Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Friday, 7 December 2007

The poncho and other crimes

According to a survey in the Daily Mail (so it must be right) the top ten fashion disasters, ie what you must not own are:

velour track suit
shell suit
puffball skirt
hot pants
ra-ra skirt
hooded sweatshirt
cowboy boots

I have none of these, thought 96 per cent of those surveyed admitted they had. I'm a little surprised at the cowboy boots.

An American reader has enquired what a shell suit is. This is a shell suit:

(nice Jewish boy)


Toby Wollin said...

Perhaps the cowboy boots are a snook on George W. Bush?

Linda Grant said...

I doubt if Daily Mail readers have much interest in what George W Bush wears

Anonymous said...

Yee Ha! I too, have not a single one of these garments NOR EVER HAVE HAD EVEN WHEN VERY YOUNG. I feel suddenly like a total style icon!

Jo said...

Well, damn. I own three pairs of cowboy boots.

Of course, I do live in Texas, where everybody, including the neurosurgeons I work with, wears them. And I would challenge anyone not to fall ass-over-teacup in love with black calfskin cowboy boots with toothpicker toes, embroidered with tiny violets all over.

pennyarrow said...

I love cowboy boots (though they shouldn't be garishly patterned. I would replace that entry with 'anything with the Burberry check'. There may have been a time when it wasn't a crime to own something in Burberry check but that time is long, long past.

orrnyereg said...

I'm also from Texas, and adore cowboy boots. Kicker boots, we always called them. They're very American, though--probably not a good fit with most Daily Mail readers.

I think the problem is that people wear the wrong trousers with their kickers. Wear them with skinny jeans, for example, and yes, they'll look preposterous. Wrangler jeans exist for a reason. Or any other kind of boot cut, if you must.

Anonymous said...

I have a purpple suede poncho completely edged in purple fox. It's gorgeous. That list is sad.

Anonymous said...

A parka really helps ward off the cold in a Canadian winter. Can't agree with that one.

Linda Grant said...

I think they're thinking of parka as fashion item, not necessary snow equipment, which I'd say was a different matter.

Thomas said...

I also do not own anything on the list, but without clicking the link I assume it was aimed at women. But I have THOUGHT about owning cowboy boots, and what's that part in Hamlet about thinking...?

Anonymous said...

"I have a purple suede poncho completely edged in purple fox."
That should be a list on its own - so many fashion crimes rolled in one!
1: Purple! Nobody looks good in purple.
2. Poncho! Very unflattering for every shape.
3. Purple fox! It's not neccessary to kill animals for clothing.
But then to insult the dead animal by dying its beautiful redgolden fur in purple makes the whole fur thing even more disgusting.

Well, your "georgeous" is my "tasteless".

Ma Fraser said...

Well I have leggings and hoodies and i am over 50 and I don't care what the Daily Mail says - in fact I am now tempted to go out and get some cowboy boots

Deja Pseu said...

I have a cashmere hoodie, does that count? It's fabulous for layering under a jacket, and when the cold wind blows, I can keep my noggin toasty.

I'm not sure what a "shell suit" is, though.

lagatta said...

I own several leggings - it is bloody cold in the winter here in Montréal. But I never wore them as tight trousers with a long sweater or tunic, 80s-style. (Horrors!)

Anyone who does winter sport here has a parka. I don't own one currently, but have certainly had them.

Can't understand why on earth puffy parka-like jackets are the style in Italy...

Ponchos are fine if you are an Andean indigenous person. That is just a matter of misapproprated "ethnic" dress.

Teresa said...

parka - having lived in the Chicagoland area for over 20 years - anyone who doesn't own one and lives in a cold climate is an idiot... Daily Mail readers don't live in a frigid climate. ;-)

Parka as a fashion statement - no. Parka as a survival tool - yes.

I've never understood the poncho thing - even when they were "big" back in the late 60's. Of course along those same lines, I don't understand shawls either - they impede movement. Never a good thing in my book no matter what the style of the moment might be.

cassandra said...

I agree with most of these, though as deja pseu noted, you can get very stylish hooded sweaters. But anonymous bagging on the poncho - how can you say that nobody looks good in purple!? It's one of the most flattering colours on me, though I wear it sparingly.
Oh and as to the burberry check - ditto the gucci logo.

Kuri said...

I confess to having several of those. Leggings (though not stirrup) and parkas indeed are necessities if you live in a place with a real winter. When it`s -15 C or lower, the wool coat begins to become inadequate.

Cowboy boots can indeed be elegant if relatively plain (embroidery is same colour as the leather) and not worn over the pants (gah!) Also, it`s a way to get men in heels, which hasn`t happened for centuries otherwise.

lagatta said...

I do have a shawl. Never wear it out of the house, or out of the home office for that matter.

It goes over at least two or three other layers when I'm working at the computer on cold days. I don't like cranking up the heat, not just because of the cost, but because it makes the air nasty for me, my cat and my plants.

For people in the Andes, the poncho was a body covering, a blanket, and a host of other things, like the Scottish plaid. They bear witness to very harsh lives.

Some of these garments just get silly outside their context. Cowboy boots aren't absurd in much of Texas or Mexico, and a shell suit is a normal garment for athletes.

Was that Ali G, aka Borat, aka Sacha Baron-Cohen?

And there are all kinds of purples, or violets. Some are very harsh and nasty. I do love deep reds, violets, plums.

OFF THA CUFF said...

How about a velour cap? slick.

enc said...

Okay, so these types of polyester, swishy-sounding Ali G tracksuits are now called "shell suits?" This is a new one for me.

I'll admit to the leggings (I wear them as pyjamas) and cowboy boots (custom made for me, worn with giant turnups on my dungarees).

At one point, I had a down parka. I think I was 14, and I lived in Chicagoland, where it's frigid in winter. When I was 6, I had a poncho . . . it was 1971. I wore it with white patent go-go boots. I hope you'll cut me some slack—don't the go-go boots trump the naffness of the poncho?

Anonymous said...

Well I think it depends on where the parka comes from. There's a big difference between L.L.Bean and Saks. I also love cowboy boots, and as Manolo reminds us, the boots are not the problem - the broomstick prairie skirts and piles of turquoise jewelry are the problem. Phyllis