Dear Scott: Where does fashion come from? Who decides what is going to be popular and what we are going to wear as far as clothes, hair and makeup? I know that there are fashion shows but I can’t seem to be able to explain the concept of where a trend originates to my husband. I have been telling him that he needs to buy some new clothes and get a new haircut. But he says there’s nothing wrong with his the clothes that he has, and that his hair is fine. I think he looks out of date, but he claims he looks “timeless” and has “personal style.” His shirts have big blousy sleeves and his pants have pleats in the front with cuffs. His hair has been the same forever.
Answer: Fashion and personal style are two different things. If a man shows up in a pirate shirt with ruffles down the front proclaiming personal style, there will be laughter in the room. The blousy shirt sleeves are a ruffle away from wrong.
The pleated pants are another give away. They’ve been gone for at least ten years but guys refuse to trade in their suits for newer models claiming that the pleats help them to hide a misfortunate belly. Pleats actually accentuate the issue.
Meryl Streep played the role of a sharp, business savvy, top executive of a major fashion magazine in the move The Devil Wears Prada. She explains where fashion comes from to her unfashionable new assistant, played by Anne Hathaway, after the assistant laughed at the designers who were deciding over two belts that looked exactly the same to her.
She said that it all looked like a pile of stuff.
“This…stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select, I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater you’re wearing for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.”
Scott Terwilliger is an Aiken salon owner. He can be reached at Scott.Terwilliger@hotmail.com.