Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: fashion (page 1 of 2)

Which Levi’s Jeans Makes My Ass Look the Best?


For the last few months, there have been these YouTube advertisements plastered all over the subway platforms, in the subway cars, and even on the subways themselves. They showcase a group of girls who look no more than fifteen years old, and have six million followers each.  I’ve never heard of any of them. Bethany Mota? Michelle Phan? Clearly I’m not in the right demographic.  One aspect that I did notice is that they are “fashion and lifestyle” bloggers.

“I’m doing it wrong,” I tell myself each time I board it a train and see one of these ads. “Why didn’t I become a fashion and lifestyle blogger?”

One morning, not too long ago, as a mariachi band was playing in my subway car, I had a revelation.

“Why couldn’t I become a fashion and lifestyle blogger?” I asked the guitarist wearing the sombrero.  “There are so few middle-aged male fashion and lifestyle bloggers giving advice to other men! The field is completely wide open!”

And that’s how this this post came into existence.  Well, actually, there were two more steps before I get to the post.

First has to do with my dating life.  Or rather it’s lack of existence.  Last week, I was talking to a friend, a recently divorced woman who had already gone on a few dates and was pushing me to join an online service.

Seeking good advice, and trying to change the subject,   I said, “Tell me, and be honest, as a friend. What do women most look for in a man?  Is it his career achievements, his sense of humor, or his intelligence?”

She laughed, saying, “The number one attribute that women look for in a man is — how good his ass looks in a pair of jeans.”

This totally blew my mind.   And then I promptly forgot about the conversation.

This morning, around 10AM, my mother asked if I wanted to go shopping with her at the Macy’s on Queens Boulevard. She received a “Friends and Family 25% coupon” in the mail and she was always up for a bargain.  I hate shopping for clothes, but I agreed, mostly for selfish reasons. Near this Macy’s is a diner that makes a good Reuben sandwich, and there is also a Best Buy across the street, and I wanted to play with the new Samsung phone.

By noon, we were in the department store.

My mother said, “I want to check out some bras,” and I knew this was my cue to go check out the men’s department.

“You know what,” I said. “I could use a new pair of jeans. I’ll meet you back here in a half hour.”

So I went to the men’s department, which is always the crappiest section in every department store, located on the dark and dingy lower level next to the appliances.

I passed by the fancy designer jeans and went straight for the Levi’s against the far wall.   I’m a Levi’s guy.   I mean, other than two brief moments of weakness in my life where I bought other brands of jeans (one was Wrangler in fifth grade and the other was a pair of Gloria Vanderbilt men’s jeans that I would rather not discuss),  I have worn Levi’s all my life. More specifically, I have worn Levi’s 501 jeans since junior high school, never deviating, never changing.

But something changed when I accidentally bumped into this sign.


I had a number of thoughts.

1) Therapy.   Why do I always wear the same style of 501 jeans?   Could my unwavering choice of jeans be symbolic of a lifelong rut,  the equivalent of only eating Cheerios your whole life, or never leaving your house?  Do I need to change up my style of Levi’s jeans in order to change up my life?

2) Dating.  If my ass in jeans was going to be the dealbreaker in any relationship with a woman, I needed as much help as possible.  I wasn’t born with the genes for jeans.   You see, that was clever.   Clever people never have good asses.

3) Commerce.   What if I tried every single style Levi’s jean, making note of which jeans made my ass look the best, and then wrote about it in my first “fashion and lifestyle” post for middle-aged men, inspiring a whole generation to look to me as their sartorial guru?Who knows — by next year, I could be in a YouTube advertisement on the E-train, next to the fifteen year old YouTube stars?

So, that’s how this post was born.  I went into the dressing room, sneaking in every different pair of numbered Levi’s jeans as I could find in the stacks of jeans, dressing and undressing and taking photos under the worst lighting ever known to man , and probably making the men in the others stalls wondering what the hell I was doing in there with all the shuffling and clicking of the camera.

OK, men — so here is what I learned about the various Levi’s Jeans.   Just be advised that your ass might be different than mine.

First up was my old favorite — a pair of 501 jeans.


It was important to first try on a new pair of 501 jeans as a “control” subject on which to compare and contrast the other styles.  Every since I entered my first science fair back in the day, I’ve always been very determined to follow the correct scientific approach.

