Category Archives: Fashion

Esther Williams Offers Swimsuits to Lure Mature Women Back in the Water

It happens every spring. The weather warms up. The clothing racks begin to bloom with swimsuits and thoughts turn to that depressing chore: choosing what to wear in the water.

Mature women often find slim pickings. The tops are low-cut, the bottoms are high-cut and a hankie would hide more than some of the suits. Little strings tied together are designed more for perfect bodies in repose than older women who want to go swimming.

Faced with such skimpy choices, some women just stayed out of the water.

Now, the legendary queen of chlorine, Esther Williams, is hoping to nudge these women back into the pool with her new swimsuit line, called the Esther Williams Collection for Misty Swimwear (a division of Los Angeles-based Excelsior Inc.). The collection is available in the county at The Broadway, Bullock’s and May Co.

Unveiled locally at a recent fashion show at Crystal Court’s Broadway, the collection of 96 one- and two-piece suits (ranging in price from $38 to $66) includes some modern full-cut designs and some “retro” (i.e., old-fashioned) looks with shirred midriffs, halter tops and high waists–the kind of styles that kept Williams slick in such aquatic musicals as “Dangerous When Wet” and “Neptune’s Daughter.”

“Women don’t have to be hanging out of their suits like their daughters anymore,” Williams said at The Broadway show. “I’ve been working over a year with Misty on these suits. We went over my scrapbooks and discussed what worked for me and what worked when it was wet.”

Trim and glowing in a royal blue jacket, red blouse and white skirt, Williams told the women watching the slim models that the suits were designed for women of all ages and sizes, as much for the imperfect as the perfect.

“I understand your bodies,” said the veteran of 26 MGM pictures. “I know what will stay put. I know what swimming has done for my life, and I want it to be the same for you. I want you to go in the water.”

Williams, 65, said the two keys to proper fit and structure of her suits are their Lycra fabric and fuller cuts. The suits she wore in her musicals were made of Lycra, and they never inched up or down when they weren’t supposed to, she said. And the fuller cuts are reminiscent of Williams’ bathing beauty movies.

“It was important to me that the styles were wearable for all women,” Williams said. “Not every woman is running to a plastic surgeon or exercising in a gym three times a day.

“We’re working on big bosoms and big hips, for all your problem areas,” she told the women before the show.

“I know you’re going to look at these skinny models and say, ‘Oh, no!’ but remember, (the swimsuits) come in all sizes.”

The collection includes bottoms that can be pulled up to the waist or lowered down to bikini size. Most suits are cut high under the arms to prevent “spillage,” the legs are cut lower to cover up the hips. Many of the one-piece suits have shirring around the midriff or draping across the bodice, which serves as a flattering camouflage for figure flaws.

Williams said she was persuaded to design the line after Irwin Greenblatt, president of Excelsior, conducted a survey and found that the majority of the respondents both remembered her from her movies and wanted more conservative swimsuits.

John Rogoff, senior vice president of Excelsior, said his company surveyed women ages 17 to 65 on their preferences in swimwear. Eighty-eight percent said they prefer one-piece swimsuits with a V-neck and regular-cut legs (cut straight across the leg rather than cut high toward waist) with bra lining and support. The majority also said they prefer suits in solid colors rather than prints.

At the same time, Rogoff said, his company is finding that “more and more women in the 35-to-45 age range are beginning to wear two-piece suits again, as long as there is adequate coverage.”

“They are looking for a conservative suit with some style,” he added. “We have found in our retail sales that a two-piece suit with coverage in the rear and on the sides accounts for 25% of the sales.”

Department store buyers seem to finding the same thing. According to Nordstrom Orange County swimwear buyer Katie Waites, the biggest sellers for young shoppers are the Brazilian- and French-cut suits, which reveal most of the derriere and hip. Older Nordstrom shoppers, however, are flocking to fuller cuts in brighter colors than last year.

Two-piece suits with bottoms that can be raised or lowered were introduced 2 years ago by a small number of swimsuit manufacturers, Waites said. That design and styles with shirring or draping are both extremely popular this year with older buyers, she added.

“This indicates they are looking for a more stylish suit with coverage,” she said.

The trend toward more coverage is consumer evidence that the population is aging, according to the president of Swimwear Industry Manufacturers, a Los Angeles-based trade group.

