I’VE GOT AN early-onset case of fashion fatigue. For one, I’m totally tired of how expensive designer clothing is (even on sale). And I’m equally weary of styles such as deconstructed blouses where you can’t tell the top from bottom, inside or out, or those very silly ones that have disembodied sleeves tied at the waist. I have given the cold shoulder to those ubiquitous off-the-shoulder shirts and blouses, especially the ones with stray, useless pieces of material hanging down from the sides. I’m always amazed that more women don’t find their blouses slipping off their shoulders at the most inconvenient moments. Also on my rant list are dresses with asymmetrical hems. Who decided that was an attractive look? I’m all for designers expressing creativity but I’d appreciate that creativity go along with functionality. I could change my mind next week and fall in love with something that’s way too expensive and totally impractical. But this week, what I want are clothes for less money and less trouble.
At around the same time I was complaining about the state of women’s fashion, I happened to read a New Yorker article, “Jane Jacobs, Georgia O’Keeffe and the Power of the Marimekko Dress.” The author’s (Alexandra Lange) contention is that the clothing of Marimekko designer Annika Rimala, and Claire McCardell before her, were roomy, simple and designed for activity. Clothing that gave women the freedom to forget what they had on. We may not be out on the streets protesting building plans like Jane Jacobs or painting large canvases like Georgia O’Keeffe, but clothing we don’t have to think about sounds like a worthy goal.
On the subject of expense, Zara and Massimo Dutti (owned by Spanish behemoth Inditex, which is by the way one of the world’s largest fashion retailers), along with online-only, San Francisco-based Everlane, are my frequent go-tos for their reasonable price points but also because they deliver on style and quality of fabric. (The first two are conveniently located on the same block in Georgetown.)
Above are some of my current picks, along with my less-favorite looks.