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Iris Apfel. Photo: Roger Davies. Published in Harper Design.

Most people today don’t look very put-together or very pretty. They look like they fell out of bed or jumped out of a rag pile. I think athleisure is just ridiculous. It has its place if you’re at leisure or at a gym, but I think you owe it to your fellow man to look as pleasant as possible. It’s nice to feast your eyes upon something beautiful, not something that’s a mess. Recently I was at Le Cirque, and in walked this beautiful young lady, obviously from out of town. It was a Saturday evening, and she was all gussied up in a long dress. Her escort was nicely dressed too. But they were seated just across from two slobs, which spoiled the whole effect. If you want to lounge around, then don’t go out. 

Iris Apfel – fashion icon (at age 96).

I once met a woman who said to me that she just can’t be anywhere that isn’t pretty. That’s kind of a tall order in this world, but I understand what she means. Nothing feels as good, tastes as good, or lifts the spirit when in an unattractive environment.

Ms. Apfel says it like it is when it comes to how people dress these days. Look over any crowd on the street, in a museum, park, airport and notice that everyone looks like “… they fell out of bed or jumped out of a rag pile.” (LOL) Grown men in little boy shorts and baggy t-shirts, topped with a baseball cap. Women in tight-fitting yoga or workout clothes and flip-flops, often dingy bra straps exposed as if they were an added accessory. It’s not a pretty picture and frankly, it gets depressing.

I’ve come to just blocking it all out. The one upside is that those rare individuals who do make an effort stand out like a colorful wildflower in a patch of dried weeds. What a treat it is when I spot someone who looks nice.

This is not to say that we all should be “dressed-up.” Casual is good. A simple skirt and blouse; a pair of slacks and an Oxford shirt. It’s oversized, baggy, or too tight clothing that’s unattractive and particularly worn at the wrong time/place (anywhere outside of a gym). Even leggings aren’t necessarily a bad thing if made from a ponte knit and paired with a tunic.

But apparently Ms. Apfel and I are in the minority and I don’t think the fashion pendulum is ever going to swing back to everyone making an effort to dress well, or appropriately. Sloppy is the accepted norm and therefore there’s no incentive to reach toward a higher standard.

OK, I’m stepping off my (fashionable) soapbox now.

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