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July 22, 2004

This Summer's Fashions

Dear Vanessa --

The weather in NYC was hot and humid the day after the Wife and I returned from our Caribbean vacation. "Good lord," she said when we got together that evening. "Did you see what the young girls were walking around in today? They looked like sluts!" Coming from a Wife who's no more of a prude than I am -- puh-leeze, we both enjoyed ourselves in the '70s -- that was saying a lot.

I wonder: are this year's slutty fashions much different than last year's slutty fashions? What I'm noticing seems mainly like souped-up retreads:

  • The Amazing Ruffled Mini. These are skirts that hug smoothly from below-navel to halfway down the hips, then flare dramatically for six inches before cutting off entirely. The stretchiness up top makes the hips go switch-switch-switch, while the ever-in-motion ruffles offer promises of paradise. Men all over the city are praying for breezes, because not much more than a breeze is required to flip up one of these barely-there hems. And the skirts have certainly made following a girl up the subway stairs a particularly suspenseful exercise.
  • Clingier fabrics. Maybe I'm fooling myself, but it seems as though this summer's bellybaring tops are even more revealing than last year's. Not in terms of flesh displayed -- how could they reveal more flesh? -- but in terms of what they reveal about what's beneath. Last year was all about nipple-pokies. This year seems to be about giving away nipple-details. When bras are worn, the location of the label can be discerned, and the number of clasps can be counted.
  • Stretch terry to the max. Who was the genius fabric-engineer who turned terrycloth into such an alluring thing? This year's stretch terry seems very, very thin, and especially stroke-able. I'm mostly seeing it in hotpants and lowslung sarong-like skirts.
  • Slash-cut wraparound skirts. Some of them cut 'way up to the hipbone, if only on one side. Have you noticed how many of these fashions require a great deal of management? There's the tight grip that prevents buttcheek embarassments; there's the clutching and tugging meant to battle hem-creep. Perhaps these fashions really serve a purpose. Perhaps girls, who no longer smoke as much as they once did, simply need new ways to busy their hands.

Has all sense of "appropriateness" gone out the window, do you think? Even last year, there was still a clear distinction between "clothes you'd wear at the beach, or to a party, or skanking around the East Village" and "clothes you'd wear in a respectable part of town." This year, that distinction seems to have vanished. It's very striking, for instance, the way that semi-see-thru white pants -- which last year was beachwear, a daring coverup to put on over your bikini -- are now a standard thing in midtown.

The public/private distinction also seems to be continuing its long, inevitable decline. What with the current semi-transparent, gauzy fabrics -- and with the underwear-as-outwear thing now viewed as an established and classic style -- much of the diff between publicwear and privatewear has evaporated. Hey: if it feels good in the boudoir, why change for dinner?

I've noticed a shift in attitude too. As you remember, NYC women are deservedly famous for how aggressively they push their sexiness. To be more accurate, what they're famous for is sending off very loud mixed signals, along the lines of: "Look at me, dammit! Now!"/"What the fuck do you think you're looking at?" -- Gina Gershon on a bad-PMS day, in other words. This summer, I'm finding that many of the sparkly mediakid gals are projecting another attitude entirely. The showing-off and teasing are done confidently and serenely. Walking around town in wispy nothings, doing their best to look like sexpots from "The O.C.," the young gals seem to be expecting ... Well, what?

Certainly not wolf whistles -- how 20th century would that be, eh? The idea that guys might feel turned-on, moved, annoyed, angered, or outraged doesn't seem to have occurred to them. No, the women seem more robotic than that. You have to wonder what they are expecting. Applause? A promotion? Good Nielsen ratings?

My theory is that today's young women have grown up being encouraged to think of feeling hot and doing a lot of self-expression as not just good and fun, but as the keys to success in life generally. Going around looking like a videoslut strikes them as ... cool. Neat. A sign that you're one of life's winners.