Less Glitz Ballroom Costumes and Better Fits

In the rarefied, regimented world of ballroom dancing, an incident in 1982 proved nothing short of a fashion coup: During an international competition, half a dozen of the world’s reigning ballroom dancers–queens of the floor–threw down their tutus.

For decades they’d been consigned to wear short skirts with layer upon layer of netting that made them look as if they had stick legs and huge hips. They’d had enough. So the world’s top dancers banded together and showed up for the final round of the British Open in the long, fluid gowns that have become the ballroom standard.

“Overnight they all started wearing Ginger Rogers dresses. Within a matter of months, no one wore the net styles,” says Elizabeth Knoll, a national champion ballroom dancer who teaches at the Imperial Academy in Buena Park.

Like Knoll, today’s ballroom dancers owe a debt of gratitude to the revolutionaries who made ballroom dance costumes more palatable.

Those who have seriously taken up the fox trot, waltz and other moves must also master the strict dress code of ballroom dancing, but they no longer look like extras in Swan Lake. Gowns for women have become infinitely more flattering, while would-be Fred Astaires have toned down the glitz in favor of understated elegance.

For Knoll and her partner, Dennis Lyle, a Fred Astaire National Champion ballroom dancer and owner of the Imperial Academy, the art of the dance has as much to do with the costumes as choreography.

“Costuming is very important,” Knoll says, “if for no other reason than to boost your psyche. Even though what we do is athletic, it’s also cosmetic. Judges certainly take into account the look of the couple.”

Ballroom costumes may look like elegant evening wear, but they’re designed with athletic endurance in mind.

“We have to move in them,” Knoll says.

International ballroom dancing–the competitive style that audiences watch on PBS specials in which partners remain in each other’s arms throughout the performance–calls for gowns that complement the frame and posture.

The trend today is full-skirted dresses that hit midcalf to the ankle, reinforced with boning or fish line in the hems for added volume. Feathers are optional and fall in and out of favor. Knoll senses a comeback and has ordered her next gown with a feathery hem.

One of Knoll’s gowns has a teal crepe-back satin skirt over a layer of lavender organza, and a purple lace bodice studded with Austrian crystals.

“It’s very streamlined and fitted. There’s no froufrou,” she says.

Men once matched their partners in glitz. They would wear a unitard with “ruffles and rhinestones all over,” Lyle says.

Now they wear traditional tail suits–tuxedos with modifications. Their tuxedo shirts are worn with detachable collars made of plastic that rise high on the neck, which makes for a crisp, elegant line but also an uncomfortable fit.

“They don’t wilt when you sweat,” Lyle says. Trousers have high waists to elongate the legs. The jackets are specially cut so the shoulders don’t bunch up, and the sleeves lie flat when the arms are holding their partners.

Lyle, whom Knoll jokingly calls “Mr. Sartorial Spendor,” has his tails made by a tailor in Los Angeles for about $1,400.

“They wear studs, cuff links, the works,” Knoll says. “The men look great. I think that’s why I got into ballroom dancing.”

For American-style ballroom dancing, which calls for more athletic maneuvers, guys can ditch the jacket and wear a vest for greater movement. Women wear longer gowns with extra-full skirts that can be raised high above their heads, with folds of fabric to spare.

“They’re designed for when we do dips, drops and little swoopy things,” Knoll says.

She has a royal blue polyester backless number with a black velvet collar and large rhinestone buttons. The dress has a slit up the center for showing some leg during high kicks.

Dresses for Latin-style dances “tend to have a lot less material,” she says.

Dancers want to show off their backs, legs and hips. Skirts can be short and tight, and slit into panels. Knoll considers her dresses conservative; one style features an asymmetrical skirt and comes in a form-fitting black stretch velvet.

Men wear fitted black pants with everything from muscle T-shirts to tailored shirts, which many guys like to wear unbuttoned.

“They’re a lot less gaudy than they used to be,” Lyle says.

Costumes are made to withstand the rigors of the dance, but most competitors have stories of zippers popping, heels catching in hems and straps snapping.

One of Knoll’s worst fashion mishaps took place in 1991, when she was U.S. champion representing the United States at a world competition in Berlin. Her lace bodice caught on the button of her partner’s tailcoat, and she spun to the floor still hooked to his jacket.

“I was hanging on by a piece of lace,” she says. She tried to fix the snag with nail polish during a break in the routine, and unwittingly spilled the polish all over her dress.

