The 40 Latest Fashion/Fabric Lies Exposed!
Whether we like it or not, at some time or another in life we all have to tell a lie. Some of them are harmless little white ones that can make life easier or can even be acts of kindness -- "My, you haven't aged a day," "Yes, the bride did look beautiful!" "Love your new hair colour!" Others are great big whopping purple porky-pies -- "I swear I sent my article to you on time, Lynn! There must be some problem with my email". Nearly all of them come back to haunt us. Some people even make a profession of it, and I'm not just talking about your average lawyer, politician or used car salesman. (Before I get swamped with hate mail, please note that I am wildly generalising here.)
In fact, some of the biggest liars dwell in the image business. The job of selling you a newer version of yourself is choc-a-bloc with such tall tales of the little white and big purple kind, and as with trends in fashion and fabrics, there are trends in the lies that accompany them. We all scoff at those classics of the "blue and green should never be seen" variety, but there are new style slurs born every minute, ready to leap out at you from that glossy magazine or that reality makeover TV show. Nowhere is safe. In our never-ending quest at Stitches to get to the nitty-gritty of things, we thought it was high time to expose the latest crop of shams for what they really are, just in case some unsuspecting fashion person attempts to pull the wool over your eyes again, so to speak!
1. "Black is out."
The big lie of 2004 ... and it won't abate any time soon with the cacophony of colour that stalked the world's runways for winter 2003. It will be exposed by the millions of women the world over who will continue to depend on it.
2. "Slim pencil skirts flatter everyone."
Right. Everyone who looks like this. (drawing of scrawny model here)
3. "Hang onto something long enough and it will come back in style."
It may, yes. But you can bet that the newer versions will feel and look much better, thanks to ever-developing fabric technology and construction techniques. Not convinced? Compare a modern stretch body suit with its scratchy seventies polyester ancestor. Besides, would you really want to look the same as you did 10, 20 years ago?
4. "Belting a jacket updates it."
I must confess ... yours truly has stated this in this very magazine. Yes, it is a timely idea, but just tossing any old belt over any jacket isn't.
5. "Black is universally slimming."
Most of the time, but it can also make some look like they're in mourning or worse, as if they are the deceased.
6. "Loose clothes look better on fuller figures."
Only if one wants to look like they're on sale at Tent City. In fact, fitted clothes that skim the body rather than hug it are the most flattering option.
7. "Knits make you look heavier."
Trim flat-weave knits in body skimming styles may actually have a slimming effect, as do some jacket/cardigan and dress combinations.
8. "Short petite women shouldn't wear big prints."
They can, just not head-to-toe. It also depends on the shape of the garment in relation to the scale of the print, the colouration of the print, the fabric, and how it is worn.
9. "Vertical or diagonal stripes are always slimming; horizontal stripes make you look fatter."
Again, it depends on the stripe, the cut of the garment and your body.
10. "Rayon is hand-washable."
Not in every case. Many stain or lose their sheen.
11. "A jacket is the best fashion investment."
Not if it doesn't fit in with your lifestyle, and not every jacket.
12. "Never buy on sale what you wouldn't buy at full price."
If this were the case, they wouldn't have to have sales. This one was obviously concocted by somebody who has never known the sublime thrill of scoring a real bargain.
13. "Cashmere is better than lambswool."
It's the quality of the fibre that matters. A good quality lambswool is a wiser choice over low-grade cashmere any day. Cashmere may also be too hot for most climates and can pill like crazy. How to tell when cashmere is worth it? Good cashmere has heft even if it's a lightweight knit, a tight weave and is ultra-soft to the touch.
14. "Tall women can wear anything."
Tell that to a tall woman wearing a baby-doll dress and see what she thinks ... but stand back before you do.
15. "Short women should always wear heels."
As silly as its sister, "Tall women shouldn't wear heels". Try telling that to Nicole Kidman.
16. "Short petite women can't wear wide trousers."
