04 January 2008

I don't think you're retarded

Some thought-provoking reading to carry you through your lunch break...

As I wrote in my comment on Ms. Anti DC's blog late last night, I don't disagree with everything she wrote, but I will shake my head, raise my voice and interject at her assertion that every woman in this city already understands and accepts the concept of figure-flattering dress, therefore rendering useless a good two-thirds of my daily advice.

Were that the case, I wouldn't have felt such a strong need to launch this blog.

If you hadn't already noticed, I'm loath to start a "what do you want to see on this blog?" blogger-reader dialogue, and that is mainly because I want the vast majority of my posts to remain as unexpected for you as they are for me. I want to decide in the heat of the moment to write a post on vintage coats or Amy Winehouse or somehow tie my precious pup into a narrative on the demise of age-appropriate dress.

But after reading the author's impassioned and well-evidenced critique, I'm beginning to wonder if I should give reader feedback a greater role in determining the direction of at least part of ASJiNE.

So, if you feel strongly that a few, most or all of the topics I raise on this site are headed in a "mundane" or overly "fashion 101" direction, pipe the 'eff up and let me -and others- know of your dissatisfaction so that I'm at least cognizant of the problem and can better prepare my sensitive ego for another one of these scathing online opinion pieces.

Happy Friday!

as you were,
Johanna

57 comments:

16th streeter said...

Best. Post. Title. Ever.

Anonymous said...

I love a good pot-stirrer! Thank GOD someone finally addressed the issue of Project Beltway's sucking! It was never good, don't get me wrong, but lately, I've been wondering if she hired an 13 year old to take over for her.

Love your blog but I have to agree with AntiDC on the "fashion 101" issue. Sometimes I hear the word "duh" in the back of my head when I read your posts. That said, your writing *always* makes up for it.

"roundhouse kick to the babymaker" made my day.

Anonymous said...

'a' not 'an' 13 year old.

damn, it was almost perfectly written!

Anonymous said...

I love your spontaneity and don't think you should change anything. I personally feel that you have achieved the perfect balance with your posting.

I look forward to your random postings and some of your more "basic" - 101 if you must - postings.

Beach Bum said...

Though I wouldn't call myself "best dressed" (I love my flip-flops and do own a pair in every color -- sorry, not giving them up!), and a lot of your advice I do consider it common sense; some of your advice have in fact helped me as I commented in the past (had never tried on a wrap dress because I didn't know it was actually flattering to my curvy body -- and I've been buying way too many 3"+ pumps lately, like WAY too many. TONS...).

Said that, whether it's common sense advice or a "good idea!", I still love your writing, and it always amuses me even in the occasions I might disagree with it (your love for weird neck lines is sooo not my style -- but then again, too much frou-frou on the neck would not go well with my big ta-tas).

So I, for one, am opposed to changing the format, your writing or the content. I like reading it, and from all the blogs I read you are the only one with many posts a day -- keep it up! It keeps me entertained at work!

And for someone that owns way too many clothes (packed walk-in closet + packed coat closet + 5 dressers -- yep, 5 -- confirms that), despite cleaning up my clothes and getting rid of stuff twice a year (I guess I just keep buying more?), I am looking forward to the "how to clean your closet" post, maybe you know something I don't know!

Because despite knowing exactly the outfits I haven't worn in a year, if not in years, sometimes I just feel like I haven't had the right occasion to wear this season yet, and can't bear to part with something I like, even if I don't actually ever wear it.

Beach Bum said...

Yikes, sorry for the supersize comment!

Kate said...

I have to say, I disagree with anyone who says that Jo's advice is mundane or obvious. It might be for you - but it is not for many other people out there. Not only do I see them on the street, I work with them. And I'll also admit that I'm dressing better now, because I think about it more than I have recently. I had fallen into the DC rut. It's very easy to do. Now I remember why I like what I like, and I am willing to take more risks than I have for a while.

Sorry I got off topic - my take-home message is that if Jo's lessons were obvious, and if they were common sense, then we wouldn't see such horrible examples of those rules being broken all over our fair city.

Anonymous said...

