Thursday, July 31, 2014

9 Things The Fashion World Loves That Gail Carriger Doesn't Get

I've posted before about styles I don't like in the fashion world: boxy tops, for example. But most of the time, with most things, I can understand why someone else would wear them. I have enough imagination to realize the aesthetics appeal to a style preference or body type not my own. Long and lean with a boxy top and geometric draped skirt = super chic. And super impossible for me to wear! But I get it. Even something like a baby-doll dress I can see some skinny young thing rocking in a Gothic Lolita way. Or the lead singer of a grunge band doing it all plaid.

But there are things that, no matter how far my imagination stretches, Fashionable Reader, I just don't understand. Here they are...

1. Chanel Number 5
It stinks. And by that I don't only mean the cost and the bottle and the advertising, I mean the smell. It's awful, this chemical pseudo-flowery scent. Inevitably, I'm trapped on a plane next to some elderly female who has doused herself in the stuff. Only two perfumes smalls worse: Pleasures & Sunflowers. I will actually gag when I smell either of those.

2. Baby Powder
It's commonly substituted for other more expensive powder products. Plain old talc powder or baking soda usually works just as well and doesn't make you reek like a baby. It's the association: once I smell baby power I think diapers. And who wants that?

3. Square Manicures
Why? Especially French Tip square. The fingers look so sad and stubby and blunted. And fake. And early 90s.

4. EOS Lip Balm
I get that the containers are super cute, and the flavors are somewhat unique, but in the end it's just an overpriced fruity lip balm. In my case, I tried it and had an allergic reaction, so I'm doubly wary. But it seems to be everywhere right now.

5. Aviator Sun Glasses
Why would you want your eyes to look down-tilted and bug-like? Plus the metal frames are less comfortable and get caught in your hair when you shove them up on your head.

6. Super Skinny Models
I'm not going to get into the politics of it, frankly, it simply looks weird, skeletal, and sad to me. Runway models, in particular, I'm often wincing at the angles and the hip bones and the emaciation. It's not pretty.

vi nightmarepunk tumblr

7. Lavender Anything
I've blogged before about my dislike of lavender (not the color the scent and - such as it is - flavor). The smell reminds my of house-bound ancient ladies. If I ever wrote a horror novel the setting would smell of rot and lavender.

8. Bathing Suit Prints
Everything else may be geometric and stylish, pastels, deco influenced, black & white chic and then... bathing suit season rolls around and all bets are off. The most ugly, unpleasant, garish, and loud prints are everywhere and for some reason totally acceptable. Why? Why must this be? Yes I know there's usually a black option, or a nautical stripe, or some dots, if you're lucky. But those are few and far between. Why buy and wear colors and prints in a bathing suit that you wouldn't be caught dead in any other item of clothing?

9. Wedding Dresses
I understand the pressure, or at least, I can imagine it. But why are so many so ill suited to the female figure, not to mention style and comfort? Let's start with strapless. I've yet to see a bride in a strapless gown who wasn't always tugging up the bodice ~ twitchy and self conscious. And let's talk color. There are many forms of white: pure, winter, ivory, cream, ecru, off-white, blush. Few complexions look good in true white. It's like red lipstick, the shade really does have a huge impact. Sigh. I won't event start on the fit. I'm coming over all Conrad on you, "The horror, the horror!"

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.


  1. Oh my god, I'm not the only person who dislikes Chanel No. 5! I love Chanel's designs and I love perfume, but I have always had a troubled relationship with Chanel No. 5.
    When I was tiny, my mum showed me a bottle and I smelt it once and said, 'it smells like toilet cleaner.' I loved the bottle, hated the smell. I've never changed my mind about the smell, and I will never love it. It's great to find another person who dislikes it.

  2. As you note, it's a taste thing. I love the smell of lavender, especially the more astringent varieties. If it lasted better I would have it scent anything. As for tasting it, I agree. I don't want to eat my perfume. Aviator sunglasses, though - blech!

  3. Eos is popular because it's actually pretty natural, ingredients-wise. (also why it's pricey). I'm pretty surprised to hear you had an allergic reaction to it - I'm guessing it might be the flavoring that caused it? What kind did you try?

  4. I worked in a photography studio in the early "80's and saw way too many ugly wedding dresses. And yet I find myself watching Say Yes to the Dress , hoping to see something new. There have been a few, but I really have learned that I really hate Pnina Tornei and her hideous wedding dresses.

  5. I don't know if I've ever really smelled Chanel No. 5. But I agree on Sunflowers. I remember one time someone sprayed some near my choir room. The teacher asked "What's that stench?" and I replied, "It smells like that cheap perfume, Sunflowers." Cue a dozen girls attacking me verbally claiming it wasn't cheap. I just said, "Well, it SMELLS cheap so therefore it must be cheap!"

    Aviators - I don't wear them, but I have a memory attached to them. Back when Barry Manilow released the album The Greatest Songs Of The 70s he did a bit where he'd put on a Neru jacket and a pair of aviators before singing "It Never Rains In Southern California." By that time I had been to enough of his concerts sitting in the first or second row he would recognize me and he kind of new I acted "normal." (As in I wasn't trying to grab him or otherwise touch him without permission the way many women did.) So he was trying to put those on while looking at me (first row, kind of hard not to tell where he's looking) and grinning and he nearly poked himself in the eye while putting them on. Flinched backwards from his own hand but kept right on singing.

