Editorial – After a Fashion

You’ll just have to believe me when I say I’m no slave to fashion. The whole Sex and the City frenzy (The bags! The shoes!) is quite happily passing me by. Most days, jeans work just fine, thank you very much.

However, when it is time to dress things up, I do appreciate great style; that seemingly effortless look that happens when exceptional design and quality workmanship come together. So as summer approaches and photos of the latest fashion trends are splashed across websites, magazine covers, and billboards, It’s this innate appreciation for flair and elegance That’s got me wondering?what the hell are they thinking?

For starters, there’s the abomination known as the shorts suit. Apparently, It’s supposed to be latest thing in men’s business wear (there’s a photo here, if you dare.) Think Little Lord Fauntleroy without the ruffles?or the tights.

On second thought, this hybrid of men’s suit jacket and sawed-off dress pants achieves more of a centaur effect: adult male on top, and, well, we’re not quite sure what on the bottom. Guys, if You’re even tempted, just remember that other article of men’s clothing that requires you to choose between knee and ankle socks: plaid golf shorts. Enough said.

Equally confusing is a little something for the ladies. Is it a sandal? Is it a boot? No, It’s a sandal ankle bootie. What’s that, you ask? I certainly couldn’t make up my mind, and apparently neither could the designer. The top half is a boot and the bottom half is a wide-open sandal, sporting one narrow strap across the toe. The only explanation I can think of is that whoever created this footwear faux pas must have had a lot of distractions at the office that day. On one website, you can pick up a pair for a mere $595?more if you want the entire boot.

Another fashion trend being flogged is leg warmers. In case you weren’t around when Flashdance came out, leg warmers are tubes of material that cover varying lengths of leg between your ankle and your knee. The point? Unless You’re a professional dancer, there isn’t one (and I don’t even know if dancers wear them). They were bad enough the first time around, but it seems they’re back with a vengeance. Striped, fishnet, with pompoms, checked, rainbow, chenille: you name it, this site has them. Perhaps the most alarming thing about this leg-wear revival is that they aren’t just for legs anymore?the 2008 version is being touted as something you can wear on your arms. I just don’t get it.

And finally, if you think back with fondness to the big-shouldered dresses popular in the ?80s, you’ll be happy to know the trend is enjoying a revival. Designers haven’t quite embraced a full-blown return to shoulder pads. Instead, the look this spring is known as ?shoulder accents.? At the more subtle end of the spectrum are puffed shoulders on everything from sun dresses to T-shirts. More extreme versions feature a kind of weird, Judy Jetson look?only suitable for cartoon characters and old Dynasty posters.

Yes, fashion is a highly subjective thing. What’s hot in one city may be passé in another, and today’s must-have is tomorrow’s misstep. But if You’re tempted to embrace some of the odder fashion offerings this spring, just remember: shorts suits may last a season, but your co-workers? YouTube videos are forever.

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