesn't mean that other tall girls shouldn't. I'm 5'9" and I never feel awkward in 3 inch heels. I can't imagine who would say negative things, unless they wished they were taller themselves.

Anonymous said...

some scarves are cool! cf Balenciaga f/w '07-08

JT said...

I've been saying skinny jeans aren't whats up for guys from the 1st time i saw them. As a college student (at one of the most fashionable schools in the US- Howard University), I HATE IT!!!!! never ever ever should my man wear something that is cut for me to fit...

*this blog is #2 on my daily reads...johanna, i love it!

love this blog said...

I'm 5'10" and slender and wear a 3-4 inch heel every single day into the office. No one has ever made a negative comment about my height, in fact, it's been quite the opposite! I can understand if your man is on the shorter side to lean toward a tinier heel, but other that...be a KLS glamazon!

dc lawyer said...

Thank you, Johanna, for aggressively encouraging women in this city to embrace their femininity. I too often see women without makeup in pantsuits and flats worn with a repugnant "hey I'm just one of the guys" sort of pride.

Jenn said...

I'm 5'9", and my boyfriend loves it when I wear heels... even though it makes me a bit taller. He especially loves it if the heels are attached to some tall, sexy, black boots. Yum!

feminine in flats said...

Johanna,

I love your blog and your fashion advice. My only problem with this post is equating having a medical condition and not wanting to embrace your femininity. It makes it really hard for people who do have medical conditions that don't allow them to regularly wear heels to feel happy/feminine/fashionable wearing flats. There are feminine, fashionable flats/low heels out there, and women who can't wear heels should embrace those shoes. I know it's hard to make posts that take everyones conditions into consideration, I'm just putting it out there that for people like me who feel sad everytime they have to turn down a heels seeing what I can wear labeled a #1 fashion crime like this just makes me want to cry...

Johanna said...

feminine in flats-

I didn't mean to associate the two - medical conditions and fear of femininity - and by using the connector word "or" I thought I had been clear on that point.

If I wasn't, I do apologize.

But I still can't embrace a low-heel. Just can't do it.

best,
Johanna

Pootie-lover said...

I stumbled upon this blog quite randomly a couple of weeks ago and am really surprised at the polarity of the comments. This blog is not fashion gospel -- such a thing doesn't exist. People look best when they create their own style (most of the time).

I, for one, love scarves, "pooties" and flats; I would probably be labled as a "fashion mistake" by this blog's author and devoted worshipers. But, you know what? Who cares! I've collected my personal style through magazines, random advice and my years spent in Europe. I know I look good! Just because some people aren't exactly into what I'm into (i.e. most of DC), it doesn't mean either one is in the wrong. Fashion is not black or white, people, it's grey -- especially this season (a little fashion pun, anyone?). My humble advice? Read this blog because you appreciate good grammar and like hearing other people's ideas. If something strikes your fancy, then woo-hoo. If not, don't take it personally.

Just my take one things...

Johanna said...

Pootie-lover,

You're 100% right when you assert that those trends/looks/items I *like* and *don't like* aren't necessarily *right* and *wrong*, respectively. My taste is my taste, and I am not trying to push my taste onto other women.

Well, the high heels, maybe...

With most of the items I rail against, there is a reason and it's usually tied to it not being the most figure-flattering choice. Your beloved pootie, for example, as I've written in a previous post, is a tough trend to wear, because it hides the all-important calf-into-ankle transition. Unless you've got thin calves - and I mean *thin* thin - the pootie makes your legs look stumpy. Even if you have muscular calves and thin ankles like I do, you're still in my eyes, ineligible.

My goal isn't to make DC look like me -- on the contrary, I'd love to see some variety. What I *would* like more of, however, is people who pay attention not only to what trends/looks they like but more importantly, what trends/looks their figures can pull off.

best,
J

stuck in l.a. said...

You are right on with this last comment, Johanna. Everyone would agree that a size 12 shouldn't stuff herself in a pair of short shorts, but for some reason people give you shit for saying a thick calved woman shouldn't wear pooties? Ridic!

Anonymous said...

i actually saw a lady older than me wearing the one inch block heel on the metro this morning and i had to cringe. but that is just a personal preference on what i feel looks attractive and what doesn't.

im a little surprised at how people can sound so upset with the editor based on their comments. this is her blog and she can write all the opinion she wants. but they are opinions. i dont understand why people are so upset, especially when none of what she writes directly affects anyone unless they let it.

Anonymous said...

I am also 5’9 and where 3-4 inch heels every time I leave the house for work. Yeah, 5’9 is relatively tall for a woman, but why not make yourself feel even taller, slender and sexier? If people have a problem with the height it is their own insecurity and you shouldn’t have to cater their personal problems. Heels just look better no matter what you are wearing (save perhaps with a swimsuit unless your are Victoria Beckham or Miss USA).

Most runway models are 5’10- 5’11 and you don’t see designers sending them down the runway in flats!

Katie said...

I completely agree with #1. I am 6 feet tall, and despite what some people say, I refuse to wear anything less than a three inch heel. They make my legs look sooo much better and something about being taller than most of the men I see makes me feel more confident.