    Ug - modern wedding dresses are SO UGLY! I'm sorry, ladies, I'm saying this as a fat woman myself, if you have large arms you really should not be wearing anything sleeveless, strapless, or capped sleeved. It just serves to make your arms look bigger. And even the skinny girls have flesh overflowing the strapless dresses cause they have to be extra tight to stay up. My mom watches Say Yes To The Dress and every single gown they bring out is so hideous I can't help but think they'd make much better Halloween costumes for a haunted house than a wedding gown. And not a single woman on that show actually picks one that's good for their body type. They look like clowns, not brides.

  6. I agree with everything except Lavender. LOVE the smell of its on the bush, its a great hedging and demarcation plant, and its EXCELLENT at keeping moths away.
    Chanel No 5 is one of those supposed iconic perfumes that make me literally choke. I cant STAND the smell.

  7. Argh!!!!! Wedding dresses!!!!! Why, why, why do women insist on subjecting themselves to those horrors? White rarely looks good on anyone and the styles are hopeless. I'm all for a really fancy special dress for the special day but for goodness sake, make it something that really and truly suits and appeals to you!

  8. I hate all of these as well except EOS lip balm because I'm not allergic and it's like 2.50 where I live which isn't that expensive, I think a tube of lip smackers is more expensive.

    Ugh my Mother loves the smell of lavender, it gives me a headache the second I smell it.

  9. I agree with everything -but- lavender. I actually love the scent of lavender. I use it to help me relax, and use lavender oil as an occasional perfume. I associate lavender with summer and with the rolling lavender-filled fields of Provence, France. There are few sights lovelier than those fields in full bloom, and the smell is lovely!

    Wedding dresses? Not for me, thanks. If I'm ever crazy enough to get married, then It will be in a color and style that is flattering. If I have to, I'd pick a pale pink or purple rather than white. Maybe a cream mint color. (I just like designed dresses... all the pretty things)

  10. I agree with every single one of these.

  11. about #2 & they have powder-scented deodorants that kind of smell like that too.

    about #3 i don't get that either.

    about #8 i don't understand that either. if the bathing suit people want to put out "fun" colors (brights or neons) that's one thing, but those crazy patterns are for the birds.

    about #9 i've flipped through a bridal magazine not long ago & i don't think one dress in it had sleeves. maybe a few of the bridesmaid's dresses did. and they expect the wearer of those dresses to were a cropped bolero jacket or a shrug (i don't get those things) over it. also, a lot of those dress have too much meringue. (as they called it in 4 weddings & a funeral)

  12. I must agree with you, dear lady, about Chanel #5. I am something of a perfume connoisseur and this isn't what I would call a brilliant design. But then I find most American women's taste in scent to be appalling. there are some old perfumes that I do love. Arpage, because my mother's closet smelled of it, and White Shoulders which is what my grandmother wore.My current favorites are Tommy Girl for day time and 22 Fouberg for evening. Still, I don;t want anyone to be able to smell it unless they are less than two feet away from me. What perfumes do you love?

  13. I like laveder, and I’m not overly fond of Chanel. My mother wore Chanel, so I can't totally throw it under the bus. I wear Joy. Wedding dresses are normally not the most flattering, and most of us could do well with a suit or a simple dress. But, everyone wants the big wedding and hoopla that goes with sad

  14. Chanel No.5 is too heavy and bitter. I miss the old Opium formula, it was lovely. Lavender scents give me instant migraines (I must be allergic or something). I've never quite gotten talcum powder, so I've never used it. Aviators look good on men, but I don't like how they look on me. EOS does nothing to help my lips, I prefer Lip Medex (tingly!). And I had my wedding dress made for that precise reason. It was flattering, a pale champagne color with a dusty rose empire waist sash, no train (yay, no-hassle!), and had short sleeves. I loved it, and was completely comfortable (other than my shoes, lol) for the whole day. Agree with rest as well.

  15. Thank you about the wedding dresses! ���� Why is an ill-fitted strapless bodice resulting in bubble-boob the norm? Maybe it's because my mother is a steemstress (she does a lot of well-tailored vintage and historical dresses) but I'll never understand how that's deemed desirable. At least the Kate Middleton dress trend is classing it up a bit.

  16. I agree with everything except Lavender and EOS. I think the real lavender is much more herbal and I love it. EOS Passion Fruit is good. However, anything you are allergic to is basically bad for you.

  17. Agree with almost all of these EXCEPT the lavender.

  18. Oh God, Channel No. 5. I'm coughing and choking just thinking about it. And Sunflowers too. Never had the displeasure of smelling Pleasure.

    I like the smell of lavender but the last several years the smell makes my nose stuff up.

  19. The scents that make me gag are vanilla and Cupcake Perfume. I was dumb enough to buy garbage bags that had vanilla's supposed to pleasantly cover garbage stinks, instead...I had vanilla reeking trash!
    I agree too on swimsuit prints. Just give me something basic in color and line, hopefully with enough chic styling to not look like something from the Soviet Swim Team's closet!


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