Summer Wind Coloring Collection Hugo Boss became nice

What would one give for a cool breeze right about now? Such a thing seems unavailable for love or money, a little gust to break the stultifying heat, to aerate the close, humid echo chamber of the 24-hour news cycle and its rat-a-tat revelations. Just imagine yourself on a boat, floating serenely into uncharted waters — isn’t that better?

Hugo Boss, the German fashion label, thinks so, too.

It may not be able to offer the breeze, but it can offer the wardrobe, in the old spirit of “dress for the job you want.” Its spring 2018 collection for Boss, presented as part of New York Fashion Week: Men’s on Tuesday afternoon, was an extended meditation on light fabrics, unlined jackets and roomy Bermuda shorts. Suits came in papery cotton, anoraks in paper-thin leather.

“Everything should be light and easy,” said Ingo Wilts, the chief brand officer of Hugo Boss.

“As the world is roasting,” said this reporter, thinking back to a startling new set of conjectures about climate change published this week.

“Exactly,” Mr. Wilts said. “There’s so much going on in the world right now, we want a kind of easiness and lightness in terms of clothes. We came up with this summer of ease.”

Brooklyn Mirage Club Finally Opens in East Williamsburg

To get a handle on the party’s sheer enormousness, it was best to ascend the breezy battlements of the four-story, castlelike structure. High-definition projectors beamed pink and purple images on the fortress walls. Rays of light sliced through fog like Bat signals. And a sea of tiny heads, as big as a city block, bobbed beneath palm trees and airborne KV2 Audio speakers.

This was not Las Vegas, Miami or Zrce beach in Croatia. A quick westward glance revealed the tip of the Empire State Building glowing like a cigarette cherry.

“I love this scene,” said Tengiz Iliaev, 34, who was standing on the highest turret. A native of Tbilisi, Georgia, he wore a woven duckbill hat and a heart-shape medallion. “What else do you want? A place where you can parachute?”

After a year of false starts and legal imbroglios, the contentious nightclubBrooklyn Mirage opened last Saturday as a huge, architecturally ambitious destination for deep house and techno parties.

It is the outdoor component of Avant Gardner, an 80,000-square-foot development at 140 Stewart Avenue in an industrial corridor of the East Williamsburg neighborhood, a few grubby blocks from Queens. By fall, a warehouse (now filled with sacks of cement mix and construction equipment) will be transformed into an event space. Another area will become a 5,000-square-foot club. All told, it will hold 6,000 visitors.

“People think we’re trying to open a nightclub, but that’s not economically viable,” said Simar Singh, the head of strategy, marketing and development for Cityfox Experience, the party promotion company behind Avant Gardner. Along with raves, he said, the space could host corporate bookings, fashion shows, weddings and film screenings. “I want to do ‘Big Lebowski’ and make a Facebook invite for thousands of people,” he said.

Just before Brooklyn Mirage’s opening, Mr. Singh strolled the labyrinthine premises, past droning saws, extension cords and garbage-scented wafts emanating from a nearby junkyard. He pointed to a neon sign that read: “If Not Us, Who? If Not Now, When?” “After some of the things that happened last year, I found it quite inspirational,” he said.

Capturing Love, the Brooklyn Way

“One of the things that I noticed quickly,” the photographer Andre Wagner said of moving to Bushwick, Brooklyn, from Omaha in 2012, is “how you can see the affection of people out in public because so many things happen on the streets.” Mr. Wagner drew upon his background in social work when he started taking photos. “Living in Brooklyn, I see a lot of that family interaction, which I’m really interested in capturing.”

He took these photos in April, roaming between Downtown Brooklyn, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg and Bushwick.

Mr. Wagner is also interested in the way different people come together on New York City subways and buses. “Here in New York, public transportation is such a big way of how people move around the city and all different kinds of people share the space, whether it is inside the subway or in a bus,” he said. “So I’m always interested in trying to figure out how to show the diversity or just the range of how we have to all share this space in transition.” Of his method, he said: “I almost never ask for permission to make photographs. The process is just an impulse. I make the photos and smile if the subject looks at me.”

Mr. Wagner often stands near subway stops to see the foot traffic. This photo was taken on Broadway, a main strip in Brooklyn, right under the subway. “They just caught me visually,” he said. “I thought they looked striking and interestingly put together.”