Lord knows I've got nothing against self-expression per se, though I do think that the idea of "not expressing yourself" is being undersold these days. Whatever happened to these joys: relaxing; being silent; keeping your own company; playing fly-on-the-wall; and not worrying about the limelight. They aren't exactly in heavy rotation, are they?

But the real downside of the cult of self-expression seems to me to be how badly the other side of the equation -- namely, how your behavior is going to be taken by others who are present -- is being neglected. (Perhaps it's even being demonized.) Practically speaking, this neglect isn't just puzzling and inconvenient; it's a communications disaster, because it's only by observing, interpreting, and responding that communication can take place at all.

But maybe 20somethings aren't interested in communicating. The young 'uns I observe don't seem to be, anyway, at least not in any traditional way. For all the enthusiastic self-expression they indulge in, the 20somethings I see largely seem devoted to acting out. Lordy, I haven't witnessed so much venting and squabbling since I was in nursery school. The 20somethings don't seem to me like people interested in the experience of communication; they seem instead like solipsistic monads exhibiting a lot of Brownian motion.

I find I can't make sense out of much of what they say, for instance. This isn't a mere matter of me being unhip to current slang. It's that I can find no word-based content, let alone logic, in what they say. What they seem to be peddling instead is acting-out behavior -- gesticulating, squabbling, grabbing, etc. (They express themselves at each other, guffaw at how brilliant they've been, then set to squabbling again.) The words they speak convey no meaning, they're just dressing on the self-expression package. Each mediakid is his/her own genius performance artist. Or maybe it'd be more accurate to think of today's 20something as an MTV show, and his/her persona as that show's video-jock host. They always seem to be imagining themselves performing for a videocamera.

To my mind, it adds up to nothing but energy, agitation and noise. So I find myself switching gears when I deal with them. Since there's nothing to be found in what they say, I do my best to interpret their behavior. I switch into "acting" mode; I forget about the lines and look for and respond to subtext instead.

Life is passing this old coot by, I guess. 'Way back in my day, squabbling, and having tantrums were considered bad behavior; kids who were too prone to venting were quarantined until they quit it. Acting-out generally was considered to be -- if occasionally therapeutic and fun -- not a standard-operating-procedure way of making your way through life. Not for the first time do I wonder: what's it going to be like to have a boss from this generation?

As I was walking back from the doctor today -- dodging sidewalk cellphonists, of course -- I was wondering what it is that this summer's style of gal-dress really means. Is it just "I'm hot!" "Look at me!" And "I'm a star"? Perhaps what the styles convey is, "Nobody ever said 'no' to me."

I was pleased with myself and began reviewing the idea. Could I perhaps be onto something? I was giving the idea some thought when the answer walked by: a mother and her teenaged daughter dressed in matching clingy bellytops and ruffled minis -- a hot, 35-ish blonde accompanied by her hot, Anna K.-style child, both equipped with legs, tans, bellybutton hardware, and cellphones. Not only was this a mom who'd never said No; she obviously looks to her daughter for style tips.

I wonder what'll become of office-dress expectations as the bellybutton crowd begins to advance. Isn't it inevitable that they'll want the corporation to make room for their preferences? How far will they be able to go before the Boomer bosses blow the whistle?

Curious about this, I've been giving officewear more attention than usual recently. Spotted so far this summer: only a few spaghetti-strap tops but lots of sleevelessness; no minis; and, surprisingly, much more breast cleavage than I remember from years past. After a decade of the rawest butt fetishism, could breasts be making a comeback?

Bare bellies have yet to turn up at the office. Well, frankly bare bellies, anyway. We do seem to be sidling edgewise up to the look, though. Some of the more daring young gals, I've noticed, have taken to wearing tight tops that barely reach the waistbands of their pants, and that don't overlap them at all. If these young women should happen -- just happen, you understand -- to lean over? Or should these curvy and taut creatures maybe -- just maybe -- reach up for something on a high shelf? And if some yummy young bellyflesh should go on display? Well, gosh, nothing was intended, was it? So where's the harm?

