Monday, February 1, 2010

Good taste has nothing to do with how much you spend

I don’t know what made me do it. Normally I could care less. Perhaps it was because my impressionable daughter, Petite Poe, was glued to it last night.

While going in to check email today I followed the link to the Grammy Dress List. Perhaps you heard me scream at, oh, 5PM Mountain Time.

If the entertainment industry is any indicator of American high fashion, we clearly have no taste. There a saying. It's something like, “The difference between good and bad taste is restraint.” Some of those women couldn’t restrain their over inflated breasts! It’s not sultry! It’s a mess! How about the women who wore dresses so short if they were to take an ever-so- slight bow we’d catch an unsolicited view. I’d like to personally thank all those women, for setting me miles back in teaching my oldest daughter one of the most basics of fashion – don’t publicize your coochee. The woman above looks like she's glamorizing domestic violence with that bruised-looking eye.

I'd like to see the price, not by the hour, but rather the total amount spent for these ridiculous ensembles. I imagine that some of these ensembles rival the grocery bills for a family of four for, oh, TEN MONTHS! And, we're supposed to think this is wonderful?
Money doesn’t buy style. Style is in eye of the beholder and I can offer proof.

What I don’t understand is how I can buy a simple dress for $9 in the thrift store and it has more class than most every dress I saw. I even thrifted my husband a classic Givechy tux for $9 and he would have been rated as one of the top-dressed in that tux. I cannot begin to comprehend the money that was wasted for that event, especially while so many Americans are counting pennies for groceries, literally.

You be the judge, here’s a quick snapshot, not a professional photograph, my husband took as we set off for the 2009 Goodwill Power of Work Luncheon. I paid $9 for this silk dress. I certainly had no money for someone to do my hair or make up. I’m not certain I had time to shower. Tailor the dress a little, put up my hair...

Let’s compare this to Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi. Don’t know who she is but feel sorry for what she is attempting.

Here’s Britney!

Normally I could care less about how the entertainment industry dresses. But, now that my daughter watches this stuff and could be sucked into that funnel of extremely expensive bad taste, I care a whole lot. Not only could she, in her naïveté, send the world the wrong message of who she is but, over time, waste the down payment on a home doing it!

Word up to the entertainment industry, “Stars” are timeless in their presentation. Their gazing beauty lies in their elegant simplicity. Good grief, think of how Audrey Hepburn managed style. It was once said all the woman needed was a scarf and she could transform herself in the most beautiful of ways. Most of the women I saw don’t need scarves. They need therapy.

Sorry to sound like a mother but that’s what I am. If your not one now you will be someday and, I promise, you’ll feel the same way I do now.


Daisy said...

I wonder what Taylor Swift wore - she usually looks classy.

Saver Queen said...

Wow, those women look AWFUL! Appallingly bad, really. No taste or class whatsoever. Hasn't Britney learned to cover it up yet? First she goes out without any underwear, now all she's wearing is underwear.

Love this line: "Most of the women I saw don’t need scarves. They need therapy." - Too funny!

The Family Circus said...

I totally agree with you on this one...when I see women dressed this way all I can think is...what were they thinking!

Anonymous said...

I believe the quote is, "Elegance is restraint."


Linda said...

The way they dress, women and men, are one reason I don't like the Grammy's. Tasteless, Tacky and down right NASTY. Unfortunately teenagers will follow the music. Bravo for your post!

Elizabeth B said...

The Fug Girls have got you covered , Daisy. :)

Seriously. Britney, honey? You forgot your pants. Again.

Kelly said...

Yes, Taylor Swifts dress was demure compared to the others , though I thought the the shape of the back and shoulder straps were unflattering to her.
I am sure this is a discussion that quite a few women are having with their daughters , sisters and friends.
I know my sister and I were talking about this today .
We really hope that parents and friends are talking about inner beauty and how it really is outer beauty !!!
Someone , recently told me I have elegant taste and style. What a lovely compliment ,elegant , demure are wonderful words .

Kay said...

SG, your lines on those girls needing therapy made me laugh!! and nod in agreement!