The 501 has an “iconic straight fit,” but as you can see from the photo, it does very little for my ass, and the material by my thigh hangs like the drapes in a summer house.


I don’t want to badmouth the 501. It is a sturdy, honest choice. And it is the only style of Levi’s jeans with the “signature button fly.”  Sadly, what I once found very cool, hip, and special, I now just see as something that requires extra work when I need to pee.

No to 501. It’s time to move on. Sorry, old friend.

The 505 “Regular Fit” fit pretty good, and didn’t feel much different than the 501s.  Like twin brothers.   The boring twin brother who became the accountant.


Described as a “classic, stylish and comfortable straight leg for all occasions,” it felt as generic as the description.  No one ever gets laid wearing the 505s.

No to 505.

The 517 “Bootcut” was the only authentic boot cut that the Macy’s had in Queens, maybe because very few people in Queens ever ride their horses over the Queensborough Bridge to go to Manhattan for brunch.


Everything just felt wrong with these jeans. They were too long, and too high, and too much room in the seat. And do cowboys really need so much extra room in the groin area? Maybe now I understand why so many of my female friends have moved to Austin. Unless I was going to attend one of those “City Slickers” dude ranches over the summer, I would feel like a idiot walking around the city in these jeans.

No to 517.

Not unsurprisingly, this particular Macy’s on Queens Boulevard sold every available type of  Levi’s”relaxed fit” style, which I think was a not so subtle way of Macy’s executives telling us that, “You are the Borough of Fat People.”

First up was the 550 “Relaxed,” which is described as “a classic laid-back fit” — and by “laid-back” I think they mean, “jeans for those who used to go to Grateful Dead concerts.”


These jeans didn’t enhance my ass AT ALL. In fact, it made it my rear end look even less impressive than it does in real life. This is a jeans for sitting — for an outdoor music festival, for smoking pot with your baby boomer friends, for watching an entire season of Orange is the New Black.

These are not the jeans to enhance your ass.

No to 550.

The 559 “Relaxed Straight” was even worse.


These were the worst possible jeans for my build, and the extra room in the rear made it look like I was wearing a pair of adult diapers under my jeans. Not sexy at all.

No to 559.

The 560 “Comfort Fit” continued the slide into denim atrociousness and I imagined old Levi Strauss himself turning in his grave at the thought of his name on these pants.


The 560 is roomy in the seat and thigh, but the waist is so high that I could have lifted these pants over my head WHILE still wearing them.

No to 560.

The 569 “Loose Straight Cut” is what I affectionately called “the gangster jeans.” The fact that these pants were the biggest seller in this Macy’s says a lot about the citizens in my neighborhood, and why no one in Manhattan ever wants to come visit me in Queens.


I always see young guys on the bus from Flushing wearing these jeans, halfway down their ass, and I never understood how they kept the pants from just falling down around their ankles. Now I know the truth. They don’t keep it up. After taking this photo, the pants fell around my ankles.

No to 569. I don’t want to show that much of my ass.

The 510 “Skinny” jeans gets a lot of press because all the young hipsters wear these in Brooklyn.  I was pretty skeptical about them until I put them on, and you know what – I thought they looked pretty good.


Hey, I’m not bragging or anything that I still have “the right stuff.” And sure, I suppose I was a little narcissistic when I climbed on top of the seat, took off my shirt and imagined myself as Mick Jagger singing “Brown Sugar” to the mirror.

And then I sat down.  And the jeans smashed my balls into what could only be described as a vise hold, in what seemed to be a punishment for that #NotAllMen joke I made on Twitter a few weeks ago.

No to 510.

One by one, I compared the jeans.   I was in the dressing room for so long that I forgot about the time. An hour had passed, and my poor mother was wandering around Macy’s looking for me, and freaking out. And then came the announcement, said to the entire Macy’s over the loudspeaker system interrupting the music, “Will customer Neil Kramer please come to the register in the men’s department. Customer Neil Kramer please come to the register in the men’s department. You mother is looking for you.”

So, I never did try all the styles.  I felt bad for mother, and I was hungry for that Reuben.

So, now is the big reveal.   Did I find my Holy Grail of Levi’s Jeans?

And the answer is yes.   The winner was clearly the 513.

