Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Top Ten Myth

Tim Gunn, Issac Mizrahi, Nina Garcia and many other stylists have well-publicized Top Ten Lists of Essential Pieces. If you have eyes, you know that these lists are largely ignored. The reason why these lists aren't followed is because they don't always support the real women who are supposed to be following them. The stylists themselves will SOMEtimes admit that the lists must be adjusted to fit someone's life, body shape, or personal style. But women who have been told repeatedly that there is a single way (usually that particular book or magazine's Way Of The Month) to approach their weight, their hair, and their relationships know damn well that there isn't one way to do anything and it is insulting to assume that because women are busy/clueless/stuck in the 80s, they are also stupid.

The argument that the top 10 list is a way to streamline and make easy what is often a daunting process is a flawed one. Simplifying is one thing, but reducing the needs of all women to one list of ten things is entirely another.

This one-size-fits-all approach to a closet and wardrobe drives me crazy.

Here are some of the supposed "must-haves," none of which I own:

White Jeans
Seriously, this is just ridiculous. Raise your hand if you feel comfortable in white pants. Anyone? Stylists, take note: All I hear is crickets. If you are one of the few people who like these, awesome. The rest of us will apparently be down one "essential basic."

I find these hideous. Perhaps you don't. Either way, I don't see them as essential for any of the women I know in my age range. Regardless of age and inclination, I can think of many alternatives to this kind of shoe that might be even better choices.

White button down
While I can understand this item as a ubiquitous entry on every list I've ever read (it's a basic staple, it can be dressed up or down, good for work and play, blah blah), I don't own any and I have never had problems finding ways to cover myself. These just don't work for me. If they work for you, awesome.

Here are are couple of Top Ten Lists of my own...

Top Ten List for Stay at Home Moms with Young Kids

1. Jeans

2. Fitted, comfortable tops in various colors that don't show too much boob

3. Light sweater in flattering color, for layering

4. Dress or skirt for date night/wedding/dinner party/girls night

5. Trench coat for all seasons in solid neutral color

6. Slacks for parent/teacher meetings, Christmas eve services, Thanksgiving dinner

7. Dressy top for date skirt and slacks

8. Jeans (seriously, get at least 5 pairs)

9. Flats- several pairs for running around, one fun pair for slacks/skirt outfit

10. Yoga pants (for at home only!) to relax in after the kids are in bed

The glaring omissions: a suit and a LBD. If you need a suit, great, but I doubt most SAHMs would consider it a top 10 staple. And if you only go out once in a while, don't feel like you have to have a black dress- if color makes you happy, go for it!

Top Ten List for Graduate Students

1. Jeans

2. Knee-length skirt for brunch/dinner at prof's house/dinner party

3. Flats

4. Fitted, comfortable tops in various colors that don't show too much boob

5. Jeans

6. Clutch (no backpacks or messenger bags at the bars or clubs, people)

7. Leather or well-fitted jean/cord/other jacket (keep it light on the trendiness factor)

8. Jeans

9. Light sweater in flattering color, for layering

10. Dressy top for skirt or with jeans

The glaring omissions: a suit and a button down shirt. Save the suit for when you graduate and go on interviews. And button downs in school reads a little dull and school-girl.

Tomorrow: My Top Ten List for me...

1 comment:

Mira said...

Hmmm, well I'm working on it. And I do have a black dress that I wear to all dressy functions so it's getting tiresome. Must find some dresses. today I got some of your list. Tell the stupid stores to sell more good stuff.