Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fashion Hit or Miss?

I thought American women had grown out of this. When I worked in the corporate world of London in the 80's (Yes, I'm THAT old), it was a common sight and one which brought forth secret smirks of derision from us "sophisticated" British gals. I'm talking about our American female colleagues, with their immaculate suits, huge neck ties (remember it's the 80's here), bullet proof hair, baked bean coloured tights - and gigantic, gleaming white sneakers/trainers.

My own personal train of thought was, "if you can't walk around all day in your shoes you shouldn't be wearing them at all", although one place I lived meant a walk of over half a mile to the nearest tube station so I wore leather flats and changed at work. I wouldn't have been seen dead in the suit and sneaker get-up.

These days in the USA at least, American women seem to have discovered stylish comfortable shoes that don't scream "workout wear". Mind you, since the workplace is a lot more casual these days, lots of women wear trousers (pants) to work, and can get away with a slightly more sneakersish look on their feet anyway.

The other day however, the HuffingtonPost, a lefty, largely political blog, ran a huge piece and a poll asking if The VP's wife, Jill Biden was a fashion hit or miss in this fetching get up.

Personally I think it looks hideous, although she does have fabulous legs and if anyone can get away with it, it's Jill. I heart Jill Biden. I admit she's trekking around the middle east (South Jordan) in this photo, and spike heels are not recommended. She also sensibly realised she could easily turn her ankle on this terrain, so I applaud her for ditching the heels. My question - why the dress in the first place? Couldn't she have worn a pair of trousers?

Am I being unfair?

18 comments:

  1. I almost don't dare to comment. Every morning, during the hassle to get the kids out of the house, in the car to go to school, I simply get into my black nikes. I do wear jeans, which is part of my "bring kids to school" uniform. So maybe the sneakers is slightly acceptable.
    BUT... when I was working in the Netherlands - so I have some knowledge of the corporate life - high heels were almost compulsory. Even with her legs, what was J. Biden thinking??!! (maybe if you eliminate the white socks, the color match might give some cool effect - if she was at the beach... or maybe not)

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  2. oh c'mon. she looks naff. there are so many alternatives. trainers DO NOT go with skirts. End Of Story!! I have had many desperate footwear moments when commuting, sightseeing, traipsing around playgrounds. But none desperate enough to employ the trainer/skirt combo. Your photo proves it...she has waaaayyyy better legs than me and even Jill can't pull it off!

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  3. That look doesn't bother me much. But you're right her first mistake was not wearing trousers but maybe she thought it would be too hot? Dunno. I do give her points for matching the colors between her trainers and her dress. Grey trainers are not easy to find, in the U.S. at least. But I am by no means a fashionista nor an authority on these things. I pretty much don't care what people wear.

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  4. It looks so naff. It's up there with the shorts, sneakers and long white socks, pulled up to mid-shin, that American men wear.

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  5. Frankly, I don't think it's important enough to get so excited about.

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  6. I've actually seen this here in London and thought the very same thing you did - does this still happen? Even living in NY for years - I too would wear sensible shoes to get to work and then put on the 'real' shoes of the day. I think it's a city thing. But you won't catch me in sneakers and a suit (or ball gown)!

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  7. I'm afraid that I'm at an age where comfort comes before all else. No way would I cram my feet into fashion shoes.
    I think trousers are better with casual shoes.

    Nuts in May

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  8. I agree, it's not a good look. I wonder why she didn't wear trousers? You'd have thought with the heat, the dust etc. it would have been a far more sensible option. A pair of chinos - or even trekking trousers - and those shoes would have looked fine.

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  9. Yes, why DO American men do that with their socks. Even my two boys pull their socks up to mid calf. It looks like it would irritate the heck out of me. But then, what doesn't these days?

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  10. Nowadays anything seems to go.... ( I think we are just getting old girl...)
    Just as well Top of the Pops has finished or we would be tut tutting at that too!
    I am all into comfort first,style second. I must admit it looks a tad strange...

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  11. I'm an American from the West, where we never had this look. It was done mostly in the East, and those of us who went on a trip to the East Coast were as shocked by it as the British readers here.

    Reading some of these comments here about the white crew socks, what else should a person do except pull them up? The "bobby socks" folded-over era ended well before my time (and I was born in the mid-50's). Everyone I knew has always pulled up their crew socks, and that's what I do. It sounds like you're talking about men who are golfers and wearing shorts on the golf course. Women wearing shorts are more likely to wear sandals, or those socks that end at the ankle. But men would never wear women's socks without having their masculinity questioned.

    What Americans wonder about are the Europeans who wear socks with their sandals!

    This was a great post, I enjoyed it.

    Mary in Marrakesh
    expat21.wordpress.com

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  12. Socks with sandals is hideous but I have to say I've seen it here in the mid-west more than I want to. However, proper shoes without socks when it's really hot and humid is awful too. No wonder they started selling those tiny little ped-things for women.

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  13. I think she looks awesome. I like a woman who wears what she wants and can wear it with confidence. Why does she have to wear pants? the dress looked good, she looked good. :-)

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  14. Trainers and skirts? No. Just plain wrong.

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  15. niiiice. I'm just going to hazard a guess, but she probably opted for the dress because the wife of the Prez was given such a hard time for wearing shorts on a recent trip. The sneakers and skirt thing is just plain awkward, but I think she's got smokin legs so she can get away with it even if it is hideous. someone should introduce her to the world of Zappos!

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  16. I think she looks OK actually - quite stylish - WAY more concerned about Carla Bruni's braless dress to a state banquet!! Lx

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  17. PS I'm now booked in for the same conference in July so we must meet!! Lx

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  18. It's the look du jour all over London, too. I used to work in Canary Wharf and all the smart, chic business girls with their YSL suits and Hermes bags managed to ruin their look with that faux-pas. It's a definite NO.

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