They sure can if those trousers have moderate width and are balanced by a slim-fitted top.
17. "Redheads should never wear red."
Don't brunettes wear brown? Don't blondes wear yellow?
18. "Pink is the most flattering colour for everybody."
Maybe if you're a Barbie Doll. There is no one colour that flatters absolutely everyone.
19. "High-cut legs on swimsuits slim your hips and thighs."
But usually only ones that are already slim to begin with. They are not miracle-workers. This one has resulted in horrific ramifications on beaches worldwide.
20. "Lingerie can be worn as outerwear."
Only if you want to be arrested for indecent exposure. Please don't try to pass off your favourite lacy bra or slip as a top or skirt. There is a difference between lingerie-inspired clothing and actual lingerie.
21. "Monochromatic dressing can make you look taller and slimmer."
Yes, it can look very stylish and hide many figure flaws ... but a lot depends on the cut and proportion of a garment.
22. "Neutral-coloured coats are a smarter investment."
Many women have enjoyed years of wear from a brightly coloured coat. A red coat can be just as valuable.
23. "Storing pantyhose in the freezer prolongs their life."
Oh please! Does anyone still believe in this myth?
24. "Great shoes are always worth splurging on."
This was the one that got Imelda Marcos into all that trouble. What's worth splurging on depends on your individual needs.
25. "You can't wear white to a wedding if you're not the bride."
You actually can ... as long as it's more tailored than bridal.
26. "You don't need a matching suit for work anymore."
Not if it's one of those boring boxy navy or grey "dress-for-success" things ... but a sleekly tailored suit still works from nine-to-five.
27. "Sheer black or nude stockings are the only acceptable hose for the office."
A rule that went out with those boring, boxy navy or grey things.
28. "Shoulder pads are out."
Ones that make you look like the star attraction at the World Wrestling Federation, anyway. Small, shaped ones are still essential in most jackets for correct proportion and balance.
29. "Flats are always more comfortable than heels."
Some pointed toe flats or flat mules are actually less comfortable than a pair of medium or low-heeled shoes.
30. "Tunics flatter most figure types."
And make other figures look like a sack of potatoes.
31. "Sequins are for evening."
Not any more. While a full-on evening dress would obviously look out of place (not to mention quite psychotic), a smattering on an otherwise simple jacket or top can add some unexpected dash to your daytime duds.
32. "Chiffon and other diaphanous fabrics are only for the very young and slim."
If it is sufficiently layered and crafted with an expert hand, it can look wonderful on a wide range of ages and figure types.
33. "Jeans are the most comfortable item of clothing."
Maybe if you are standing up. Sit or crouch in knit track pants, leggings or pyjama pants and get back to us.
34. "You can't wear different shades of white together."
Several shades of white and off-white worn together can actually look sensational, as well as being more wearable than stark head-to-toe white.
35. "Never wear black and navy together in the same outfit."
Established designers Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld and Valentino broke this rule some 20 years ago, which goes to show just how long some lies last.
"Oh, that does suit Madam!" -- the top five salesperson shams:
36. "You'll wear it forever."
Some accessories do last a long time, especially some jewellery. Very few items of clothing last decades or are current every year. Even so-called "classics" change over time. Case in point: A big-shouldered peplum jacket with saucer-sized gold buttons was considered a classic item back in 1985. Would you wear it today?
37. "These shoes will stretch."
"And your feet will be crippled and blistered" is what she means.
38. "You won't really have to dry clean it."
Believe the care label. It's not making a commission.
39. "No one will notice that stain/loose thread/puckered seam except you."
Why wouldn't they notice?
40. "That's the way it's supposed to look."
If clothes need that much explanation, why bother?
There are many more where this small sampling came from ... so many it can seem rather daunting, but there is hope. From all the falseness, one great fashion truth emerges: Being true to yourself. Do that and you can easily see through any sham or scam ... and that's no lie.