The Look, 2012
Even if you don’t observe Christmas, you can tell the seasons are changing when all the Christmas ads are replaced on TV by weight loss program ads. This year we saw the first ones on Christmas Eve. But New Year’s they were everywhere.
This can only mean one thing: namely, that we’re once again obsessed about the shape of our body and eager to know what we’ll be wearing to cover that body come spring.
I’ve shopped on the stylish avenues of New York, on Michigan Avenue in Chicago and Rodeo Drive in LA. I’ve been to Saville Row in London and the Champs-Élysées in Paris. I have ascended the red staircase at Valentino on the Via Condotti in Rome.
But for the most up-to-date fashion pour tout le monde, one need look no further than the stylish merchants of Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach. No Middle Eastern souk can hold a candle to the international bazaar that lines this magnificent mile of resort retailing.
Regular readers will recall that my personal fashion style locked in sometime around 1968 and, according to most of the women in my family, has only gone downhill since. But that doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to such things. I once had a job that required me to be a regular reader of Women’s Wear Daily. I scan The Sartorialist web site every other day or so. Just because I don’t wear it doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s going on in the world of fashion.
That’s why this particular view (above) caught my eye the other day while I was driving down Atlantic Avenue. This time of year most of the oceanfront retailers have closed up shop for the winter. But there on the corner of 26th street in the old Thunderbird Motel coffee shop—actually not the real old Thunderbird grill; that used to be across the street—were these manikins and the sign affirming that I was indeed witnessing “THE LOOK.”
This particular shop doesn’t trade in men’s wear, as best as I can tell. But since I know that my female readers will want to be completely up on fashion, I quickly jumped from the car and snapped this picture before the shopkeeper came out and yelled at me. I don’t know if he was more worried about me rushing a copy of this picture to a factory in China so that I could get knockoffs onto the streets by next week or because I wondered what the old milk jugs full of sand were for.
Marie Antoinette had her petit hameau built at Versailles so that she could play milkmaid. I’m supposing these jugs of sand might be necessary to prevent “shrinkage,” as theft is referred to in the retail trade. I’m not sure these outfits could stand to be shrunk any tighter.