To Buy or Not to Buy? The Gab on Gold GlamPosted on 2007.03.26 at 03:58
Lamé Legging, American Apparel
I was in the Aldo in Harvard Square searching, innocently enough, for the perfect shoes to go along with a gown I plan on wearing to an upcoming black tie-optional event, when something flashy and potentially tacky caught my eye.
Metallic, gold, leather pumps. 3.5 inch tapered heels, peekaboo tips. I don't know whether I should laugh or cry, but it was love at first sight- or was it?
A few hours and $80 later I was hobbling around at home in my shoes that are so horrible they're fabulous, not looking unlike the kind of woman you'd expect to see in tight denim pedal pushers, a sleeveless checked shirt tied around the midriff and a big corn-yellow bouffant, Virginia Slim dangling gracefully from her lips. I showed them to two different girlfriends. The first, a conservatively bobbed Martha's Vineyard type with a penchant for J. Crew and Ralph Lauren basics accented with a few mod accessories, made as if to wretch. The second, a polka-dotted party-girl with wild hair and a quirkily preppy fashion taste co-mingled with bright fruity colors and chunky beads, shrieked in admiration and enthusiasm. And it certainly wasn't the relatively classic styling of the shoe that was receiving such mixed reviews, as it was the conservative friend out of the two of them who tends to prefer four-inch stilettos for an evening out while the other often opts for ballet flats or galoshes. It was, without question, the color. The manager who helped me at Aldo informed me that gold in all its bright and tacky glory comes back into style every five years or so. The question then became whether or not it would be worth the investment to shelve these babies after one short-lived season for five years and yank em out again from whatever bin or shelf or shoe-Siberia to which they had been relinquished.
But more important than the question of whether or not gold is in style is this: is it attractive?
Balenciaga does C3P0
I suppose that to a certain extent it's a matter of what's most flattering on the wearer. Very few women can pull off skintight, light-reflecting, golden leggings. A gold embellishment here or there, however, could be just the necessary je ne sais quoi to an otherwise bland or shall we say "less garish" outfit. For instance, a black pinstripe pant suit over a standard white button-down may be the lawyer's uniform but a fabulous flashy handbag with the shoes to match can add a fashionable pop for days spent outside of a a conservative-dressing courthouse. This is exactly how I plan to team up my new golden beauties, which would also look delightful with a white a-line skirt, though I would stay away from jeans to avoid exactly the kind of image described above.
It appears, however, that it isn't just gold this season but bright metallics of all colors as part of what style.com calls a space odyssey trend for Spring 2007.
Here Versace pairs a metallic gold coat with simple, basic, classic black and white
But there's one difference between the art of high fashion and the art of shopping, and that is practicality or, more specifically in this case, wearability. I can't deny the fact that my gold shoes, though I do after about 48 hours of ownership still take them out of their hiding place and get giddy wearing them at my computer desk all by myself where nobody can see me, were an impulse buy. I was not in the market for a lamé look when I walked in, nor are they a classic that will never go bad like a pair of conservative black pumps. I can envision a million outfits full of golden fabulosity, but how many of my own clothes can I really wear these shoes with? How often am I really going to pair them up with my suit for a day about town given that I wear jeans five out of seven days a week? This was a fun splurge and they're a great addition to my already very wide repertoire, but this was not a sound investment.
Maybe that's how the gold fad works. Maybe that has to do with why, as Aldo lady tells me, it appears to be coming back on a fairly regular cycle with long gaps in between. There's something about gold that catches the eye. It's a color associated with riches in pop culture, fables, idioms, and jewelry throughout the world and throughout time periods. It's immediately flashy, striking, and just tacky enough without being too much so. It inspires impulse buying because, really, how often are we all going to have the opportunity to just go and pick up a pair of fabulous lamé pumps? (every five years, apparently)
Or that handbag. Or that shiny new pencil skirt. Or that wallet.
The issue with gold is that too much is too much, which is precisely why it is not a staple that sticks around. We casually integrate it into our fashion vocabularies when the fad hits and one dose in a blue moon is apparently all the fashion doctor called for. Remember next time you're out shopping and something a little flashy catches your eye, only buy it if you really love it, because when you take the accent out of "lamé" it spells "lame." All that glitters is not gold.