I look foward to reading your blog every day. I say keep writing what you want and whoever likes to read it will keep reading. I like the way you write and the topics you write about. Just wanted to let you know. Oh and I'm not from DC just like what you are writing about.

georgia said...

Would Anna Wintour care what the masses thought? No. Your current format keeps us on our toes, entertained and informed. The only thing I would suggest is a very special post about how you came over to my house, made me try everything on, threw/gave away all my filler and helped me truly identify what to emphasize and what to hide. I'm sure bathroom stall squats would be a suggested exercise to correct a small bum.

Seriously, what would I have to pay you for that, I wonder? What would other women pay you? I just made you wealthy! LOL

Oh, and thanks to your blog I've had to go back to a life of Day Job plus 2-3 nights per week Night Job to balance my new shopping addiction with my need to save for the future.

Miranda Priestly said...

As my dear friend Tim Gunn might say, you've made it work. Now carry on.

from a guy's perspective said...

the "babymaker" quote made my day until this catfight erupted!

Pudding fight! Pudding fight!

My money's on Jo, because she looks like a natural strategist, but then again..I bet that feisty hipster could snap her little shoulders in two!

Samantha said...

I am a daily reader and I support your writing 100%. To me, I don't care if you write about fashion or your dog, your stories and advice are always interesting, amusing, and helpful. I don't think you should bend your style to what others think you should do. Remain true to what you want to write about, and your devoted readers will always stick with you!

Anonymous said...

I second Kate's point. I came to DC as one of those misguided people Johanna talks about: the ones who think the seriousness of their interests or work excuses their lack of seriousness about style. Ann Taylor Loft was my best friend. Now, I still have many of those items from the Loft, and I don't clean out my closet regularly because it's simply not big enough, but I did purchase a pair of Lucky jeans which make the entire lower half of my body look fantastic, and all of my newer items flatter my body far better than my previous purchases did.

Additionally, my recent move to an apartment with my long-term boyfriend highlighted two points: a) I am so pleased that I've begun dressing in clothes that actually make me *look good* when I come home to him after work!; and b) walking to work in high heels, or at least cute flats, is definitely growing on me.

I think I would have come to these conclusions without Johanna, but she's helped to accelerate my epiphanies. Thanks!

Marissa said...

Let me first thank you for giving me all the traffic with your link to my blog. That's kind of fun.

Second, let me clarify here (something I perhaps failed to make make clear in my original rant) that I don't think most women do in fact *know* how to dress themselves in DC (and perhaps most of America). I simply think this is something they *should* know inherently. And having spent so much time out of this country (albeit in not typically fashion-forward places like London or Paris, but instead in the euro-mullet Mecca known as Moscow, Russia), it baffles me still that the majority of American women refuse to wear a pair of pants that fits them properly. I mean this is the capital of the free world for God's sake! So yes, upon further thought, I do see a place, a need even, for a Fashion 101-ish type of post every now and again and you deserve praise for taking on that task, which, I for one would fail miserably at because I simply don't have the patience. And, well, because I'm probably too much of a bitch.

As far as writing for your readers, I figured that's what you were doing already, which was why I found the 101-ness aspects of this blog slightly depressing. It's like seeing Gwyneth Paltrow star in a movie like Shallow Hal. Clearly, you're a phenomenal writer with tons of creativity, which is why I continue to enjoy reading your blog including the numerous ways you manage to reference yourself, your dog, celebrities and even Steve Urkel to tell a story or illustrate a point. In short, I say keep writing for yourself.

And, OK, I'll confess I was being slightly sarcastic with my usage of the word "retarded" to describe some of your blog's readers. But, honestly, with the invention of the mirror I have a hard time believing so many smart women can't just see when they look a hot mess, but instead need someone to tell them. Hopefully your advice, "mundane" as it might be, is sinking in. I'll be keeping my eye on DC's streets. ;)

Marissa (The Anti DC)

N said...

