Life Out Loud: Fashion do’s, don’ts and does it matter anyway?

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I think I can safely say that I join the rest of the free world in relief that the terror and unrest is behind us. By this we mean the Oscars.


The world had waited with bated breath for the end of the Hollywood writers’ strike that had threatened to shut down the iconic Academy Awards ceremony and force Americans to forgo television and cultivate human relationships again — or at the very least, read a book.


Fortunately, it did not come to anything so torturous as that. I personally don’t understand why anyone even cared if the Oscars had writers. I’m all about the brethren having paying gigs and all, don’t get me wrong.


I just don’t see why anyone even carries on the pretense that “Oscar buzz” is about the movies.


Ask any 10 friends and you’ll find that most of them have never heard of — let alone actually seen — the “artsy” movies that undoubtedly win year after year.


Forget about film — the Academy Awards are all about fashion. The Oscars are widely accepted to be the female fashionista version of the Super Bowl (minus the chip dip and hot wings because fashionistas don’t eat. Ever).


Let’s say a human of the male persuasion was forced through accident or captivity to watch the Oscars and was asked, later, what he thought of, say, Katherine Heigl’s dress? I think it’s a safe bet that the answer you’d get from virtually every male I know is, “Huh? That blonde was wearing a dress?”


Forget hemlines and heels. If a woman is attractive, upright and breathing, most men give her a thumbs up.

Tread

This is why it’s a fact that we women dress to impress other women, not men. When we read the fashion magazines to see what style of shoes are most popular, we do that for other women — to give evidence to our being “in the know.”


For the most part, men are not going to know the difference between a pump and a slide — let alone a kitten heel. It’s code we use among us.


From an early age, females learn that they must tread a fine line with the message their fashion sense sends. Too hip, edgy and flashy and they risk being branded the “wrong” kind of girl. Men may be all for it, but this is the kiss of death from other women.


Conversely, being too conservatively prim and proper can backfire, too. The “old-style librarian look” is to be avoided (although modern librarians are quite cute and always the height of fashion so please do not send me excessively articulate hate mail).


It is never a good thing when your fashion statement causes people to cross the street in order to avoid being given a stern lecture on appropriate comma usage.

Thrill

I think this is why we love to hate Academy Award fashion. It’s a chance for every woman to enjoy that harmless thrill when she sees someone who really can’t be too rich or too thin looking like something the cat dragged onto the red carpet.


It’s a moment to bask secure in the knowledge that you might not have celebrity status or wealth, but by golly, you’d still know not to wear a flounced and feathered gown that adds 30 pounds to your derriere on national television.


Of course, the only problem is that even when looking decidedly less-than-fabulous, most celebrities really aren’t anything at all like you and me.


The Oscar telecast had barely beamed its excess over the airwaves before Sarah Larson (date of the moment of the venerable and most deliciously handsome avowed bachelor George Clooney) was being tossed under the fashion bus. Ms. Larson showed up on the red carpet in a gown that was comprised of a crazed melange of sickly pastels in some wildly unflattering knobby fabric that made you itch just looking at it.


You could almost hear the gasp of “What was she thinking?” as viewers took it in. Of all the things a gal could choose to wear, this was the best she could come up with on the only night likely to outweigh her wedding day in importance?


Seriously, did she lose a bet?


Yet lest we forget, she was dating George Clooney. Forget couture gowns and kitten heels, this chick could have shown up barefoot wearing nothing more than a HeftyO bag and still one-upped virtually every other woman in her orbit.


Her accessory? A handsome Hollywood hunk. I think we can all agree that goes with everything.


(Kymberly Foster Seabolt uses Mr. Wonderful as the ultimate handsome accessory. She welcomes comments c/o lifeoutloud@comcast.net; or P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; and www.kymberlyfosterseabolt.com.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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