26 November 2007

Miley on my mind


I'm not gonna lie, when I was 14 years old - the age 'tween sweetheart Miley Cyrus was in the picture above - I threw this same coy expression at older men in grocery stores, sneaked second-glances at my Father's tweed-'n'-leather-elbow-patched colleagues as I took their coats at our annual holiday party, and of course, then there was the meticulously built Gene Hackman shrine before which I knelt each night to pray to whomever was listening that I might one day have the opportunity to take him in all his Avery-in-"The Firm" glory and...well, yeah.

And as my parents like to remind me on occasion with hung heads and incredulous "how did she come from us?" expressions, there was the incident with my 8th grade volleyball coach, Mr. F., to whom I once responded, "But we just met, didn't we?" when he quite forcefully asked me to remove my shoe after I'd just fractured my left ankle in my first girl-on-girl collision.

Point is, I'm not here to criticize little Miss Hannah Montana for her precociousness. I grew up with ultra-normal parents and an ultra-normal brother in ultra-normal Norman, OK and Okemos, MI, not among the ranks of Nashville and Hollywood celebrities with my own hit TV show and platinum record, and still, my hormones raged hard, fast, early and insatiably. Environmental factors may have something to do with the acceleration of a child's proclivity for (ahem) hormonal exploration, but they certainly aren't the only determinant. That being said, when it comes to the very newly-minted 15 year old MiCy, there's no achy-breaky argument about it, she's firmly in the fast lane to big-girl-dom in her fabulously tacky $690 Louboutins (shoes that ironically smack of a 4th grade art project) whether she likes it, wants it or not.

Where I have an issue - a major one - is when this so-called "sweet," "innocent," "wholesome," celebriteen steps out wearing this:


From a figure-flattering standpoint, she looks great. Absolutely great. The dress flatters her toned legs, highlights her defined shoulders, hugs her just-the-right-size-for-strapless cup-size perfectly -- I could go on and on about how women like Paula Abdul, Tara Reid and Beyoncé could all afford to take a page or two from this one's book. Her Nuj Novakhett mini isn't my favorite dress by any means, and I shake my head in distress at the shoes, but overall, I offer this look some of my highest praise for a young star still nascent in the process of defining her personal style.

And for a pre-show appearance at the American Music Awards, I can't think of a more venue-appropriate color and cut. Definitely an 'A' grade in that category as well.

My disappointment doesn't lie with Miley for wanting to don a dress with such a grown-up neck and hemline - after all, I know with right certainty I would've greeted Jeff S. at my front door in that same get-up for freshman Homecoming if I had the chance - rather it's geared toward the parents who allowed her to make that decision.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, one of the most meaningful lessons my Mother imparted to me, especially during my style-formative teenage years, is one I still carry with me every day as a 27 year old, and that is to dress thoughtfully and with consideration to how those around me will perceive my selection.

If you want to fill the girl-next-door void convincingly, Ms. Cyrus, let's try a little more Mandy and a little less cleavage next time.

And the time after that, too.

32 comments:

law student said...

Gene Hackman??? I don't believe it.

be yourself said...

While I think she's clearly dressed too sexy for a 14 year old, I also think you and your mother care waaaay too much about what other's think. If you want to wear something, wear it! Who cares if the stuffy suits in DC will be shocked?? Don't stifle your creative fashion for their sakes. You sound like a clone to me, which is sad, because you've got such a unique look about you.

16th streeter said...

yikes! I was in baggy cords and hoodies at 14. not even Scarlett dressed like that at this age. sad, really.

west coast devotee said...

I had no idea she was so young. I thought at least 18. Shame on Billy Ray and his Keith Urban haircut!

west coast devotee said...

by the way, whenever I need to laugh for a picture, I'm now going to think of you kneeling before a Gene Hackman shrine. That is some funny ass shit, Johanna.

Anonymous said...

be yourself,

Yes, but doesn't that just mean we're all going to run around--as George Costanza imagined--draped in velvet, because wouldn't that be comfortable? The whole "be yourself/wear what you want" argument is compelling, until you stop and really think about what that would mean...what that DOES mean. That's why we see belly shirts in church and sneakers at the Kennedy Center. "Wear what you want" in your own home. At all other times, you must consider your audience when considering your outfit.

knew you as hannie, too said...

there are still remnants of that shrine in her room, btw. peppered with some Ralph Fiennes, Mandy Patinkin (sp?), Orrin Hatch and who else? Oh right, PAT BUCHANAN. Girl, you were and still are craaazy!

But at least you're not 14 and wearing a 2 inch skirt. That's reprehensible.

greta said...

