Looking from the outside in - people, place and practice

Friday, August 31, 2012

Should there be a wardrobe age limit?

I saw this above picture on The Huffington Post yesterday. The Duchess of Alba, 86-year-old Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart and her husband, 61-year-old Alfonso Diez, have been enjoying the sun in Formentera, Spain. She apparently donned her floral bikini every day. How amazing?

I think she looks incredibly fabulous. To go out and don a bikini at the age of 86 is no small feat. And it is something that is not done often enough. The thing about age-appropriate really irks me; it is a very difficult subject to deal with. But I think it all boils down to what we regard as beautiful and how we’ve been trained to judge.
On the one hand we’ll find women like Donatella Versace, 57, who often struts her stuff on the beach in a bikini, showing off her super-tanned body. Most people would consider this to be a bit too much (and I’m not talking about her tan). I can already hear people saying: Shouldn’t she be covering up at her age?
On the other hand, we have beauties like Kim Cattrall, 56, who poses here with teen-star Miley Cyrus in Sex and The City. When her character, Samantha, bought this dress in the store, the sales lady commented: 'Isn’t this a bit too young?' Samantha nearly bit her head off for that, of course.
So, both of these women are scrutinised for wearing outfits which are considered to be ‘too young’. Yet, I really think Kim Cattrell looks fabulous. So on which basis do we scrutinize? Is it just based on their age?
Michelle Obama, 48, with her daughter – notice the below-the-knee skirt for her, and above-the-knee skirt for her daughter. Most people would classify Michelle Obama as dressing appropriately for her age.
Rihanna, 24, in a crop top and short skirt. If Michelle Obama wore this, would you take her seriously? Probably not.

I think that society as a whole has become very, very ageist, especially when it comes to women of course. I think the main thing is that we are judging in the first place. Are we not allowed to wear skinnie jeans and midriff tops at age 50? Even if, say, we look better at 50 than we did when we were 20?
Basing everything on age I think is ridiculous. It’s more about how the person wears the outfit, and how it makes them feel. We’ve been indoctrinated to think: short, tight, and revealing = inappropriate for those over 40-years of age. I say, not so.

I think we must seriously disconnect age from clothing; it’s all about how you strut your stuff, with class.

Repost from

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Homeless chic: How insane?

In this month's issue we discuss the idea of Poverty Porn (page 38), i.e. the new trend where beautiful fashion stories are shot in poor locales. Models don pricey designer outfits, in areas where some people can't even afford a loaf of bread.

For example, earlier this year L'Officiel Paris featured Chanel Iman in a fashion story (above), wearing couture shot against a shabby-chic township background.

Is this creative juxtapositioning or just plain bad taste?

Homeless Chic

At another end of the spectrum, we have 'homeless chic', something you might of heard of. The above video explains how Homeless Chic started.  It is basically fashion inspired by homeless people and the clothes they wear. The poster children for Homeless Chic have always been Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen. Yet, I think they have more of a grunge look.

Now is this in bad taste? I definitely think so. Of course designers or celebs are going to be inspired and influenced by different things in the world around them. But seeing a male model walking down the runway in Vivienne Westwood designs (which obviously doesn't come cheap), carrying a fold-up mattress, looking like he needs a good scrub, is not chic at all. I find it very disrespectful.

Homeless people are usually not homeless by choice, they wear what they can find (usually from charities or from the trash). These are facts. It's not the same as being inspired by punks, monks or bikers. This is an exploitation of homeless people.

Homeless Street Style

There are now even sites which exhibit homeless street style.  That is “images of people living on the street that exhibit a unique sense of personal style.”

But maybe this is actually a good thing. At least this blogger takes pictures of actual homeless people in their environment, wearing what they can find.

The photographer merely captures their personal sense of style; whereas designers like Vivienne Westwood makes homeless chic outfits, which cost thousands and are meant for an elite group of fashionistas.

What do you think?

Monday, August 20, 2012

How ridiculous?

Cannot believe somewhere in the world 'women can wear pants' is considered to be news.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Not all WOMEN are alike

Meet Jonno, he's a bit of a pig who sunk so low as to slate his ex-girlfriend, who happens to be from South Africa, on VICE.

I am seriously so disgusted by this dude, Jonno Seidler. Loved this article by Samantha Steele on today:

 "There’s nothing like a poorly written, judgmental article to make the blood boil. Vice magazine posted such an opinion piece online today about dating South African girls. I initially read it prepared to be lightly offended but mainly amused by generalisations and a tongue-in-cheek tone. Instead the Marie Claire team and I were downright upset by vulgarity, thoughtless commentary and offensive sexism. Even if it is a parody, it’s not a clever one. It was based on author Jonno Seidler’s experience dating one South African girl in 2006-2007. Some of the ‘gems’ below, and my comments:

EATING: ‘By subsisting purely on staples and never swallowing after blowjobs, you can ensure that Ms Johannesburg 2012 will simultaneously hate herself and look great long after she breaks up with you,’ Jonno writes. To be quite frank, I’m impressed he got any women that near his genitals.

ACCENTS: in a nutshell, ours suck (based on his colleague’s reaction to his impression of a South African accent – excuse my scepticism). Seidler asks sarcastically, ‘Would you logically abbreviate ‘How are you going, mate?’ to ‘Howsit?’. To this question I must ask, who says ‘How are you going, mate?’ How does ‘How are you going?’ make any more sense than ‘How is it [going]?’

 RACE RELATIONS: ‘If you are remotely ethnic-looking, expect to always be treated like a second class citizen. Add it to the list of things you should definitely not talk about until you’ve broken up.’ The only thing I like about this sentence? That he is confident that she will break up by him.

APARTHEID: ‘Pronounced “Ah-Pwoar-Tide”. If you say it really fast it sounds like “Opportos”. Which is not funny. Nothing about apartheid is funny. Also, South Africans have no sense of humour.’ Out of everything he wrote, this line offended me the most – and made no sense. Firstly, who pronounces Apartheid like that? Only you, Jon, only you (your impression of a South African accent is now cast into even more doubt). Also, South Africans are hilarious! I have no proof to back this up. But it’s true.

SEX: ‘You can start cheating on her now because she’s almost certainly already doing it to you.’ Wow. Wonder why she broke up with him. This guy is a prince among men. CAPETOWN (the spelling makes me wince. Have you heard of Google?): ‘This is where all the cool stoner South African Dads who still jam out to Deep Purple on long weekends come from. You will probably want to hang out with them more than their daughters.’ Maybe you do, Jonno, but I doubt they’ll want to hang out with you.

TEETH: ‘There are a lot of South African orthodontists for some reason, and this means your South African girlfriend’s teeth will sparkle in the fucking dark.’ I’m not even sure why this offends him. But be warned, perfect teeth piss some people off. Who knew?

Then Jonno complains about Grey’s Anatomy. Don’t know why this is a South African thing. But it makes him mad. Let’s rebut with #realSAwomen on Twitter – what are the real characteristics of South African women? Let’s show @VICE and @jonnoseidler how wrong they are." 

What do you think? I know not many of you are  from SA, but to generalize like this is disgusting. I know we all generalize from time to time, but I think it upsets me and other women because it is another form of degrading women. 

 I just love the way women are fighting back though. That you can really see in the comments below his article.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How to become a plus-size model

This is just brilliant. So if you ever thought about becoming a plus-size models, here's some advice.