Bad Advice Women Get: Grocery Store Glamour

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Is this chic enough for the cereal aisle?

Okay, I’ll admit it: I spend a decent chunk of my time gawking at the heinous outfits documented on Go Fug Yourself, a site where two hilarious writers analyze the wacky get-ups worn by the rich and supposedly stylish. There’s something so satisfying about seeing how even gorgeous celebrities, who are endowed with personal stylists, makeup artists, and assistants upon assistants, can somehow leave their mansions thinking that things like this (or this! And don’t forget this!) actually look good.

But even though the Fug Girls can get a little vicious from time to time—any celeb wearing leggings instead of pants better be prepared to get seriously ripped apart by these ladies—I really admire the fact that their site generally only critiques the crazy things stars wear to high-profile events, like movie premieres and awards shows. Even these bitchy bloggers try to stay away from criticizing boldface names for throwing on ratty jeans and sweatshirts while they’re walking their dogs, or pumping gas, or doing any of the other menial chores that gossip rags love to say make stars seem Just Like Us. That’s because everyone knows that sometimes, it’s nice to forget fashion and wear whatever’s comfortable—especially if you’re just out running errands.

Well, everyone but Suze Yalof Schwartz of Glamour Magazine. In January, Schwartz took a trip to a Whole Foods store in search of women whose choice of garb left something to be desired. Her quest to take unsuspecting shoppers from “eek to chic” was documented for a Glamour Don’ts to Dos segment on the Today Show.

After checking out some produce, the video shows Schwartz ragging on a girl whose skirt is longer than her jacket. (Guess her victim must not have been a big Cake fan.) Then she praises another girl for dressing in “Whole Foods chic,” whatever that means. After saying snarky things about a few more shoppers, she finally zeroes in on Claire, a college student who says, “I don’t have a style. I wear lots of, like, sweatshirts and zip-up hoodies.” Good for you, Claire! I know plenty of college students who dress like this most of the time, and they seem to lead perfectly happy, normal lives despite their style deficiencies.

But to Schwartz, fashion suicide is the worst crime of all. As she explains to Claire, “You don’t want to get caught out looking like that.” They go shopping, and at the end of the segment, Claire debuts her new look.

Yes, she does look pretty cute in her post-makeover outfit—I’m a sucker for stripes. Even so, I have issues with the message of this video. Schwartz disses Claire for looking “more like she was headed to pick vegetables than buy them.” But honestly, why is that such a BFD in the first place? When a girl’s out grocery shopping, she’s probably thinking about whether she should splurge on organic apples or how much Psych reading she has to do that afternoon—not whether her ensemble is sufficiently stylish.

Telling women that they have to be hyper-aware of how they look at all times, even when they’re doing nothing more than running out to buy a quart of milk, reinforces the old stereotype that if you’re female, appearance always has to be your number one priority. What’s next, telling girls that they should spend half an hour on their hair and makeup even when they’re just hanging out at home? Oh wait…

And then there’s the mean-spirited tone of this video, which also irks me. Making fun of the ugly thousand-dollar dresses that public figures wear to gala events is one thing. Bitching that some girl you don’t even know should feel ashamed for wearing legwarmers is quite another. This video is tacitly telling girls that it’s okay to be mean, as long as it’s in the name of Fashion. But what’s the point of judging people because of what they wear, especially at the freaking grocery store? That’s just petty.

I’m sorry, Glamour, but as far as I’m concerned Schwartz’s conduct is a definite Don’t.

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