Friday, July 16, 2010

Bell Bottom Blues, You Made Me Cry

I’ve been meaning to do a Q-Tea video for weeks now but life has had other plans. So, because I can do it myself and don’t need someone to hold the camera, I humbly present Q-Tea in the written form.

Or, as it is also known: a blog.

Last month, InStyle magazine had a huge fashion article entitled Denim A to Z. I’ll give them their due, they did use every letter, even the pesky Q and the “What do you use if you don’t use X-ray?” X. This doesn’t mean I won’t make fun of them...


B is for Baggy. You know why those baggy jeans look so adorable and gamine on Keri Russell, InStyle magazine? Because Keri Russell has bones the size of pipe cleaners and weighs less than the bag of dog food I hauled in this morning. Anyone over 103 pounds isn’t going to look gamine in baggy jeans, they’re going to look as if they won the deep-fried Oreo eating contest at the county fair.

C is for Cropped. “...Hems that stop 1 to 3 inches above the ankles are also universally flattering...” Well, perhaps on Planet InStyle. Here on Earth, a cropped pant shortens your leg which makes your hips look wider. I’m no misogynist, decrying anything which makes women look like, well, women. But if someone came up to me and said “Quinn, those pants make you look as if you lashed a pair of end-tables to your hips,” my first words wouldn’t be “Oh, thank God.”

E is for Embellished. There’s a pair of cropped "embellished" pants for $365, because the end-tables needed fancying up. And another pair with studs on the pockets for $216. Come on, everyone sing along with me now, “Shot through the heart, and you’re to blame. Honey you give love a bad name...” What, it’s not 1986?

F is for Frayed. Frayed mid-thigh shorts in a sickly shade of light blue denim for $167. Remember that guy in high school who was kind of creepy but also kind of weirdly cute? The one your mother said was going nowhere and eventually got into trouble with that middle-school girl and her mother? These are his shorts.

H is for High-Waist. If the cropped pant gives you end-table hips, High-waist pants give you unrisen-dough butt.

J is for Jeggings. They’re jeans! They’re leggings! They’re...Jeggings! I guess Crappants was already taken.

Q is for Quilted. As someone who has done battle with the fractious Q her entire life, I give them polite golf claps for trying but honestly, QUILTED? AROUND THE THIGH? I get it. It’s supposed to honor biker’s leathers but when you’re riding that hog you need extra padding in case you fall off. Also, if you’re wearing biking leathers, you’re probably somewhere near a motorcycle which already makes your thighs look thinner. And if it doesn’t, you might have a large, threatening-looking friend who can cut anyone who goofs on your padded thighs. In these $115 quilted jeans, it’s just you and your added bulk. Also, I think you’d make a noise when you walked.

O is for Overalls. For all but the rare few, O is also for “Oh, no.”

S is for Shredded. ...I’m a cowboy. On the steel horse I ride. And I’m wanted (wanted) dead or alive...” Who knew Bon Jovi was a fashion muse?

T is for Tapered. See concerns about cropped. Now add concerns about baggy. Cube it. You have my feelings about tapered pants. What woman has been crying in the wilderness for pleats across her hips and width added to her thighs and then a shortened pant leg ending (the editor would have us believe) in a cage-heel coming to within an inch of the cuff? Are there populations of women whose biggest body complaint is that they are too tall, too skinny and their legs are almost frighteningly long? Oh wait, there are. Netherlands, I believe I have some pants for you.

V is for Vest. Denim vests. Remember the guy in the frayed shorts? This is what he wore to marry the ninth-grader he knocked up.

X is for X-Treme Shorts; either extremely short or extremely long (read: knee-length). Either way, I find them unattractive but I also want to chide InStyle for cheating. Whatever the ads for power drinks would have us believe, "x-treme", like jeggings, is not a word.

Y is for Yes to Double Denim! They even used an exclamation point. We’re not only supposed to wear a denim shirt with jeans, we’re supposed to be excited about it! We’re supposed to wear contrasting proportions and colors! If it’s still too much, they suggest layering a printed blouse under an unbuttoned shirt! InStyle, can I tell you something? This is like people who keep telling me their secrets for how to choke down beets; if you have to work this hard, it’s not worth it.

