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Is it offensive?

Is It Offensive? | Tesco removes “Geek” slogan clothing following complaint

Tesco Geek Sleep pyjamas

Are they offensive? Tesco’s ‘Geek Sleep’ pyjamas

In what has to be one of the stranger editions of our sporadic “Is it Offensive?” series, today we ask you to cast your eyes over the slogan shirt above, and answer the question: is it offensive? 

At least one person out there thinks it is: and because of this, Tesco have pulled similarly printed items from its children’s range. The clothes in question all featured animals in glasses, accompanied by the words “nerd” or “geek”. You might think this is just the latest step in the ongoing trend-ification of the word “geek”, but Aneliese Whittaker, from Surrey, would disagree with you. Anelise’s 18-month old son, Logan, wears glasses due to cataracts, and his mother feels that the connection between glasses and “geeks” could encourage the bullying of children like him, who also wear spectacles.

Anelise says:

“Logan is regularly teased by other children for his goggle-like glasses and this is all before he has even stepped foot in the playground…’I understand that nerds and geeks are trendy now, but those words still have negative connotations to many. Those t-shirts were stereotyping, saying all people with glasses are nerds. It’s profiling, and it’s wrong.”

In a message posted on Tesco’s Facebook page, she added:

“It’s ‘fashion’ statements like this that give children the negative associations to glasses.Teaching children that you are a ‘geek’ if you wear glasses, and are of a lower self-worth than the ‘rest of the gang,’ although it may only seem like a t-shirt to some people it’s things like this that encourage bullying, damage self-image and leave a lasting idea in a young impressionable mind. Why is it OK to have a negative connotation associated to someone’s impairment? Why should my son grow up with people making fun of him because it’s ‘fashionable’?”

It’s certainly true that the words “nerd” and “geek” have started to change their meanings in recent years, and are now used as badges or honour, by people who aren’t even remotely “nerd-like” or “geekish”, in the traditional sense of those words. We wrote last year about how “geek” has become synonymous with “hipster”, with people eagerly proclaiming themselves to be “OMG, SUCH A GEEK!”, just because they watch Doctor Who, but the fact is, it wasn’t always this way. Words like “geek” and “nerd” do, indeed, still have negative connotations for some, which is why Aneliese Whittaker is so offended to see them used on fashion items.

Is she right? Tesco presumably think so: they responded to her complaint by pulling the items in question from its children’s ranges (the image at the top of the page comes from their women’s section, which still appears to be selling the pyjamas in question), and apologising for any offence caused. In an email to Anelise, a Tesco spokesperson wrote:

“The glasses/geek/nerd/dork graphic trend has been massive on the high street, and from a fashion perspective the words and glasses have been reclaimed as a sign of in fact being cool and trendy. However, I completely understand why you feel that this style might cause offence. I am very sorry that this has upset you, in no way did we intend for this t-shirt to suggest that it is OK to call any child names. I always see things from a design and trend perspective, but in this case I have not considered that this might be viewed by some as a negative association. Further to your complaint, the garment will be marked down and will be removed from the shop floor shortly.”

What do you think? Is the association between geeks and glasses offensive to you? Do you think it’s likely to encourage bullying? Should Tesco have removed the items from their stores, or is it an over-reaction  to a simple item of clothing?

Is it offensive?

Fashion News, Fashion Polls & Debates

Do larger mannequins make you feel better about your figure?

Debenahms mannequins

Debenhams old-style mannequins, sized 8 – 10

Last week, Debenhams introduced size 16 mannequins (For reference, a UK size 16 is roughly equivalent to a US 12) into its stores, saying that size 16 is the “average” size of women in the UK, and the new mannequins are therefore more representative of its customers. Previously, clothes were displayed on models sized 8-10, which, says Debenhams, is unhelpful to shoppers in the store.

“The average British woman is a size 16, but the high street has been showing them clothing on a mannequin that is three sizes smaller – until now,” said Debenhams director Ed Watson. “Having worked on this project for three years, we hope that it will help people in some small way to feel comfortable about their bodies and, crucially, that other retailers will follow.”

Whether or not other retailers WILL follow remains to be seen; this week, however, MSP Dennis Robertson, whose daughter died of anorexia, urged retailers to follow Debenhams example, and adopt this new standard, which leads us to wonder: DO larger mannequins help women feel better about their figures?  

We’ve long been aware that many women just can’t relate to the images presented by the fashion world, whether it be in the form of the models on the catwalk, or the airbrushed figures in magazines. However, women come in such a variety of shapes and sizes (Two women could both wear a size 16 dress, for instance, but look totally different in it, depending on their body shape), that we’re not sure there’s really an easy fix for this particular problem. Making store mannequins larger seems to be a step in the right direction, but it still only allows people who are exactly the same shape and size as the mannequins to be able to relate to them: in fashion, there really is no such thing as “one size fits all”, and no matter what size they make their models and mannequins, retails will always end up excluding someone.

What do you think of this move? Would larger mannequins in stores help you feel better about your figure?

