August 22, 2007

Dressing well ... the nerve!

The fabulous Manolo recently posted a link to an interesting editorial in last week's Washington Post, "The Risk of Overdressing," which author Robin Givhan opens with the following provocative observation:

"It has become common practice among the self-righteous burlap-and-sandals set to indict a woman for being too perfectly turned out. Interest in fashion, at its highest and glossiest level, is seen as shorthand for self-absorption, vapidness and thoughtlessness."

The article goes on to present the treatment of Laura Linney's character in The Nanny Diaries as a metaphor for the disdain often showed toward women who obviously put time, effort, and money into their appearance. And while I found Ms. Givhan's commentary both relevant and thought-provoking, I think she neglects the fundamental question of where this prejudice against polish came from in the first place.

Personally, I feel it's inextricably bound with the "don't give a damn" vibe that has so pervaded our society's sartorial sensibilities over the last few years. As the masses dress down to unspeakable lows—case in point: crocs—those who take a more elevated approach to their image are increasingly portrayed as shallow, conceited, and, often, just too dumb to spend their time on anything else.

(continued after the jump)

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