I was happily perusing one of my favorite blogs, Retail Recovery (it's like the most fun fashion-related homework, as all the posts end with a question from Editor. You can't NOT answer the questions.), and Landis posted the following account:
"i'm at a big fashion party last night in beijing. opening the "barney's" of china. i'm wearing (if i do say so myself, and you know by now, i do.) a pretty cool outfit, which entails some metallic elements, including a prada overpainted sweater in this pewter.
this guy walks up to me and plucks at the sweater and says "why would you wear this? it's silver."
and i said "why wouldn't i? and actually, it's kinda pewter. if you care."
and he says, smirking, "cause it looks stupid."
and i pause. and let it hang in the air.and then i look him up and down, in his half-zip black nylon jumper, khaki pleated pants, and black tennis shoes, and say
"honey, dressed like that, i'm not sure you know the meaning of looking stupid"
(i mean, i get it. i was a bit over-the-top. but there was effort involved for a fashion event. and he? he just didn't care. i think its just a complete lack of comprehension of the FUN of fashion. kinda like me and sports.)"
If I had been at that party I would have raised a glass to that. And as I said in my own comment on that story, "unsolicited comments from strangers should only be positive, or they're really asking to be smacked."
Case in point:
I was shoe shopping (I know, I know, I can pretty much just start all of my stories this way), at this crazy sale where most of the shoes were price-slashed down to $20. So, you can imagine my arms spilling over with shoe boxes, as I shuffled from table to table, afraid of missing something fabulous.
I arrived at a table, and promptly dropped all other boxes in order to pick up a fantastically impractical pair of Steve Madden psychedelic, ivory/beige/navy/fuschia, silk-ish fabric platform sandals. Just seeing them made me happy. I cradled the box in my arms, smiling down at the shoes, and the saleswoman (who had been following my progress) said "find something you loved?"
And I answered with a gushing "YES! Ohmygosh I SO love these!", and this random woman next to me peers into the box and sneeringly says,
"Well, you'd HAVE to, wouldn't you."
I was so caught off guard that it took me a full minute to realize that she was not being complimentary, and I was both shocked and offended.
Until I looked at her outfit.
Blah blah black, shapeless trenchcoat. Blah blah black pants. And I'm more than confident that her shoes were handed down to her from her ancestor, Hester Prynne.
(If you haven't read "The Scarlet Letter", or seen Demi Moore in the film, just picture a hideous pair of black, clompy puritan sloggers.)
So I gave her the once over, and ended with a pitying look. I mean really.