How are the young gals out your way dressing on hot 'n' humid days? And what are you observing about dress-expectations (and dress-habits) at the office?

Steve Sailer reviews Stephen Rhoads' new book about sex differences here; I put some of the book's facts into a blog posting here.



posted by Michael at July 22, 2004


As a 20-something living in New York, I've done some thinking lately about this very issue. I definitley agree: bare midriffs (midrifts?) are out, ruffled miniskirts are in. Since I don't have a frame of reference for what it was like "back then," I'm not sure if the reaction from guys in the days of leggings and off-the-shoulder tops was jaw-dropping and drooling, but that's definitely the reaction I (and friends) have. As a reasonably intelligent person, that reaction seems ridiculous to me, but was women's "high fashion" ever intended to indicate anything but desirability?

It definitely seems to be a generational thing, though, because to me, those ruffled skirts and slash-cut skirts do not connote "slut." "Desire me," perhaps, but not "ravage me." Rather, it's last year's fashions that do so when worn now. Maybe I'm just closer to the ground of what's chic and what's not than most people my age.

Posted by: theorywonk on July 22, 2004 9:09 PM

I am also a 20 something New Yorker and my stomach turns whenever I see one of those ruffled minis. They rank right up there with anything that says "Princess" or any article of clothing with a prominent butterfly in identifying poor taste and slutty behavior.

Posted by: . on July 22, 2004 10:39 PM

Since Cowtown invented the weather phenomenom called "hot and humid", you might think we would have the fashion market cornered for July and August. "Unh uh". That's nope in English. I've seen exactly the same garments in my office building. (Except for Barbie's Grandmother, who must have taken really good care of her WKRP office clothing from the 70's.)

However, I will hold out hope since the higher up on the elevator you go, the more traditionally styled the women become. Ann Taylor suits, hose and heels in muted grays and blacks. These ladies drip money, education, and success, not sweat.

Posted by: Cowtown Pattie on July 22, 2004 11:34 PM

I don't know nothing about no fashion, but it sure as hell sounds like I need to get out of my office more.

Posted by: Scott Chaffin on July 23, 2004 12:25 AM

Thank heavens! The frilled miniskirt hasn't hit flyover country yet.

Posted by: Deb on July 23, 2004 12:29 AM


Posted by: David Sucher on July 23, 2004 1:14 AM

Funny you should write this up. I work with the admissions at my college, and yesterday a 20-something came in wearing a bikini top and short shorts, with the zipper pulled down to reveal a bikini bottom. Read:Underwear. So there you go...apparently, the boudoir theory seems right, and er, fit. Really really fit.

Posted by: Neha on July 23, 2004 1:22 AM

If a posting ever cried out for the interests of research, of course.

P.S. As an ex-NY'er I feel s-o-o-o deprived.

Posted by: ricpic on July 23, 2004 8:19 AM

"Lord knows I've got nothing against self-expression per se, though I do think that the idea of "not expressing yourself" is being undersold these days. Whatever happened to these joys: relaxing; being silent; keeping your own company; playing fly-on-the-wall; and not worrying about the limelight. They aren't exactly in heavy rotation, are they?"

I am still laughing (ruefully) at the total truth of this!!

My only other comment is: when are GUYS going to start baring all and then some?? While girls have, apparently, thrown caution to the winds, guys seem to be more and more aggressively wearing sloppy, formless, stupid clothes, construction boots even on the hottest days, and three days' beard. NOTICE TO MEEN EVERYWHERE: The only guy who ever looked ANY GOOD in that 3-days'-beard thing was Don Johnson 15 years ago, and ---ANOTHER NEWS FLASH--Don Johnson is going to look good in a lot of things other men aren't. Either shave, or grow the damn beard!!