If Johanna's advice is common sense or mundane then why do I still see so many women every day who do not dress to flatter their figure (cough Beyonce cough)?

ataraxia said...

i'm not completely opposed to "anti's" points (esp about PB).

however

i read this blog because it is entertaining and interesting. you never know what you're gonna get. we read it for the same reason we still read the "ask jane about sex" type of columns in cosmo -- because, even though we likely consider ourself aces in bed, its still fun to learn a new trick or two.

i never thought i was "dumb" when it came to fashion but honestly i've made quite a few changes since i started reading this blog. my closet was full of right-below-the-knee skirts. i have muscular calves. jo pointed out that this these skirts accentuate large calves. old skirts ditched, new sexy "a bit shorter" skirts in. so i'm pathetic and didn't know this. but that's why i'll keep reading -- because, i'm not too cool to admit, there's a lot i don't know.

johanna -- love your writing, love the tips, keep it up.

N said...

Also, can new yorkers seriously stop talking about how much DC sucks? Get over yourselves.

Anonymous said...

I agree with N. NY is full of plenty of hot messes, too. The Misshapes Web site will prove it.

jes said...

Please don't change the format! I love opening your site and never knowing exactly what will be the topic(s) of the day. I also really appreciate ANY advice you give. I was formerly the type of dresser who did not care at all about how I looked at work, and thanks to your blog, I am reformed!!

Anonymous said...

Marissa made some comments that are true (I won’t say which parts I condone – cough::Project Beltway::cough), but overall she probably needs to pop a few (hundred) Midols. I’ll be interested to see where you go with your “I love” portion of the blog. I must say though, I’ll be a bit disappointed if it’s chock full of high collars and ruffles (I reached my quota in ’07). It would be nice to see shots of people rocking outfits that are appropriate for the wearer but not exactly in-line with your personal preferences. Happy New Years and thanx for the blog.

Goo-Chee said...

This is crazy. I just come for the clothes.

I wouldn't let your readers dictate your content. I don't care what they think. I care what you think. Sorry readers. I mean it with love though.

And I was the first that I know of to leave a nasty critique on Project Beltway, so I pat myself on the back. She deleted it though. She can't take the truth. That blog is awful. Thank goodness for this one. Keep up the good work.

Jenn said...

Yes, being surprised at the content in the morning after some coffee is sometimes the best part of my work day. And, I don't really read for the advice. Being a chubby child, I couldn't wear much but the Pretty Plus collection at Sears. That horrific experience was enough to turn me into a fashionista of sorts. But, I love the writing. And, I'm honestly too busy to ever search the net for a lot of cute shoes that you find. I wouldn't even know about their hottness unless you featured them. (especially Lori's!) That for me is a bonus! It's great that you are helping others out there, but it's too bad you can't reach a lady my boyfriend works with. He takes picture messages of her outfits at work and sends them to me. Yikes! He may have to slyly bring up your website when she's fixing her snazzy, electric raspberry lipstick in the ladies room!

Dave said...

As a guy I don't come for the fashion advice. It's all gobbledy gook to me. That said, keep writing things that are common sense. I know that people mention something to me all the time that I feel like I should know but never thought of or just don't know. You're not sarcastic or condescending. Even if you're giving common sense you don't say, "This is a blouse. This is your body..."

I'm looking for entertainment, more than anything. Keep it coming.

laura said...

The ubiquitous "Blog About Other People's Blogs" posts, such as Marissa's, are so ghastly boring. If you're so stylish, snarky, cool, and smart that other people's blogs are worthy of your (even humorous or well-meaning) scorn, then for f's sake don't read them! Better yet...write something yourself that is so compelling, it needn't rely on the material of others for relevance.

Next!

Anonymous said...

Laura,

Isn't the point of Marissa's blog (which I'd never read before today) to critique all thing DC-related? And wouldn't DC blogs fall into that category?

So NEXT to you.

Kiki said...

I'm with the others in saying blog what you feel like blogging about. We'll all read it regardless.

As someone who would like to think of herself as fashionable, I applauded your somewhat "101" rants about butterfly collars and pointy-toed shoes. Many women in DC treat this look as a uniform, and I appreciate you providing some other examples. That's one of the things I love about this blog, it's your ability to show how little changes and feminine touches can take something from generic to extra-special. That's what makes someone fashionable, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Johanna,
I arrived at your blog through Fashion is Spinach (and I don't even remember how I got there), and became a devoted follower. I'm a NY-er (generally considered a pretty stylish one) and I really enjoy reading your posts, even the one about cleaning out your closests, despite the fact that I've been doing that at least twice a year for the last 10 years or so. Your writing is elegant and entertaining regardless of the topic. Just keep doing what you're doing. I <3 you, and judging from the comments here, I'm not alone.

