Fashion faux Pas

This August, Jo Burke, the NIU Art Museum Director (who is also an enviable owner of a pair of fantastic black knee-high boots with kitten heels), and I were discussing some of her ideas about Fashion and her desire to introduce an online forum for participants and viewers to share their Fashion Faux Pas. We wanted to focus on the incidences that brought about questions of "What is the right thing to wear?" and "When to wear it?" What happens when things go awry? How does one feel and react? What stories of fashion foibles are ingrained in our memories?
And perhaps the biggest question of all--are fashion foibles significant enough to take up the mental and emotional space for a community dialogue?
Please include your comments and photographs about your very own Fashion Faux Pas.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A "Fall" of Fashion

Autumn Leaves: A Century of Fall Fashion is a lovely exhibition of gowns and accompanying garments curated by Barbara Cole Peters this Fall 2010 at the NIU Art Museum.
On the date of our opening reception I found that because our lives constantly include garments that we may indeed take for granted the emotional and mental space that they take up. I have been on staff at the museum for two years and one of my jobs is to serve at our receptions each semester. On the night in question, I was feeling the anticipation of serving refreshments to the many enthusiastic individuals attending all four of our exhibitions ( that, to quote our literature, "...examine the melancholy baroque richness of the Autumn season through lushness of materials, color harmony and the aging process."

And indeed it was an energetic evening of curatorial talks by Peters and a constant influx of artists, students, faculty, staff, university administration and community members. Unfortunately, because of the rush to get all of the food prepared, I was unable to change right away from casual clothes into something a bit nicer for that night's marathon of running in and out with fresh and empty trays. So after all of the food was out I rushed to put on my autumn brown  side-tie wrap dress, leggings, vintage knee-high brown leather boots. Once I changed I was immediately swept up in feeding our patrons. As I swished through the crowds, smiling to various administrators and faculty along the way I was oblivious to the fact that the bottom part of my dress had parted, and was completely revealing my upper thighs (thank goodness I wore opaque leggings!!!) beneath!

I received many embarrassed and kind smiles as I breezed along, but not having time for embarrassment of my own, I used the excuse to go in back to prep food  to tug my dress back into place and let the experience take up its place in what I suspect is a long line of unfortunate fashion foibles!

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