Posted by: annette on July 23, 2004 10:14 AM

First of all, a major omission.
With exaggerated lacing or just clasps. Worn, of course, as outer garment. Which is, to me, is a sign of pendulum moving back - towards 18th cent. "apples for sale" attitudes. Or chocolate Easter eggs in blindingly white lace-trimmed bonbonniere (sp?), if you like.
(picture that, ricpic?)

Regarding "being silent; keeping your own company": that will be the inevitable consequence of too much venting out. They just don't know it yet. Oh, their day for reflection will come, sadly.

Since at 20 something the idea of middle ground is boring,what's the alternative?
Birkenstocks featuring rough toes with no pedicure, new-age jewelery, no make-up, shapeless khaki long skirts and unisex shirts (which are present too, especially around Union Square)...mmm... not quite appetizing.

And, as always and in everything else, there are ruffles and ruffles.

I myself am wearing carefree sleeveless crepe-georgette ruffled number to work today, to mark the personal occasion. Which resulted in rare "morning" from my boss, and the day is still young!

Posted by: Tatyana on July 23, 2004 11:01 AM

Theorywonk -- The "slut" thing is funny, isn't it? I don't use the word here judgmentally -- I was very fond of punkettes, for instance, (my era) who did their very best to look slutty. It was a kind of theater I enjoyed. And a lot of these glittery new gals probably aren't sluts in the usual sense. (Actually, the ones I've spent a little time with have been the oddest combo of completely-uninhibited -- nothing's a secret to them, except maybe what life's all about -- and utter squaresville.) But the standard-issue mall-girl style these days seems to have converged with porn-star-in-the-VIP-room style -- perfect hair, perfect flesh, all out there and enticing, etc. I'd love to read what you come up with if and when you apply your Theory expertise to the phenomenon.

"." -- Do the styles actually mean anything about the person? I'm too old to know. Do you younger dudes feel that it's fair to interpret a girl's self-presentation as a message about her ... well, I dunno, availability? Lotsa flesh on display in aggressively up-to-date style equals "easy"? What do I know, but I have the impression that a kind of disconnect has taken place between the styles and the message -- that the only real message the girls in the ruffled minis are sending is something like "ain't I cute" and "I'm in charge." But maybe not: maybe it really is a sexual paradise out there for young guys. Enlightenment, please.

Pattie -- Texas downtown style must be a whole study in and of itself! Probably a lot of fun to keep track of too. Have there been any movies that have caught it? "Dr.T and the Women," maybe?

Scott -- Girlwatching is a great incentive to support the New Urbanism, one of whose goals is to create cities and towns that encourage walking around. I've got an hour-long morning walk to the office here in Manhattan, and it's like a brand-new sociology lesson every day. I feel bad for all my fellow Americans who have to commute in their cars. What do they look at? The traffic?

Deb -- I'm surprised. Aren't styles supposed to hit everywhere just about instantaneously these days?

David -- Indeed!

Neha -- That's a great story. Do you look at some of these girls and think, "Good lord, what could she be thinking?" I enjoy the easy R-rated girlwatching as much as any other lowdown het male, but I do fairly often scratch my head and wonder what she thought when she'd pulled herself together and checked it out in the bedroom mirror. "Wow, I look just like a 'ho in a hiphop video!" Something like that?

Ricpic -- I need a good photo editor to work with me on some of these postings. Or maybe I should get a cellphone, one of the ones with a camera built in, so I can unobtrusively take pix myself. Have you seen some of those websites where cellphone photographers contribute photos? Whew.

Annette -- Young guys really do look frumpy these days, especially by comparison to all those glossy, poppin'-out girls, don't they? Come to think of it, I wonder how much "confidence" has to do with this situation. The gals are ridiculously full of themselves -- the world's their oyster and then some. I wonder if the schlumpiness of so many of the young guys indicates that they aren't feeling so cheerful about things. Do you get a kick out of some of the cultures (Italian, French, some Russian) where the guys are more exhibitionistic than American guys usually are? The French guys in the Caribbean were certainly fit and vain, and I think the Wife was letting herself enjoy the sights.

