Everyone and their mom already did their "best of" lists for 2006, but frankly, I think it's the resolutions that are more important. Nonetheless, I do have a smattering of regrets whilst looking back upon the year in which Portlander Anna Cohen made the cover of Women's Wear Daily, PDX launched its own official Portland Fashion Week, and I became a columnist. Here they go:
Wondering what my BMI is: The modeling world was aflame this year with the debate over the size of runway models—a controversy further provoked when two models died as the result of diets that consisted of apples and tomatoes, and diet coke and lettuce (take your pick!). Some governments have put in place regulations that prohibit the use of models who are classified as underweight according to the Body Mass Index system, which judges health based on the ratio of height to weight. While it has general acceptance, the BMI ratio doesn't account for many of the naturally occurring variations between individuals. It doesn't, for instance, distinguish between muscle and fat, nor is it a universally accurate way of determining if someone has an eating disorder. While skinny models are sure to be a hot topic well into 2007, in the meantime we should just quit crunching numbers, have a good meal, and break a sweat at least three times a week.
Watching Anna Wintour get called out as "the Devil": The Devil Wears Prada came out this year, portraying the Wintour-inspired fashion editor as a cold, vindictive bitch. The real Vogue editor Wintour may not be the warmest of women, but she deserves a little respect as a singularly focused person who had the wherewithal to pioneer the idea of a fashion magazine as an intersection of art and populist commerce—a combination of ideas that has yet to be won out in the fashion magazine trade.
Falling into a debate about leggings/skinny jeans: The amount of time I spent both considering and discussing the size and elasticity of pants' ankles this year is somewhat embarrassing. Nonetheless, I eagerly await the '07 trend that will inspire as heated a discussion. And as I head into the new year, I do so with a list of sartorial resolutions that I hope you'll deem reasonable enough to adopt yourself:
Don't be a label whore. It's a sad sight to see people throw their good money away on little bits of trash (key chains, luggage tags) that are exorbitantly priced because of the label they carry. One should shop for quality, not blind allegiance to flashy names. Further, don't let anyone charge you $200 for a sweater that was made in a factory in China.
Don't wear sneakers to the office. Here's a challenge: Portland doesn't really do dress codes, so if you want to discipline yourself to maintain an appearance that reflects a level of respect you have for the people around you, you're going to have to make up the rules yourself. I'm a fan of heels and dresses for work, but beware that when you are having an off-day, and you shuffle in wearing jeans and a wrinkled shirt, all of a sudden people are going to notice.
Either wear real fur/leather/snake/crocodile or none at all. Fur can be a tricky subject for a lot of people, but one thing that's never in style is wishy washiness. Make a decision, and wear it with confidence (and cross your fingers that nobody spray paints something nasty on the back of your coat). And if you find that morally you can't support the use of animals in clothing, refrain from tacky substitutions.
Do not fall for the return of black nail polish. If Lindsay Lohan jumped off a cliff, would you follow her too? Even though she and other celebs have recently flipped for the goth look, don't be fooled. It looks terrible on them, and it will look terrible on you.
Reserve gym/out of door clothes for the gym/the out of doors. Portland is known for its outdoorsy types, but unfortunately it is also known for its slovenliness. Consider it a community service and pack a gym bag.
Don't let anyone try to tell you that there is or has ever been anything wrong with head to toe black. It's obvious, but it's true: When it doubt, go with black. It is how it has always been, and always shall be.
Use an umbrella when it's raining, and/or refrain from verbally or mentally assaulting anyone else who does so. Portland, you have to get over this pride thing with umbrellas. It doesn't make you a wimp or a tourist to use an umbrella. It makes you the proud owner of common sense.
Support local fashion shows. Portland produced more fashion shows within the past year than any before. Creativity and charm abounded, such as with the showcase of hats from Pinkham Millinery that took place of a Portland streetcar, as pictured here. If you haven't come out to see the degree of design talent in Portland, do yourself a favor and add it to your list of things to do in 2007. It's only going to get better.Oh yeah, and quit smoking: email@example.com