Fashion Polls & Debates

How much of your wardrobe do you actually use?

how much of your wardrobe do you actually use?

[Image: A|Wear]

In the same survey that brought us the news that people tend to be happiest with their style when they reach the age of 33, comes the revelation that a lot of us aren’t actually wearing all – or even most – of the clothes we own.

According to the study commissioned by Marks & Spencer, 38% of Brits admit to only liking and wearing 50% of the clothes they own: and, to be honest, the only thing surprising about this is that the figure isn’t higher.

Not making full use of the clothes at your disposal, you see, is a common complaint, which we hear regularly from both readers and friends. It seems true to say that having lots of clothing doesn’t always give you more options when it comes to getting dressed: actually, the opposite is often true, and the greater the choice, the more people struggle to know what to do with it. Having a bulging closet sounds like the stuff of a fashion lover’s dreams, but ask any clothes collector what percentage of their clothing they actually WEAR, and you might just be surprised by the answer: even those with the largest amount of clothes are their disposal will often admit to wearing the same old favourites over and over, while the rest languishes forgotten at the back of a drawer.

Does that sound like you? Do you buy lots of clothes, only to find yourself returning time and time again to the same old combinations, or simply wearing whatever’s at the top of the pile, and forgetting the rest? Or maybe you have a carefully-honed capsule wardrobe, in which every item earns its keep?

Are you part of that 38%?

Fashion Polls & Debates

You’ll be happiest with your style when you’re 33, survey says

MArks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer

In your teens or twenties? Feeling like you’ve yet to develop your own style, or that nothing you wear really suits you? Don’t worry: just give it a few years and it’ll all work itself out, because according to a new survey by Marks and Spencer, most Brits don’t really feel comfortable with their style until they hit the age of 33, while 24 is the age at which we feel the least stylish.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? We tend to take these surveys with a very generous pinch of salt, but although we could quibble with the exactness of the ages quoted, the general principle does make a lot of sense. For many people, the formative years are a time either of experimentation (Which is a necessary part of developing a style, of course, but which always creates a few fashion casualties along the way) or of trying desperately to fit in, even if it means wearing clothes that don’t suit us, or which we don’t even really like in the first place. Sometimes we experience both of these conflicting desires within the space of a few years (or even, confusingly enough, at the SAME TIME, wanting to stand out, but still fit in. Growing up is hard, isn’t it?) which can make the teens and early twenties something of a style wilderness. We all have those photos we look back and cringe at, don’t we? DON’T WE?

By the time we hit our 30s, though, we’re hopefully not just older, but perhaps a little wiser, too. We’re more settled in our lives and careers, and we’ve also had time to accept who we are, to learn what we like and don’t like, and to learn from our past fashion mistakes. (All of those photos have to serve SOME purpose, no?) We’re also less likely to feel the need to use labels or trends to impress people, or to feel like we MUST keep up with the Joneses at all costs: we might not be in line for any “Best Dressed” awards, but we are, at least, happier with what we see in the mirror, and more comfortable with our sartorial choices.

That’s the theory, anyway. Is is the reality, though? At what age did you start to feel most comfortable with your style?


Is it offensive?

Is it offensive? The Ardorous X American Apparel Period Power Washed Tee (Images NSFW)

It’s been a long time since our last “Is It Offensive?” post, in which we look at fashion items which have been deemed “offensive” by some sections of society, and as our readers: IS IT offensive? Or is it simply a case of people getting their knickers in a twist over nothing in particular? Today, we look at Petra Collins’ ‘Period Power’ t-shirt for American Apparel, which depicts… actually, it would probably be easier to show than to tell with this one:

Petra Collins 'Period Power' t-short for American Apparel

Buy it here

With an image designed by Toronto-born artist Petra Collins, the shirt currently retails for $32 at American Apparel, where Collins once worked as a sales associate. Collins says:

“I decided to put a super-taboo topic right on a t-shirt to make it viewable for everyone. I’m really interested in what is hidden from our culture. We are always repressing or hiding what is natural to a post-pubescent body. We’re taught to hate our menstrual cycle and even to hide masturbation.”

Not everyone, however, is as comfortable with the image as Collins is. Some have called it yet another cynical ploy by American Apparel, who have never shied away from the use of controversy to sell clothes. Others are simply repulsed by the image, and even many of those who appreciate the taboo-busting message have questioned why anyone would actually want to WEAR such a graphic image. Pointing out that 50% of the proceeds from the shirt will go to female art collective The Androgynous (Be aware that the images on that page may not be safe for work either…),  Jezebel comments: “It seems like a cool project to want to support. But the question remains: where the f***would one wear a menstruating vagina shirt?”

Where indeed: it strikes us that even if you support the message of this shirt, and don’t consider it to be just another way to exploit women’s bodies for shock value, there must be limited opportunities to wear such an item. Indeed, many media outlets are refusing to even run the image alongside their editorials on the subject, claiming it’s too offensive to print. So where would you wear it, assuming you WOULD actually wear it in the first place? In other words…

Is it offensive?