When I see Britney, I think 'Poor girl! she needs help... big time!'.

Kay said...

loved the quote on elegance as well.

the thrifty ba said...

i dont have daughters but i have sons. and i dont want them to think that ms britney is what they want their future wife to dress like (they are 6 and 9 yrs so hopfully i have time to set them straight).
sad sad sad

Laurie said...

Good post. I don't have children, but there's no denying those dresses are tacky & trashy. It's one of the reasons I don't watch TV, but I'm glad you that do speak out about the garbage being shown! No wonder the kids are messed up! I worry for my nieces.

Leslie Doughty said...

I couldn't agree more. Style and grace are not things that can be bought or sold. Your photo is honest, you are lovely and the dress looks smart on you. The look in your eyes says you value yourself; the red carpet girls clearly do not value themselves or they would take care to present themselves differently. I am a mother of a soon-to-be 12 year old girl & an 9 yr old boy. I too try to draw the distinction to help them understand substance from fake. Love your thrifty blog, we thrifty girls need to stick together! ;-)

Angie said...

You are getting a standing ovation from this chick. I think that the majority of people (including men!) think that these women (and lets be fair, some of the men) look ridiculous. What are the designers thinking? What are these people thinking to wear them? I wish that all of Hollywood would pay attention to what everyone else in the country is saying and wise up.

Shopping Golightly said...

I still can't figure. This was a slap in the American face. Here we stand with a documented 10% unemployment rate that's actually a lot higher when you count people who have given up or people that are attempting to enter or re-enter the workforce. And we have entertainment "stars" looking like they are soliciting on Chicago's Division Street? This is where they dump they're money?

Way I see it, if they didn't look like street prostitutes, they looked like they should be skating in the Ice Capades.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Taylor Swift looked good. Those other ones you showed -- they're awful. Trashy and cheap.

You my darling looked lovely!

Alex M said...

I think of Dolly Parton's quote "it costs a lot to look this cheap."

I never buy anything new and one of the best buys I got was a black and white polka-dot Lord and Taylor dress I wore to a wedding. My husband actually had a matching tie, which he wore.

We got tons of compliments because we matched. And that dress cost me .99 cents!

Becky B. said...

I applaud you. I too looked over the dressed list when I saw Lady Ga Ga wearing some sort of asteroid on her head, and was appalled at what I saw. When did being a real "lady" go out of fashion?

The sad reality is that after shopping four stores to find a modest yet cute skirt for my teenage daughter, we ended up at the fabric store to shop for a pattern to sew one ourselves. If I could just talk my teenager to go thrifting with me... well, that's a whole different topic.

erin said...

you are so, so right. and you look gorgeous in your $9 dress!

Chris said...

I vote for your $9 dress! I so agree with the negative influences from the entertainment industry. Have to make sure the kids know what is worn on TV is more of costume than actual clothing. I always made sure I pointed out the unsavoury stuff to my daughter, and let her know what's acceptable. I also express shock and dismay or laugh out loud at those outrageous clothes! She did turn out OK(age 18 now) except for an Avril Lavigne phase...

More Style Than Cash said...

Last year I wrote a post called "Want to dress well? Then first dress appropriately." because I am sick of seeing incredible inappropriate clothes worn to serious functions because these women are more concerned with standing out then being respectful to the moment. I use to wonder where these women were getting their style from.... now I know.

99Perfume said...

Its very true about what you said in regards to the amount of style someone can have. Too many people put an emphasis on the amount of money spent, when an item that is probably one-third the cost will look a hundred times better.

Ashley said...

Reminds me of a famous Coco Chanel quote: “Adornment, what a science! Beauty, what a weapon! Modesty, what elegance!” She must be turning in her grave.

Shopping Golightly said...


Dead on with Chanel. Most people have such the wrong impression on who she really was. I mean, this was the woman who took mens sweaters and re-stitched and REPURPOSED them for womens. Yeah, Chanel REUSED AND REPURPOSED FASHION.


