As regular readers of my blog know, I am a fashion expert. I also attend more concerts than anybody I know. (Full disclosure: Except for this fucking guy.) And so I thought who better than me to weigh in on Fabsugar’s recent post, 10 Rad Pieces to Get Concert-Cool This Spring? Are the pieces, in fact, rad? Will they make you concert-cool? And are they appropriate for spring? Let’s investigate!
Well, wait. Before we investigate, let’s define our terms. Because, personally, I haven’t used the word “rad” since 1987, when my 11 year-old self would enjoy free time after school watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. To the Internet! Freeonlinedictionary.com defines “rad” as “excellent or wonderful”. Oh hell. To the Urban Dictionary! We’ll go with this, since I suspect, hilariously, that it’s closest to what Fabsugar intended:
Rad: Really cool, but in a more subtle way, as opposed to extreme or awesome. One of the highest compliments you can give a person. Being rad is like being cool without having to work for it. It’s like a natural coolness. “She seems quiet at first, but she’s actually pretty rad when you get to know her.”
Terms thusly defined, let’s investigate!
Look #1: You know what pisses me right off? When a 5K breaks out at a concert I’m attending, and I’m not adequately dressed. And so I say, “Thank you, Fabsugar!” for letting me know this outfit exists. With my leather racing shorts and gigantic cut-off denim shirt (which Fabsugar adds helpfully “is loose enough for much needed air ventilation“), I’ll never be unprepared!
Radness Rating: So not rad. Seriously people, there is one hipster so deep in the depths of Williamsburg that I stand next-to-no chance of ever encountering her who could pull off this outfit. She’d look like an idiot, mind you. Because nobody could make this outfit okay. But there are people who are capable of making idiocy look cool, and I have confidence that one of them exists in Williamsburg. If you’re not her, don’t wear this outfit.
Concert Coolness: As above. But if you are the one person on the planet who can pull off this look, you have my permission to wear it wherever the hell you want. I will sit in quiet awe and admire you with low-level envy. If I’m with someone, I might say, “How the *fuck* does that chick not look like a complete asshole in that outfit?” If I’m not with someone, I might tell Facebook about it.
Spring Appropriateness: Apparently the people at Fabsugar aren’t being fabulous and sugary in New York City. It’s really fucking cold here. So no, this outfit is not spring appropriate, since it’s cold in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, home of the one person on the planet who could pull it off.
Look #2: Ah yes. The Forever Young t-shirt.
Radness Rating: If you’re over age 45 and on your way to that Motley Crue/Poison megabill at a venue in New Jersey this summer, you probably think this shirt is pretty rad. But it’s not. Really. This shirt should not exist in sizes larger than, like, 2T.
Concert Coolness: You know what? If you put this shirt on your 2 year-old toddler and bring him to the Motley Crue/Poison concert, as long as you’ve also popped a pair of enormous soundblocking headphones on your kid’s skull, I will think you and your toddler are the two coolest people in the venue.
Spring Appropriateness: This one’s a wash. It’s a t-shirt. Not exactly a seasonal item.
Look #3: The bad outfit, made hilarious by Fabsugar’s description of the top layer as a “militant vest“. Word on the street is that it was attempting to overthrow a regime in West Africa before Forever 21 captured and mass-manufactured it so that it could wreak havoc on the already dismal fashion sensibilities of middle American grade schools. But you didn’t hear that from me.
Radness Rating: If you’re 12 years-old and attending a Jonas Brothers concert, we’ll let this one slide. Not because it’s a good outfit, mind you, but because I don’t believe it’s karmically sound to make fun of 12 year-olds.
Concert Coolness: And anyway, I had some really horrendous outfits that I thought were the bees knees when I was 12. So you know what, geeky 12 year-old at the Jonas Brothers concert? You rock this horrible outfit! As long as you feel good in it, that’s all that really matters!
Spring Appropriateness: Sure. The vest makes it too hot for summer. The shorts make it too cold for winter. So spring it is.
Look #4: The hippy Earth girl dressssnnnoooooore.
Radness Rating: Radness, to me, implies … Will you listen to me? At the beginning of this post, I was joking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and claiming ignorance of the term “rad”. Now I’m kicking back and waxing philosophical about its more subtle textures. We should all go wine tasting together when we’re done with this. You oughta hear how informed and opinionated I can get about that shit somewhere around midway through the second winery: “Fermented for 10 years in an oak barrel, my ass! This tastes like Manischewitz!” Anyhow, what can I say? Apparently I’ve developed a sense of meaning during this sartorical journey we’ve embarked upon together. Radness, to me, implies a level of unique cool. Unfortunately, the hippy Earth girl dressssnnnoooooore … damn! Why does that keep happening to me?! Not rad.
Concert Coolness: There are artists for whom this is perfectly appropriate concert-wear. They are not the artists whose shows I typically attend, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad, even though I probably think they are.