Fashion Polls & Debates

Red trousers on men: fashion crime?

What do you think when you see a man in red trousers? That he’s brave? Stylish? Cute? Original?

Or do you simply think the man in question must be gay… or an idiot?

men in red trousers

[Pants: ASOS]

According to a recent poll by researchers You Gov, most people will have one of the latter reactions to the sight of a man in red pants. How do they know this? Because they conducted a poll on it, obviously, asking members of the British public to share the first word that springs to mind when presented with a man in red trousers. Here’s how the British public responded:

what do you think of men in red trousers

So, most people who see a pair of red pants will think “red”, then. Not much gets past the British public, does it?

In second and third place, however, are the words “gay” and “idiot”. “Bright” and “brave” come in 4th and 5th respectively, before things take a much more negative turn, with “yuk”, “odd”, “prat” and “clown” all ranking highly. Nice.

The conclusion? Most people aren’t huge fans of red pants on men. (As for how they feel about red pants on WOMEN, meanwhile, we just don’t know. Perhaps there’ll be another poll soon to give us the answer to that. In the meantime, you might want to think carefully before wearing those red jeans you bought when they were the height of fashion last year…)

So, what do we think about this? Well, while there’s no doubt in our minds that the clothes we wear send out certain messages about us (And many people use clothing to manipulate the messages they want to send) we’re just not convinced that wearing a certain item of clothing tells you anything at all about someone’s sexual orientation, or level of intelligence. In fact, while we all have our own opinions about various items of clothing, and we’re not (And shouldn’t be) afraid to express them, those opinions revolve purely around aesthetics and personal taste: it seems pretty harsh to brand someone an “idiot” just because of their choice of pants, and as far as we’re concerned, the only thing red pants tell you about a man is that…he likes red pants.


What do you think about this? Are you surprised to find that some people have such strong reactions to this particular item of clothing, or do you agree with them?

What do you think of men in red pants?

Fashion Polls & Debates

POLL: How often do you shop for clothes?

We thought we’d start the week with a little bit of a “getting to know you” session, so this morning we’re asking the question: how often do you shop for clothes? (Or shoes, or accessories, or anything else that falls under the general banner of “fashion”, basically….(

how often do you shop for clothes?

[Shirt: Wildfox]

Reading fashion magazines and blogs, it’s very easy to come to the conclusion that everyone is shopping CONSTANTLY. How else do all those bloggers manage to have a new outfit to show off every day of the week? And how do you explain the fact that certain stores seem to sell out of new items instantly (Topshop and Zara, we’re looking at you…) if there aren’t legions of women, all with their fingers poised over the “Buy Now” button, just waiting to snap it all up?

It might SEEM like that, however, but it can’t possibly BE like that… or can it?

Today, we want to hear about your clothes-shopping habits. Do you shop on an ad-hoc basis, buying what you want/need when you want it? Or do you make a careful list of things you need each season, and then stick to it? Maybe you count down to pay-day every month, and then go right out and buy all the things you’ve been lusting over for the past month, or perhaps you save up for the things you love, and think carefully about each purchase. Or maybe you don’t do any of these: there are probably as many different answers to this question as there are readers of this website.

Whatever your shopping style, we’d love to hear about it, so please place your vote in the poll below (Just click on your chosen option, then hit the “vote” button), and feel free to leave a comment to tell us more!

POLL: How often do you shop for clothes?

[poll id=’1′]

Fashion Polls & Debates

What are your wardrobe essentials?

Your closet goes on fire, and all your clothes are lost. Which wardrobe essentials would you buy to replace them in a hurry?

bare closet with empty hangers

Imagine your closet went on fire. It’s OK: no one gets hurt, and the closet itself escapes pretty much unscathed, but… your clothes are all gone. Yes, all of them. You now find yourself in the unusual position of having to buy yourself an entire new wardrobe – or at least enough to get by on for a few weeks – in a hurry. The question is, what would you buy? We all love to drool over pretty dresses and beautiful shoes, and to indulge in the fashion trends we love (while completely ignoring the ones we DON’T obviously), but when it comes right down to it, which items could you REALLY not live without?

Because everyone’s lives and tastes are so different, we’ve never thought lists of so-called “wardrobe” essentials were particularly useful when it comes to working out what we should fill our OWN closets with. That doesn’t mean they’re not INTERESTING, though, and you can tell a lot about a person by the items they’d rush out and buy in a hurry, so, purely out of curiosity, we want you to tell us what you’d buy if you had to completely rebuild your closet from scratch (Because we’re generous, we’re going to let you assume all your underwear, shoes, and outerwear survived so you don’t need to worry about those.).