Tatyana -- What is going to happen when these kids run out of energy? I'm probably overdoing, as I guess I'm prone to, but they don't seem to have had the habit of reflection (let alone logical thought) instilled in them -- they seem to me to have no inner lives at all. They exteriorize instantly. It's as though anything going on internally is experienced as evil or disgusting, so they purge it. So they sparkle and twinkle and burn bright. But like you say, that fuel runs out in your 30s. What'll they do then? Will they have any other resources to draw on? I mean, they'll survive and find their way by somehow. But I'll be interested to watch the "how."

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 23, 2004 11:26 AM

Self expression in dress has always been a strange issue for me. Growing up (not that I'm that much older now), I always considered the way I dressed as some kind of self-expression (upside-down flags, patches from semi-obscure bands, etc), but I now tend to look at dress as an expression of style--something to be delineated from "expression" per se--and as a declaration of membership or affinity with a given subculture or microculture. Some of those groups ape and reinterpret each other, such that what seemed like "expression" is vitiated as such (though I'm dubious about the early Punk claims that bondage gear was "self-expression," it was certainly a more authentic form than its mutation [mixed with a definite influence from Metal] into its popular culture instantiation of kids wearing huge flared black jeans, black eye makeup, and black T-Shirts that say "outrageous" things), but that basic group affiliation is definitely a big part of fashion when you're younger, whether that means the Mall Girl set and their "Princess" T-Shirts, or this season's ruffles (as Tatanya points out: there are ruffles, and there are ruffles, after all). Mixed in this entire issue is a general balkanization of cultural spheres (the Punk and Rap subcultures splintering into various underground, popular, and "subcutaneous" classes, to take just one example), such that even within well-defined subcultures, such that picking out a girl that is at the bleeding edge of fashion and one that is just with the rest of pack is something of a nuanced decision.

Girls that I am friends with who wear the clothes you've described, though, aren't trying to say "I'm easy," but are just trying to look good within the context of modern fashion. Not that there's a total lack of intentionality in how they dress; my friends do want to look sexy sometimes, and on occasion that calls for a miniskirt. Of all the calumnies ascribed to prominent critical theorists (esp. Butler, Paglia, and Dworkin), at the very least, they nailed categories of femininity being socially-constructed, and "sexy" is definitely such a category.

Guys' fashion really does need a serious makeover. Not to make this Queer Eye for Blowhard Guy, but there is a men's boutique I walk by on my way to work that bowls me over with its inability to articulate anything original or interesting in men's fashions. Flip-flops and awful-looking worn jeans, collared shirts that no man should ever wear (striped pastels? ugh. to say nothing of the ridiculous $100 off-center silkscreen creations I see men wearing constantly), and of course, the shiny shirt. I don't know who pioneered shiny, skin-tight shirts for men, but they are an attrocity. Related is why men won't wise up and buy a fitted dress shirt instead of blousy dress shirts.

Thankfully, everyone I know still appreciates a fine suit for those fancy and work times. A nice high-cut number with a smart looking tie still bowls every lady I know over.

Posted by: theorywonk on July 23, 2004 12:40 PM

"...the higher up on the elevator you go, the more traditionally styled the women become."

This is true. Always has been and probably always will be.

I've often thought that a no nonsense course on how to "dress for success," taught by a "dresser" to high school kids (or even college students) would do ten times the good, in terms of helping young people up the socio-economic ladder (provided they want to climb it) than all the self-esteem curriculla (which is actually counter productive) combined.

I once saw a TV show in which a dresser explained that if a young man of limited means simply had a decent navy blazer and two pairs of slacks, one mid-grey one ecru, he could do job interviews, fit in in "the right" social gatherings, etc,. I'm sure the same is true for a young woman (Cowtown Pattie's - suits in muted greys and blacks).

But would such a course be allowed today? Or would it be denounced as elitist? Or worse.