The 513 is the “Slim Straight.”  It gives you a bit of the snugness of the skinny jeans, but lets you keep your testicles for future reference.  It is comfortable like the 501, just not as baggy.


Look at my ass.  Have you ever seen it looking any better?

I know this post was probably long-winded, something that Bethany Mota or Michelle Phan or any of those fifteen year old superstars would never do in any of their YouTube fashion videos, but remember — this is only my first lifestyle post, so I’m still learning.

Your Fashion Questions Answered

Have you ever noticed that whenever there is fashion advice given in a woman’s magazine, it is always written by… a woman?  I find this discriminatory, as if 50% of the population had no opinion on the matter.

In honor of New York Fashion Week, I asked YOU, some of my female readers, to ask me — a straight male — some of your pressing fashion questions.

Your Fashion Expert

Question: Are there any cute alternatives to skinny jeans this season? — Mary C, Phoenix, Arizona

I wouldn’t wear skinny jeans because I’m not THAT skinny anymore, considering my love for bagels and pizza, so why would I ask you to wear pants that squeezes your ass together like a tight package of kosher salami?  I’m not cruel.  Women should just wear more short skirts to show off their legs.

Question: What the heck should I wear on a first date with a nice guy from the office? – Beth M, New Rochelle, New York

Show cleavage.  Or wear a tight sweater.  While I do not recommend skinny jeans or tight pants because I believe in a woman’s comfort from the waist down, I make an exception for the tight sweater in the upper half of the body.  Buy a good bra.  And comb your hair.  If you have long hair, it is always good to have some of it drape onto your shoulder, seductively, like Lana Turner did in that old black and white movie, the name of which I don’t remember, but is always playing on Turner Classic Movies at three in the morning.  Also, if you are going sleeveless, have a little bit of bra strap showing as a tease.  But not TOO much.  Don’t have your boobs hanging out if he is such a nice guy.  He will be intimidated.

Question: I need a new going-out bag, on the cheap.  Help! — Latrissa W, Miami, Florida

Seriously.  No one cares ONE IOTA what type of bag you carry.   No one even notices it.  Why should anyone care what type of bag you carry, unless we know that there is a kinky sex toy inside, or a lot of cash and you’re paying for our dinner, or a stash of cocaine in the side pocket, which means you are either a drug dealer, which is a little exciting and dangerous, but ultimately scary and off-putting, or a drug user, and we know that type of relationship never ends well.  So, my recommendation is to just pick up any cheapo bag at Target or from an illegal street vendor, and stop wasting your time worrying over useless stuff like your BAG.  Or, for that matter, your nails.  No man has ever said, “Check out her newly-colored nails!”  Instead, spend time thinking about how you are going to show  a little bit of your bra strap on the shoulder.  That’s way more important, in a fashion sense.

Hope that helped.  Keep on sending those questions, so I can serve up some more closet advice!  Ciao!

Note:  I am currently available for writing assignments at Glamour and Cosmopolitan magazines.

My Favorite Shirt

I’ve been anxious and unproductive lately.  I looked up my symptoms — back tension, worry, sleepiness — and apparently I have now overcome my old ailments of codependency, people-pleasing, and OCD to catch something new from that sneezy cashier at the pizza place — Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or as the hipsters call it, GAD.  Why pay for a therapist when you can do it all yourself?

I’d like to blame BlogHer for all this tension.  Buying a ticket to New York for this year’s conference for women (yeah, I know) has  opened a whole box of muscle tension.  How long should I go?  Do I live in NY or LA?   What’s going on with Vartan?  What will happen with Sophia when events change?

In order to prevent a total breakdown, I needed to take quick action.

What action?

It didn’t matter.   I have noticed that when you are doing something pro-active, it takes your mind off of worry.   Isn’t that what I learned in that meditation class?  I’ve already vastly improved my life by changing my blog template for the first time in five years and creating a new ATM password after using the first name of a schoolmate for decades.

What next?

The red shirt.

This is my favorite shirt.  I bought it in college.  Here I am wearing it on MY HONEYMOON!

The sands of time have not treated this shirt well.  The sleeves are ripped and there are stains in the front from the time I spilled a basket of french fries slathered in ketchup on myself in Portland 2006.  Oh, and it is missing a button.