In the spirit of sharing, here’s Fashion Police editor Amber’s list…

wardrobe essentials: blue jeans

1. Skinny jeans in mid-wash blue

My personal style revolves mostly around dresses and skirts, and I generally have a fairly “dressed up” kind of look. Oddly enough, though, in the situation described above, the very first thing I’d rush out and buy would be a pair of blue skinny jeans, in a mid-wash. Although they’re not something that’s really associated with my style, I couldn’t live without them: they’re warm, they’re practical, and  they’re always the item I reach for first on days when I just want to be comfortable and casual. They can also be dressed-up too, though, and while jeans wouldn’t ordinarily be what I’d wear to a party, say, they would be what I’d wear if my closet had just burnt to the ground…

2. As many cardigans and tank tops as I could afford

I’ve lumped these together because I can’t wear one without the other: as a permanently freezing person, cardigans are an absolute essential for me, because it’s rarely warm enough for me to want to bare my arms, and they allow me to still wear a nice dress or top without getting goosebumps. To go underneath them on non-dress days, I favour basics like t-shirts or tank tops, in a variety of different colours.

3. A Breton stripe top

An all-time classic, to go with the jeans.

4. A fitted blazer

I’m cheating slightly here by assuming that my closet goes on fire in Spring/Summer and I don’t need to budget for an winter coat. Even with outerwear accounted for, though, I’d want a good-quality fitted blazer to dress-up my jeans or throw over dresses. Because it would have to go with everything else, I’d choose a neutral colour like off-white or beige, rather than a dark one like black (I’m not fond of wearing black with other dark colours, although it often looks good on other people.)

5. A full, 50s-style skirt

With all of those basics taken care of, it’s really only at this point that I’d start to think about injecting a bit of my own personal style into the mix. I’d probably do it with some kind of circle-skirt, probably in red, or some other bright colour, to wear with the various tops listed above, and to dress up 0r down as required.

6. A simple, block colour pencil dress

For those times when it’s necessary to look a little more formal/dressed up, a pencil dress in my favourite colour would be my go-to item.

7. A warm, snuggly sweater

Or maybe two, actually. You just can’t have enough chunky sweaters when you live in a cold climate…

8.  A pair of cropped trousers

A little more formal than the jeans, but still with the ability to be dressed up or down: perfect.

In an ideal world I could think of a few extras to add (some more dressy tops would be nice, for instance), but I reckon I could get by pretty comfortably on this lot for a few weeks, if I was re-building my wardrobe from scratch. That’s just me, however, and my list will probably be very different from yours. I’m curious to see just HOW different, though, so tell me:

What would you run out and buy if all of your clothes were destroyed in a fire?

[Images: © Morchella7  and Micha360| Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images]
Fashion Polls & Debates, Style On Trial

Style Trial: The Matchy-Matchy Look

Do you pride yourself on perfectly coordinated outfits, or do you think the “matchy matchy” look is a crime of a fashion? The Fashion Police pose the question:

Can you be too matchy matchy?

woman in matchy matchy all-pink outfit

Matching your shoes to your bag, your bag to your dress, your dress to your lipstick, your lipstick to your nails… Go back a couple of decades or so, and no one would have batted an eyelid (coated in matching eye shadow, naturally) at any of this. In fact, not so long ago, being coordinated was seen as a GOOD thing: it was what stylish people did, and you’d no more clash the colours of your clothing than you’d go out in a pair of shoes that didn’t exactly match your handbag.

Now, however, it’s a different story, and the “matchy matchy” look, as it’s called, is considered a crime of fashion by many. Urban Dictionary defines the term as follows:

[yo_quote author=””] Often used in fashion blogs. Used to describe an outfit that is too coordinated and consists of too many of the same types of colours, patterns, fabrics, accessories, designer pieces, thematic elements, etc. [/yo_quote]

Why do people hate the matchy matchy look? Because we live in a fashion era which prizes the “edgy” and “unexpected” above all else, basically. For those who like to see themselves as being at the forefront of fashion, matching colours or accessories is just too safe, too predictable  too boring. Even if you DON’T self-identify as a “fashionista”, however, making sure everything matches can look dated and matronly: it can be an overly-fussy look which makes the wearer appear to be trying too hard, or like the outfit is wearing them, rather than the other way around. For many people, it’s an unsophisticated look, or one which they associate with much older women and styles.

On the other hand, however, there are still those who match their clothes with pride, and see no reason why they should stop. For these style renegades, the matchy matchy look is just a natural way to dress, and taking pains to ensure your clothes DON’T match perfectly (changing your shoes because you’ve just realised they match your belt, for instance) seems just as silly as making sure they DO match seems to the first group. Of course

, there IS a middle ground: you don’t have to meticulously match all of your colours in order for your outfit to work, but you don’t have to deliberately clash, either. We suspect most people probably occupy this middle ground, but tell us anyway: are you a Matchy McMatcherson, or do you want to round up all of the coordinating outfits and send them to a secure wing of the Fashion Police Jail. In other words..

Is the matchy matchy look a crime of fashion?

Fashion Polls & Debates

Do you return clothes you’ve already worn?

According to a survey by of shoppers have tried to return an item of clothing they’ve already worn: i.e. they wore the item without removing the label, and then returned it a few days later for a full refund – a bit like using clothing stores as their own personal lending library.