Thank you thank you thank you for this post !
You have said exactly what I have been feeling of late.
Some younger Americans not only have bad taste, but bad self esteem to dress/not dress.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you said, with one exception: Not everyone ends up a mother. I am a 47yr old female has dealt with infertility since I was a young, married, idealistic 20 yr old. It's really okay if women, either by choice or chance, don't end up mothers. I hate to sound like a crabby old broad, but I know there are plenty of women who get assaulted by assorted "motherhood" statements and I just had to say something. Love your blog

Shopping Golightly said...


I understand and empathize as best I can with the obstacles you've faced. I've friends with the same issues.

You're right, not all women end up mothers.

I wrote that mostly aimed at anyone who might think me a prude or too uptight. I thought of prefacing it but couldn't think of how to best frame it. Perhaps, "If you should end up a mother."

Thanks for your comment.

Michael said...

There's nothing wrong with "going over the top", especially if you're an entertainer giving your own concert. There, it's cool - and expected if you're a modern musician (or the overused word "star"). After all, it's your private gig, and people are either happy - or stuck - with what they paid for.

Going over the top on national TV can be amazing, and pulled off well if you have sufficient imagination (and not just a pocketbook and an agent). I actually liked Lady Gagg-gah's getup, except she didn't have the B-52s beehive 'do to pull it all off. Boo on her - it fell flat, but I'll give her originality points for getting halfway to cool.

But, your article is dead on that there's a difference between going over the top at your own show, and looking like a piece of total, classless, trampish crap in front of a worldwide audience. Obviously, people can wear what they want, but if an Grammy candidate sports atrociously bad pumps and plays dress up in something that looks like it's made from a cheap movie-theatre curtain, well that's nothing but USDA Grade A Tacky. That's an example of an item that should NEVER be repurposed. It wasn't "purposed" in the first place!

Hitchcock was the master of film in his day. He left horror to the imagination, which made it scarier. I'm a guy and I *like* cleavage - I really do, and it can be shown with class, style, beauty and verve.

I'm most certainly not a prude, but the Grammy pictures you singled out were just unsexy, blatant, excessively unimaginative landfill fodder. It was almost as if some bolts of thread were left to a roomful of 1000 monkeys on meth. About as sexy and welcome as the proverbial refrigerator repairman's butt crack (er, coin slot).

Looked great in the dress, Ms. Golightly. Classy, beautiful - all in stuff you can get from the thrift store - shows us all what can happen. That Mr. Golightly is one lucky guy!

Hope you win a Grammy, Shopping! And if Britney's duds ever end up at Goodwill, they won't know what section to put it in.

Debt Reduction said...

This post is really great and I hope young women will have the chance to bump into your site.

I am working as a writer and I'm quite busy meeting the deadlines. However, I always find time to look in the mirror and see if I really look good with the dress I wear before going to work. This routine means a lot to me because I always make sure that I wear simple dresses that will really fit in my workplace without looking weird or awful.

The simple look doesn't make people who like to stand out feel very confident same as the people who just like to blend in. But if you wear your dress with confidence and just being yourself, you will definitely stand out than those trying hard fashionistas on the road. You can also look different and unique to other people if you dress according your personality.

Martha said...

I absolutely worry about the message the entertainment industry is sending to the world at large, but I don't worry about young people's susceptibility to what is being presented to them.

I'm 22. My parents taught me that good sense, intelligence, and workmanlike clothes were more important than trend-chasing, and I (by and large) believed them.

When I was nineteen, I started working for a famous couple. They are both extremely high achievers, and I wanted to learn - I figured if I worked for them, I'd pick up tidbits on how they got to the top of their game. Have you seen The Devil Wears Prada? Well, that's more or less my boss. Except there were two of them - yes, with that personality.

Over the next several years, I did learn about their particular industry. The knowledge was hard-won because my bosses were extraordinarily hard on me. However, I became quite skilled at my job, and it advanced me a good distance in my career path. I also learned to wear Ralph Lauren, carry Coach, and buy new on principle instead of visiting a thrift store. How about my bosses? Well, those new $2,000 boots were destined for the garbage with a broken zipper until one of the staff rescued them.

