I've decided to forego the originally scheduled video programming today because, well, it just didn't work. Yes, my big, grand plan to roast the Tea Party that I've been boasting about all week turned out to be a big, grand failure because 1) I don't have the equipment to churn out the around-the-town spoof I had originally planned; and 2) something else more amusing came up this morning: an article about StyleForHire.com, a new Web site that, according to the Washington Post, will "give style advice to the masses."
Post fashion writer Robin Givhan explains the site, which is partly owned by Stacy London from TLC's What Not to Wear, as "a new online agency aiming to give the masses access to master mythmakers." It won't launch until mid-September, but when it does, it plans to use DC as its test market.
While I desperately see DC as a place in major need of style advice -- nine out of 10 people in and around this city dress the way a Soviet Russian was forced to -- I just don't see DC as a good market. Why? Because those same nine out of 10 people don't give a sh*t about personal style, and they do so actively. That is, they CHOOSE not to care, they CHOOSE to dress like they live in Khrushchev-era Russia, which is a much more helpless cause than when people simply don't care out of force or ignorance.
For proof of this theory, let's turn to the comments people left in response to Givhan's article, and in particular, one commentator, "IGotLotsToSay" who seemingly explains it all:
I love What Not to Wear. You would think after watching it, I would myself change my clothing. Part of it is, I dont feel comfortable in a lot of clothes. I bloat a lot so what starts out as comfy, eventually feels yucky and looks yucky. PS...and they would just die..I wear flip flops at work.shhhhhhh!
As you can see, IGotLotsToSay eschews style as much as she does grammar. (Her grammar is seriuosly yucky...) However, what she chooses not to avoid seems to be a diet heavy in gas-producing foods. And while I'd never tell anyone to cut back on their bean intake (they're the perfect source of fiber and protein!), I will tell someone that they're full of sh*t (as well as recommend some Gas-X). And in this case, I'm afraid I mean that both literally and figuratively because if what IGotLotsToSay writes is true, she says she understands style from watching What Not to Wear. Now, I don't watch that program regularly (I have more important fashion disasters to keep my eye on, like the cast of Jersey Shore -- a good example of not caring out of ignorance), but I have seen a couple of episodes and I know they're in the market of dishing out solid, albeit pretty conventional advice -- advice for women of all sizes, regardless of bean bloat. Which means, like a Transformer, there's more than meets the eye here in IGotLotsToSay's comment. Indeed, apart from all the typos, there is a more important clue to deciphering DC's dishabille human decor. It's the part of the equation that went undeclared, but touches on the psyches of the majority of those nine out of 10 bad dressers.
To learn more, let's take another look at IGotLotsToSay's comment, and in particular, the last sic-filled, post-scripted sentence: "PS...and they would just die..I wear flip flips at work.shhhhhhh!" This demonstrates an active decision not to care. The presence of the shush proves that she knows wearing flip-flops when no sand exists within a 50-yard radius looks stupid. SHE KNOWS!
Clearly, those are the words of someone f*cking with us. She, and I'm sure all the others who choose to forego civilized shoes in a city for thin slabs of petroleum-based plastic know exactly what they're doing. But the joke's on them because not only are they the ones who look like lazy slobs to the rest of the world, but they're also the ones who are probably contracting deadly staph infections. Dirty corporate hippies.
It's really a sad circle of don'ts around here. But trust me, if I thought more people would be attracted to an idea like Style For Hire, I'd be more optimistic. While the 20-year-old intern at the office still looks like a kid playing dress-up in whatever cheap polyester pants-suit she could find in the bargain bin at DEB, she deserves a break. She is more or less really still a kid playing dress-up. She's also probably poor. And while in a more perfect world (i.e., anywhere outside of the Washington, DC metropolitan area), she'd grow up to know better and change (pun intended), in DC she'll probably look the same in 15 years. The difference this time, though, is that she'll look sh*tty by choice. How else do you explain the plethora of 35-year-old corporate lawyers here who watch shows like What Not to Wear regularly yet still look like 50-year-old cat ladies? Obviously, they make enough to afford a stylist and clothes that don't look like they were purchased at the bargain bin at DEB, but they just don't care.
They don't give a well-tailored f*ck on purpose because, frankly, it's just not cool to dress cool in DC. And the fact that one of Style for Hires local hires, an employee at the Department of Homeland Security, refused to give Givhans his name out of fear is testament to that fact. She writes, "[he] declined to give his name, for fear of getting an earful of mocking commentary from colleagues who wear their dowdiness like a badge of brilliance."
And so I'm sure DC will exist -- Style for Hire or not -- continuing to dress like the way a pile of rancid garbage smells on a hot summer day. Alas, long live Shambles P.I...