Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Deb: Why do people do the “What’s HOT, What’s NOT, What’s IN, What’s OUT” lists? They always bug me. Mostly because they inevitably include on the “NOT” and “OUT” lists things that I think are GOOD. Cool even.

Today in the paper I saw a new column entitled: “Ten Ways You Know You Are Trying Too Hard”. What? This was written by someone who calls herself a “Style Czar.” Clearly no one told her that the term Style Czar is both NOT and OUT.

Here are a few things she thinks show that you are an out of touch loser. They include: overly decorated cakes; lovely leaves that wrap the insides of vases to hide stems; arty architect-style eyeglasses; little plastic egg cups with cute designs; and octogenarian bikers. Octogenarian bikers? Was she two words short for her column? She went on to state that she hates wall words or words placed in the garden. Bad decorating idea says she. Over. Who makes these rules anyway? Like them or not, as I looked under her smug photo and onto her list, I realized that everything on it had something in common. Everything she mentioned was fun, whimsical, smile-inducing, and brave even.

Now I confess, that I am a bit of a fashion slave. I do follow fashion keenly and enjoy trends to a degree. But I have never wanted to crap on someone for something that might be considered “so last year.” And I’m sure the Czar would condemn me for using a dated phrase like “so last year”, but there it is. When we wear something or decorate with something, isn’t it the “enjoyment” of it, and not just the “current” of it. And if you are so wrapped up in the hot/not, in/out, how do you keep up for heaven’s sake? Are you frantically changing your decor weekly for fear of landing on the list?

I remember a few years back reading that pashminas were NOT and OUT. I thought really? Pashminas. Shawls? In every colour? That you can wear in every season? OUT/NOT, are they? Okay, well back to bare arms and freezing on cool nights. God forbid I should wrap myself in a pashmina and look like a tool.

Things become popular and, as soon as they do, some smuggy “Czar” has to poo all over it to make you feel that liking something that others like too is stupid. And frankly, whether you think so or not, Czary McSmuggerton, YOU are on someone’s list somewhere I bet. Your judgment and your lack of “live and let live” is so NOT.

I have a dear friend who is 15 years into his sobriety and over his front door he has mounted the word “Serenity” to remind himself of it whenever he goes out into the world. One of the least out of touch losers I have ever known. Go fig.

Barbara: Okay, I soooo relate to this post, Deb. I have loathed every HOT/NOT list I have ever read. Why? Because as much as I like to look smashing, I just can’t live by the latest, the trendiest, the HOTTEST. I find it too exhausting, too expensive, and frankly too boring.

And, excuse me, “octogenarian bikers” are OUT???!!!!! How can a fit older person exercising ever, ever, EVER be on any list other than “Great Accomplishments To Celebrate”??! Which reminds me how much it used to bug me back in the day (would the Czar blacklist me for that expression too?) when people would chastise aging rockers for doing what they love and live by after a certain “best-by” date. But I digress.

I am 100% with you, Deb, and your “live and let live” mantra.

PS: the beautiful cake in the photo is Deb's 50th. She thought it would illustrate the "overly decorated cake" NOT. Barbara got confused when Deb suggested it because she thought it was so totally HOT.


  1. I don't follow the trends really. I mean, I just wear what I think looks good and like the things that I like and if no one else likes them who cares. I could care less if it is in or out, hot or not. I just think that everyone has there own styles and it should not matter if they are in or out.

    PS: That is a very nice cake. it is so pretty.

  2. omg, Deb, this post seriously made me laugh out loud. I hope the author of that list gets run over by an 80-something biker. It's not that I'm violent; I would just enjoy the irony.

    This morning, someone on some radio show was berating a thirty-something woman for wearing sparkly nailpolish. No one over 25, he said, should wear sparkly nailpolish. Ever. *Glances at own blue sparkly nails which make her happy.* I am seriously 20 years over in that NOT category in that case. And shall continue to wear my NOT proudly at my fingertips. :)

  3. Gae I totally hear you! Sparkly nailpolish? Why the hell not I ask you? My toe nails right now are a lovely sky blue and I am tickled pink about it. It's summer after all. And Lyndsie you're right. Who cares? Why do people care? We are such judges we humans. And thanks, that's my 50th birthday cake which has on it all my loves. My dogs, Pierre Trudeau, Mickey Mouse, Betty and Veronica, Rob and Laura Petrie, Sherman and Peabody, Annette, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra and the list goes on. Overdecorated and GLORIOUS!

  4. According to the latest HOT/ NOT lists, my (non) hair style is IN. Apparently all the A-listers are sporting my unmanagable tresses, and getting it designer messy with all kinds of styling products.
    Why then do I still feel NOT?

    I do read those lists, but for a laugh. And seriously, is she suggesting that older people ride bikes with Disney characters painted on them?

  5. For all I know Rayna, she meant motor cycle guys! Who the heck knows. Even so, Disney characters would delight me. And if your picture is any indication I love your hair. SO IN!!! As soon as it becomes popular though, sadly OUT! Oy.