Now,we’re always a little sceptical about studies like this. This one used a sample of 520 people, which is probably not representative of everyone in the UK. We know some people do happily admit to doing this kind of thing, though, so today we thought we’d do a quick survey of our own, and ask: would YOU?

woman with lots of shopping bags

Now, in asking this question, we’re hoping the percentage who answer “yes” will be much smaller than the 56% who admitted to returning worn clothes in the PromotionalCodes sample. Obviously there are lots of good reasons to return worn clothing (discovering a faulty zip, or other defect while you’re wearing it, following the washing instructions to the letter, only to discover that your item is unrecognisable after a quick spin cycle, to name but two…), but the desire to simply wear something without paying for it isn’t one of them, as far as we’re concerned. We don’t expect anyone would like to think that brand new dress they paid full-price for had been out on the town the previous weekend, after all, and while we’re all for buying second-hand clothes if it saves us some money, the key to that sentence is the “saves us some money bit”: if we’re buying someone’s used clothing, we expect to get a discount on it, which presumably wouldn’t be the case if the store had been duped into thinking it was an unworn return, still with the tags attached.

So, would you do this? Would you wear something and then return it afterwards, purely to avoid paying?

[Image © Alen-d | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images]


Fashion Polls & Debates

Do You Wear White Before Memorial Day?

Can you wear white before Memorial Day?

This is a question that comes up around this time every year, as people start digging out their summer wardrobes and desperately waiting for it to be warm enough to actually wear them. Which brings us to the question: can you wear white before Memorial Day? White tends to form a large part of many summer wardrobes, but some of you may have been raised with the old rule that you shouldn’t wear white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day. So, can you?

can you wear white before memorial day?

Dress: La Redoute

First things first: if you’re from anywhere other than the US, you may not have a clue what we’re talking about here. Memorial Day is celebrated in America on the last Monday in May every year, the idea being that it’s inappropriate to wear white before then. Sound familiar? It should do: it’s the other side of the “No white after Labor Day” rule we wrote about last year, and our response now is exactly the same as it is now:

Dress for the weather and the circumstances, not for some dated fashion “rule”.

While there ARE some practical reasons to avoid white in cooler weather (The fact that it’s harder to keep clean than darker colours being the main one), it seems pretty silly to us to avoid it just because of the date on the calendar. Here in Scotland, for instance, May tends to be one of the warmest months of the year, and the weather then is often much nicer than it is in the actual summer. If we were to refuse to wear white until the last week of the month, we’d probably be depriving ourselves of the opportunity to wear it at all – and wouldn’t that be silly?

How to wear white before Memorial Day

Our tips for wearing white in Springtime are much the same as the ones we gave for wearing white in winter, so all we want to add here is that the warmer, hopefully drier weather will make it even easier to apply white to your Spring wardrobe. If the weather is particularly nice, you should have no issues at all, in fact, but should it turn cool, a lightweight white sweater, trench coat or even pair of jeans will be totally appropriate for this time of year: or any other time of year you want to wear them, for that matter – who wants to  live according to so-called style rules, anyway?

Do you wear white before Memorial Day, or do you think it’s still a fashion faux pas? Do tell…

Fashion Polls & Debates, Jeans

How much would you pay for…the perfect jeans?

The perfect jeans: they’re one of the Holy Grails of fashion, and they’re almost as difficult to find, too. In fact, if we were given the choice between a quest for the Grail, and a quest for the perfect jeans, we’d probably choose the former. Well, at least we’d get to see a bit of the world that way: when you’re searching for a new pair of jeans, all you get to see is the inside of a lot of sweaty changing rooms.

Given the difficulty of the task at hand, then, today we begin a short series of polls in which we aim to find out just how much you typically spend on those so-called “basics”. Of course, this question is a bit of a “how long is a piece of string” one, because it depends so much on individual budgets and circumstances, but purely out of curiosity, today we want to know… how much are you prepared to spend on the perfect jeans?

the perfect jeans

For some people, jeans are one of those can’t-live-without-’em items, worn for everything from a lazy morning’s lounging, worn with a comfortable hoodie or sweater, to a dressed-up evening out, with heels and a sparkly top. For others, however, they’re never worn at all: sometimes because they just don’t fit with the person’s personal style, and sometimes because it’s just SO DARN HARD to find the perfect fit.

Why is it that the perfect jeans are so difficult to find, we wonder? Other items aren’t always easy, sure, but judging by the (totally unscientific) conversations we’ve had with friends and readers, jeans seem to be the trickiest of all. We’re sure you all know the drill:

1. They fit in the waist, but the legs are so tight you feel like a sausage.

2. They fit in the legs… but the waist is either so big you get a bad case of “builder’s butt” every time you sit down, or so tight you can’t sit down at all.

3. They fit in the waist and the thighs, but the legs are so long you’d need stilts, or so short you look like you’re wearing someone’s hand-me-downs. (And yes, you can always have them hemmed in the first scenario, but let’s face it: you’d rather not, wouldn’t you?)