Has there ever been a man who has NOT heard a woman say to him, “I am NOT LEAVING the house if you are wearing that shirt.  The invitation said the party is FORMAL!”

Action.  Enough with the red shirt from college.  I’ve moved on!

P.S. — For the sake of authenticity, let me admit that I created that last line  — “I’ve moved on!” — for dramatic effect.  In reality, after I took the final photo, I removed the shirt from the garbage bin in the kitchen.   It seemed a cruel way to treat an old friend, like tossing your recently passed-away cat out of the window while driving on the 405 Freeway.

Aha moment!  Why not keep the shirt, and use it to dust the house?

Just like I would do with the dead cat.

P.S.S. —  For the sake of authenticity, I would never do that with a dead cat.

P.S.S.S.  — Also, for the sake of authenticity, I have no intention of ever dusting with this shirt.

Case: Clothes

Author Tom Wolfe

It shouldn’t surprise you that I spend so much time online.  I can make myself seem interesting just by using the written word, and before you know it, women are throwing me their virtual bras at me.

In the real world, very few people on line at McDonald’s want to hear me read my latest blog post to them.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  I even tried giving away free Happy Meals.  Not one woman takes off her bra.

I fit into this online world.  A clever line is worth a lot.   It is the online equivalent of driving a Ferrari into the valet stand at a Beverly Hills bistro.  And online, you don’t even have to tip.

As much as web designers tell you about the importance of “blog design,” none of us read a blog because of the looks.  We would read a good blog published on a plain white page.

I like this word-based system.  I have fun conversations with men and women of all races and ages, from twenty-something to seventy.  Even when I see your photo on flickr, I rarely think about you in physical terms.  Your words come first.  If you write sexy, you come off as sexy.  I mean, I’m not going to lie.  I do notice what people look like.  Some of you are so gorgeous!  I just don’t think about it that much or treat anyone better because of it.   I’m mean – great – you have amazing boobs — but I’m not going to be touching them, so what’s the point?  I’m going to spend more time hanging with the regular-looking gal who turns me on with her jokes.  I’m more likely to describe you as “that mommyblogger” or “that bitch from Wisconsin” rather than “skinny” or “fat” or “Latino”

Unfortunately, things change in the real world.   You are not going to be as impressed with me when you see me wearing two different socks and I forgot to zip my fly.  I’m not even going to bring up the half-shaven off chest hair.  The first thing we notice when meeting someone is how the person looks.  Before they even open their mouth, we’ve created a whole history for this person. 

After posting about the Nehru jacket, I spent a while reading “The Sartorialist.”  I found the comments fascinating.  Some entries had a hundred comments, each commenter “reading” the photo, infusing the subject with life and meaning.   Commenters seemed to “understand” the people in the photos from what they looked like, especially from what  the clothes “say.”   Readers discuss the personal lives of these online subjects — their inner confidence, their life history, and even their moral character.  All from one photo!  I was half-hoping that someone would write in that they had played a joke — and dressed up a homeless woman as a chic woman in Brooklyn.  Someone even wrote that they want to be “best friends” with a young female subject wearing a green blouse.  For the most part, the subjects are young, good-looking model types.  Don’t ugly people ever dress in interesting clothes?  Or are they too afraid of standing out?  I think I can understand that.  I’ve spent most of my life wearing clothes that would make me fit in.

I did find one older woman in one of the photos.  Everyone loved her.  They wanted her to be their grandmother.   Check out the comments.  I showed the photo to my mother.  Even my mother fell in love with her natural “style” and the fact that she kept her gray hair.  I have a feeling that this woman could probably have been both Clinton and Obama just by appearing in this photo!

(via The Sartorialist)

Call me Scrooge, but I was wondering if this was a nice woman.   How do we know she’s not an asshole?  Because of her clothes? 

Why bother getting a Master’s degree when you can better spend your money buying some interesting clothes?   Or does the Master’s degree enable you to AFFORD these clothes?  

Of course, I picked the wrong Master’s degree.

I don’t spend too much time thinking about my blog design because YOU don’t seem to judge me on it.  Would you like me to have a flashier, Dooce-like blog design?  Would that make my blog seem classier? 

In the real world, it is clear that you ARE judged by what you wear.  People make incredible assumptions about a person’s character and position in society.

