By contributing writer Heather Fried

<< Back to Crimes of Fashion, Part 1

The wise Oscar Wilde once said, “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.” Well if that’s the case, then it’s safe to say that I’m still truly unfashionable because I haven’t altered my closet in years. At least I can say that I’ve survived another year of fashion persecution and come out a little less clueless; I can now confidently identify the difference between casual jeans and going out jeans: casual jeans are comfortable, while going out jeans bring out the very essence of a woman—her ass-crack.

But I must say, I do agree that fashion is an intolerable form of ugliness; take the capelette for example. Capes, to me, are reminiscent of Dracula. I don’t know who the hell woke up one day proclaiming, “I vant to vear your cape,” but they must have thought that making the cape miniature, and in a variety of sassy colors, would transform it from creepy to cute. But they’re not cute, and they serve no practical function. How is this measly piece of cloth that fastens round my neck and dangles to mere inches below that ever going to keep me warm? And more importantly, how is it ever going to help me leap tall buildings in a single bound? It just doesn’t seem to do what a good cape should.

Actually, fashion trends have ignored functionality for a long time, with each new trend becoming less practical than the last. I don’t mind that it’s now cool for men to look gay—in fact I much prefer the metrosexual to the scruff-ball, smelly college guy—but why must they wear the full rainbow of polo shirts all at the same time? Do they really think it makes them look bulkier and more muscular or are they under the impression that we can’t still see and smell their sweaty pits?

21st century fashion for amputees? Or racy 13th century Crusader top?

Guys, it’s okay to wear just one shirt, even if it is the pink one you are too afraid to sport on its own. Choosing one metrosexually-colored polo shows us that you are decisive and not trying to hide glandular problems or a puny physique. But please oh please, when you do finally pick out the color that best accents your biceps and pecks while bringing out the hue in your excessively large plastic-framed “Hollywood” Prada sunglasses, leave the collar turned down and not starched stiff up to your ears! I really don’t understand this one, but my best guess is that these dudes are protecting their necks from the chicks wearing capelettes.

One newer fashion trend for men that I actually kinda like but still can’t help giggle about is plaid shorts. If a guy is sick of wearing his tight jeans but feels that khaki or leather would be too fancy, plaid provides him with a small taste of the pattern variety that we girls are so fortunate to have. The part that makes me giggle is that sometimes, plaid pants make guys look as if they’ve accidentally wandered into their skinny grandpa’s closet and squeezed on a pair of his golfing knickers—a laughable style on or off the course.

Men shouldn’t catch all the flak for some of the new and unimproved trends because I’ve seen plenty of women wearing hideous, frumpy tunics. This style is around way too much to write off as a situational, impulse-buy mishap that should have stayed on the actors at the local Renaissance Festival or the employees at the local Old Navy. Hopefully tunic enthusiasts won’t go Medieval on my ass when I say that tunics don’t do it for anybody. If you’re skinny, you look like you might be fat because no one can tell what’s in that space between cloth and skin, and if you’re fat, you look fat because you’ve somehow managed to fill that huge area…with no space between cloth and skin.

You may think that I’ve changed my ways, becoming one of the cynical fashion elitists that I’ve repeatedly slandered, but I’m not a two face and I still get persecuted for my crimes of fashion….

To sum up the latest, I wear a hot pink bra strap head wrap in my hair that somebody bought me as a joke more than I wear a real bra to hold my “itty bitty titties”—an actual quote some he-haw heavy girl yelled from a pick-up truck at a stunned and braless me. It’s cool, she was probably wearing a tunic.