Spring Appropriateness: This one looks more like summer to me. Or maybe a late spring day. Ooh! Or. Or! My very favorite fashion day of every year I spend in New York City: The first warm day after a long, cold winter. We just had it a couple weeks ago, and that it fell on a Friday this year was a tiny little gift from God. Because it’s … Well, in this year’s case, it was March 18th, and it was around 70 degrees. And every other woman in this city looked like she was on her way to the 4th of July picnic at a ho’ convention: Skirts up to here and tops down to there, teetering along in strappy stilettos, toes looking particularly fresh and supple courtesy of their first pedicure since mid-September. It was a sight to behold.
Look #5: Christalmighty. Let’s set aside concert coolness and spring appropriateness for a moment and try to imagine any situation in which this skirt makes any sense at all … You know what? Fuck it. I’d written up this whole bit imagining a Native-American dance troupe hitting the big time against all odds and some chick in Sante Fe stitching together this concert outfit from her grandmother’s couch, but nevermind. It’s really just an awful skirt.
Radness Rating: Not rad.
Concert Coolness: Not cool.
Spring Appropriateness: Never appropriate, ever. (For some reason, this skirt made me kinda mad.)
Look #6: According to Fabsugar, “This chiffon tank is sheer and lightweight, ideal for those extra-hot concert days.” Clearly, the fabulous and sugary people at Fabsugar have never been a bridesmaid on an extra-hot day. That, or they don’t sweat. Clarity for people who aren’t getting it: Chiffon is the last thing I want to be wearing on an extra-hot day.
Radness Rating: Not awful, but not particularly rad. It’s a perfectly reasonable top. It I saw it at Anthropologie (home of hundreds of tops that look exactly like this) I’d probably pull it out from the rack and gaze at it while my mind wandered off somewhere else and then maybe try it on if it were on sale. Whatevs.
Concert Coolness: This top doesn’t really say “concert” to me. But it doesn’t say “not concert” either. Is it possible for clothes not to say anything? I don’t know if I’ve ever been this ambivalent about something in my entire life.
Spring Appropriateness: Spring, yes. Perhaps with a gauzy sweater pulled over it and some accessories to make it semi-interesting for your trip to some fairly innocuous event. Are you people as bored as I am right now? Holy crap. This shirt is like a blind date that ends up being “fine”. You know, you want it either to be great or to be horrible. The middle-ground is just a let-down.
Look #7: True confession: While every person with whom I’ve had this conversation (a somewhat remarkable number) thinks fringe is hopelessly outdated, I’m sort of all about it. This is one of my current objects of desire. I attribute it to latent envy of the completely amazing fringe-y suede jacket my friend Jill had when we were 12 or 13 years-old. I thought it looked like Jon Bon Jovi’s leather jacket in the video for Livin’ On A Prayer. It was really so cool.
Radness Rating: I’m not crazy about this bag, specifically, but I’m actually gonna call this one rad!!! It’s a look that’s very easy to get wrong, but if you get it right, you’ve done well!
Concert Coolness: That being said, I’m giving this bag low ratings on the concert coolness scale. Two reasons: (1) chicks who wear big bags to concerts suck.; and (2) when your oversized bag crashes into some dude, causing a bit of beer to escape from his glass onto your bag, you’re going to wish you’d selected something in a darker color.
Spring Appropriateness: Early spring, no. Late spring, yes. While most people think the rule about wearing white before Memorial Day applies to everything, it actually only applies to accessories. And while fashion rules are about the only kind of rules that I’m comfortable breaking (Catholic guilt and shame is a tough thing to shake.), I generally stick to this one.
Look #8: I don’t know what’s happening here.
Radness Rating: The leather mini is an edgy, sexy foundation piece in my book. Not particularly rad on its own, but pair it with a black tank top and piles of accessories, and you might be in business. The rest of this outfit is an abomination that never should have seen the light of day, let alone the lens of a camera, or the HTML of a website: Bizarrely-fitting, hideously-colored, scoop-neck t-shirt; awful-on-everybody thigh-high tights; what appear to be high-heeled duck shoes … Horrible. In fact, the anti-rad.
Concert Appropriateness: Leather mini? Yes. For the right concert, if you have the right legs, you rock that leather mini. The rest of this outfit? See above.
Spring Appropriateness: You know, not to belabor the horrendousness of this situation, but what the hell, Fabsugar? Everybody else in your slideshow looks like they’re bound for a mid-summer experience. This person looks like she got dressed in the darkness of an unfortunate person’s closet in October. Who’s in charge here??
And so we come to the end of another edition of Fashion Advice. For those of you who are counting, there were supposed to be 10 looks. But I think our fabulous and sugary friends at Fabsugar grew as tired of this crap as I did: The last two items in their slideshow were a pair of shoes and some sunglasses. Not much to work with there. Stayed tuned though: I’ve been promising (and very much looking forward to delivering) a Spring Trends update to the original Fashion Advice! I’ll try to get that done some time before summer!