It makes me think, that as a writer, I should spend more attention to what my characters wear.  I should also spend more attention to what I wear, especially here in New York.  I might actually have to think about matching my socks.

Question:  Make believe that you meet me for the first time.  You don’t know me at all.  You’ve never read my blog.  I am wearing a Nehru jacket.  Do you “read” anything into this?

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthThings Every Man Should Do Before He Dies — #6 Buy a Drink for a Woman in a Bar

The Nehru Jacket

If you met me, you wouldn’t think I am very fashionable.  I write.  I blog.  I go Target.  wear jeans and a t-shirt.  I go to the theater or a concert every now and then, but LA isn’t a very dress-up type of town.  I would be more fashion-conscious if I lived in New York.  Walking around New York is a little bit of theater, and it is fun to costume yourself.

I like sportsjackets.  I think I look good in them.  Sadly, I never wear them.  I like the jacket, but I hate wearing ties.  Because of this, I am attracted to this jacket I saw online – the Nehru Jacket.   I’m not sure what it is about this jacket, but it draws me in, telling me that I need to wear it.

via The Sartorialist

I’ve never seen a real live person wearing a Nehru jacket.  OK, maybe some Indian guy wearing traditional white garb that is similar in style.  To most people, the Nehru jacket is an outdated fad from the 1960’s.

The Nehru jacket has an interesting history:

The Nehru jacket is a hip-length tailored coat for men or women, with a stand-up or “mandarin” collar, and modeled on the South Asian achkan or sherwani, an apparel worn by Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India from 1947 to 1964. However, unlike the achkan, which falls somewhere below the knees of the wearer, the Nehru jacket is not only shorter, but also, in all respects other than the collar, resembles the suit jacket.

The apparel was created in India in the 1940s as Band Gale Ka Coat (Hindi/Urdu: “Closed Neck Coat”) and has been popular on the subcontinent since, especially as the top half of a suit worn on formal occasions. It began to be marketed as the Nehru jacket in the West in the mid-1960s; it was briefly popular there in the late 1960s and early 1970s, its popularity spurred by growing awareness of foreign cultures, by the minimalism of the Mod lifestyle, and, in particular, by the Monkees and the Beatles, who popularized the garment.

Did you know that The Beatles wore Nehru jackets for their famous Shea Stadium performance of 1965?

Sammy Davis Jr. owned 200 Nehru jackets.

Alas, the popularity of the Nehru jacket lasted only a few years.  By the late 1960s, the fad was over and the Nehru jacket fell into obscurity.

In the mid-1970s’s,  Johnny Carson was commissioned to wear Nehru jackets on his show, in the hopes of making them popular again, but it was too late.  Fashion had moved on.   The disco years were here.

More recently, the fashion was mocked when it was worn by Dr. Evil in Austin Powers.

I think the Nehru jacket is pretty cool.  Maybe I should try to find one in a vintage clothing store while I’m in New York.  Chicks will dig it.

Celebrating Ten Years of Being Free from Shoe Trends

Today is a special day for me.  I am cleaning out my closet and tossing away these old Doc Martens that I bought in 1997.  Why is this important?  These were the last pair of shoes that I bought solely because they were “trendy” at the time.   Since then, I have bought shoes for no other reason than they appealed to me, whether they were found at Nordstrom or Payless.

Back then, these  Doc Martens were all the rage in Los Angeles.  The shoes were uncomfortable.  They were ugly.   I wore them because they were cool at the time, even though I was probably already too late to be part of the “grunge” scene.

Throughout most of my life, I wore shoes to please others — to fit in — to be one of the crowd.  For ten years now, I have steered away from any shoe trends, building enough nerve to make this final step — throwing away these old Doc Martens!

I know many of you are parents of teenagers.  I feel for you, as I’m sure the importance of what brand of “sneaker” your child wears is still as important to him today as it was in the past.

Here is my life in “be like others” footwear, up until 1997, when I went into footwear rehab and started freeing myself from the tyranny of the shoed majority.  My must-haves begin at an early age — first grade —

PF Flyers “Center”


Converse All-Stars

Hush Puppies “Surround”

Adidas “Country”

Puma Clyde Basket

Bass “Yuppie” Penny Loafers (80s!)

