1/10/2007

Women's fashion

Everybody remembers their mom and their older sisters roaming the house (or the local WalMart) with hair curlers. Hair curlers were all the rage. In the 1970s, my grandma went through enough curlers to compose the Alaskan Pipeline. She wasn't alone. Curlers were everywhere. They'd advertise curler kits on TV all the damn time, even during cartoons, which confused me. I guess they wanted pre-adolescent girls to know that once they grew older, they'd need to stop reading all those books and begin stocking their hair full of plastic tubes.

Nowadays girls are straightening their hair with a device called the... hair straightener. It's an iron – a heating element that clamps hair and irons it straight. I wish we had a similar device for straightening out hippie weirdos. We could permanent-press the MTV dipshitery right out of them. Anyway, straight hair is the latest fashion. Some women will spend up to an hour in the morning straightening their hair. And these are the same women who a decade ago spent an hour curling their hair. In a span of 10 years, women went from giving their hair as much curl as possible to eradicating even the subtlest wave. Why is that? If curls were attractive, how can straight hair be attractive? They're polar opposites. Today's women live in the Bizzaro world of the 1980s. I'm not going to cheapen things by contrasting pubic hair of these two decades.

But that's precisely what fashion does. It teeters from one extreme to the other. What immediately followed bell-bottom jeans? Pegged jeans, the practice of cinching one's pant legs around the ankles as small as Nicole Ritchie's turds. Remember doing that? It seemed logical at the time. Bell-bottoms were the hallmark of fashion ignorance. So of course you have to minimize the diameter of your pant leg. Peg it.

For a while, it looked like afros were coming back into style. You couldn't imagine my excitement. Remember those few NBA pros who were letting their afros grow? It looked like an episode of Fat Albert on the court. Sweet! You know what's cool about afros? They don't grow longer. They inflate. Anyway, afros were making a comeback. Then Sean Puff Daddy Combs became popular and ruined everything. Ludacris, too. You can kiss the afro goodbye thanks to those guys. Of course, we're left with the polar opposite: tight, little spheres of hair an eighth-inch larger than the diameter of one's head. I blame The Man. Why? Because afros make The Man sweat through his straight-haired pores.

I was hoping not to wax crude. But I'd be remiss if I didn't mention boobs. Boob jobs were all the rage in the 1990s – stone, spherical breasts sculpted onto the chest. But a decade or so of time has rendered boob jobs obsolete. Ask men. They'll tell you they miss the "natural look." We don't want anything on a woman immune to gravity, except the ankles, which we hope to find floating in the air. Now that perfect breasts are something you can buy, they're not so perfect anymore. This phenomenon gives tremendous insight into the area of aesthetics and beauty. Scarcity is sine qua non in the realm of fashion.

You can apply the opposite extreme phenomenon to hundreds of fashion trends: shirt collars, handbags, shoes, body habitus, eyebrows, neckties, and the simultaneous popularity of Rachel Ray and Paris Hilton (one whips cream, caramelizes nuts and steams frankfurters; the other has a cooking show on The Food Network). Maybe that's why we're all so disillusioned. We realize, if only intuitively, that everything we're doing now we'll be fighting to undo 10 years from now: homes, decors, marriages, careers, fashions.

48 comments:

Summer said...

I especially enjoyed this post. I was in high school when afros were huge. I've always wondered about the ladies that go out with curlers in their hair, some for all the world to see, others hiding them under a scarf. I wanted to ask them what they were saving it for. The object is to curl your hair to look good when you're out. Not wear them out in public.

Elaine said...

(one whips cream, caramelizes nuts and steams frankfurters; the other has a cooking show on The Food Network).

Bwhahahahahaha!

Isn't it also interesting that the "emo look" is basically a punk rocker from the 80's who toting around a diary? No worries my friend, the era of the mustache and hairy chests is coming back...then you'll be pimpin' once again. :P

Anonymous said...

fortunately one thing that never goes out of style is body hair maintenance. when it becomes cool to let that feminine upper lip hair just chill, I'm going to be breakin all the rules. :D

Anonymous said...

So you're saying my 1975 diagonal striped curtains in every shade of blue will have their day again?
I'll go dig 'em out from under the lurex body shirts,leg warmers,clip on bow ties and Holly Hobby wall hangings :P

Anonymous said...

Does this mean.... Gasp... that in 10 years there will be no-one blogging?

MIA said...