Myla Dalbesio is a Model That Makes a Stand With Beautiful Feminist Art

Ms. Dalbesio is a “fuller-figured” model and contemporary artist who has gained fans with her feminist take on self-expression, whether posing in a Calvin Klein underwear campaign, shooting a self-portrait for Playboy, performing nearly naked in the Chelsea Art Walk, or curating a critically acclaimed all-female show at the 2016 Spring/Break art fair. “I was pushing myself in the gallery scene, and then I just had such negative experiences with men — along the lines of sexual harassment,” she said. “So I stepped away and just decided to focus on my work.”

Big Break At age 16, she was discovered by Mary and Jeff Clarke (theteam who discovered Karlie Kloss and Ashton Kutcher) at a Teen Miss Wisconsin pageant. “My oldest sister entered me in the pageant unbeknownst to me, and though I was a purple-haired wannabe punk at the time, I dyed my hair back to brown and went along with it.”

Latest Project She recently appeared in Sports Illustrated’s annualSwimsuit Issue. The topless photo was accompanied by an essay by Ms. Dalbesio, reconciling her feminism with being a model. “I always say that body autonomy is one of the pillars of feminism,” she said. “Who’s going to tell me what I’m going to do with my body?”

Next Thing Ms. Delbasio is developing a talk show onSuper Deluxe, a youth-oriented entertainment company owned by Turner Broadcasting System, where she will investigate the creative processes of (mostly) female artists, activists and trailblazers. Possible subjects include Chelsea VonChaz, a founder of Happy Period, which distributes menstrual hygiene kits to homeless women.

No Calvin Clone When Ms. Delbasio, who is a size 10, appeared in the Calvin Klein ads in 2014, it prompted some controversy over what the fashion industry considers plus-size. “When I started, there was no space within the agencies for any girl my size, unless you would go to the plus-size board,” she said. “It’s often very skinny girls and then plus-size girls and there’s no in-between. That has changed a lot. I hope I played a part in that.”

Lights May Flicker but Looks Stay Sharp

The Democratic Republic of Congo is the birthplace of SAPE, a loosely organized cult of dandies known as “les sapeurs.” SAPE is an abbreviation of the group’s name, which in English translates as the Society of Ambience and Elegant People. The contrast between the extravagance of their attire and the hardships of their lives has the effect of highlighting the dignity of their code. Indeed, dressing well is part of the culture there.

“Everybody wears these amazing colorful clothes and are so eager to show who they are,” Ms. Harris said of the people in Goma.

Ms. Harris was in Congo on a fellowship documenting energy poverty. She wanted to capture how people, many of whom don’t have reliable electricity or access to water, maintain pride in their appearance. In Goma, 14 of 18 neighborhoods in the city experience rolling blackouts on a daily basis.

“When I talked to people in Congo, they would say that, despite all the struggles and despite all the misery, pride in the way they dress is something they take really seriously,” she said. “They make sure their whites are super-white and their clothes are super clean.”

The Democratic Republic of Congo is the birthplace of SAPE, a loosely organized cult of dandies known as “les sapeurs.” SAPE is an abbreviation of the group’s name, which in English translates as the Society of Ambience and Elegant People. The contrast between the extravagance of their attire and the hardships of their lives has the effect of highlighting the dignity of their code. Indeed, dressing well is part of the culture there.

“Everybody wears these amazing colorful clothes and are so eager to show who they are,” Ms. Harris said of the people in Goma.

Ms. Harris was in Congo on a fellowship documenting energy poverty. She wanted to capture how people, many of whom don’t have reliable electricity or access to water, maintain pride in their appearance. In Goma, 14 of 18 neighborhoods in the city experience rolling blackouts on a daily basis.

“When I talked to people in Congo, they would say that, despite all the struggles and despite all the misery, pride in the way they dress is something they take really seriously,” she said. “They make sure their whites are super-white and their clothes are super clean.”

“These two necklaces mean a lot to me,” said Olivier Bayongwa, a musician known as El’Weezya Fantastikoh. “The first one shows a pharaoh and the Egyptian pyramids. The second one is Versace and is a gift from my girlfriend.” His dreadlocks hair style is not as common in Goma as in the United States. “Women tend to get a lot of braids and weaves, and the men are into the faded cuts,” Ms. Harris said, “so it was really cool to see somebody who had this kind of hairstyle.”

Classic Americana in Las Vegas fashion

When Ryan Shorosky graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2014, he decided to drive an 18-wheeler around the country for a year, photographing truck drivers along the way. That was when he first went to Las Vegas.He returned there once a month over the course of that year.