Not long into living that lifestyle, I realized that I hated it. I had far too much stuff, and no place to put it. I also felt unsettled about my consumerist ways. So...I thought for myself, chose the lessons I wanted from my high-level job, and dumped the rest.

That job helped put me where I am now, and I'm grateful for that. I'm also thankful that I had the presence of mind to choose what I wanted to take from the experience.

Now, 90% of my new clothes come from Salvation Army or Goodwill, and I love my personal style. I think being exposed to the worst of consumerist thinking helped me realize how much I want to live my life at the other end of the spectrum.

I don't think I'm an exception. Many young people (including myself) just have to do some personal figuring-out of the world before we settle into how we want to live.

From what I've read, Poe and Pie are very intelligent and well-educated in the merits of thrift. So what if they get exposed to consumerist nonsense? They'll figure it out.

Summer said...

See the event as an educational opportunity! Sit down with your daughers and say, "Wow, what do you think of that outfit? Her butt is showing. If she went to school like that, they'd send her home." I think you'll find your daugters have more sense than you fear... after all... they think it's torture to the homeless to slash discarded clothes. (Maybe Britney will get hypothermia, too.)

Beyond that, though, you give your children the best education you can and send them out into the world hoping its enough. Sooner or later you just have to accept that they're going to do whath they're going to do.

Jan said...

Nasty, bad taste, and no class are all very good words to describe this. I just want to add one more- pornographic. The woman in that first picture does not need to bend over for anyone to get an unsolicited view.

And while they definitely do need therapy (and not just because they are spending too much money), I think they do also need scarves. Or something to cover up.

Shopping Golightly said...

The point of thinking of the context of the event is important. This is basic etiquette and the entertainment industry can't even follow.

It's one thing for Lady Gaga to dress up for one of *her* concerts/shows/whatever they're called. BUT, the Grammys is not a Lady Gaga event, it is an Academy event. However, I'm afraid entertainers have become so selfish they are unable to understand that the Grammy Awards are not about them individually, but about the collective of the entrainment industry. Given that, they would be wise to meet on a level field and not bring their own field to the event.

Avrila said...

Maybe they heard the saying about the scarf and misunderstood it to mean they should only wear a scarf's worth of fabric for their whole outfit :P

There is something profoundly sad and screwed up about a culture where the look that's considered glamorous for a woman is apparently based on the look that women with no other options wear out of necessity to advertise their bodies. We should not think it's normal to aspire to look like a prostitute; there is something very anti-feminist about that as well as anti-modesty.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for creating this site!

After reading your posts, and seeing your cute finds, I made the jump and went 'thrifting' today.

Heading to a store near a major university meant I found racks of cute, trendy clothes. Ann T., Banana, and J. Crew cashmere/wool sweaters for $8. Yes, please!

Saving the best for last....I scored a Burberry headband for 99 cents. It retails on their site for $95!

I don't think I will ever be able to shop 'retail' again!

Nadia said...

That's a lovely dress you're wearing! I'm jealous though: my local thrift stores seem to stock only tacky 80's & 90's women's clothing. I don't know what happened to all the nice clothes...maybe you bought them already? ;)
Obviously someone should give blankets to all those poorly (un)dressed celebrities. Even the tacky thrift store clothing from my hometown would be better!

Shopping Golightly said...

Hah! Perhaps we should all show up at the Academy Awards, since that is the next entertainment event, with blankets to cover the underdressed. The blanket brigade! And good to have a team of therapists ready to go and drill down to the question of why you want to pay $5,000- $10,000 for a dress that barely covers your coochee?

Dennis said...

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Farmgirl Susan said...

You look so much classier (and more beautiful) than those 'stars.' Fabulous dress - what a score! :)

Anonymous said...

These outfits are ridiculous and I definitely agree with you!! They look cheap, tacky and trampy.

I love your outfit though! Nice find; the dress is beautiful. Very elegant :)

I also have a Thrift blog if anyone cares to check it out :)