Posted by: ricpic on July 23, 2004 12:42 PM

Michael: Greenwich and midtown are not the whole of New York City, and tend to be socially unrestricted areas anyway. I have yet to see such clothing en masse on the Upper West Side, women here..regardless of age is going for "kooky-cute" or the new rich, Eurotrash look. The Upper East girls wouldn't be caught dead in such getups, thats for downtown wear you know? And In Williamsburgh, well, those pancake makeup, red-lipped, va va va vaoom girls in nipped waists and corsets make you leave manhattan forever.

Of course, a recent trip to the middle-class suburbs showed the young ones in full slutty-outfit bloom (admittly from last year) while the parents had interchangable, asexual outfits. I wonder if it helps the clothing budget.

As I've said before, I keep noticing a slow creeping of more 40ish clothing. Nipped waists, broad shoulders, dresses that emphasize bust and curves. The look is finally replacing the dour-plain jane-working class clothing as visual shorthand for "Smart, artistic, unconventional bright young thing" for which I am forever grateful.

Reaction against femininsim? Against the asexual clothing of thier parents? Against the self-display of a current young woman's attire? All I know for shure is that 5 years ago I didn't know any girl wearing a no one wears pants and I can count the corset-wearing ones on both hands.

the future is so retro.

Posted by: jleavitt on July 23, 2004 1:02 PM

I regard dressing as highly self-expressive, and always have. My wardrobe is interspersed with one-of-a-kind pieces that I’ve acquired during my occasional world journeys.

One of my good friends is a well-known designer, and we LOVE to dish about street fashion. However, fashionistas high and low should take note – at the recent gay pride parade in NYC, he made the following bitchy, but prescient pronouncements:

“Gay is so over”
“Honey, fashion is over, too. Don’t you forget it.”

So there you have it. The future is retro, isn't it?

Posted by: Maureen on July 23, 2004 2:28 PM

Hi Michael,

I've been casually reading and enjoying your blog for a month or so, but haven't had occasion to comment. Your entry on this summer's fashion, though, reminded me tangentially of Teresa Hayden's July 14 article about fashionable colors (no perma-link, unfortunately):

I confess I'm not an eagle-eyed fashion observer, but I entertain the hypothesis that the genuine street-level style-impulse toward tiny tops and low-rise jeans happened in the late '90s, and since then it's been carried forward primarily by marketing -- in other words that most "girls these days" are buying tiny clothes not to self-express or send a message, but mainly because *that's what's in the stores*.

Posted by: Rod on July 23, 2004 3:03 PM

I sort of agree with you, but only up to a certain point. As a 20something with absolutely no taste for see-through, minis and hip-huggers, I have to admit to having a very hard time finding clothes I like, and it has been this way for a couple of years. There seems to be two kinds of stores: those that sell the slutty stuff, and those that sell clothes for the elderly. I am not yet ready to totally give up all fashion sense for the sake of comfort (I do that plenty already, but I set some limits!). It seems I am stuck in a rut of not-being-able-to-find-nice-clothes-that-cover-
most-of-my-flesh-ness. What am I to do? Well, it usually means going for the unavoidable semi-see-through blouse, but wearing an opaque cami under it.

The worse is, those aren't even the bottom of the barrel! What's with those 10-year-olds who dress even sluttier and bare even more flesh than those 20somethings? Where are their parents? What's wrong with them, to let their daughters walking around dressed like that? I do *not* want to see a 7-year-old girl's G-string! Doesn't that make you nauseous? Just by looking at them, I feel like I'm exploiting those kids! And it's not like it can be avoided: they're all over the place! I think that fashion-wise, *that* is the current issue. There is something definitely wrong when elementary school children look like they are just about to go hustling...

