Friday, October 9, 2009

Table the Label: A Cautionary Tale of Labelwhorism

Years ago, when I was barely into adulthood, I suffered from an acute case of Labelwhorism. I purchased items based on designer name, no matter how atrocious or unflattering. I'm embarrassed to mention the Cavalli jacket in a putrid mint green that made me look sallow or the Moschino nylon "leisure" jacket in a similarly nauseating color. Think Mike Brady office wear.

I wore each of these items only a handful of time, but never truly loved them. I moved on to sunglasses because they were less obvious. Oh! The marvelous, deep navy Dolce & Gabbana darkers that I was happy to wear, except for the fact that they crushed my temples because they were too small. I ended up losing them at the Metropolitan Drugs on 14th St. I'd popped them on top of my dome while cruising the aisles and didn't even realize they'd fallen off until they were long gone. Clearly I didn't miss them that much.

But the ones I remember most are the Fendi shades I bought so I could get the case with the signature Zucca print. FFFFFFFFFs for days. Like the Dolces, they weren't the greatest fit. The bridge was too wide, but I managed to balance them on my face for a minute. However, when I lost these, I was a bit more miffed because they weren't lost, they were purloined by some tweens in New Jersey.

Picture it. Giants Stadium. June 2001. I was attending the 'N Sync Pop Odyssey Tour. My friend had tickets and the group put on a marvelous show. I have no shame in admitting I had a great time. When we arrived, it was still sunny, so I kept my darkers on. As dusk came, then eventually nightfall, I tucked them in my tote bag, which had no closure.

I kept my bag either on my lap or at my feet. Somewhere in between It's Gonna Be Me and the closing song Bye Bye Bye, one of those screaming brace-faced youngins sitting behind me snatched my little conspicuously consumed item. Bye bye bye was right.

Admittedly, the constant sliding down my face made me not miss the glasses terribly, but the fact that some gals sitting directly behind me could snatch them with such ease was unsettling. Those girls are young women now—around the same age I was when I attended the concert. I'm not one to indulge in schadenfreude, but I certainly believe in karma. Hopefully they got good wear out of the glasses...someone had to! But I do hope they didn't graduate to stick-ups or grand larceny.

I have one pair of sunglasses now; they're Italian like the rest of them, but the name isn't worth mentioning. They're simple and inconspicuous, with the name ingraved in tiny lettering at the temples. They suit my face and, just as importantly, they're comfortable. I've had them for a good 8 years now and have taken them to different countries without incident.

The moral of the story is to buy based on how appropriate an item is for you, your body, your lifestyle, and your existing wardrobe. Roberto, Stefano, Domenico and Karl are not sponsoring you. They're not paying you to wear their wares. So listen to Mr. T. and "Table the label."

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