There’s one thing I have never enjoyed—or even accepted—and that’s change. Call me a stuck-in-the-mud old countess, call me a snob, but I have always liked things just so.
Until now. President Obama has changed me. I realize that I must go with the flow, although I don’t quite know where the currents will carry me. I haven’t always resisted the occasional adaptation—after all, I do try to stay au courant. For example, when I used to ski in the Tirol, I would restore my energy by eating raw bacon and drinking slivovitz. What a difference it made!
Let’s get serious, though. Following are the changes I suggest for the difficult days ahead.
Of course, I’ve long swirled in a world that capitalizes on change—fashion. One season something is in, the next it’s out. Skirts go up, then they go down. Pants are chic, then they’re passé. It’s all a conflict.
So what to do? Well, as much as I am loath to say it, in this new Obama era, just wear what you want! Don’t overdress given the recession, but underdressing seems to be okay. You can show your navel; tighten your trousers front and back; walk around in pajama bottoms with words across the backside; carry huge handbags—and even backpacks at the same time to keep all your belongings with you—and totter around in spike-heeled boots. As for men, it seems dressing up is de rigueur in this administration, but even here there are few rules. Anything goes: A suit jacket with ripped jeans and scuffed shoes; suits cut so tight they look like you borrowed your little brother’s—or double-breasted and so baggy you resemble a mafioso; wrinkled clothes that look like you slept in them…they’re all okay. Take President Obama’s white tie with a tuxedo by Hart Schaffner Marx, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy just after the inauguration. Now, where I come from, white tie generally goes with tails—perhaps they ran out of cloth to finish the jacket.
It’s become chic not to be chic. The main thing to remember is that fashion of any kind is a seductive force—so go out and shop because it’s good for the economy. The problem is that some designers, big fashion companies and retailers—be it Wal-Mart, J. Crew or a high-end boutique—have forgotten that consumers at any price level want seduction, not just cheap.
Face it, we all need to be more relaxed like our new president, even if he’s a bit beleaguered lately. I could swear that one of the early photos of him walking back to the Oval Office after a meeting on Capitol Hill showed him whistling. Even the French say they like Obama because he’s décontracté.