Clothes are a trivial subject. But take a trip anywhere USA and the clothes you see in airports are almost as bad as the food.
The world is falling apart all around us. Earthquakes, tsunamis, exploding nuclear power plants, everyone in the Middle East killing everyone else. It makes a person feel helpless. Which is probably why the only thing I can do today is focus on my favorite trivial subject of late: the American lack of style.
Stroll through an airport. Walk through a mall. Go to church and watch the folks file up to take the Holy Sacrament. If you let your mind wander during the hymn, you'll be frightened enough to convert: the clothes are really awful! I can't figure it out. Why are we so rich and looking so bad? I know this is shallow. I hate myself for caring about it. But something bad is going on and I want to understand it.
I was waiting for my luggage at the San Jose, California airport and I was bored, so that's why you are stuck looking at these pictures of people in bad clothes.
Designer John Galliano of Dior was recently unmasked as a fan of Hitler--hard to believe there are any of those--in a drunken raving that was caught on video and sent him to a Paris police station. I've wondered if the world of couture, dominated by really strange men who wear odd clothes and produce ever more bizarre things for their runway shows, was not to blame for the hopeless lack of style we see around us.
Galliano, pre disgrace, dressed up to get his picture taken.
Perhaps when we see the "couture" on a Paris runway, it is enough to drive us all into a lumpy sweatsuits.
Here's a little number from the latest Dior collection that this famous fashion house thinks you should slip into for your next party.
So, since Paris isn't helping us in the guidance department, we just dress in these big dowdy sacks. I don't know. There must be a better alternative.
Typical American, waiting for a ride at the airport. Well, she couldn't wear that Dior number above: she'd be way too cold.
I'm trying to decide if it says anything about our society. Perhaps we are not as shallow as previous generations who felt they had to wear hats and gloves and stockings (for ladies) and homburgs and suits with vests (for men) when they appeared in public places. Maybe it is a sign of our advance?
But can't one be thoughtful and deep and still like nice fabrics and tailoring?
Maybe this is especially difficult for me because I am a fan of classic films, and the women in classic films really dressed. Even actresses like Bette Davis looked devastating when they were supposed to be dowdy shop girls.
She's from the wrong side of town in this movie, but even her wrong-side-of-town clothes look fabulous.
Shop girls saw those movies and tried to copy those clothes, and even the poor looked spiffy when they took to their sewing machines and added cuffs and collars to the simple clothes they could afford.
Well, that's my diatribe. I'm trying to decide if it says something--bad or good--about our civilization that in just the last decade we've abandoned all pretense of "style" and moved into an amorphous world of ugly but comfortable.
I'm not better than the average. I too have turned from style to comfort. And after centuries of tradition I wonder why this has happened.
I'd love to hear what you think. I'm flummoxed.