I straighten with a chi iron, the best fry your hair straight iron money can buy. At other times I roll my hair up in velcro rollers the size of orange juice cans for the big wave toussled look. Then theres the roll out of bed after you have had sex hair. . Jeans, keep up now... straight "skinny jeans" are all the rage now in womens fashion. Worn with high heels or tucked into boots. Boobs, fake real who cares If you give a great blow job do boobs really matter? huh do they? I think the scariest thing is the "water bra" like if you put on this bra that makes you have big boobs what happens when you go home with the guy? He's like hey um I thought you had nice big boobies where did they go? No fair false advertising. So here's what could possibly happen.... you go home with the guy, straight hair, skinny jeans big boobs, you get naked, have hot sex. Hair goes curly from the hot steamy sex, it's all hangin out from the skinny jeans that were holdin it in and your boobs are on the nightstand. Guy is saying who ARE YOU????

NWJR said...

"one whips cream, caramelizes nuts and steams frankfurters; the other has a cooking show on The Food Network"

That may be the most singularly funny thing you've ever written, LBB.

You really owe it to your readers to riff on pubic hair trends, though. I'm tellin' ya...there's a reason the "Venus" razor for women vibrates.

Raggedy said...

I think all woman who have natural curl want straight hair and all the ones with straight hair want curls and get perms. It is odd.
Great post. I remember all the different fads.

Have a wonderful day!
*^_^
(=':'=) hugs
(")_ (")Š from
the Cool Raggedy one

Anonymous said...

Yep. The whole time I was growing up with straight hair, I wanted curls. Now my hair curls up without any intervention, and the fashion is straight. But I'm too old to care about fashion now anyway!

Anonymous said...

i think past fashion comes back cause basically people are not creative and run out of ideas.

i agree with you, afros are beyond cool, i think my fascination with them is no matter how hard i try i'm never going to have one.

m

Anonymous said...

I just stick with surfer chick look. as for the hair, well, it got curly from pregnancy/childbirth, so I have had best of both worlds. As for bell bottoms, well, even when in style, wont be caught dead in em. Oh MY GOD I forgot about the peg leg roll of the pants. I think in the 80s we even tucked them into our socks at one point, am I crazy?

Anonymous said...

stepping over the junk wrote-
I think in the 80s we even tucked them into our socks at one point, am I crazy?
OMG ! YES we DID tuck jeans into socks ! Thank you for bringing back the cringe-worthy memory LOL

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I am SO guilty of straightening my hair....and ten years ago, I paid upwards of $89.00 for the famous "spiral" perm that was so popular.

But as far as the boob thing goes? That's bullshit....men will ALWAYS ALWAYS love big ol' fake hooters....always. ;)

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Oh, and might I add, I can't wait till I get me some big ol' fake hooters....:)

Anonymous said...

ROFL... Isn't scarcity is the sine qua non in every realm of desire - floating ankles included.

As for fashion, maybe the best strategy is to stay the same and wait for your style to become fashionably retro. Nothing is more obsolete than the recently obsolete.

tornwordo said...

Fashion has to change, otherwise they'd all go out of business. I don't believe in fashion anyway. It's a myth that many, many ohters believe.

Snooze said...

The last sentence just says it all. Brilliant.

Anonymous said...

One thing I HAVEN'T seen return (thank God) is Leisure suits. Maybe I've been hiding under a rock, by my dad's tomato red or lime green leisure suits still give me nightmares. Especially since he was 6'4"! Fashion for women seems to change more than men's.

Video X said...

I love your segues sometimes (maybe this time it's an aside...who knows...you get my drift I'm sure).

...eradicating...I mean straightening out hippie weirdos...from straightening hair...hehe.

I was so excited to see some afros around more recently. It was fun!

Boobies! They are just out to get me. I will never have bigg'uns...won't spend the money. I WISH they would go out of style... I wish that part of the post was true...but the flatchested generally do not feel that will ever happen.

Evil Genius said...

Just so long as kitchens don't go back to those dark wood cupboards, melamine countertops and metal dining room sets. Oh, and don't forget those olive drab or autumn rust colored appliances. I'd feel like I was back in my mother's kitchen again - eek!

Anonymous said...

In observance of National De-Lurking Week I have De-Lurked!

What about mullets!?!? of course they didn't call them mullets back when Macgyver and David Bowie sported theirs! I had one, spiked on top, short on the sides, long in the back, complete with the skinny Kevin Bacon leather tie...man the 80s were a rough fashion period!

Scottsdale Girl said...

And what is with decorating your home in "The Tuscan Style?" IN ARIZONA!

Anonymous said...

I have my Aqua Net and poncho ready. Tell me when.

CruiserMel said...

..and this is why I sometimes wish no one had invented the camera to document said fashion faux pas.

Anonymous said...

My roommate and I were so driving around with curlers in our hair on New Years Eve before we went out. People were staring. Life was good.

