Sunday, January 11, 2009

what to wear to a financial crisis

Finally, the antidote to all the "gloom and doomers" who will go on about credit crunches and bad loans and looming financial ruin when all I really want to know is, WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?

Stepan, who clearly shares my concerns, was kind enough to send me this clip, in which New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham takes to the streets of New York to find out how women in that fashionable city are coping with the current financial crisis. As Stepan put it, "It's like if Jimminy Glick got on his bike and started stalking women, snapping photos of them around NY and rambling about what they're wearing."

What New York women are doing, it seems, is wearing old clothes - and so can you! Dust off that classic Balenciaga coat from the '60s - you remember it, the one with the spiral seam? The masterpiece you loaned to the Metropolitan Museum of Art? It's still there? Well, get it back, sister! Break the glass if you have to - this is an emergency!

Reach into the family trunk and pull out a Schiaparelli from 1938! Preferably one with a large sea urchin embroidered on the shoulder (I believe 'schiaparelli' is Italian for sea urchin).

I don't have access to the "family trunk" at the moment (my own fault, of course, for having opted to live abroad, my sisters are no doubt sashaying around covered head to toe in decorative crustaceans even as I write), but I reached into my closet (actually a wardrobe thingy from IKEA but passons, passons!) and found clothing so old it should have been given to the Smithsonian, never mind the Metropolitan Museum of Art! Much of it, mind you, is ragged, or moth-eaten, or too small, but I'm sure if I wear it with the proper devil-may-care attitude, I'll be able to carry it off.

On the other hand, the ragged, moth-eaten, too small look was big during the last major financial crisis, and could very well come back. Fashion is cyclical, after all - just like something else I could mention but won't. No "gloom and doomer" I!

[Pictured, above right: Another woman who managed to dress well during trying times - Scarlett O'Hara, who found the answer hanging not in her closet, but in her window.]

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