Jami said...

As the others have said, keep up the great writing! It's definitely the best part, regardless of the subject matter (although I am partial to Monty pics). As for the "101" posts, I think women probably do realize that their tapered pants aren't flattering and that white commuter shoes are ugly, but the beauty of your blog is that it shows the alternatives in an accessible way. In addition, it takes a bit more effort to be tailored, slim-fitted, clean-lined, and well-heeled so your blog just reminds us all that those extra steps are appreciated and worth the investment. Keep it up (and don't skimp on Monty)!

Anonymous said...

Blog whatever the hell you want Jo. And that goes for the rest. By the way, a point that seems to have been missed in all of this (especially in reference to Rachel and PB) is that bloggers often have JOBS. Those are those 40+ hours/week obligations that keep you from doing other things. Like editing really well or finding interview subjects that everyone thinks is worthy.

I read ASJiNE for the fun of it. I like the "If I had a sugar daddy" posts. And people are morons, if you haven't actually noticed.

I read PB for the occasional shot of a well-dressed man-on-the-street. Or woman.

I don't read The Anti DC because I find the complaining tiring. You should try living in Blacksburg, Va or Durham, NH or any other tiny town.

-rdhd

Anonymous said...

absolutely agree with everything said right above!

Anonymous said...

a little birdie told me that rachel works PART time, while johanna works full-time.

if that IS true, I think johanna wins yet another round...

DC Govt Lawyer said...

I love, love, love your blog just the way it is and wouldn't change a thing. For those of us who are a little fashion-challenged or just are so freakin' busy we need a little help because otherwise we'd turn into a frump, your otherwise "duh" advice is actually very helpful even if it's just a reminder. Sometimes hearing something that you already knew is a reminder to actually put that "something" into practice.

not fueling the fire said...

how come PB has posted anything in a couple of weeks? You all are going to feel pretty awful if something happened to her.

Crank said...

I agree with your response to Anti-Dc's post. I've noticed many women wear fashionable items that don't flatter their figure; they want to keep up with the latest and greatest and desire to look trendy overtakes their commonsense. You offer them a way to still look current without squeezing into an ill-fitting number by posting so many resources for where to find flattering items for all body types; please don't take that away. I'm not the most fashion conscious, I'd be the person buying the Ann Taylor window no matter how poorly it fit me (and at 5' 2", not much does fit well), but I've been able to get around my height problem!
Please don't take negative comments to heart; everyone may be entitled to their opinion but that doesn't make it the prevailing voice - your readers depend on you!

dara said...

reading these comments is so freakin' fun. honestly it's one of my favorite pastimes. love your blog, love your writing, and waiting impatiently for your on the street feature to start.

I'm not as anti Project Beltway as most people but I have noticed that lately I'm totally disinterested in the people she chooses to shoot. How many kids in Chinatown with colorful kicks and sideways hats do we have to look at before we get something good?

have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Rachel is a great person who just left her full-time job for another full-time job. One of the reasons her blog gets a lot of attention is because she is well-liked. She has been asked to participate and contribute in a lot of events and I say good for her!! If you don't like the blog or her writing style don't visit it! It is pretty simple.

My love for ASJINE goes without saying!

pb fan said...

anonymous 4:22:

maybe this is why Johanna never gets to go to as many events as Rachel...because she's an even bigger bitch in person than she seems on her blog. she may have an army of fans, but I'm certainly not one of them. I think Rachel's site is so much better and more original.

why has she been gone for a couple of weeks? maybe because it was THE HOLIDAYS and she has a life outside her blog.

Anonymous said...

i would cry if you changed anything. i come here to read your particular opinions and insights (as they are smashing and fabulously hilarious), and anyone that doesn't like them can go read someone else's blog. also, like some of the people that commented above, i too have taken your "mundane" advice to heart when shopping for new clothes. sometimes something can be so obvious to others (not wearing flats b/c they make you look dumpy), but the person wearing them needs a smack in the forehead - you know? so thanks for the advice 101. i appreciate it!

dc lawyer said...

my criteria for a good blog are:

1. entertaining
2. updated often
3. well written

PB:
1 - no
2 - eh
3 - NO

ASJINE:
1 - yes
2 - YES
3 - YES

clear as crystal.

