Porn or Prom?

I attended prom back in 1976 looking dapper in my three-piece JC Penney’s polished cotton suit. It was a light tan, and I wore a dark navy blue shirt and striped tie with complementary shades of blue in it. On my feet were the latest and greatest crepe-soled platform shoes. My date wore a long empire-waist dress in blue floral chiffon that her mother made for her. She looked pretty, and we had a nice time together. Fast forward 34 years, and we see just how much influence technology and the media have in dictating what young women wear to…

Why Fashion Matters

So who gives a “Chanel” about fashion anyway? What difference does it make what the heck people wear and who designed it? Caring about fashion and style is only for the wealthy, self involved and shallow, right? These statements are not only untrue but also should be seen much the same as a cliché. Fashion has its roots in practicality; cavemen wore skin not so much to impress one another but to simply ward off the cold. From there it would be logical to assume that as societies emerged, clothing became more symbolic as to an individual’s station in life…

Mirror Awards- Gallery Night

Gallery Night in the Third Ward, when the weather is nice, reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Easter Parade, given that our city’s fashionable denizens walk the four-block stretch of Broadway to see and be seen. This is really the place to spy on what “real” style makers wear out and about, from high-fashion chic to hipster cool. I took my trusty digital camera to record the shop owners, art lovers, designers, artists and onlookers as they presented to Milwaukee their own take on what’s in and out when it comes to fashionable attire. I’ll weigh in on…

Big Fashion Small World

I have many subscriptions to fashion magazines of course, but one of my favorites is Marie Claire. Not only because fashion director Nina Garcia is a judge on my favorite show “Project Runway” but also because it presents fashion as an adventure for every reader. They are also the first fashion magazine I can recollect to have a monthly column specifically for the plus-size fashion maven called “Big girl in a skinny world” by writer Ashley Falcon. Each month she offers her perspective on accessing fashion at any size. That just seems so realistic to me. Feeling good about what…

Pants on the Ground

The New York Times’ Style magazine recently featured a Men’s Fashion Issue, which took a serious look at what designers are calling many things but is commonly known as the “dropped crotch” look. Writer Sameer Reddy says: “Some critics claim the dropped crotch screams fashion victim, but in fact it owes its exaggerated form to utility. Designed for easy movement and comfort in hot climates, it’s an unexpectedly practical wardrobe addition, and you never have to worry about a wedgie.” On the surface they claim that this fashion travesty has roots in the cultures of the far east and should…

Model Behavior

Let’s face it. Although we don’t want to admit it, we’ve all caught an episode or two (or marathon!) of “America’s Next Top Model.” What exactly is it that makes one beautiful girl better at being a clothes hanger than another? Why is it that walking is so difficult for so many of the contestants? Who can’t speak, sell a product and look great at the same time? The judges have their hands full week after week paring down the list of hopefuls, wannabes and out-of-their-element contestants to crown the catwalk queen for that season. Do you ever wonder how…

Go West

Bright and early on last Saturday’s snowy morning, I ventured west to Brookfield Square for Boston Store’s annual Trend e’ Vous Spring Fashion Show. Presented yearly to draw attention to the stylish duds available at this venerable department store, several hundred women and a few men braved the elements to see this professionally produced show. Host Jordan Dechambre Childers, owner of Elements of Style Personal Shopping (www.elementsofstyle.info), channeled Grace Kelly in a lovely springtime-green Jessica Simpson dress with smocking under the bust as she presented four segments highlighting top spring 2010 trends. Featuring pieces from Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Kensie…

The Devil Wears PJs

Sleepwear has been making international news of late. I had my own jaw-dropping experience recently when confronted by the offending headline makers. While out to lunch with my niece, sister and mother, Audrey, in honor of her 83rd birthday, our table was approached by a woman wearing plaid pajama pants, indistinct footwear and a shapeless oversized jacket. I couldn’t stop wondering what on earth made her think this was OK for public appearances. Did she see this trend in Vogue, Allure or InStyle? It was a disturbing moment. Only a week before, I found the following news stories online: After…

Small Town to Big Apple

In case you don’t know it, Milwaukee and the surrounding area has produced numerous movers and shakers involved in New York City’s hip fashion scene. I thought I would focus on a few who I know or have met personally. The idea that NYC is out of reach to us Midwesterners is an absurd concept that still has strong legs! We here in Milwaukee are a creative and talented bunch, and New York should be glad to have us. We help shape culture and fashion in the Big Apple in so many large and small ways. I am proud to…

High Style in Film

With the Academy Awards drawing near, I posted a Facebook query to name films that have affected fashion. The results told me that, like everyone else in the world, we draw inspiration and, yes, sometimes even fashion trends from film. Doing a little research, I found that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started handing out statuettes for costume design back in 1949. When we think of costumes, we sometimes forget that clothing tells us about who that character is as well as what he or she looks like. It is so much like choosing how we’ll present…