4. They fit just fine (Yes, this is unlikely, but just go with it…), but they’re acid wash, or have a truly obnoxious level of distressing on them, or some other detail that makes you more likely to go out in public nude than wear them.

You get the picture. We’re sure you do.

Just say you manage to find the perfect jeans, though. They do exist, though. They’re out there, somewhere, and SOMEONE has to find them, so let’s just imagine it’s you. How much would you be prepared to spend on them, do you think? Would you see them as investment piece, and be willing to drop a large amount of cash in order to bring the quest to an end, or would you think, “Well, they’re still just jeans?”  and turn your back on them unless they were less than a certain amount?

How much are you prepared to spend on the perfect jeans?

Fashion News, Fashion Polls & Debates

Can you have too many clothes?

As Vivienne Westwood criticises Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, for having “too many clothes”, The Fashion Police ask: IS there such a thing? Can you have too many clothes, or is it a case of “the more, the merrier”?

Isla Fisher as Becky Bloomwood in Confessions of a Shopaholic

Becky Bloomwood doesn’t think you can have too many clothes… unless Hugh Dancy says so. 

Can you have too many clothes?

Vivienne Westwood’s at it again. Last year she criticised Kate Middleton’s eyeliner; this year she says the Duchess of Cambridge has too many clothes, and should wear the same thing over and over in order to help the environment. Guess it must be Fashion Week again, then!

“I don’t have any advice to her,” said Westwood, before going on to give Kate the following advice:

[yo_quote author=”Vivienne Westwood”]I think it would be great if she wore the same clothes over and again, because that’s very good for the environment and it would send out a very nice message. If you’re going to all that trouble to get an outfit that suits you, then you should keep on wearing it.[/yo_quote]

Poor old Kate, eh? One minute she’s being criticised for NOT buying new clothes, the next she’s being criticised for BUYING them. She must feel like she can’t win with this one, and to be honest, she’s probably right.

Vivienne Westwood thinks Kate Middleton has too many clothes

Kate Middleton: has too many clothes. Allegedly. 

Our first thought when we read these comments was that it’s a bit rich for a fashion designer, whose job is basically to convince us we need an entire new wardrobe each season, to be telling people not to shop. Does Vivienne Westwood REALLY hope no one buys anything from her new collection, because we’ve all taken her words to heart and are wearing our existing clothes “over and over again” rather than buying new ones? Probably not. In her defence, though, Westwood claims to have created a smaller collection than usual this season, and to be concentrating on quality rather than quantity:

[yo_quote author=”Vivienne Westwood”]All I can say is it’s quite a short collection this time because what I’m trying to aim for in my second line and all my offshoot products is to just keep aiming for quality all the time and have less quantity.[/yo_quote]

There’s definitely a lot to be admired in this approach to dressing. After all, we’re always talking about how in the REAL world, most people DO wear their clothes many times over rather than buying something new every day of the week. A few well-made basics can be far more useful than an endless parade of fast-fashion – and at least you won’t look back on your outfits in a few years time and wonder what on earth you were thinking, either.

Vivienne Westwood in an orange top

Vivienne Westwood: thinks you can have too many clothes, unless they’re hers, in which case that’s fine.

But is it really possible to have too many clothes?

Not according to Matthew Williamson, patron saint of shopaholics everywhere. Asked if he thinks it’s possible for a woman to have too many clothes, Williamson answered, “Of course not.” And on the question of the Duchess of Cambridge, and her alleged shopping problem, he had this to say:

[yo_quote author=”Matthew Williamson”]She has a lot to do doesn’t she? So she needs a good wardrobe.[/yo_quote]

Well, quite.

As for The Fashion Police, well, we have a foot on each side of the fence with this one. We agree with Vivienne Westwood’s idea that it’s a good idea to go for quality over quantity. At the same time, though… we love clothes. It’s not always possible or desirable  to save for months just for one item (even if it WILL last for years…); for those who count fashion as a hobby, there’s joy to be found in a well-stocked closet, and sometimes a quick fix is exactly what you need. Fashion is, after all, fun: we don’t think it’s a crime to enjoy it. Or not ALL the time, anyway. The fact is, though, that as much as we’d love to side with Matthew Williamson and declare there’s no such thing as “too many clothes”, we think there definitely are situations in which it’s possible to have too many clothes: and now we want YOU to tell us what you think those situations are.

Matthew Williamson's clothes are frequently worn by Kate Middleton

Matthew Williamson: has no particular reason to defend Kate Middleton, other than that she frequently wears his clothes

Do you think it’s possible to have too many clothes? How do you know when you’ve reached that stage? And what about Kate Middleton?

[All images:]
Fashion Polls & Debates

What are your winter wardrobe essentials?

winter wardrobe essentials

[Image: Betty Barclay]

Last week we talked about the wardrobe essentials that aren’t really essential at all, and reading your responses to that post got us curious: thanks to your comments, we now know which items you CAN live without – but what about the ones you CAN’T live without.

In other words: what ARE your wardrobe essentials?

