Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Fashion = What?

I look at the fashion industry in much the same way I do the stock market -- seemingly important things go on there, but how and why is a complete mystery.

I started this post for two reasons: one, I wanted to write the preceeding sentence; and two, I just read an article in the latest issue of GQ about how fedoras are "coming back."

The article, as all articles on fashion are, is accompanied by several photographs; in this case, they're used as evidence of the re-emergence of the fedora. There are photographs of: Pete Doherty in a fedora, Kid Rock in a fedora, Mos Def in a fedora, and Babe Ruth surrounded by reporters in fedoras. Smaller photos of three male models -- DKNY, Dsquared, and Givenchy -- also feature fedoras.

Seriously, I cannot remember the last time I saw anyone on a runway wearing anything that looked remotely acceptable for public use. Most of the time, models (male and female both) are decked out in get-ups that would be more appropriate for the Elton John backup dance team, especially if he were making a video set in, oh, I don't know, an alley on the moon in the year 3065.

And here's the thing -- celebrities like Mos Def and Kid Rock and Pete Doherty actually do pull off the fedora pretty well. But the problem is that Mos Def is a rapper, and rappers can wear anything they want and still basically look good (see Outkast for evidence of this -- in the video for "Hey Ya!" Andre wears lime-green pants and a huge Burger King crown and he's still cooler than anyone I know). Kid Rock still looks like a hillbilly, but this time he looks like a hillbilly who's rifled through his grand-daddy's crawl space and found and artifact from 1947, and Pete Doherty looks like he's in line to try out for Road to Perdition II.

In all fairness, the article does finally ask the essential question: "Should you be wearing one?" And, inexplicably, the answer seems to be yes: "Ultimately, it's like anything you wear -- as long as you wear it with confidence, it looks good."

That's a steaming pile of nonsense if I ever heard one. Back where I went to school, there was a weird kid who, very confidently, wore a chicken hat every day. This wasn't a baseball cap with a chicken printed on it, oh no. This was a hat made to look like a chicken. It had long chicken-like legs that dangled down on the sides, a tail of stuffed-animal feathers in back, and a sad, limp, chicken head that poked out from the front.

We made fun of that kid, and once, we stole his hat. We didn't see him outside again until we gave it back.

So even if Edward Chai, co-owner of a "stylish menswear store in New York's East Village" says "there's something very stylish about a fedora," don't go out and buy one. I love all the Indiana Jones movies (even Temple of Doom, which features what might be the absolute worst performance by an actress ever -- and that includes John Waters' Pink Flamingos), but I'm not going to let the fact that Harrison Ford looked incredibly cool in a leather fedora trick me into thinking that I would, too.

About halfway through writing this, I realized that I wear a black beret to work every day. Damn.


UPDATE: Open Post at Mudville!