Today’s fashion hits us below the belt

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Regarding the subject of etiquette, I once read that rules for social behavior don’t exist to control people, but rather to make everyone feel comfortable. I think that is absolutely brilliant!
Or, to synopsize: no one gives a darn which fork you use for your salad, we just beg our fellow Americans to stop weirding people out.
I think we’ve all been in a situation where, say, you’re eating your cholesterol burger at McBurger Heap or wherever and the sun is shining, the fries are steaming, and your skinny clothes fit (for the next 15 minutes until that burger hits your buns anyway). In essence, all is right in your world.
Hard to miss. Then you glance up momentarily from your dinner-cum-binge only to see a woman in the vicinity wearing (or at least attempting to wear) super low-rise jeans.
These are pants that seem to belt somewhere around the upper thigh, leaving nothing north of that point to the imagination.
Thus, without warning or even a chance to shield your impressionable eyes, you have a view of her entire rear anatomy and a goodly portion of her undergarments.
And you’re not even a doctor or her mother.
Is my rear sticking out? Etiquette deems that what happens next is virtually guaranteed. Every self-respecting female in the region reaches back to make sure that her own derriere hasn’t made a bid for public freedom and breathes a sigh of relief to find herself still adequately undercover.
The thing the flasher in your midst will apparently never understand is that people aren’t looking at her posterior and exposed undergarments in an appealing way, but rather, they are wondering why in the world she can’t feel the draft?
I now have to explain to my children how in the “old days” being naked in public was the stuff of nightmares and not, as it is today, business as usual. So who’s the real fashion victim here?
PG-13 burger joint. When did I get old enough that these little fashion disasters bother me? I mean sure, it shouldn’t require a PG-13 pass to take my 9-year-old for a burger but still, when did fashion blow by the point of no return when even I am regularly offended?
I really shouldn’t be that hard to impress. My own roots spring entirely from the 1970s and as such, it’s not as if the bar has been set too unbelievably high for me, fashion-wise.
In my formative years of the tube top, hot pant, and disco era, nothing was too short, too low, too high, too colorful or too overwhelmingly patterned to wear and virtually all the rules of good taste were broken.
Mood ring. The hot fashion item of my childhood was the “mood ring.” This was a ring supposed to reflect what mood you were in. Apparently, we were in the mood to look completely ridiculous.
To be fair, low-rise or “hip hugger” pants did get their start in the 1970s and as such, are kind of like that monster from a horror film that you think has been vanquished but in the last scene rears an ugly head once more.
The younger generation is inexperienced and foolish in the ways of the low-pant and should be forgiven for falling victim to its evil ways.
There is no excuse, however, for anyone over 30 to wear these without being subject to immediate incarceration – or at the very least being sentenced to wearing a belt.
We can only hope that, like the movies, other fashion trends of the 1970s come roaring back to save us from ourselves.
Bring them back. I’m thinking maxi-skirts (ankle length is good!) and caftans. Caftans are the equivalent of body tents and are the perfect accessory for jeans that belt around the thighs I would think.
This should also mean that other fashion icons I rocked back in second grade are going to come back, like Osh Kosh B’Gosh overalls or suspenders exactly like those worn with impunity on Mork and Mindy.
Look at it this way, if we all band together and work hard enough on the resurgence of suspenders, then we have at least a fighting chance of holding up all these falling pants!
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is going to singlehandedly bring back the caftan. She welcomes comments c/o kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)

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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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