1. Any kind of trousers, pants, skirts or panti-hose that only come up to the hip. Haven’t we had enough of clothing manufacturers saving money on your back, not to mention Plumber’s Crack? Doesn’t anyone see how ridiculous they look?
2. Animal prints: why did they have to escape the bowling alleys and trailer-parks and migrate into J. Crew? Was there really nothing else to do…?
3. Open-toed and peep-toed shoes, which are strictly for summer. And, of course, forget the sandals and flip-flops.
4. Bare ankles peeking out under what we used to derisively call “high-water” pants, trousers, and slacks. If ankles and parts of your calves are showing, your garment is too short and makes your legs look truncated. For a finished look, if not to protect your feet and shoes. you ought to be wearing some sort of hosiery (knee-length stockings are cheap and plentiful). Unless, of course, you are at a very sultry resort. Even then, I would restrict the bare-foot and bare-legged look to poolside. See my Bermuda Dress Code for elucidation on elegance at resorts.
See examples of how to dress elegantly, by the writer who brought Classic, Elegant Dressing to you in 2006. In her latest Elegant Dressing blog, M-J de Mesterton gives explanations of style, instructive photographs, and recommendations for accessories, directing tasteful readers to currently-available, elegant clothes.
People who golf in tee-shirts and low-ridin’ pants look like rubes and slobs. Respect for the traditions of the game includes dressing in a dignified, classic style. Golf Knickers is a treasure-trove of traditional golfing trousers, shirts, hats, socks, et cetera. It’s refreshing to see their old-fashioned prices, as well as the wide array of golf classics.
It’s difficult to find classic, real shoes these days. When I speak of elegant dressing, I often mention closed-toe shoes, which used to be the norm. Sure, peep-toes and strappy high-heeled sandals are all the rage, but I don’t write about trends, except to disparage them and their lack of longevity. Exposing one’s toes and tottering about on stilts are never elegant. This pair of shoes almost represents my ideal for evening. Alas, they are a half-size too small for me. Advice to people approaching middle-age: buy your shoes a half-size larger than necessary, because your feet are about to grow a half-inch (once upon a time, these shoes would have fit me).
These days of economic disaster bring desperados in the form of purse-snatchers and pick-pockets. An elegant safari jacket has four ample pockets that button, in which you may carry all that you require for a shopping trip, light travel or touring. This Ralph Lauren ladies’ safari jacket is made of silk, is lined, and has a belt at the true waist to make you look chic, slim and elegant while protecting yourself from various elements.
So, you are possessed of a perfectly shaped body and decide to go shopping. There is nothing available but low-rise pants and skirts that rest on the hip. The fashion industry and its manufacturers are saving big bucks on your back. You decide that to go against what seem to be the demands of current fashion is pointless, so you buy whatever looks prettiest on the hanger. Once it goes onto your well-toned corpus, something sinister happens: your legs now look a mere foot long, and your tight “abs” sit above the low-rise top of your skirt or slacks, looking for all the world like a beer-gut. What’s happening here? The fashion industry is sabotaging your looks while saving themselves money on yardage. It’s now impossible to find a pair of pants, tights, or a skirt that comes up to the natural waist; anything that does is derisively and incorrectly labeled “high-waisted”.
If you must have your clothes made for you in order to avoid this sick, disfiguring fashion regime, there are ways to do it without breaking the bank. A well-constructed pair of corduroy, moleskin or tweed trousers will get you through the depression in style, last for many years, and what’s most appealing about them is that they will make you look taller than everyone else (unfortunate fashion-victims that they are). Even a well-shaped jacket can be sabotaged by slacks, skirts, or trousers that hang below it. Last night’s Academy Awards brought out a cavalcade of men whose crotches landed below the bottom edge of their jackets–poor misguided fellows, yet rich enough to get it right. Overly long slacks creating a puddle of fabric on top of men’s shoes do not lengthen their legs visually–they just look wretchedly tailored.
A tasteful and reliable source for elegant, durable tweed jackets and trousers is Bookster U.K. They will guide you through the ordering process, and see to it that your clothes have an actual waist, so that your investment isn’t a waste. The clothes are made by Bookster in England. There are plenty of British and American companies that copy the traditional English styles, but have them made inexpensively in China. Yet, these clothes are crafted the old-fashioned way, close to where the fabrics are milled in the United Kingdom. It may take a couple of months to have a great pair of trousers or elegant jackets made, but you just might be wearing them for a lifetime. Bookster U.K. is a small operation with a huge reputation for customer service and fine clothing. They specialize in equestrian and tweed clothes, which are perfect for town and country.
Don’t let hip-hop fashion and cheap clothing manufacturers dictate your style. It is time for an uprising against the tyranny of low-rise clothing.