To celebrate the release of Lisa’s newest book, Fashionably Late, we’re talking about our own personal fashion faux pas. (Fun fact: “faux pas” is spelled the same for both singular and plural, although it is pronounced differently so you don’t get the two confused.) Tell us yours in the comments below!
I have a closet jammed with stuff but wear the same, comfy go-to outfits all the time, mostly to save the “nice” clothes for all those very special occasions such as date nights and tropical vacations and movie premieres when I simply MUST look my best. I also have my own personal Clinique-Estee Lauder-Lancome-Sephora store in my powder room, filled with those little samples you get whenever you buy a lipstick. But do I actually wear makeup? Of course not (but if you see me at a writers conference I’ll be halfway put together on Friday and completely over it by Sunday). My co-sleuths the Ladies Smythe & Westin take after me (or is it the other way around?). Summer is a packrat of pretty, shiny things she can never find when she needs to (or else they snag on an Uber door or she spills cranberry martinis on them). Seventy-something Dorothy is a practical but stylish dresser—but she does have a special reindeer holiday sweater Summer wishes might accidentally go down the Hibiscus Pointe incinerator chute. How was I qualified to write about the fashion world in my latest book FASHIONABLY LATE? Well, I did work very closely with Ford Models (NO, not as a model—but thank you for asking) on a supermodel book series once.
Growing up in the 70s and 80s, it was actually quite difficult to avoid committing fashion faux pas. Here’s a list of my true-life mistakes (the ones I haven’t blocked from my memory, anyway): bell-bottoms with matching jean jacket, both embroidered with some sort of futuristic cityscape; color-blocked blazers with huge shoulder pads; leg warmers and ripped sweatshirts a la Flashdance; and rainbow toe socks with Dr. Scholl’s. #stylin
This summer I went to a traditional Hindu wedding. The clothing was spectacular, with everyone in bright, colorful saris. Even the bride was colorful, with a brilliant red and gold dress. Somehow I ended up in a conversation with a woman in the ladies’ room (actually a luxury porta-potty). I was admiring her sari and how beautiful everyone looked, and she told me that everyone wears colors because black and white were considered bad luck. I looked down at my dress — mostly black but with some pink flowers — feeling bad because clearly I had doomed the marriage with my choice of clothing. The woman started reassuring me: “Noooooo, no, no, no, you’re fine because it’s flowered. As long as you’re not wearing a little black dress or something.” Right then, another woman stepped out of one of the stalls. And of course, she’s wearing a little black dress and a horrified expression. Thank God for those pink flowers!
I grew up in New Jersey in the late 80s/early 90s. Think big hair and even bigger pants. If you went to my middle school, then you owned a pair Z Cavaracci pants. Imagine a dressier version of MC’s Hammer’s parachute pants and you’d have Cavaraccis. I wore the full pants in the winter and even had a pair of shorts for the summertime. (A girl needs options after all.) You couldn’t tell me anything when I had them on—especially after I saw Danny from New Kids on the Block wore them in a concert. If only Danny and I had more in common than our wonderful taste in fashion.
I’ll be honest. I feel like everything I put on these days is a fashion faux pas. My daughter literally threatened to submit me to the TV show, What Not to Wear. But I’m going to go with a faux pas that I’m committed to. I found a pair of drawstring pants at Target that fit me, were comfortable, and not too unflattering. I went back to pick up another pair or two and couldn’t find them. I asked a clerk where they might be. She checked the skew number, gave me a strange look, and said, “These are men’s pajama bottoms.” To which I replied, “Point me to ’em!” I now own five pairs of these “pants.” (And you’re welcome for that link.) I’ve worn them to jobs, the gym, social events – even the occasional meeting. You know how people say they wish they could go to work in their pajamas? I do it all the time.
Readers, ever have a wardrobe malfunction? Or show up at what you thought was a costume party — but wasn’t? Tell us about your fashion faux pas in the comments below!
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