Reebok “Classic” Black

Nike Air Jordan

New Balance 801

Doc Martens

Today, I’m wearing sandals I bought at CVS pharmacy.

Why I Was Rejected From Project Runway

Assignment:  make a “slinky” evening dress for a top New York fashion model.


(I apologize for the cheap fashion-industry joke, La Coquette)

The Devil Wears Converse


Since I’m still in New York for the rest of the week, I decided to go into Manhattan for a job interview with Anna Wintour at Vogue Magazine.

Anna:  “So, Neil, how much experience do you have in the fashion industry?”

Neil:  “None. ”

Anna:  “None?”

Neil:  “Well, I did write two pieces about fashion.”

Anna:  “At which publication?”

Neil:  “It was on my blog.” 

Anna:  “I see.  Your blog.  And what were these “pieces” about?”

Neil:  “One of them was to call for a boycott of the fashion industry and the other was about some ridiculous jeans that revealed male pubic hair.”

Anna:  “And this is your ONLY experience with the fashion industry?”

Neil:  “Well, I read La Coquette.  I think she does something with fashion.  And a lot of female bloggers write about shoes, so I know a little something.  And Sophia has dragged me to a lot of stores where I’m bored out of mind.  Even Fictional Rockstar recently wondered on her blog, “Why do women torture men like that?”

Anna:  “Do you know who Jimmy Choo is?”

Neil:  “Of course.  Didn’t he played Bruce Lee’s adversary in “Five Fingers of Death?””

Anna Wintour sighs.

Anna:  “Do you usually come to an interview wearing torn jeans and a tee shirt that reads “I almost f***ked in a rowboat?””

Neil:  “I try to have my own style.”

Anna:  “And exactly why do you want to work for Vogue Magazine?”

My Penis interrupted me before I could answer.

Penis:  “Simple.  Have you seen the hot women who work here?”

Neil:  “Please, Penis, I’m in the middle of an interview.”

Penis:  “Neil, I just want to make sure that I’ll be comfortable working here.  Aren’t we a partnership?”

Neil:  “OK, Penis, go ahead.”

Penis:  “Ms. Wintour, I notice that most of the editorial staff  consists of women who are size 2 and under.  Do you have any women employees with a little more meat on them, maybe in the accounting department?  I prefer f***ing women with at least some tits and ass.”

Neil:  “Penis, can you act professional for once in your life?”

Anna:  “I think this interview is over.  How in the world did you ever think that Vogue would hire you as a fashion writer?”

Neil:  “Well, I saw this movie last night called “The Devil Wore Prada,” about a “serious journalist” young woman with stringy unwashed hair (but was a goddess after a fashion makeover) who got a job with a fashion magazine simply by walking in and mocking the the industry to the editor-in-chief’s face.  And this hard-to-believe movie was based on a hard-to-stay-awake-while-reading bestselling book that women just loved to read.  And the bestseller was based on the ungrateful writer’s own experience.  So, I figured, what do I have to lose?”

Anna:  “If I hire you, do you promise to write a roman a clef based on your negative experiences working here while portraying me as a crazed monster?”

Neil:  “Absolutely.”

Anna:  “You’re hired!”

Neilochka Sez: Boycott the Fashion Industry!


AP Newswire — Neil “Neilochka” Kramer, a popular blogger from Los Angeles, and a well-known advocate for women’s issues (despite him being a red-meat eating hetereosexual), has called for a boycott of many of the top fashion designers and most exclusive boutiques.

“A few days after writing my post on stereotypes against “fat” people, I went shopping for a Mother’s Day gift for my mother-in-law,” said Mr. Kramer.  

My mother-in-law is size 18-20, and as usual, it was impossible to find any nice clothes for her.  When I got home, I did some Googling on the fashion industry.  It immediately became clear to me that most fashion designers and popular boutiques do not want their fashions to be worn by anyone over size 12.  Even the popular H&M in New York doesn’t carry any large sizes. 

I think there can be a strong argument that these companies are involved in discrimination.  These fashion designers and boutiques are involved in an apartheid system, making everyone over size 12 a second-class citizen.  I say it is time for the female consumer to take back control.  I am going to start keeping a list of every designer and boutique that ignores larger sizes.  This list will contain some of biggest names in fashion.   I suggest that women refuse to shop in these stores or wear a designer’s clothes until the companies change their discriminatory practices against larger sized women.  I know most women are caring and supportive of each other, and will be glad to show support for their heavier friends.”

