I learned something during the two and a half years I worked as a shop girl at Barneys New York, fashion trends are dictated by the bodies and neurosises of middle-aged white woman. Everything on the sales floor was designed to hide a bulging belly and a flat ass and compliment the legs and occasionally the bust. There are two body types that seem to pervail among that consumer set, one is that peskily annoying kind called "perfect" gained from daily gym routines and some expensive surgical sculpting and the other is the "apple". Apples gain weight in their stomach and chest yet always manage to have a pair of gorgeous legs. It's a bewildering genetic mishap, but it seems to be the norm in a lot of white ladies and guess what, most of the super rich ladies in New York are white ladies (well that or Jews, and lord I wish the Jewish conspiracy was real because I would take my piece of that pie in a minute.)
My job at Barneys was essentially making these women feel good about themselves. Complimenting their bodies and catering to their insecuritie. Often this was done at the expense of my own pride. Nothing beats having a woman ask you what your pant size is. If you tell them a 28 then they invariably answer that they must be a 27 then. They want to be skinnier than you, prettier than you, more stylish that you. Richer than you isn't enough, it's a competition and since they are paying your bills via commission, you have to let them win.
So what do you do? You pull things from the rack and tell them how much you wish you could have them. Accent their privileges. Tell them they are crazy if they say anything negative about their portly mid-section and in the case of the "perfects" you don't bad an eyelash when they "accidentally" open the fitting room door with no shirt or bra on top. I've seen more pairs of fake tits working in retail than your average porn addict. My favorite kind of breast implants are the ones on older ladies, I love a 53-year-old with the tits of a 22-year-old. Also, these women tend to wear lace or other types of see-through thongs so you have to be prepared to catch glimpses of snatch, hairless or not.
One thing almost of all these women had in common was a severe case of ass-anxiety. If they had any roundness in backside they would lament it's hugeosity. If it was tiny and flat like most of the asses than came through the Barneys sales floor they would flock to the ugliest and most embellished of jeans. Being exposed to such extreme tactical body-consciousness made me look at the way everyone dresses differently. Suddenly I saw everything in terms of smoke and mirrors, a plan for attact. The body an assemblage of shapes and sections trying to reach an idealized whole, and the ass just gets left out of the equation. I won't go into the psychology of white ladies and their butts, but it's deep and weird. While I feel this anguished game of body camoflauge is acceptable in the elder New York rank and file, it really upsets me when I see the younger, much more stylish generation hiding their behinds and embracing styles that negate them entirely.
Long blazers, harem pants, drop-crotch, tulip skirts, draped wraps and cardigans, these styles line the racks of New York cool style-hegemonist boutiques. They are an all-out assault on the visibility of a woman's ass. Recently I was at an art opening, the crowd was full of fashionable ladies with nary a curve of rump in site. Maybe it's a backlash from the booty-licious high-waist trend, maybe it's flat-assed white girls hiding what they lack, embracing a trend much like their elders embraced the trapeze dress that's all about hiding. Not that flowy is the only order, there were plenty of skin-tight bandage dresses at that opening, but all of them were paired with loose-fitting long blazers that completely covered the wearers butt.
Fashion 101 teaches us girls that you are supposed to choose legs or tits, when dressing in a revealing manner, but what about the ass? The A has been left out of the precious equation of T and A. Then again, tits have been embattled for about a decade now, a bony sternum seen as infinitely more desirable in too many young girl's eyes than a lucious pair of melons. With most of the low-cut draped tops being bra-suicide, those of us with tits have had to sit back and let certain styles pass us by, but now, seriously, what the fuck do they want me to wear?
Not that skin isn't in. The mid-riff is back, cut-outs are all the rage, and the dueling throw-back Kellys (Bundy and Kapowski) are all the word amongst the collegiate fashion blog set. The ribcage has made a serious comeback as well, but while I don't know any dude who doesn't appreciate a well-placed flash of skin, it seems like the math is all wrong. Maybe I'm just a simpleton. I come from the meat and potatoes sexuality of the midwest where the best is in the basics. I don't' particularly see the difference between a young girl wearing an oversize blazer over her ass and an older woman hiding in a tunic and leggings. Nothing is intrinsically wrong with either look, but good lord, when you are in your 20s why hide that sweet sweet behind?
Take this girl for example. I get the genius weirdness of these extreme drop-crotch Commes Des Garcons pants, but I wonder what she looks like from behind. I'm sure she has a lithe lovely body and she just looks like a rectangle. Sure, it's not always about sex, but squarepants are for cartoons, not for a lady. Then again, maybe I'm just on the pervy side and want to be able to imagine what attractive people look like without their clothes.
Probably something like this. Seriously, is this the standard? Does Oak really want to sell me these pants by representing the fact that they make an ass invisible? Is it the cut or the casting, but either way, it bums out my bum.
Actually I'll probably be putting my feelings about Oak into words very shortly and unfortunately they won't be of the nice variety. They have the worst merchandising I've ever seen in the Bond Street store and their buys are boring as fuck.
Frankly I think this whole oversize blazer trend makes everyone except for supermodels look like they raided their mom's old closet stash.
Maybe I lack refinement but to me it looked like Chloe's Spring 2010 collection was gearing up for "Chicos kind of day."