Anonymous said...

I just recently started reading your blog, so you may have done this already, but how about some posts on what looks good on different body types?

Beatrice said...

I love the blog as it is, BUT I would love some more "advanced" advice as well. Then again, I did learn a bit from the layering post...

cali finale said...

I don't have any clue what PB is, but coming from a woman in a completely different city with a completely different body type from J, I must say I'm shocked at how helpful her posts have been in my everyday life. Other commenters have touched on this as well. Her reminders of sometimes ordinary ideas we take for granted have been lifesavers for me!

KD said...

Long time reader, first time commenter. Although you and I differ in location, budget, body type, and clothes preference, I come here everyday to get my daily dose of Johanna. And no matter what, I will continue to do so. Fresh, and entertaining. Bravo! Keep it up!

Big Sky Girl said...

While I don't always agree with the things Johanna has to say. And while I sometimes take umbridge with her tone, her motives are pure. There are many women in this town who could be helped by her advice. And even if you disagree with her, is there any need to make nasty comments and dedicate whole blog posts to derision?

crazyladynyc said...

Don't you dare change a thing. Don't cater to anyone but yourself. I enjoy every single one of your posts b/c of your unique perspective and voice. Don't let other bloggers or even your own readers change that!

sarahsouth said...

more photos and allusions to your fantasies about dick cheney. then your blog will be flawless.

mb said...

I also read this blog daily for the great writing, fun clothes, and inspiration to look just a little better for work each day.

That being said, I would love to see more posts on what you actually see people in DC wearing - the good, the bad and the ugly. Photos, descriptions, whatever... but the ones you've done are so funny and spot-on, I'd love to see more.

Also the blog vs. blog stuff is dumb. That's not Johanna, that's the commenters... but people, let's let the public decide which blogs they like to read.

Anonymous said...

Never explain, never apologise. You take a hiatus, it hurts, but this is your platform and for the duration/evolution/process, we (I) return and enjoy.
It's actually generous all round.
So ignore and disregard the barnacles, I say.

glammy said...

As long as you keep me laughing, I'll always come back...despite the fact that you pick on my girl, Beyonce :(

laura m. said...

so many women in this city are clueless when it comes to cleaning our their closets and looking good in cold weather. keep writing the way you are and help make our city less frumpy. please!

p.s. I love when you write stories with people you meet or know that include dialogue...those are my favorite!!

Anonymous said...

First! Ooops, wrong blog.

karen m. said...

don't change a f$#*ing thing. it's perfect the way it is.

maybe more pictures of you and hot redhead lawyer. you two make such a nice couple.

west coast devotee said...

Pudding fight is right. Jo, even with her small shoulders could whip any hipster into submission.

keep doin' what you're doin, babe.

priya said...

my girlfriend forwarded me your blog last night, and I although I had plans I decided to stay home so I could read your archives. I can't believe how much there is! I'm only up to March! don't change a thing, but if you had to maybe post more photographs.

scott said...

I agree with everything Dave said. I come here for the writing and to be entertained. Keep doing what you're doing and your readership will only grow bigger.

cheers,
Scott

fashionista in training said...

the girl who does PB tries to write like you but it comes off forced and unfunny. she should stick to taking street photos and let Washington Life cover the party scene.

I would write this on her blog but like an earlier commenter wrote, she has a nasty habit of erasing anything remotely critical of her.

on the subject of ASJiNE,..love it!

Jo said...

I know I'm terribly late in commenting, sorry. Anyways, I agree with many of the commenters in that you give options for the mundane. My favorite was the shoes post. I've been dying to find an original pair of black pumps and thanks to you I went and bought those "prick" toed shoes (btw, my first day of wearing them I fell twice but have since learned to walking 3.5" and platforms). The only criticism I'd give has already been said: not so many fluffy/frilly blouses/dresses, they're not exactly universally flattering. Thanks for the great advice!