Posted by: Sereenie on July 23, 2004 3:19 PM

You know what, she looked like a cross section of "ho in a hip-hop video" meets "white chicks". I hate being this judgmental, but I've never quite understood why, oh why do people need to dress outrageoulsy just to stay "with it." What happened to developing your own damn style? However, I'm someone who never batted an eyelid to acknowledge peer pressure.

Not saying that looking a roadside hippie is a good thing, but I'm sure there's plenty of fabric in the world that can be put together to make a decent piece of clothing.

Or what the hey - if the future is so retro, then lets go back to grass skirts, leaves, and coconut shells. It'll keep Thomas More happy.

Posted by: Neha on July 23, 2004 3:31 PM

MB, what will happen to them when they'll run out of energy and would they find inner source for reflection?
Oh, I dunno. Pain is a good teacher. There must be something dear to them, however trivial, and when they'll find out that dear thing is not for keeps forever, than and only than. I guess. Or may be not - after all they were taught it's OK to burden everything on innocent [and unwilling] bystanders or at the very least, their therapist. So may be I'm wrong.

In any case, loudly "exteriorizing" all the time unto their boyfriends will cause evaporation of said boyfriends in [distant] future, when like Deb would say, "gravity starts to take it's toll". And "keeping one's own company" might become the only choice. Sadly, as I said.

ricpic, I don't know about "stationary" institutions, but Internet is a wonderful thing - it fills the gaps.

JLeavitt, I know, right? 40's, and Marlen, and fitted jackets with real CUT and those awsome woven strap shoes on sensible heel! Can't wait.
As to 'retro' - well, isn't it the first thing they teach at FIT: there is no plagiat, there are only inspirations?

OT: not to appear pedantic, but - theorywonk - my name is Tatyana, not Tatanya. 1001 time.

Posted by: Tatyana on July 23, 2004 5:53 PM

Not an expert, but didn't Versace say a long time ago that he wanted to dress ordinary women like the hookers he saw growing up?

Posted by: nn on July 23, 2004 5:55 PM

In my own experience, you can tell a lot from looking at a person's day-to-day fashion. I find it funny that people my age have this reflexive desire to "not be judged." I will generally form my opinion of someone without even talking to them, furthermore, though I may eventually talk to the person I find that the vast majority of the time my instincts will have been right. Or it could be I just know an extraordinary number of shallow people.

"Do you younger dudes feel that it's fair to interpret a girl's self-presentation as a message about her ... well, I dunno, availability?"

I feel like I should answer this with, "Hasn't it always been the case that a girl's self-presentation is a message about her availability?" A girl's style and the way she carries herself will tell you about her economic status, popularity, self-esteem, the music she likes and the friends she has. The latter is most important for determining what type of person she is, but it is the most reliable method I've seen. Thank goodness my mom never let me hang out with the 'bad crowd.'

Posted by: . on July 23, 2004 8:20 PM

Ach, how depressing to read that New York is sporting the same fashions as sunny Santa Barbara, CA. And I thought you guys were in the vangaurd!

Re: "Nobody's ever said no to me." Indeed! My other suggestion is: "Look at me, because Daddy didn't."

Can't say I'm a fan of the mini-ruffles, their bisection line between smooth fabric and ruffles makes no sense to me.

Posted by: ted on July 24, 2004 12:59 AM

I don't care what the kids are wearing. My question to myself each morning is, "What Would Audrey Wear?", she's still my fashion diva!

Posted by: Bradamante on July 24, 2004 12:59 PM

G-strings on 7-year-olds really is kind of upsetting. I wonder what's next? G-strings on 7-year-old boys?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 24, 2004 5:23 PM

I'm sure the pedophiles of the world are just lapping it up.

Posted by: lindenen on July 26, 2004 10:28 PM

Tatyana: my apologies for the misspelling.

About thongs: i was surprised the other day when I saw a 60s era ad for underwear that didn't leave "an unslightly panty line." I guess I thought that thongs were an outgrowth of a some new trend, but apparently I was wrong.

Posted by: theorywonk on July 27, 2004 12:58 PM

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