Now, in asking this question, we have to first of all acknowledge that there is no “one size fits all” answer to it. As we mentioned in our previous post on this subject, the simple fact is that we’re not all the same (Are you listening to this, fashion designers?), so one woman’s “essential” item can easily be another woman’s crime of fashion.

That said, we’re still interested to see what your must-have items are, and, in particular, to work out whether they’re anything like the items most often cited on lists of this type. And who knows: maybe we’ll even be able to come up with a list of our own…

To keep things simple, we’re going to stick to one season at a time, and today we’re asking what your winter wardrobe essentials are. Coats? Jeans? Cords? White shirts and little black dresses? Harem pants? Which items can you just not live without as the weather turns colder?

Fashion Polls & Debates

Would you pay $100 for an Old Navy sweater

J Crew and Old Navy polka dot sweaters

You’ve probably seen an image much like the one above on a whole lot of fashion blogs by now, haven’t you?

The story is a simple one: J Crew make an awesome, polka dot cashmere sweater. But it’s cashmere, and, well, it’s J Crew (which is charging the same prices as some designer brands we could mention these days…), so it’s pretty expensive: $268, to be precise. Ouch.

Enter Old Navy. They make their own dupe of the coveted polka dot sweater. It isn’t cashmere, but that doesn’t matter, because it’s not $268, either: in fact, it’s a much more reasonable $25. Yay! They make it a few different colours. It’s downright adorable. So it sells out. Boo!

Enter eBay:

Old Navy polka dot sweater

Where that Old Navy sweater can be yours for the bargain price of… $100.

Will it sell at that price? Well, maybe not. But the evidence suggests that yes, there ARE people willing to pay these kinds of prices for Old Navy, and get into bidding wars over something that was, at one point, reduced to $18:

old navy polka dot sweater on ebay

Obviously what people choose to spend their money on is their business: understood. But we’re fascinated by this OMGMUSTHAVEITATANYPRICE attitude that seems to have swept the world of fashion over the last few years. We saw it happen last year with Zara and their tulip dresses (not to mention the infamous asymmetric pumps: £60 in store, often spotted on eBay for £200 and more – and actually SELLING at that price, too), and now it seems it’s the turn of Old Navy and its polka dot sweaters to be the most wanted items of the moment, with some people determined to get their hands on one, even if it means parting with close to $100.

What do you think? Would you pay $100 for an Old Navy sweater?

Fashion Polls & Debates

How many outfits do you pack for a one week vacation?

How many outfits do you pack for a one-week holiday?

Vintage suitcase available here

The Fashion Police don’t believe in travelling  light. Well, there are just too many amazing outfits in the world to want to leave them all at home, isn’t there? And don’t even get us started on the shoes…

Even we, chronic-over-packers that we are, however, think we’d possibly struggle to get through 28 outfits in the course of a week. That, according to our old friends at the Daily Mail, is what the “average woman” (Who, by the way, we’d LOVE to meet one day, wouldn’t you?) takes with her for a one-week vacation. It works out at four outfit changes per day. Which initially sounded like rather a lot to us, but then we started to work it out, and, well:

  • One outfit for the beach, i.e. swimsuit/bikini and coverup
  • One outfit for lunch, shopping, etc.
  • One outfit for going out in the evening
We’re already up to 21 outfits, and that’s not taking into consideration the days we go sightseeing, or the outfits we wear to travel in. Mind you, it’s ALSO not taking into consideration the fact that we’d probably re-wear at least some of those (The horror! People wearing outfits more than once! What is the world coming to?), which would reduce that total significantly, and indicate that we’re probably not the “average” woman as far as holiday packing is concerned.
What about you, though? How many outfits would you take for a one-week vacation? And how many would you actually wear, which can be an entirely different thing?
Adult Onesie, Fashion News, Fashion Polls & Debates

Royal Ascot bans fascinators and short skirts

Royal Ascot dress code

In a bid to prevent racegoers dressing like they’re going to a nightclub – or to the circus, depending on your point of view – Royal Ascot organisers have decided to tighten up on the ol’ dresscode. As of this year, female racegoers will have to wear:

1. Hats, as opposed to fascinators. (in the less formal grandstand, hats OR fascinators will be obligatory: they were previously optional-but-recommended.)

2. “Modest” skirts or dresses – i.e. hemlines must be just above the knee or longer.

3. Tops with straps: no strapless tops or dresses allowed. Or else.

Men, meanwhile, will be expected to wear waistcoats and ties inside the enclosure (no cravats, you peasants!), and suits and ties in the grandstand.

So, in conclusion:

hats at Royal Ascot

What do you think? Are you pleased to see a return to “standards” with a strongly-enforced  dress code, or do you think people should be free to wear whatever they want, regardless of the circumstances?

(For the record, we’re all for the dress codes, if only because at least people know where they stand that way. And let’s face it: a lot of people just don’t have a CLUE how to dress themselves. You can tell purely by the number of people who find this website after searching for the words “Can I wear jeans to a wedding?” And we just know that if you give them an inch, they’ll turn up in an adult onesie one of these days, bleating, “BUT IT’S SOOOO COMFY!”)