On his latest trip, in May, Mr. Shorosky wanted to capture the variety of people who work in Las Vegas, especially those with unconventional jobs. “In other cities you might work as a barista, but in Vegas really strange opportunities exist for people that live there,” he said. He saw these two women outside the Bellagio hotel. The woman on the left has a tattoo covering most of her thigh. “There is a dichotomy that exists in Vegas where, from afar, things kind of look like they’re meant to be, but when you dig in closer, you figure out that there are a lot more layers to the people or the place,” the photographer said.

“I had this idea on my first day about exploring the iconic things of Vegas — Elvis, of course, being one of those things,” Mr. Shorosky said. Not that everything in Las Vegas is as it appears.Zach Brewer, shown above, is not a professional Elvis impersonator. He and a friend, visiting from Houston, were part of a bridal party and decided to dress up. “He was in costume and just drinking a lot,” the photographer said.

Toni James has been a figure in the Las Vegas drag scene for 30 years. “No matter where I went or who I talked to, everyone knew who Toni James was,” the photographer said. He first met Mr. James at the Double Down Saloon, a dive bar where locals hang out, and decided to photograph him there. “He was in this punk bar bathroom putting his makeup on and getting ready,” Mr. Shorosky said.

Eric Underwood Royal Ballet Star of america

The most shocking thing about Eric Underwood, the American-born star of the Royal Ballet in London, is not that he has a potty mouth or a dragon tattoo shooting out of his navel. It is not that he has been photographed frontally nude by David Bailey for a fashion magazine or by Mario Testino mostly unclothed with Kate Moss for Italian Vogue.

It is not that, unlike the dance drones of the “Black Swan” cinematic cliché, he enjoys an evening at the Box, a raunchy cabaret here, and has been known to gorge on burgers and fries now and then.

All of these are established elements of the 33year-old Mr. Underwood’s reputation as an immensely likable if impious outlier in the rigid world of classical ballet. The shocking thing about him is what he does at home.

On those evenings when he is not performing at the Royal Opera House, or on stages around the world, he can often be found on the sofa at his house in Camden conducting one-sided geezer-type arguments with the judges on “Strictly Come Dancing,” the BBC One equivalent of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

“I’m obsessed,” Mr. Underwood said.

So fixated is he, in fact, that he spent a recent morning shopping for shrubs at the Covent Garden Market to build a privacy screen shielding his living room window from a railway line that runs parallel to his house.

“Right now people now can look in at this crazy man yelling at his TV,” he said.

We were seated in a leather banquette in the bar of the Colony Grill Room at the Beaumont Hotel in the Mayfair district of London. Both the bar and the hotel are theatrical simulacra of a glamorous Art Deco watering hole and hostelry. They were conjured by the celebrated London restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King on a site once occupied by a parking garage. The Beaumont has been one of Mr. Underwood’s favorite places ever since he spent a night there, in a suite called “Room” designed by the British sculptor Antony Gormley.

Mr. Underwood, though muscled, lean, athletic and at 6-foot-2 seemingly built for the discipline, fell into ballet as a teenager almost accidentally when, after flubbing an audition for a performing arts school, he spotted a nearby movement class underway and bluffed his way in.

“I didn’t know anything about ballet, but I could already dance,” Mr. Underwood said.

The assertion seems needlessly boastful unless you consider how central it is to Mr. Underwood’s mission to normalize and demystify his chosen profession. The technical barriers to entry in classical dance are stringent enough to discourage many potential talents from trying. And yet more than mere technique, dance artistry is created from the sum of life experiences, he said.

In his case, that experience notably includes Friday nights spent at home in suburban Maryland, where his mother, a secretary, used to push the furniture against the walls so that she and her three children could dance to Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass and Marvin Gaye.

It was largely a happy childhood, Mr. Underwood added. While many accounts of his upbringing have emphasized the hackneyed narrative of escape from the rampant violence and gun crime of a poor neighborhood near the nation’s capital, that is not altogether how he remembers it.

“Sure, there were gangs at school and there was gunfire, but we were loved and appreciated at home,” he said. “My mother brought us up with that American attitude of ‘You can do anything you want if you work hard enough.’ She had this saying: ‘It’s just an obstacle. Get over it.’”

His ascent through the ranks of the classical ballet world, though hardly without obstacles, would be the envy of most in Mr. Underwood’s profession: Early in his teenage training with the ballet teacher Barbara Marks at Suitland High School Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Maryland, he was awarded a Philip Morris Foundation scholarship to study at the School of American Ballet in New York.