Z is for Zippers. Of course it’s for zippers. It’d be weird to have zygotes printed on denim and most people don’t know what Zambia is shaped like. These particular zippers go up the calf on a pair of light-blue denim jeans. The designer suggests unzipping the jeans three to four inches to show off your favorite heels, saying “It elongates and is so sexy.” I’d make fun of her, but the economy is in the tank, the pants are $212, and she’s obviously subscribing to the Bigger Fool theory: someone was dumb enough to make them but someone even dumber will buy them.

* * * * *

And that’s what I finally feel for everyone involved with this: pity. The boring reality is that a couple pair of plain, not-too-high, not-too-low, certainly-not-pleated-over-your-hips jeans are the most flattering. But that doesn’t sell magazines and it doesn’t keep clothing companies in the black. So InStyle, I salute you. Keep doing that incoherent magic you do so well. As for me, I’m going to slip into my denim workshirt, pop on a pair of embellished overalls and find someone to impress with my InStyle.

18 Comments:

Blogger Char said...

i saw a shot of an oscar winner in a pair of baggy jeans this morning and she couldn't rock them. not a good option for me either.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Riin said...

I'll take the simple, plain jeans I bought at the thrift store for $3, thank you very much.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hilarious! The fashion world can use this kind of reality. That doesn't mean they'll appreciate it but they sure can use it.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Cat Connor said...

I had to put my coffee down... then in fear, removed it completely from my desk. (because I would be the one who picked it back up while reading your blog this morning)

Laugh out loud hilarious, Quinn.
Thank you!

Now I shall pop on my not too high, not too low, boot cut jeans and go out in public - happy in the knowledge that someone else besides me jeers at Jeggings. (I find myself telling women/wanna be girls who wear them, "For the love of God wear a looong top if you MUST wear those jegging things!")

4:16 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I was in awe of your talent after finishing Frayed, but I got a lingering case of the giggles from "I think you'd make a noise when you walk".

Still lingering.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

THE most freeing thing about being old and fat, is being old and fat! I don't look good in anything (or nothing, for that matter, but we won't go there).

Although I do miss being one of those Netherland girls...

5:56 PM  
Blogger The Bug said...

Hey I've lived in Zambia - I know what it looks like & you don't want that shape on your jeans. NOT flattering! Here's my blog posts about my time there - I have a little map of Zambia at the top: http://danabugseyeview.blogspot.com/search/label/Zambia.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Robin Raven said...

So funny! I have pretty much 0 percent interest in fashion, but 100 percent interest in reading your blogs about it (or seeing the Q-Teas). They're just too funny. :) Bravo, well said.

7:47 PM  
Blogger stash haus said...

In my part of the country, "E" would have been listed under "B" for Bedazzeled. Amazing how that look came back.

My gripe is how the plus size clothing industry pushes inappropriate-for-your-shape clothes all the time. Plus size low rise jeans - for those who envy that plumber's crack look.

5:04 AM  
Anonymous Kimberly said...

I Love Lucy....Anyone remember? When Ricky gets fed up with Lucy and Ethel's obsession with fasion he and Fred convince them that potato sacks and wine buckets for hats are all the rave. They, like most of us, want to be pretty and noticed so, you guessed it.....they wear it.
I really do love Lucy (but if Ricky were my man, I'd be P#$%*sed!)

5:37 PM  
Blogger faye said...

Your commentary is always funny and right on target.

I love jeans.. just plain old
denim jeans.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Susan Champlin said...

When, oh when will InStyle get a clue and make you guest editor for an issue or three? You are the only person whose fashion advice I'll heed. As for "Double Denim," all I can say is: I once wore jeans and a jeans jacket to dinner with my parents, and my dad said, "My, aren't you looking agrarian today?"

9:01 AM  
Blogger Susan Champlin said...

P.S. Damn you for putting "You give love a bad name" in my head.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous elizabeth said...

Thank you for making me look up "gamine"!

1:32 PM  
Blogger Michaéle said...

You and I must be the same age because I know and probably dated many many Frayed-Jeans/Denim Vest guys.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

@ The Bug: wow, Zambia totally looks like an extremely lumpy bra. I have to agree - no to Zambia on jeans.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Maureen McGowan said...

Nearly spit out my coffee laughing. Thanks for that. :)

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog so much --- and the Q-Tea Youtubes----please don't give those up! I am reading your book right now and enjoying that as well! You didn't happen to record reading the book, did you?
Thanks for sharing your life!

Susan
Williamsburg, VA

5:23 PM  

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