Anonymous said...

I want my look to be in style someday.

No, I have no other point or comment to make.

LaunderLust said...

My ankles would float in the air for you anytime. Just ask. . . .

mist1 said...

I burned myself with my straightener. It makes wearing pants uncomfortable.

Dave Morris said...

I am a boob man. (extraneous verbage there, I could have just said "I am a man." All men are boob men)

The girl I'm dating has perfect natural boobs... did I say perfect? I meant PERFECT.

I never really saw a reason for women to get a boob job. I don't have ANYTHING against embellished chests, but natural is so soft and nice...

Oh great One said...

"Rachel Ray and Paris Hilton (one whips cream, caramelizes nuts and steams frankfurters; the other has a cooking show on The Food Network)" -That's too funny!

Anonymous said...

So your saying the floatation devises that some women have paid a fortune for are not really attractive....ummmmmm

on the other hand...I have started to roll my old bewll bottom pant legs instead of buying new jeans...does that count at the new skinny leg jeans??

Heidi the Hick said...

I am so glad I stopped in here today!

I've got this mess of thick coarse wavy hair, which tangles itself in knots minutes after combing, AND I LOVE IT. It's untameable, just like the rest of me. Every time I go in for my semi annual haircut I get some stylist wanting to straighten my hair. I blame the Man. Whoever HE is.

As for boobs, I got LITTLUNS and I love my littluns! They don't get in the way, they look good in most of my clothes, I can dress em up or down, and they did a fine job of feeding two babies.

Of course I'm a little bit anti-establishment and don't give a holy rolling crap what I'm told to look like.

Phain said...

when i was a young'n in the 70's - my very full lips were not fashionable at all. i was teased mercilessly for them. now? i'm asked what doctor does my collagen injections! i just smile...

Spinning Girl said...

I'm still waiting for the
cat face to come back into fashion, so that I can get one.

Anonymous said...

The beauty of it is - I want to beat both Rachel Ray and Paris Hilton to death with tire iron. So, really, there is balance at both ends of the spectrum.

Anonymous said...

As always, so true.

Anonymous said...

hehehehehehe...You know the part:" You know what's cool about afros? They don't grow longer. They inflate. "

That made me laugh for a full straight minute solid..seriously. It's the simplicity I guess.

Anonymous said...

"Fashion" is such a scam. It's a complete and total fraud. Yet we all have to subscribe to it to a certain degree, which I hate. This is why I like my ancient Doc Martens and denim. It keeps the need to purchase new stuff to a bare minimum. However, I grew up in the OC during the 80s and you bet I'd have whored myself out for a new sailor top and a nice pair of gold metallic ballerina flats.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what the other people in WalMart are doing. I'm not wearing curlers in my hair in 10 years.

But do you think by then I can pick up an afro there? That would be cool.

Anonymous said...

Yeah,, and I saw on the TV yesterday there is a dude in England bringing back the fashions(?) of the 60's.

"Look out Twiggy."

Shoshana said...

I think that carving out a body you want would always be in fashion. Of course, the morgue will be littered with dead people on the way to there....but hey, if you come out alive, you're magically smaller and in great shape! Can't beat that...well, except for the part where you could become the next worm meal.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the girls wear the snow boots. When did looking like snow-mexicans become fashion?

Anonymous said...

The opposite of breast enhancements is not natural boobs; it is the breast reduction! I have at least three friends, all under the age of 25, that have actually had the size of their breasts reduced!

randommoments said...

*sigh* It's like you're inside my head...

The most irritating thing about fashion is trying to keep up without spending your entire savings. One summer you purchase the latest: ripped up jeans, caplets, over-sized hoop earrings, low slung belts. Then the next summer the ripped up jeans are out, caplets as well and twinsets are in, pearl studs and cinched high waist belts are back. My coolness is on the line until I purchase the new and get rid of the old. And there goes my hard-earned money.

Edgy Mama said...

When I was 16 I sideswiped a convertible Mercedes with my Mom's old station wagon. I was wearing curlers in my hair and a pink toga. True. I never left the house in curlers again.

Susan as herself said...

When I was in college I used to peg my pants legs with safety pins---so tight that I had to unpin them to get the pants off.

Not conducive to quickie sex...

Anonymous said...

Everything you said, true. All of it. I don't know about you but I'm still Jonesing for a good Geri curl revival.:)

Memphis Steve said...

Fashion is dominated by ultra-girly-girls like Paris Hilton and ultra-girly-boys like Richard Simmons for a reason. It's the land of the insane body-image disorder people. I flee fashion as much as possible. Jeans and t-shirts keep me immune.