Friday, August 8, 2014

Nine West Ads denigrate 40 years of Feminism?

If you are old enough to remember the DoubleMint Gum ads (Double your pleasure, Double your fun), with saccharine twins smiling through the cloying jingle, then you remember the invention of negative advertising. The idea was to be so annoying that people made fun of you. As a result, your product became a household name. So, in this case, when you bought gum, DoubleMint was a familiar, therefore trustworthy brand.

In a new spin on this, Nine West has a new series of ads that has all the media a-buzz and mostly fuming. The most offensive of these ads are, undoubtedly "The Walk Of Shame" and the "Starter Husband Hunt" ads, which portray modern young women as either sleeping around or looking for the first victim. Believing that such thought went out with the movie "The Women," the 1939 Classic based on the writing of Clair Booth Luce and Anita Loos, I was -- in a word -- furious!

Of course these ads exist to garner attention, and so far it is working...the attention that is. However, most of my 60+ friends and I make a habit of not buying from people who insult us. These two ads, in my opinion, are in terribly bad taste and poke fun at the younger generation of women struggling to find meaningful work and love in a generation that appears all but devoid of the romance and traditional manners of their parents. Young Millennial women have enough to deal with without these shoes and their negative signifiers. Here in my neck of the woods -- East Side Manhattan -- the nearest Nine West Store is across the street from the far less trendy, traditional, yet chic Aerosoles -- shoes in which a New Yorker can actually walk. Next time I need a shoe fix, I will walk right past Nine West and I will go into Aerosoles. So there Nine West! PuhLeeze!

Images copywrite Nine West,

xo -Mary

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Eileen Ford- A Legend Leaves Us!

Eileen Ford: Along with her husband, the adored Jerry, she created an Industry: Professional Modeling. She had THE EYE, coined the expression "IT factor,"was a star-maker, had high standards, was a devoted mother of four, and demanded excellence from all about her.

Eileen and Jerry at 59th St.model HOME- for all of us!

Eileen in front of famous photo of her early stars

Eileen and Jerry
Eileen was tough- she had to be- she had the responsibility for other people's daughters and allowed no drug use or late-night carousing. She was also funny, warm and a visionary- looking for a home for her earlier models as sh aged, she 'invented' Middle Age and Mature Categories and they did so well- everyone else copied her.  
In 1988,The Fords bought my model agency, Big Beauties/Little Women because they believed Plus and Petite and Fit Models were going to grow and Jerry said I was "too good at it, so better BE with us than competing with us." It was the greatest complement of my career life. I was with Ford for 22 years and loved the family and felt like part of it. When our receptionist died, Eileen and Katie handled everything- that was the way Family did things. Bill was my closest Ford, but every conversation I ever had with Eileen or Jerry was special. He was a leader, she was a talent, very direct and, Oh What a Couple They Were- What Stories!
Eileen's models were among the most famous in the world- you never knew who would pop into the agency. Most of all, Eileen will be remembered for running one of the last family companies with a sense of warmth and pride and inclusion. The Christmas Pizza, Egg Roll and Champagne parties with lovely gifts for the staff, were my favorite event. But all the parties and exciting experiences in the Industry were the fairy dust of the careers they made, or in my case, brought to American Dream status. Behind it all was hard work and strict discipline.
Thank You, Eileen and Jerry for allowing me to be part of what was the finest Model Agency on Earth. You will be so missed and never equaled.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Color, Spring 2014, Shoots Self in Foot!

This is interesting. The Top 5 Colors for 2014 are, as follows:

1. Radiant Orchid. Nice!
2. Hemlock. A new name for paler green. Nice, but a poisonous name.
3. Paprika. This is based on the popularity of an orange-ish version of red that most of us cannot wear.
4. Paloma. A new name for an overdone, understated gray.
5. Fressia. A yellow so bright, again, that most of us cannot wear it (unlike a pretty lemon color, which has been a successful staple of the last four years!)

Is it entirely necessary for the American fashion industry to shoot itself in the foot on a daily basis?

Radiant Orchid, however, is another story. It's the Pantone Color of the Year and is universally flattering. It warms the face and makes most women look younger. (Be careful, golden blondes, because purple is the complimentary color to yellow, and therefore can over-emphasize yellow.)

Here's another look at Radiant Orchid:


—Mary Duffy

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New?New?New? NO!NO!NO!

QVC is a spectacular merchant—all my friends love them. The Q even posts garment measurements so you can have a good idea what size to buy. (They cite your bust and hip measurements + 1-3 inches on stretch or knits + 3-5 on woven garments.) They have several Fashion Days a year and this season, are doing 50 hours of fashion! 

Good? No.

The TSV (Today's Special Value) for the first day was another droopy-poopy piece, this time from LOGO by stylist Lori Goldstein, a $40 vest, so similar to the chiffon-edged items she has done for several years (yawn) that it appears not to have been a hot seller. The second TSV is a $230 bag from orYANY, in color blocking. I think most women will find it all too easily resistible.

My love for QVC is such that I almost take this personally, and so far, I have found nothing I HAVE to HAVE, and I am a clothes hound! Even my favorite line, Linea, was a tad more soft dressing than usual, and on behalf of MOST OF US, I hope this shapeless, droopy trend goes far away. As for colors, most of us do not look great in blah, or bright yellow-based colors, so why does the fashion industry work so hard to shoot itself in the collective foot?

—Mary Duffy

Monday, March 3, 2014

Apres Oscar

The raison d’etre of my company, Fashion for the Rest of Us©, since 2010, has been to address the fashion and beauty needs of real women—those not likely to walk red carpets or be the next Miss America any time soon. 

