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Do Fashion Buyers Still Have Their Jobs? Why?

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Don't misunderstand me.

I love a go-anywhere blue jean jacket paired with a gauze peasant skirt and boots--or even jeweled flip flops--as much as the next girl. Even if the flip flops cost $79 as opposed to $3.99 at CVS Pharmacy.

It's a whimsical, earth mother look--especially appropriate on days when your hair is frizzy and your voice husky from an imminent cold or having been overserved last night.

The problem is it's a third choice outfit. It's what you wear when your pants don't fit, everything is dirty and you're on the way to the laundromat or you're taking the dog to the vet. Or all three.

Why are retailers showing it now?

And those romance-is-back beaded camisoles in wheat, eggplant and paprika that Urban Outfitters can't get rid of? With the built-in bra? (Right.)

The feminine-is-back spaghetti straps cut you a new shoulder blade in two hours and remind you why sports bras were invented--and that fashion designers are mostly men.

Fashions haven't been this "supply-driven" (as in "get-the-buyer-in-here") since Esprit's 1980's striped banal T shirtwear collection that was so "Cookout, Everyone!" it launched grunge. Just like 1960's shifts and tent dresses launched hippie wear.

Of course not all women in the 1980's succumbed to Esprit nadlessness.

Who can forget Corporate Metal? Women with defensive tackle shoulder pads, stove pipe pant legs, outsized Reeboks and Twisted Sister hair swinging 20 pound briefcases like machetes on their way to the office? Read: Don't ask ME to type!

Who can forget the regulation shiny tights and high cut leotards--presaging the thong--at the Racquetball Club, poodle perms tamed with an Olivia Newton-John headband?

And the mid-calf chemise dresses in droll prints--"house dresses" our moms called them--worn with anklets and what? ballet flats with French heels.

Of course the tights lost their shine--and feet!--and became leggings which have retired pantyhose (except in France.)

Do rags and neon colors replaced poodle perms.

And low risers replaced waistline looks--except for a stage mishap by Jessica Simpson which will probably not be repeated.

But today we're in no better shape in terms of fashion options than then.

Which fashion buyers bought the pile of shrugs and cropped tops, tissue weight baby dolls and halters and decoupage T shirts proclaiming Booty Call!! haunting stores like Anthropologie and H& M today? When you're looking for real clothes?

Do they still have their jobs?

We don't! Nor are their looks useful in trying to FIND one.

Why are fashion buyers presenting Uggs, hobos and jeweled flip flops as new again this year? (Along with peasant skirts and blue jean jackets?) Hint: Uggs, hobos and jeweled flip flops were new when the current graduating class were freshman. Second hint: to be retro, something has to disappear. Third hint: Uggs are as cruel as fur--hello--and are made from wool of merino sheep who are tortured and killed.

And what's up with "sweater boots"--perfect for those winter days with no snow, ice or freezing rain, both of them?

Don't fashion buyers understand you're supposed to recycle unsold merchandise--not creative ideas, few though they might be?

It's only a matter of time before fashion buyers bring back overalls and stirrup pants. Or maybe overalls with stirrup pants.

Perfect for taking the dog to the vet.
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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)

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