Why There’s No Good Writing About Fashion
Anne Hollander, author of Sex and Suits (among many other things), recently passed away. She penned this really good piece for Slate back in 1997 on the dismal state of fashion writing. An excerpt:

Fashion now seems like a club with a private jargon that leaves no room for the play of sensitive literary exposition. And good critical writing about clothing hardly exists at all. There is no tradition of clothes criticism that includes serious analysis, or even of costume criticism among theater, ballet, and opera critics, who do have an august writerly heritage. This fact may be what makes the fashion journalist hate her job—the painful sense that real work cannot be done in this genre, that it would be better, more honorable, to be writing about something else.
There are heartening exceptions. One is Amy Spindler of the New York Times, who seems to take clothes seriously without excess or apology, deploying a quick imagination and an interest in detail that give her writing a fine attentive sting. (A Versace show “opened with razor-sharp bias-cut asymmetrical navy dresses, stern except for a frill at the hem and a swatch of black lace that masked eyes.”) There was Kennedy Fraser, late of The New Yorker, whose witty essays on fashion published in that magazine during the 1970s have since, happily, been collected. Holly Brubach, who succeeded Fraser at TheNew Yorker, kept the standard high during her time there. A big exception is the fashion journalism of France, where a noticeable respect for fashion has been a standard common attitude since the 17th century. Fashion is as acceptable in France as any imaginative work, and criticism about it has certainly flourished there. […]
But fashion has been without honor in the English-speaking world for so long that we are afraid to take it seriously—solemnly, yes, as we take so many things, but not with ordinary seriousness. When we are not in raptures, or disapproving in the name of female realities, we are likely to wax sociological and psychological about fashion, to weigh it down with quasiscientific meaning—out of some ancient fear, perhaps, of its obvious debt to Eros.

It’s well worth a read, and you can see the rest here. 
(Thanks to Ivory Tower Style for the link)

Why There’s No Good Writing About Fashion

Anne Hollander, author of Sex and Suits (among many other things), recently passed away. She penned this really good piece for Slate back in 1997 on the dismal state of fashion writing. An excerpt:

Fashion now seems like a club with a private jargon that leaves no room for the play of sensitive literary exposition. And good critical writing about clothing hardly exists at all. There is no tradition of clothes criticism that includes serious analysis, or even of costume criticism among theater, ballet, and opera critics, who do have an august writerly heritage. This fact may be what makes the fashion journalist hate her job—the painful sense that real work cannot be done in this genre, that it would be better, more honorable, to be writing about something else.

There are heartening exceptions. One is Amy Spindler of the New York Times, who seems to take clothes seriously without excess or apology, deploying a quick imagination and an interest in detail that give her writing a fine attentive sting. (A Versace show “opened with razor-sharp bias-cut asymmetrical navy dresses, stern except for a frill at the hem and a swatch of black lace that masked eyes.”) There was Kennedy Fraser, late of The New Yorker, whose witty essays on fashion published in that magazine during the 1970s have since, happily, been collected. Holly Brubach, who succeeded Fraser at TheNew Yorker, kept the standard high during her time there. A big exception is the fashion journalism of France, where a noticeable respect for fashion has been a standard common attitude since the 17th century. Fashion is as acceptable in France as any imaginative work, and criticism about it has certainly flourished there. […]

But fashion has been without honor in the English-speaking world for so long that we are afraid to take it seriously—solemnly, yes, as we take so many things, but not with ordinary seriousness. When we are not in raptures, or disapproving in the name of female realities, we are likely to wax sociological and psychological about fashion, to weigh it down with quasiscientific meaning—out of some ancient fear, perhaps, of its obvious debt to Eros.

It’s well worth a read, and you can see the rest here

(Thanks to Ivory Tower Style for the link)

“I know I look like a wanker. I enjoy looking like a wanker. Looking like a wanker is a basic human right and a huge part of having a signature style. I have always looked like a wanker. I looked like a wanker when I wore plaid bondage outfits in 1978. I looked like a wanker when I dressed like a pirate during the early-’80s New Romantic era. I am sure I will die looking like a wanker. I never subscribed to the idea of good taste: It’s a subjective concept promoted by fashion scribes to oppress the rest of us. Dressing age-inappropriately is, so they say, in poor taste, and it’s vulgar. This is exactly why I celebrate it.” Simon Doonan wrote an enjoyable counterpoint to articles (and, um, websites) that advise people to dress tastefully and age appropriately.
Slate says Cary Grant’s sunglasses in North by Northwest are the coolest item of clothing ever.
Dana Stevens of Slate:
Your Flip-Flops Are Grossing Me Out
They’re unsightly, unhygienic, and unfit for public display.

Dana Stevens of Slate:

Your Flip-Flops Are Grossing Me Out

They’re unsightly, unhygienic, and unfit for public display.

“These aren’t just shirts; they’re vehicles of self-mortification, sackcloth and ashes adorned with stripes and spread collars.” — Slate’s Daniel Akst gets non-iron shirts right.

Our pal Rob Walker from Murketing wrote a fascinating piece in Slate about the profusion of Japan-relief products that popped up in the wake of the disasters there.