  6. I think the Style Czar would find everything about me Not/Out. The good thing is, I don't care. I think those of us who don't follow trends are really the ones who are hot/in, but it's our little secret. :)

  7. You hit the nail on the head, Deb, with this:
    "Who makes these rules anyway?"
    I am constantly surprised that any of us let someone else tell us we shouldn't wear gold and silver at the same time, or we shouldn't this, or shouldn't that. Fuck that (in deference to a recent entry); I'll make my own dickylickin' rules, thank you very much.

  8. "dickylickin' rules"?! Friggin' KILLED me!!

    And dear, sweet, kind Deb -- thank you for your delicate tact in not MOCKING me for my assumption that "bikers" were "cyclists". Duh. Anyway, my point about the rockers actually applies even better to octogenarian BIKERS (yes, motorcycles!) -- which is: leave happy campers to their own favourite wilderness.

    PS just want to stress that I have no problem when things come IN -- more stuff for me to admire -- but when things go OUT...

  9. OK, first of all:

    Greatest. Birthday. Cake. EVER!!!
    Angels sang for that birthday cake!

    Y'all've touched on a pet peeve of mine, and I thank you. I could not care less about trends, in/out, and such. It's all foolishness to me. Wear what you like, what's comfy, what makes you feel good, what has meaning for you. It may be a bright purple crocheted shawl, gothwear a la Abby, a macaroni necklace your kid strung at Vacation Bible School, or an aodai or salwar kameez even if you are a blond American woman. Wear elf toes harem slippers, math pun t-shirts, or chiffon ballgowns -- just wear what's YOU. Try to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and avoid chaffing. Make sure your skirts are long enough that your butt cheeks don't show while you walk around the grocery store. Beyond that, who cares? Oh yeah, the "style czars." Those shrill little beasts matter not to me.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to add more ThinkGeek t-shirts to my wist while my billowy peasant skirts are in the washing machine. ;)

  10. BTW, Deb, I about fell off my chair at your Sherman and Peabody mention. YYYEEESSSSSSS!!! :D

  11. What I don't get is who died and made these list writers the authority over what we should or should not wear or do? In this particular case, it looks like this 'Style Czar' has no life - or at least mustn't have a very fun one if she insists on cutting all whimsy and fun out of it. I agree with you all, live and let live. I for one plan to continue wearing black nailpolish (which I've been informed is now OUT) and/or sparkly nailpolish for as long as I love it. I'm not going to try and live up to the expectations of a complete stranger, I sometimes have enough trouble living up to my own!
    Oh and Rigel - you're definitely IN in my opinion, I LOVE ThinkGeek!!! :-)

  12. Following trends is so last year!

  13. Yay. I love this. My favorite compliment in the world is when people comment on my "style" and, well, the fact that it's kind of non-existent. I rock everything from my converses to my cowboy boots, and if anyone CARES that I probably violate half the fashion "rules" (my best friend manages to keep me from violating the rest) then so what?! It's more fun that way anyway, isn't it? :P

    P.S. Your cake was AMAZING. My mom makes cakes for people (just sheet cakes and mostly just for her coworkers) but one of them just requested a Finding Nemo-themed cake for her wedding rehearsal dinner. Wonder what the czar would say to THAT?!

  14. You would probably find me happily on the not list. I tried to keep up when I was younger and decided really early. Take me as I am, or don't take me at all. Your loss not mine. It certainly saves wear and tear on my nerves and wallet.
    My little sister was the same way in fact she went over board to be unique and got quite up set when she turned out to be the style setter in College.

  15. What a refreshing post, and so many great comments too! I really like lot HOT lists, but I hear you on the "not" parts - they're just so.... NOT!

    I try to remember that these lists only are expressions of opinions. This "Style Czar" is of course entitled to not like certain types of clothes/decorations/bikers, but I think she has forgotten one important thing she ought to keep track of (considering her "title"): style. Style is not about mindlessly following fashions, but rather to find your own way, what suits you.

    I might also add that her usage of the word "czar" confuses the historian in me greatly. Is she expecting a revolution to throw her off her throne? (Could this be it?)

    Finally, I LOVE that picture. The cake looks absolutely superb (my only concern is that it looks too pretty to eat).

    (Also, I totally expected this post to be about Katie Perry's "Hot n' Cold" song...)

  16. I LOVE that things become 'last year'. You know why? Because then I can get them for cheap cheap cheap.

    I lived for most of my life in the Pacific Northwest where 'retro' was almost always in fashion in some way... where the 'ugly to cool' scale is truly embraced (something is so ugly, or tacky or ridiculous that it comes full circle and becomes desirable--think Grunge)

    I am in full agreement on lists of In/Out, except that looking at the In stuff helps me identify what to avoid (unless I really like it, of course) *shifty*

  17. I suppose that I am not up on fashion trends since I really do love overly decorated cakes.

    As far as the NOT/OUT, I really don't follow any fashion magazines or fashion columns in newspapers. I pretty much go by what I see while in Manhattan and what's advertised in store windows or store flyers.


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