Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bridging the GAP

I miss the dominance of the GAP. You know about 6 or 7 years ago when they kind of had the keys to the kingdom? Everybody shopped there. People actually paid attention to the new GAP ads. What I really miss about them though was that they were Garanimals for grown folks. They’d have the entire set: t-shirt, sweater, jacket, scarf, skirt, pants, hat, gloves. In two, maybe three, color palettes. And you could pick what you needed and jam out a good looking outfit in 10 minutes. Jacket tailored to go with the pants. Sweater cut to go with the t-shirt. No worries about proportions or color matching. People looked so nice.

Not everybody needs grownup Garanimals. But some people do. A lot of people do. I’ve had far too many moments lately of walking past someone in public and thinking “Sweet Jesus, what are you wearing on your feet?” Yes, there are exceptions. Rules are made to be broken. Tilda Swinton, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, HBC. They are breaking all sorts of rules. I ain’t mad at them. But, most people don’t have that kind of eye. And, frankly, I don’t have the time to be schooling everyone I see. Lessons like – if you have a full posterior*, pleated and tapered crop pants with, lord-help-me, ankle booties? No. And I mean this most emphatically. No. Don’t make me come over there.

Anyone can learn. It’s about those things like proportion, knowing your body, working with color, adding the unexpected, harmony and dissonance. But not everyone has the time or inclination to explore the mysteries. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with just looking presentable. Classic is classic for a reason. The GAP was able to make people look just slightly more interesting that flat out boring. It was a gift. I miss it.

* True story. My eyes are still quivering in the back of my head and afraid to come out.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The other jingle all the way

You know, I feel for the OWS and the Tea Party both in a certain way. The truth is that we’re all kind of feeling like we’re getting screwed. It’s just that nobody really knows who’s holding the screwdriver. I mean, everybody has a guess. But nobody really knows. And so everybody makes a guess and demonizes the person that they feel is responsible.

I may be old school, but my guess is one person or persons responsible is whoever is profiting from the out-of-control consumer culture. That’s one con that everybody seems to have bought in to. And none of us is better for it. And I have a pretty simple, non-legislative, easy to operate plan. Start really thinking about shit before you buy it. How does this benefit me? What exactly am I paying for?

Like a purse. You know what the difference between a $50 purse is and a $950 purse is? The $950 purse will hold your crap. The $50 purse will also hold your crap. And the $900 you saved. Yeah, I know. $900 is heavy. But you can do it. Yes, I absolutely agree that the $900 purse will still be holding up 20 years from now. But you don’t know if you’ll be alive 20 years from now, much less whether you’ll still like that damn purse. Trust me, that $50 purse will work just fine. And if you’re still around in a year, buy another purse. Go nuts. Spend another 50 bucks. Or don’t. Maybe by then you’ll have decided that you’ll see how a $30 purse will do. Or you’ll make your own purse or buy one at a resale shop. There’s a world of possibilities out there that don’t cost NINE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS. But by then you’ll have experienced the joys of compound interest on that $900. And the even greater joy of having told the person who tried to sell you that over-priced bag to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. Sticking it to the man? Priceless.

Okay, this kind of decision making process won’t always opt for the cheaper thing. Fresh baked bread is more expensive than a Twinkie. No doubt. Healthier too. So you may have to pony up sometimes. But you know what? I’ve been drinking jug wine from Gallo lately. Pretty damn tasty, my friends. Tastes even better when I’m jingling the coins I saved in my pocket and I’m doing my evil leprechaun dance.

I hear that twang a comin'

I should be embarrassed. I mean really. It’s the purest form of chicanery. But, dammit, it works.

If I need people to like me (yes, I’m that manipulative, judge away), lately I’ve been busting out the Texas drawl. You know, those moments when you just need that extra drop of goodwill out of somebody, so you just slide ‘em a little sugar. Or darlin’. Darlin’ works too. Hon will do it in a pinch. You just hit your short vowels little longer. Slide some of your long vowels around the side door. And drop those endin’ gees at will.

Generally speaking it doesn’t matter where the person is from. Alpine, Texas or Secaucus, New Jersey. If it’s somebody from around here, they’ll think you’re one of “us”, and of course you’re just a good ol’ gal at heart. And if they’re a Yankee, it doesn’t matter if they also think you’re dumb as a box of rocks to go with it. They’ll only mean it in the nicest way possible. Hell, it worked for W for at least 5 years. Course they may have caught on since it doesn’t seem to be doing Rick Perry any favors (good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. Stay smart, America).

Most of the time it takes something less than a Sherlock Holmes level of sleuthing to catch my roots showing (“I deduce from the way that you pronounce “cement” that you’ve spent at least part of your childhood in coastal Texas. South of Houston if I’m not very much mistaken.”). And usually I have the good grace not to slop sugar on people just to get on their good side. But lately, I don’t know. I’ve been just hauling it out just to see if I can maybe get around somebody with it. Just for the heck of it really. I should be ashamed. And I am. I am. And if I was an honest sort, I’d keep my ersatz Western charms to myself and my intimates (who are very much on to me and ignore my bull crap). But it’s kind of like having a high IQ or blonde hair and big boobs. Just seems like a shame to let it go to waste.

TIME: Quotes of the Day