Graduating into the company of the Dance Theater of Harlem, he was promoted at the end of his first season to soloist, and joined American Ballet Theater in 2003. Offered a spot as first artist at the Royal Ballet three years later, he relocated to London, and was quickly elevated to soloist, becoming a favorite of choreographers like Christopher Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor.

I Have Fashion Regrets

The turquoise and fuchsia weavings of the indigenous people of the Guatemalan village spoke to me. “Make us into a pair of jeans,” they said. I shouldn’t have listened, because the first night I wore them out in Manhattan those jeans made me look like a wall hanging.

We all have our fashion regrets, whether from overzealous sample-sale shopping or impulse buying at a market abroad. A new Rizzoli book, “I Actually Wore This: Clothes We Can’t Believe We Bought,” includes my regrettable jeans and the cringe-inducing garments of a runway of notables including Roz Chast, Yvonne Force Villareal, Molly Shannon, Chris Burch, Nick Wooster, Gary Shteyngart and Linda Fargo. It was written by Tom Coleman, with photography by Jerome Jakubiec.

Ms. Fargo, the Bergdorf Goodman creative doyenne with a new boutique that bears her name, models the Twizzler-red 3.1 Phillip Lim pantsuit she wore to a fashion event filled with people in black (the New York color of festivity), inspiring ungenerous texts and social media mockery.

“But I always like to scare myself a little,” she said at a party in the spring.

Hers is not the kind of boldface name, however, to attract universal scorn. While many dodged that bullet at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute Gala in May, with its avant-garde dress code in honor of Rei Kawakubo, years past have not been as kind to Sarah Jessica Parker or Rihanna, whose pooling yellow dress in 2015, a.k.a. the Omelet, was the equivalent of sartorial egg on the face.Other great moments of regrettable red-carpet display include the infamous derriere-showing Scaasi pantsuit Barbra Streisand wore for the 1969 Oscars and Bjork’s swan dress from 2001.

That girl should be put in an asylum,” Joan Rivers heckled.

“It’s just a dress,” the singer later responded.

But like a cigar, a dress is not always just a dress, especially in the political arena.

Ivanka Trump learned that when she posted a picture of herself and her husband, Jared Kushner, on Instagram on the January weekend when refugees were detained at airports because of her father’s ban on foreign visitors from seven Muslim countries. It didn’t help that her crinkly Carolina Herrera silver gown photo went viral when a detractor posted it next to a refugee girl in a blanket of similar material. In February, another social media outcry ensued when the first daughter wore a dress by French designer Roland Mouret to her father’s first congressional address — “Buy American” was a major theme — and some felt her bra-like black shoulder strap made the dress seem more Las Vegas than Congress.

In April, the flak jacket and blue blazer ensemble Mr. Kushner wore for a visit to Iraq provoked media sniping; it seemed more country club than conflict zone.

Of course, all this was minor after Kellyanne Conway’s showing on Inauguration Day. She called her much-mocked red, white and blue double breasted coat by Alessandro Michele of Gucci “Trump revolutionary wear.” Later she told The Hollywood Reporter she was “sorry to offend the black stretchpants women of America by wearing a little color on Inauguration Day.”

Fearlessness, I suppose, breeds cluelessness. Or is it the other way around? In fashion as in life, isn’t it often the regrettable that makes us memorable?

“Dressing is always a learning experience, so you have to take risks,” the designer Zac Posen said at a party not long ago for the latest novel by the Vogue contributor Plum Sykes. The only time Ms. Sykes regrets an outfit, she told me, is when it’s “cheap and not well tailored.”

Her sister Lucy, a stylist-turned-novelist who has most recently explored thewellness craze with Jo Piazza, her co-writer, was working the party in bright blue lipstick. She had no regrets even if it was drawing attention away from the guest of honor.

“Every time I wear it, it’s a conversation piece,” she said. “So why not?”

Because sometimes wearing a conversation piece can be like wearing a “kick me” sign, that’s why. I know a cheeky woman who was a shoo-in for an advertising job until she wore a leather jacket — with the word “wild” painted on both sleeves — to her final interview, in the 1990s. My own attempt to wear a radical mix of plaids during the grunge moment resulted in a disdainful once-over from the editor-in-chief of a magazine. He was in a dark, slim-cut suit.