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Truth is stranger than the cricket’s friction

Eastern Door reporter Jessica Deer’s standard wardrobe of blazers and band t-shirts finally found their way to stylish runways, but… she still isn’t capable of walking in those beautiful red heels. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)

I really wish I could remember the name of the book, but in a certain young adult novel I read as a tween, there was a description of a librarian nicknamed the Cricket. Why the Cricket, you ask? Well, it’s rather cruel, but this moniker was bestowed on her because of the sound her stockings made, a sort of grating chirping sound that came from the friction of her thighs rubbing together as she walked around, and really only audible in the quiet of the library.

Yowch. Kids can be cruel. I mean, we’re all just finishing up this summer heat, simultaneously reveling in the perfect temperature evenings and dreaming of the days when our thighs will stop chafing and turning red just below our jean shorts.

All this time I was thinking of tights as a sort of oasis for thighs, allowing them to glide effortlessly alongside each other but I swear to you the next time I don them due to a chill in the air, I’ll be thinking of the Cricket and crossing my fingers that they don’t sound like a couple of locust wings.

You know by now that my heart beats wildly for clothing and style, but I do believe that some seasons the fashion gods just aren’t on our side.

As I’m browsing the runways and editors’ picks, I’m getting the sense that Fall 2017 is just like those sniggering kids making fun of the librarian’s stockings… The big trends are sombre and largely unflattering (outside of an expert stylists’ touch) in a way that I haven’t seen in quite some time.

Let me see, we’ve got oversize men’s blazers with shoulder pads, calf length skirts, victorian high neck collars, kitten heels, baggy leisure suits, velour evening gowns, couch upholstery florals, 70s plaids, brown and beige everything…it’s like the rejects of every season got all piled into one, we’re talking an Island of the (Fashion) Misfits. Cords are back, in a big way – get ready for some really loud cricket wings there, I mean they may as well come in different notes of the scale so when you’re walking next to your corduroy-clad friends you can harmonize.

Like, wow. Don’t get me wrong, finding any of these items in a thrift store in 1995 was like striking gold – extra points if they were either grossly oversized or so shrunken it looked like you tried to fit into the floral dress of a five year old.  Then all you had to do was throw some craft store flowers in your hair, add some combat boots and fishnets and you’re good. It’s just a little disturbing to see them grouped together now, 20 years later with $2,000 + price points and styled in a way that looks inspired by the Dude.

Then again, the Dude abides.

But enough complaining. A truly stylish gal can overcome any of these trend obstacles with a bit of creativity and gumption. Let’s tackle these trends one by one, starting with men’s blazers with shoulder pads. This is actually pretty easy. Throw your hair into a topknot, roll up the jacket sleeves, put on a band t-shirt or satin tank top, tight jeans, and a pair of sparkly shoes and you won’t look like a linebacker, you’ll look like you were cold and stole your hot boyfriend’s suit jacket and styled it to perfection.

Calf-length skirts. This can make a gal look real  short and stumpy if you’re not careful, so watch the shoes. Ballet flats are actually a good choice because they lengthen your legs. When it’s too cold for that nonsense, go for a knee-high leather boot with heels. Super 70s, super now.

Victorian high neck collars are definitely not for everyone but I do think they look cool with a leather jacket or blazer overtop; or choose one with big voluminous sleeves or even a shoulder cut out. Don’t forget your lipstick.

Kitten heels. These are tricky. I would say bust ’em out with a pair of loose jeans, cuffed at the bottom, but avoid wearing them with a pencil skirt. It’s just too much.

Well if Rihanna felt like she could put leisure suits down the Fenty Puma runway, then there must be a way to make this look cool. I say wear the top half unzipped, put on heels, and wear a lace tank underneath. Tattoos and fingertip rings are a plus.

Velour evening gowns can easily veer into bathrobe territory and also have a tendency to show every lump and bump, but I think I would go full pyjama in this case and wear a wrap style dress layered over either a floral or black lace slip, complete with millionaire style slippers. As long as my hair and makeup were on point – bold but not too done – I would definitely try getting away with this.

If you’re into plaid, I would try the bright, less lumberjack style 70s plaids on either a skirt or pants. I’m finding printed pants to be more neutral and easier to work with than I would have thought. I’m currently experimenting with my dad’s old suit pants and having fun mixing them with other prints. Give it a go, just be careful with your shoe choices because they will make or break these looks.

Do you remember when espresso drinks were just getting popular and Bonne Belle came out with those lip balms in colours like Cappuccino, Mocha latte, Java, and they were all shades of brownish beige? And then we all wore shades of brown and lined our lips in eyeliner and wore those crushed hats with brims? Well you can do that all again if you want, just splash on a little CKone and you’re right on trend.

Yes, the runways can be cruel in their often strange and lofty fashion forecasts. Yes, they may show us nine-foot models sashaying in calf-length skirts and high neck blouses and asking us to play the librarian. Yes, they may put us in a Cricket-like predicament. But we all know the librarian is the heroine – all she has to do is let down her hair.

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