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Washington Voices

Front Porch: Pajama Person, other fashion mavens

Thu., Feb. 17, 2011

This is a first and most likely a last. This is a column about fashion – something I am woefully unqualified to write about. But since when have I let qualifications or expertise get in the way of a column?

Seriously, my fashion goal consists of getting out of the door each morning wearing matching shoes. If I remember socks or pantyhose, it’s a bonus.

I haven’t paid attention to fashion trends since I started receiving parenting magazines instead of Prada catalogues in my mailbox. In fact, I’m so untrendy, I thought Crocs was an abbreviation for crocodiles and Ugg was something you said when you got slugged in the stomach.

But no more. While waiting for a haircut, I picked up a fashion magazine and my eyes were opened. I read “Winter is no match for the hyper colors, crazy prints and ysl-isms we saw on the runways.”

Funny, but when I get dressed for work I try to avoid looking hyper and crazy. I may not always be successful, but I try. And YSL-ims? Apparently, when you’re a fashion writer, you get to make up words.

I learned that my spring accessories must include “practical, chic booties” and “exotic skins or furs.”

Wow. I thought booties were for babies and the skin God gave me is exotic enough and fur is politically incorrect. Obviously, I’m more out of touch with current fashions than I realized.

I also discovered “How to borrow from the boys without turning into a man repellant.” Which I guess, may be useful if I plan to raid my teenage sons’ closets for anything other than dirty laundry.

I left the salon with fashionably highlighted hair and an enlightened sense of style. This caused me to take a fresh look at my fellow fashionably-challenged neighbors.

I observed several recurring unfortunate fashion trends that would horrify the New York City style police. For instance:

Baseball Cap Guy: This fellow must shower with his hat on because he never seems to remove it. He might be hiding messy hair or lack of hair, but Baseball Cap Guy is hiding something. He wears his hat to dinner, to the office, and even to weddings and funerals. He seems oblivious that ball caps are outdoor wear. Perhaps he fears a sudden deluge when dining in restaurants, or maybe he worries about the possibility of sunburn due to the sun shining through stained glass windows during Sunday service.

Heels-So-High-It-Hurts Lady: I watched in horror earlier this month as a woman attempted to cross Riverside Avenue wearing black patent leather shoes with 4-inch heels. It was snowing. The ground was slick. She tottered. She teetered. She wobbled. She wavered. And just when she reached the curb her feet decided to call it quits and down she went. Maybe she’s never heard of Uggs or booties, either.

T-shirt-and-Tattoo Guy: Apparently he doesn’t know that underwear is meant to be worn under clothing. He wears a “wife-beater” shirt, with several strategically-placed rips or tears to better show off his tattoos. I am tempted to buy T-shirt & Tattoo Guy a needle and thread or an actual shirt, but one his tats says he loves his mom, so I’ll let her worry about him.

I’m-Dressing-Like-My-Teenage- Daughter Lady: She’s got distressed jeans (a fancy way of saying jeans with holes in them) tucked into her Ugg boots. She’s layered her Gap T-shirts, so one peeks out from beneath the other. Her cell phone is accessorized with dangly charms and her ringtone is Justin Bieber’s freestyle rap. She says her daughter is her best friend, so she doesn’t understand why she always ditches her at the mall.

Pajama Person: There seems to be some confusion regarding sleepwear. It’s really not that complicated. You wear pajamas in bed or when you’re lounging around your home. However, last week I stood in the grocery checkout line behind a 40-ish woman clad in a sweatshirt and pajama bottoms. Pink elephants adorned her blue flannel pj’s. Did I mention it was 4 p.m.? She’s not alone. On any given day you can spot men, women and teenagers traipsing around town in their pajamas. It’s mystifying.

Oh dear. It seems reading fashion magazines has left me a bit grumpy. Or is that frumpy?

No matter, there’s still much to be happy about. After all, spring is on the way. I know this because Shorts- and-Sandals-With-White-Socks Guy just pulled up next to me at the gas station. It’s Spokane’s first sign of spring.

Things are looking better already.

Contact Cindy Hval at Her previous columns are available online at columnists.

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