As someone who spent her childhood wearing Heartstrings and Gap Kids instead of Old Navy and Limited Too, I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of tasteful fashion. I was raised to believe that class could not be blindly bought. Just because your shirt cost more than most people spend on food in a month doesn’t mean that it makes you a member of the upper class; an ill-fitting $200 tube top is just as tacky as one that was pulled from a gutter. If your clothes don’t fit well, you can spend a fortune and still look just as trailer trash as every other poorly dressed blue collar member of society. Tacky miniskirts, tragic bedazzled menswear and hooker-esque dresses come in all price ranges, preying on those too stupid to know better from every income level. (If you need clarification on what I’m talking about, simply google Jersey Shore cast member Jenni ‘J Woww’ Farley’s fashion line.)
Tacky isn’t just synonymous will ill-fitting, though. Nothing is tackier than a label whore, except possibly a stupid label whore. You know who you are; the article of clothing itself matters less to you than the tag on the inside. You’d rather have a pair of Burberry sweatpants than the nicest pair of jeans from the Limited, and I always catch you staggering to class from the weight of your books because you’ve refused to trade your teeny Vera Bradley backpack for a sufficiently-sized knapsack from L.L. Bean. You don’t seem to grasp that function and fashion should be harmonious, you never learned to put together a nice outfit because you don’t actually evaluate what you purchase, and it shows. You’re the reason that certain seventies-carpet-yellow-colored clearance items are eventually purchased, and everyone seems to know it but you. STOP IT.
While I don’t advocate tackiness in any sense, I vastly prefer the blatant tastelessness of those I described in the beginning to that of the label-obsessed idiots. The J Wowws, Kim Kardashians, and Paris Hiltons of the world tend to operate in a completely different sphere from me, but the girls who buy ugly things from nice brands tend to gravitate towards those who are actually doing it right. These badly-dressed clingers aren’t just a public eyesore, they’re a personal nuisance.
First off, buying something just because it was sold by a certain designer doesn’t make it, or you, cute or classy. I may feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven every time walk into a J. Crew, but that doesn’t mean that I’m automatically going to buy out the entire store. Some things don’t fit my body right, some colors were a tragic mistake on the part of the designers, and- though I’d never admit it to the Cinader family- some of the things for sale are just plain tragic.
Secondly, there seems to be this misconception among these particular hanger-ons that the more obvious the label is, the better it is. This is the farthest thing from the truth. Nothing is tackier than watching some misguided young wannabe parade around with a giant polo stamped on her chest, letters spelling out Juicy or Pink splayed across her ass, and the word ‘Coach’ scrawled all over her handbag in various sizes and glittery fonts. It baffles me as to how anyone can put this kind of ensemble together, glance in the mirror, and decide that the overall result is a positive one.
Just a few weeks ago, I was browsing the MetroCenter Macy’s in Washington, D.C. for a new set of tech gloves (which, for those who haven’t hopped on that bandwagon yet, are the greatest invention known to modern man). While trying on a pair, I overheard a gaggle of teenagers debating the merits of Coach versus Dooney and Bourke.
“I like Coach better,” one of them was saying, “because like, you can always tell when it’s a Coach purse. Like, you can’t even tell that these are DB unless you like look at the tag!”
This girl, who is clearly a label whore and destined to live her life as a miserable bottom-tier sorostitute and overlooked housewife, perfectly voiced the nouveau-riche mentality that leads to this kind of tackiness. This assumption that no one will be able to tell how expensive something is without some sort of in-your-face visual aid shows naivete and a lack of finesse. They’re the reason designers like Ralph and Tommy even put these huge logos on things- they may be idiots who have proven that even an AmEx platinum can’t help them dress well, but they now represent a large, tacky market that needs filling. It’s a travesty.
I can spot a good pair of Tory Burch flats from a mile away, and identify the difference between a pair of Joe’s jeans and a pair of Citizens without any names visible, because classy things are nice, they fit well, and they look good. I would advise you to learn to do the same, or risk becoming the worst kind of tacky. Happy shopping!