I know exactly what you mean. I would have wanted to wear a dress like that and shoes like those when I was 14-15 years old as well. Thank goodness for our strict mothers, or else we would've gotten "bad girl" reputations even if they weren't rightly earned ;)

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight, it's perfectly fine to talk like a skank to your coach but it's not okay to wear a mini dress? Yeah okay that makes sense. You're such a joke, you know that? And you probably wonder why no one invites you to any GOOD parties in the District. Boo hoo, small-town girl, BOO HOO!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:18, JUST FREAKING GO AWAY.

bff in chicago said...

Knowing your parents your brother and you, I've sometimes wondered with incredulity how you came from that family as well ;-)

Miley is just so darn cute, I wish I could say something more hateful than "lengthen your skirt, little one!" but I just can't.

p.s. SO loving the new Rilo Kiley album you recommended

ap chem lab partner said...

For those who don't know (sorry Han, I have to...) "prig" is the one word our Editrix didn't know on her SATs and still, after 11 long years, can't seem to get over it.

Thus her gratuitous use of it here in this post.

You're welcome!

Johanna said...

ap chem-

seems I still don't really understand the definition. thought it meant arrogant and uppity, but not so.

Thus its deletion.

And you're wrong about "prig" being the *only* word I didn't recognize. There was one other, but fortunately, I guessed correctly on that question :-)

best,
J

Teek said...

OT ... so, what do you do when your dear friend takes your "you should buy some basic black pumps for your job interview" advice and buys something a little more Easy Spirit sails the Mayflower than Calvin Klein takes on Bond Street. Is it my civic duty to suggest she return them, or my friendly duty to show a few more attractive and equally comfortable options and then bite my tongue? (She's way long distance so I can't take her shopping.)

Johanna said...

teek-

Civic duty says you must steer her away from the Pilgrim pumps. No question. Tactfully, of course, and with other options ready to present, but yes, definitely pipe up.

best,
J

nyc admirer said...

I think someone must've passed that 3/7 picture of your leg superimposed in Dick Cheney's hands onto him, because apparently he now has an irregular heartbeat. Coincidence? I think not.

Says he might need "treatment" -- I'm sure you could come up with something, eh, doll?

p.s. after this post, I hope to never have a daughter. ever.

Teek said...

I did the "hmm, they're a little old for you- these kitten heel mary janes are really cute and they look comfortable, too!" bit, but there is only so much I can do without saying, "seriously honey, those are wretched. Not at 25, not ever." She is not a shoe person by nature, and does have a lot on her plate that isn't fashion related at the moment so I don't want to rock the boat. *sigh* It kills me to think of her in those though.

(and definitely LOL at your Gene Hackman shrine.)

Anonymous said...

I just imdb-ed "The Firm" and that film came out in 1993, which meant you were 13 when you wanted to sexually dominate Gene Hackman. Girl, that's just straight up scary. Funny for sure, but scary.

miley fan said...

Am I the only one who thinks Miley looks cute here? Who cares if her skirt is a little short? She's in HOLLYWOOD, not Washington. What's the biggie? It's how she carries herself that's most important.

Kate said...

Teek, I think this is a good opportunity for you to not just guide her, but teach her. Maybe find a few links to better options - and then explain why each one is better. Something along the lines of "This is a stronger silhouette, which will definitely make you exude more power and confidence - just what you want at a job interview." That will not just serve her well for the interview, but will also teach her what shoes can mean.

dc girl said...

Yes, Miley Fan, you *are* the only one who thinks that.

sarahsouth said...

any post that refers to your lust for hackman totally makes my day. the ones in reference to the irresistibility of dick cheney make my year.

Johanna said...

I don't know what's more disturbing, a girl who looks sexy sophisticated at 14 like Miley or a girl who looks sexy trashy like some of the others.

The former is almost more off-putting, don't you think?

outie,
J

Anonymous said...

Lucky us, but your poor, poor parents!

Anonymous said...

i think dave chapelle puts it best, you may not be a whore, but you sure are wearing a whore's uniform.

dc stylist said...

I hope commenter "be yourself" read anon 7:00's comment! Truer words were never spoken.

Anonymous said...

I think I overheard that Miley just turned 15. She's absolutely gorgeous and seems like a really nice girl. Let's hope this is the year she starts dressing her age.

brown sucks said...

if you were such an SAT smartypants, how come you went to such a shitty Ivy?

Anonymous said...

no kidding, Brown was my safety!

Johanna said...

brown sucks/anonymous 11:44-

I don't like you OR your asshat attitudes.

that's all...

best,
Jo
(c/o Montesquieu)

Anonymous said...

God this is like being back in 7th grade. Don't you just want to bitch-slap someone? Joanna - agree with your assessment of little miss MC 110%. My 12 yo daughter thinks she's AWESOME. How am I going to explain it to my kiddo when MiCy is prego at 16 or so? or a stripper? or sluttily dressed in a really tacky 80's hair band reunion tour comeback video have faux sex with a man 3 times her age? wait, 4 times her age?

Christine said...

oh, to be 15 again and have the perfect figure...i'll leave everything else about being 15 behind, though.