Just one more fashion faux pas: Leave your tiara at home

By Ann Ipock

I love it! If anyone can be outspoken, proper and funny all at the same time, it’s syndicated columnist Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, the slayer of etiquette atrocities – and in this case, fashion atrocities. Once again, she tells it like it is in a recent column when a reader asked a ridiculous question: She wanted to know if it’s okay to wear her tiara (that she wore to her prom) while on vacation in England. I am not making this up. But I am wondering this woman’s age here, 18 or 81? Younger and foolish or older and clueless? And where in the heck did she go to school? Certainly nowhere near me. She asked MM if it would be alright to “wear it out” (the tiara) while on vacation in England. The dear soul even had the nerve to write, “I know they use them a lot there.” “No, not a lot. Not nearly as often as Miss America wears hers, for example,” Miss Manners replies. Right on!

You just have to wonder if the writer is sincere. It was so outlandish that I doubt the letter could’ve been made up. Then again, Ann Landers gets some doozies – so why not Judith Martin? However, MM pulled no punches and got right to the point. I’ll paraphrase here: “Tiaras are only worn for dress occasions, i.e., grand state banquets or ceremonies and the occasional full-scale royal wedding.” Her crescendo was, “Besides, tiaras are a nightmare to pack.” So true! You just have to love this etiquette guru who not only makes us think, but delivers the news funnier than most well-paid comedians.

I’m asking myself now: What was the tacky-tiara-traveler thinking? It’s kind of like the recent Golden Globe awards when the fashionistas asked the same question of Sandra Oh in her tawdry gunmetal grey spandex sheath. And while on the subject, how ’bout Nicolette Sheridan in her white mermaid gown with criss-crossed black ropes, and that gaudy poofy tail? I rest my case. Another scrambled funky fashion recently appeared on the More Magazine cover. Though I don’t mean to pick on Sharon Stone (who’s perfectly perfect), I wonder what her stylist was thinking: She’s wearing a linen-like bustier with sparse feathers at the top, two stripes running horizontally across her breasts (that resemble bias tape) and white bra straps. Her walking shorts look like wide-wale corduroy. The entire wardrobe is plain brown. Personally, I think she looks better in a silver Giorgio Armani gown. Of course, when you’re Sharon Stone, does it really matter what you’re wearing? Does anybody notice anything but her beautiful face and body?

Don’t you think some of today’s fashions are just plain hideous and way complicated? We baby boomers can remember back to a time when a Ladybug blouse, Villager sweater, kilt skirt and Weejuns were all the rage. Nowadays the stores have so many choices that I often leave with a headache and without a purchase. The latter causes hubby Russell (Oscar the Grouch) to jump for joy since he doesn’t understand why I need more than three pairs of shoes anyway: Black, brown and summer white. Men!

One thing’s for sure with fashion trends waxing and waning: If you hold on to your clothes long enough, they’ll come back in style. I’ll bet there’s not a one of us out there who doesn’t regret getting rid of what once seemed like a fabulous fashion find at the time: that sparkly black dress, those funky platform shoes or that shaggy deconstructed jacket. In my case, it was a poppy red patchwork jacket that had gold grommet-like fasteners and matching silky palazzo pants to match. I bought it at a shop that specializes in island, touristy clothes – always a good choice. What was I thinking by getting rid of it?

My favorite item right now is my chocolate brown cowgirl boots with the turquoise studs. First of all, they are so comfortable they feel like bedroom slippers. Plus, they’re eye-catching, with their pointed crocodile toe and alternating suede and crocodile “in and out” pattern. They even go with skirts and pants. Come to think of it, they’d have been the perfect finish for Sharon Stone’s outfit. Or better still, maybe she should stick to that silver gown. Come to think of it, she could be the one to wear that tiara to the next Golden Globes. I believe even Miss Manners would approve.

About this writer

  • Ann Ipock Ann Ipock, the first Sasee hat recipient, is the author of the “Life is Short” humor trilogy. She currently writes for four publications and lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, with her husband, Russell. www.annipock.com

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