FASHION : Feeling Stressed Over Issues Raised by Getting Dressed : Why can’t designers get with the program? It makes you wonder if they are in touch with the decade.


Don’t need no copy of Vogue magazine;

Don’t need to dress like no beauty queen

--from My Baby Loves Me, by Martina McBride

One of the hardest things about choosing a wardrobe in the ‘90s is trying to keep clothing PC and FC at the same time. Politically correct and fashionably correct.


We’ve put a lot of effort into this matter and, frankly, we are having a hard time getting dressed. Why can’t designers get with the program, so shopping can be a little bit simpler? It makes you wonder if they are in touch with the decade. I mean, are they checking out the eco mags, or do they just stick with Womens Wear Daily?

Like, makeup is FC. The wholesome look, with hair mousse only? It’s history. The glam syndrome is back in spades--or, diamonds.

So we dropped over to the mall to lay in some electric lipstick, charcoal shadow, iridescent mascara and those new gold face stick-ons. . . .

But we started flashing on those confounded bunnies, you know? It’s not PC to wear rabbit-tested stuff. There are all these rabbits out there who are acting--excuse the expression--as guinea pigs. Cosmetics are checked for toxins by putting them in their eyes. If the rabbit can’t take it, they wipe out the mascara formula. And possibly the rabbit.

Well, someone’s got to do it. I mean, Gov. Pete Wilson was real firm on the issue. There was this bill to keep rabbits from involuntary servitude, because they probably wouldn’t choose to give their lives to science, let alone vanity. But the governor said, in essence, that better a bunny than us, right?

Well, it turns out that there are all these rabbit fans who watch the news. They said rabbits can’t speak for themselves, which, when you think about it, is hard to dispute. They started marching around in regiments until a lot of makeup manufacturers figured that the jig was up.


So they gave up their hostages, uh, rabbits and are using test-tube proteins or something. And now, to be PC, we have to carry a list of manufacturers’ names around when we shop. And when we find a lipstick to match a nail enamel, we should refer to the list! I mean, is that a practical use of our lunch hours? It’s a long list.

And that’s only the tip of the steamer trunk.

Like, what are the going (FC) colors this season? Are they easy-on-the-planet vegetable dyes, which we have been alerted to watch for? Or the unbleached-fiber look an eco-hipster would flaunt? Hardly; the big news is jewel tones. Like magenta, deep emerald and royal blue, colors that no self-respecting vegetable ever thought to come in.

And, how about fur? What could be less PC than wearing fur from forest friends who have spent the night in a steel trap--or a lifetime in a maximum-security cage, after which they are, well, electrocuted?

Hey, we’ve seen those Wild Kingdom films.

But how can we pass up those rad coats that are flooding the fashion scene? There’s more fur in the mall this season than in Los Padres. And it’s not faux; it’s real fur, like foxes wear. In fact, they did.

Gosh, we’re torn here. After all, we’ve been told that thinning out forest friends keeps the rest healthy. And the caged critters were raised to be pelts. Like Christmas trees. They wouldn’t be there if it they weren’t planned for, uh, harvesting.

Anyway, fur is not being flaunted here. It’s just trims. Think of all the foxes that will save compared to a whole coat of them. Besides, it’s natural. Making faux fur pollutes streams.

A coat without either kind of fur? That would be boring--and so would we.

But, while we’re at it, let’s check out a subtler issue. There’s something a lot more rampant than fur in the shops. It’s the ‘90s answer to synthetics, from underwear to ski wear, from the office to the trail.

It’s silk! Nubby, slubby or shiny--it’s out there in force. It’s real hard to get more fashionably correct than silk. And it, too, owns that happy adjective: natural.


So, we’re ready to load up on it. After all, those are worms , you know? It’s pretty hard to relate to a worm.

All right, they’re put to death. But they’re not electrocuted--they’re simply steamed over the great divide.

And if you set them loose, just what would they do with their freedom, being caterpillars and all? They’d turn into moths, fly around for a couple of weeks and cash out as decrepit oldster moths, that’s what. And leave enough eggs to wipe out acres of mulberries.

So, what do you say we get out there and support the silk industry? I mean, if you can’t exploit worms, just whom can you exploit?