Meredith Carroll: Meredith Pro Tem
September 7, 2009
Much to my disappointment, it recently came to my attention that my fourth all-time most expensive purchase (behind my house, car and a little crocodile purse that was so pricey, I made it promise me all 50 hatchlings from its next litter before I’d seal the deal) has gone out of style.
When I bought the pair of Ferragamo boots at Saks Fifth Avenue seven years ago, I was certain they’d be in vogue forever. At least that’s how I justified allowing my credit card to be maxed out by the salesperson, who stubbornly insisted it was necessary if I wanted to actually leave the store with them.
I still have the boots but as far as I can tell, they’ll never see daylight again. I didn’t realize they were no longer fashionable until the last time I wore them and saw my cousin had on a pair of knee-high boots, too. Hers looked hip. Mine looked like the boot equivalent of a pre-op hip badly in need of replacement.
The thing is, it seems as if very few things are truly classic. Aside from the little black dress, Levi’s and Britney Spears’ hair extensions, it’s a rare commodity that can survive more than a few years in the spotlight.
On the other hand, I’m hardly the foremost expert on anything trendy. I figured when skinny jeans came back in, the people who wore them did so only with the intention of being ironic since nobody has ever looked good in them.
Side ponytails and off-the-shoulder sweatshirts were the next to re-emerge on the fashion scene, at which time I scoffed, “What’s next, the acid washed denim vest?” (Turns out that particularly bad 1980s memory is making a comeback this fall.)
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A diet rich in carbs was in forever until it was out for good. Now with the rising (re-) popularity of Julia Child and the Food Network, carbs (and butter) are back with a vengeance. It seems as if the only eating trend never to go out of style is starvation.
Last month my husband and I watched the Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond remake of the 1954 Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn classic, “Sabrina.”
“This one is almost as good as the original,” I raved to him. “She’s the epitome of timeless elegance in it. She just exudes European sophistication.”
About 30 minutes into the film he hit the pause button. “Let me get this straight. She leaves New York, goes to France and becomes a lesbian, right?”
Truth be told, I hadn’t watched it since it was it was released in 1995. Sure enough, 14 years later, with the shoulder pads firmly ensconced in the boxy blazer, balloon-like trousers and a nearly full-blown mullet, indeed, Julia Ormond’s Sabrina could have been mistaken for Paula Poundstone or Joan Jett.
When “Friends” made its debut in 1994, Jennifer Aniston’s “Rachel” haircut was all the rage (it even has its own Wikipedia entry, but then again, so does the basset hound from “The Dukes of Hazzard”). Bouncy, square layered hairstyles sprung up on women everywhere. Looking back, it was an awful cut that flattered no one (including Jennifer Aniston), but at the time, it seemed like the hairstyle was there to stay.
Eventually, of course, the Rachel fell out of favor, and Jennifer Aniston wore her hair stick straight and three quarters of the way down her back. It made her look like Morticia Addams if she had ever stepped out into the sun and made a trip to the salon for some highlights. Still, it seemed like the search for the perfect cut had ended again. (That is, until Kate Gosselin came along.)
Another classic that seemed as if it would never fade away is the sex tape. Time was a Z-list celebrity could get it on with some other Z-lister and capture it on a home video camera, which one or both of them would promptly lose “by accident” at the airport or have “stolen” from their house or hotel. The sex tape guaranteed their Q-rating would shoot up to the next level, affording them such lofty career moves as introducing an eponymous cheap clothing or perfume line, a supporting role in a B movie, a Playboy pictorial or a spot on “Dancing With the Stars.”
But nowadays nobody pays attention to sex tapes because they’ve become de rigueur. No Hollywood movie or television premiere is complete without word leaking that a sex tape with one of the actors has been discovered just prior to its debut. Not having one (or not going to court to get an injunction against the release of one) is career suicide.
I’m hopeful if I hold onto my Ferragamo boots long enough I’ll be able to wear them again someday when the fashion tides change. And I vow never to cut carbs out of my diet so I can always be with, and/or ahead of at least one trend.