Make that, “On Dressing Not So Well.” Here is a picture from a mall in Santa Monica, first appearing in the Los Angeles Times.
The article which surrounded this picture is titled “The season of excess begins”, and the caption of the photo aptly begins “Black Friday shoppers are seen…”
Truly it was a black day, and not just because of the fights, riots, and nauseating avarice displayed by many shoppers. No. It was the visual assault that cast dark shadows.
Let’s engage in some amateur photo reconnaissance. The location? A mall with top-end stores, meaning that to shop in them one has to have piles of the green stuff at arm’s reach. These are not poor people. Further proof: nobody looks like they’re going hungry. There are no beggars. The accoutrement of the mall—the tree, the giant present—are of superior quality. The buildings themselves are clean, sharp.
So money isn’t a problem. What is?
What first struck me were the two gentleman in the center. One is wearing what looks like a modified logo of an oil company and a hat advertising his preference in sports, which is evidently something he wished others to know about, the depth of his ardency so strong that he put it where everyone must see it. His neighbor wears a hipster hat and blue rumpled t-shirt on which is imprinted a message thankfully too small for us to read, but one which this man thought of such important that he should emblazon it on his chest.
Both men are wearing jeans, which is no story. Therefore, that they look sloppy is a given. The jeans are too long and gather in folds around their feet, which are shod with tennis shoes the shape of which would have been familiar to Frankenstein’s monster. We can bet that, if asked, both would say they are “comfortable.”
Next are the two older women leading them on either side. Both are wearing jeans. The pair of the leftmost lady’s are faded, as if she could not afford a newer pair. The rightmost lady has done herself no favor and has chosen a pair which are about as unflattering as is possible. But then jeans only flatter bodies which don’t need praise. Otherwise, they are ugly and make the wearers ugly. Yes, that means you, too. (Yes, even you, who thought the “you” of the previous sentence wasn’t really you. It was.)
The blouse of the rightmost lady resembles one of those hidden art pictures which if stared at reveal a rocketship or a man riding a horse. The blouse of the other lady looks to be a smock, such as one might wear while casting pottery.
There is no need to continue. Every person, without exception, looks terrible. No one picked something which fit his or her body. Everybody’s clothes are ugly, sad, unkempt. Everybody did their damnedest to appear like an unthinking high school sophomore. In this and only this did they succeed.
The clothes are the visual equivalent of popular, which is to say, bad music. There is no pleasure to be had in looking at anybody.