Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 23rd 2016 Contents A30
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, May 23, 2016
They did not catch me the first
go-round. And they are still not
invited to my party.
Shredded jeans distressed me 20
years ago and the effect of having
been attacked by a pitbull is no cuter
today than when skinny models
were sticking their hips forward on
the runways of London and New
York in "heroin chic and gunmetal
Everyone knows by now that I
am a big fan of impossible contrasts
and the ambiguous mismatch.
So there is a certain voila! to mix-
ing trash with treasure, teasing high
with low---as in pearls with jeans,
or a tuxedo with sneakers, which
was not invented by Pharrell
Williams, by the way.
Woody Allen was pulling off the
fashion revenge of the nerds before
Pharrell was born, and Cybill Shep-
herd wore bright orange seven-and-
a-half Reeboks with a black formal
strapless gown to the Emmys in
1985. So there.
I can see how a tattered hem or
frayed pockets could reply to the
crispness of a linen blouse with
amplified turned-back cuffs. Yeah,
a certain boho-chic mood, or stud-
ied carelessness might be created
by mixing a well-worn, faded pair
with a floaty poet blouse or anglaise
cotton smock, accessorised by lots
of silver bangles and a quirky hand-
Such counterpoints prevent the
dread matchy-matchy of matrons
and humourless clones.
My friend Jay uniquely makes this
playful deconstructed statement in
her effortless writer-in-residence
Most people over 17 (the last age
at which you can pull off the grunge
flashback without appearing as
though you slept on razor blades
and your alarm failed to go off, so
you hitched a ride on a lawnmower
to town) should not try such without
Ripped, distressed or deconstruct-
ed is the denim trend de jour and
the latest celebrity off-duty uniform.
Not all rips are alike, though.
When Jessica Alba begged me to
meet her in New York the other day
for a latte, she wore skinny jeans
with a single gash at each knee,
paired with a classic blazer and white
Selena Gomez strategically slashes
at the thighs, keeping the rest of
the outfit simple with espadrilles
and plain white shirt.
There are jeans rhythmically slit
up the front, like venetian blinds---
which just look too prim, as if a
wilful teen and schoolmarm formed
a compromise over cookies.
Other pairs are barely holding it
together by strips of white cotton,
resembling threads of melting cheese
from the first slice of really hot pizza.
The slasher trend can only be
pursued by people with jobs and
full wallets. Unemployed people
have to look rich and not insane to
Only the rich can successfully
look poor and homeless.
Actually, it takes quite a bit of
capital to go grunge.
My European correspondents
report that there is a place in Paris
which collects old jeans and recycles
them into tattered finery costing
US$1,450 a pair.
You can find numerous do-it-
yourself videos on YouTube explain-
ing the best ways to fashionably rip
apart your jeans.
It actually takes skill and intel-
You can t just launch an assault
on any old pair that sags like a damp
paper bag, and say you have arrived.
Ripped jeans require a good fit oth-
erwise you just look really drunk
and recently evicted.
You need proper sewing scissors,
with laser sharp edges and points.
First, you try on the jeans and mark
where you want the rip.
Just above the knee is considered
the best place to destroy. Too low
and you lose height and also expose
yourself as a wannabe who never
made it to groupie status.
Then the idea is to use the sharp
edge and point of the scissors to
scratch and pick at the denim (the
hard cotton type, none of the wimpy
stretchy stuff) to get past the super-
ficial vertical threads. When you
expose the white horizontal threads
beneath, you are getting somewhere.
Then you will decide how much
more damage you want to do. Start
pulling at the threads to make them
Next, give the new rags a good
tumble in the washer/dryer, and you
could be mistaken for Rihanna, who
was last spotted in a mild fray-at-
the-knees worn with bright pink
strappy sandals, to match her hair.
A word to the wise: however cool
your boss is, tatters are not for the
workplace. Rip responsibly.
•Following this trend? Tell me why
How to rip responsibly
You can find numerous do-it-yourself videos on
YouTube explaining the best ways to
fashionably rip apart your jeans. It actually
takes skill and intelligence. You can't just
launch an assault on any old pair that sags like
a damp paper bag, and say you have arrived.
Ripped jeans require a good fit otherwise you
just look really drunk and recently evicted. You
need proper sewing scissors, with laser sharp
edges and points. First, you try on the jeans
and mark where you want the rip.
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