Celebrity Fashion, Fashion Polls & Debates

Fashion “Rules” Revisited: Can you wear navy and black together?

Can you wear navy and black together?

It’s OK, settle down at the back there: we know you don’t think Pippa Middelton‘s fashion sense is ever worth talking about, but it’s OK, this isn’t about Pippa, she’s here purely for the purposes of illustration.

And what is Pippa “Perfect Butt” Middleton here to illustrate, we hear you ask? Why, she’s illustrating the wearing of navy and black. Together. In the same outfit. Once considered to be the severest of fashion crimes (Penalty: social death.), this colour combo is one that pops up all the time these days, to the extent that there are probably kids alive today who have NO IDEA this was once considered a crime, imagine.

Is it, though? Well, Pippa Middelton obviously doesn’t think so, as she heads to work in her navy top and black blazer. But what would Pippa Middelton know? It’s the opinions of our Fashion Jurors we want to hear, so have at it, folks: what do you think of the wearing of navy and black?

Fashion Polls & Debates

How often do you wash your jeans?

How often do you wash your jeans?

How often do you wash your jeans, Fashion Police?

If it’s more often than once every three months, then prepare for a shock, because a team of brave volunteers in Australia have undertaken a study to prove what The Fashion Police have known for quite some time: that jeans don’t really need to be washed all that often.

The project, led by Tullia Jack, as part of her masters thesis, saw 30 men and women wear the same pair of jeans five days per week, for three months, without washing them. And how did the jeans smell by the end? “Not that bad,” apparently. Jack’s groundbreaking conclusion: “You really don’t need to wash clothes as often as you think. Stains come and go, they just wear off.”

To us, this seems kind of like those expensive studies we’re always reading about in the press, which tell us things like “if you’re thirsty, water will help” or “if you eat too much food, you might get fat”. Indeed, we discussed the issue of clothes washing last year, and most of you seemed to be in agreement that, for most clothes, excessive washing is just bad for them: it fades the colours, changes the shape, wears out the fabric… and while a well-worn pair of jeans can look even better than a brand spanking new pair, this is particularly true of denim, which we tend to wash only when it needs it (or when we want the jeans in question to fit a little tighter).

Obviously this isn’t the case with all garments and some most definitely need to be washed after every wear, but where do you stand on jeans? Are you flabbergasted by the news that they don’t need to be washed constantly, or did you know it all along?

[Image | Source]
Fashion News, Is it offensive?

Is it offensive? Drop Dead Clothing’s “Anorexic” Model

Advert featuring a size 8 model banned for glamourising anorexia

We seem to be spending a lot of time worrying about whether things are offensive or not lately, but the Advertising Standards Agency will keep banning fashion adverts, so here’s the latest conundrum for our readers to answer:

Is this model glamorizing anorexia?

The ASA thinks she is: they’ve banned adverts featuring her from appearing on Drop Dead Clothing’s website on the grounds that they’re socially irresponsible as the model is “too thin”.

Their statement:

“We considered that in combination with the stretched out pose and heavy eye make-up, the model looked underweight in the pictures. We noted that Drop Dead’s target market was young people.We considered that using a noticeably skinny model with visible hip, rib, collar and thigh bones, who wore heavy make-up and was posed in ways that made her body appear thinner, was likely to impress upon that audience that the images were representative of the people who might wear Drop Dead’s clothing, and as being something to aspire to. Therefore, while we considered the bikini and denim short images might not cause widespread or serious offence, we concluded they were socially irresponsible.”

Our first thoughts upon reading this:

1. Can open, worms EVERYWHERE.

2. We feel sorry for the model: it can’t be nice to cause adverts to be banned simply because YOUR body is deemed unacceptable.

3. As with yesterday’s Marc Jacobs/Dakota Fanning issue, these bans simply serve to draw even more attention to the supposedly “offensive” images. Case in point: we’d never heard of Drop Dead Clothing until this advert was banned…

4. The comments on this post will make for depressing reading, because, for reasons which we’ve never been able to fathom, many people seem to feel they are able to diagnose health conditions by looking at photographs on the internet. This is almost always unfair to the people being “diagnosed”: just because you think someone LOOKS unhealthy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they ARE unhealthy.

As for Drop Dead Clothing, they have, of course, refuted the claims. They say that while they acknowledge the photographs make the model look thinner, she is a UK size 8, which is not an abnormal size. In fact, they think it’s offensive to call a size 8 model offensive. So, in short, everyone’s offended.

Who’s right here? Are you offended by this model’s size, or you offended by people who are offended by this model’s size? Perhaps you’re offended by people who are offended by people who are offended by this model’s size? The main thing to note is that, in today’s society, it’s important that you be offended by SOMETHING. So pick your side now…

(The Fashion Police are going to take a shot every time someone uses the phrase “she needs to eat a sandwich” or a derivative thereof in the comments on this. We predict we’ll be roaring drunk by lunchtime…)