Fashion Fundamentals

Great news this week from the world of fashion! For women, anyway, and possibly for men as well. The headline in last Sunday’s paper said it all: "Big on top and skinny on bottom hot for fall."

Don’t we all wish.

Actually, the article, by AP fashion writer Samantha Critchell, was about the latest style for fall. Apparently this new look is leggings worn under loose tops. I know, some of us remember back to the 80s, the last time leggings were the newest thing. It’s a completely different look this time, though. I know that, because Sally Singer, fashion news director for Vogue, said so. According to her, "This season is a fundamental change in how you’re going to get dressed in the morning."

Wow. I think. I don’t know if I’m ready for that. For years now, I’ve been putting on my pants one leg at a time, right leg first. I’m not sure I’m prepared to change that in a fundamental way. Maybe I could manage putting the left leg in first, though I’m sure it would take a month or so before the new approach became a habit. Any change more fundamental than that might be a problem. Such as sitting on the floor. Or putting on my pants while lying on my back on the bed with my legs in the air. When I was 20, maybe. At this stage in my life, I’m not sure such a method would be advisable, attractive, or worth the struggle.

The whole leggings look, however, must be worth embracing. After all, it’s slimming for women of all sizes, "particularly bigger women." This is the word from Stephanie Solomon, who, as fashion director for Bloomingdale’s, certainly ought to know. She says a "sweater layered over a tank top, layered over a short skirt, layered over leggings . . . makes a woman look taller and thinner." Especially if you add a wide belt to "help define your shape."

I’d be willing to bet cold, hard cash that Stephanie is a size four.

Which does not mean we should disregard her final bit of advice about the finishing touch for this new look. That is—in her own words—to "add a boot or chunky shoe, the same color as your bottom."

She isn’t specific about how exactly one is supposed to select that color. Though I haven’t tried it personally, it seems to me it would be difficult to see all the necessary color-matching parts at the same time in those little floor-level mirrors in the shoe department. Nor does Stephanie have any advice on how to explain, when the person from store security shows up, that you were just doing some crucial color-coordinating.

Still, these are incidental difficulties. I’m sure they can be overcome. Then each of us can be satisfied that, when it comes to this latest look, we aren’t going to fall behind.

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