That said, last night’s Oscar Show deserves a comment from the perspective of those of us who make up most of the audience—people in lounge clothes or sleepwear,  propped up on pillows, longing for a fix of the glamorous life, of what Hollywood once was, and, for most of us, still should be. 

Last Night, we got it.

Nearly everyone was lovely. I will not detract by mentioning the handful of misses. There were the young and the mature, the thin and the not-so-thin, the pregnant and the ingĂ©nues, and the gentlemen dressed like men of the world—all giving us a dream of the “grandeur that was Greece and the glory that was Rome,” as Poe said, or of whatever floats your fantasy boat.

Not to be confused with what most of us are or should be, the primped-to-perfection, starved to a size 2 to 4, those eying Ellen’s pizza—they were all very funny. She was funny, too, without destroying anyone. I loved her pop-ups in the audience and her cool demeanor. 

It was a wonderful night and nominations and awards were graciously received and spread about several superb productions. 


—Mary Duffy

[PHOTO: The famous Degeneres "selfie" that got so many Retweets on Twitter that it shut the service down temporarily on Oscar night.]

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Designer Diversity

The other night, while watching the finale of CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition, I was almost too confused to pick a winner.

The uber-talented gold jewelry designer, Marc Alary, had my support all along, as he made one small brilliant item after another, to be shown against the other designers' entire ensembles. Further, one had to be blind to miss the enthusiastic Hollywood reaction to the charming  Juan Carlos Obandao. And what of Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow of Public School, the clear front-runners from the outset?

Well, the results are in and we are looking at the new face of not only America, but of American design —White, Hispanic, Asian, Black. My only disappointment was that they were all men, but hey ladies...maybe next year!

Bravo to the talented!

—Mary Duffy

(Photograph, from left to right: Designers Juan Carlos Obando, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School, and Marc Alary.)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The New Normal?

A department store in Sweden, Ahlens, has introduced these normal-sized mannequins, and photos of them have been getting shared widely across the Web in recent months. Instead of a Size 00, these gals are a Size 12 and Size 16, respectively. 

Some people say that having such Plus-Size mannequins "condones obesity." Pfft! The average American woman thinks she is a Size 12 or 14, but with median measurements of 41.5-33-43.5, and 163 pounds at 5-foot-8 inches tall, she is more likely two sizes bigger.

I say that for all of us, if you are slim, congratulations. If you are not, make the most of it. If we all COULD be thin, we all would be thin.

FYI: If anyone cares (LOL), I think the Size 12 figure looks great and Size 16 figure is voluptuous.

-- Mary Duffy

High Low, Oh N-O-O!

As an adult woman, I am so over shapeless, droopy-poopy, trapeze shapes with asymmetrical, shark-bite, handkerchief, hi-low hems, that I COULD SCREAM. "Baby doll" is cute on three-year-olds, but hold the boxy shapes and huge ruffles! And remember that most of us have breasts and hips, and these styles just hang off our bustlines, rendering us perpetually pregnant-looking.

The BIG look you may wish to avoid going forward is narrow bottoms, as in leggings and cigarette pants, and really big shirts, topped off by a coat or jacket that is JUMBO size! Leggings MUST be worn with tops that come below the 'anatomy' line only—never too tight but not family-sized, either. 

I hope you agree that these silhouettes are what NOT to wear! If you bought them and now hate them, donate them. I did. As for High Low skirts? OH, NO-O-O-O is right! 

-- Mary Duffy

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fashion Week Blahs

One of the advantages of living in New York City, if this sort of thing amuses YOU as much as it does ME, is watching the Fashion Week news coverage. Here, it is actually covered as Local News!

Anna Wintour
So once again, I swore off judgmental viewing for the Fall 2014 shows, and was—at best—underwhelmed. Apparently, Vogue's Anna Wintour (left) had similar feelings, as was noted again and again by the fashion press. Her face says it all.

So, what is new? Not much. What is exciting? Even less. Hopefully, Ready-to-Wear (that is us real folk) will ignore the Black and White (OMG, how original) and Gray (how funereal)! The rare touches of color kept me awake and Zac Posen, in my opinion, had the most wearable, desireable collection. In addition to the afore-mentioned mourning colors, color block, pattern mixing returned. A softer blue and a more orange red than last year and red were see a bit. There were big ball gowns and enough glam, sparkle and embellishment for a Disney princess movie. 

Also big on the runway was a retro 1920s look, which I personally love, but which has been done so often, I think there is still some in the my closet for the 90s. Fur was everywhere, even as a necklace for ball gowns and faux enough for animal-lover me.

One thing I liked was the mixture of black or B&W, with a rather Belle Epoque Mauve Decade rose. Very pretty, and we real people might actually like it. 

-- Mary Duffy

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hello, World!

Hello, world. I'm Mary Duffy, and I'm excited to start a conversation with you about Fashion for the Rest of Us. That's the name of this blog and the name of my Website. As a former Plus-size fashion model, I speak across the country to all of you out there who haven't appeared on the cover of Vogue lately—and I imagine that's pretty much most of us. I mostly write and speak from the perspective of the Other 99% of women on the planet, and I talk about how fabulous they are. Here's a more proper introduction:

I look forward to speaking with all of you here. I also look forward to hearing from you about all the things that make you crazy, happy, curious, and ever-frustrated with the Fashion Industry. Let's compare notes! Drop me a line and let me know how I can help. And thanks for reading. I look forward to meeting you!

-- Mary Duffy