Some female bloggers were surprisingly unsupportive.  

“Not wear Dolce & Gabbana?” asked Joan, a Cleveland mother who writes the blog, “The Daily Fashionista. “Is Neilochka crazy?”

Other female bloggers just quietly dropped him from their blogroll.

There is a long tradition of the billion dollar fashion industry catering to what it considers the “thin” elite.   According to the Washington Post, H&M discontinued carrying larger sizes after being publicly scolded by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.

“Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld complained publicly that in a much-hyped collaboration, the company had manufactured his line in larger sizes. “What I created was fashion for slim, slender people,” he was quoted as saying.

The designer’s recent book, “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet,” encourages readers to subsist on raw vegetables, curiously named “protein sachets,” and little else — ostensibly with the goal of looking like the emaciated Lagerfeld himself, who pared his 5-foot-11 frame by 80 pounds on the plan.

Lagerfeld’s motivation? Not health, as he freely admits in the book’s introduction, but the desire to fit into designer clothes.

If you’re H&M, [industry analyst] Cohen asked, which is more important to the image of your brand: your association with Karl Lagerfeld or serving this market?”

Mr. Kramer thinks it is attitudes like those of Mr. Lagerfeld that have made this an important issue. 

“I really think this boycott idea could work,” insists the defiant Mr. Kramer.  “Look what’s going on in Georgia.  When women come together, they can be powerful.”

Mr. Kramer refers to the current protest going on at the Augusta National Golf Club, where Bill Payne, the new chair, has stated that he will uphold the all-male club’s practice of denying membership to women.  

“It was these women’s organizations that led the 2003 protest against the Masters Golf Tournament, and caused CBS to broadcast the event without corporate sponsorship for two years in a row.” 


Currently, these same organizations are trying to raise public awareness of companies who sponsor the Masters or whose CEOs maintain their Augusta memberships, which violates their companies’ anti-discrimination policies.

Mr. Kramer is anxious to speak with these women.

“I am trying to reach members of National Council of Women’s Organizations and the Feminist Majority and tell them about my boycott idea, said Mr. Kramer.  “If anyone could get this off the ground, it is these committed women.   My argument to them is simple:  The NCWO and the Feminist Majority consider male-only golfing as a way of keeping the old boy’s network alive.  I believe that a lack of shopping opportunities prevents large women from building important friendships with thin assoicates.”

So far, no one from these women’s organizations has returned Mr. Kramer’s calls. 

A spokeswoman from the Feminist Majority, however, told the New York Times that, “Most of our members have strong opinions on the fashion industry.  We call for the elimination of all fur products and the abolishment of the sweatshop.  But really, when you work hard to look thin, you want to dress nice.  Most of our members are not going to shop at Walmart with the fatties.”

Fall Fashion

My new Los Angeles blogging pal, Sanora, at Bad Maria has a problem.  Her husband and she have been invited to a catered BBQ on Sunday, and the invitation says "California Casual attire."   She’s a pretty down-to-earth gal, and is worried about what that means. 

Does anyone know what "California" casual means? Is it one step up from casual or since we all wear jeans for the most part, one step down? I’m very confused by the term and if they were closer friends, I would call them up and say "what would be appropriate attire for this little catered BBQ soiree?" But I want to appear like hubby and I are down with all the frou-frou terminology and can show up, correctly attired, when invited.

Can anyone from California give her some advice?

I offered her some help, but she rejected me, saying I was too "trendy" for her.   The truth is I’m a real trendsetter when it comes to fashion, always wearing the latest Fall fashion that I see at New York’s Fashion Week. 

In fact, Sophia and I will be attending the same BBQ as Sanora, and we already bought some new hip clothes for the event.  We each bought two outfits.  Any advice on which is better for an outdoor BBQ?







By the way, on my second outfit, I’m not sure about that chain hanging from the pocket.  What do you think?   Also,  can anyone recommend a good bikini wax place near West Hollywood?

Thanks for all your help!

(photos via Rachel, Jennifer, and Elisa)

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