Nothing spells the end of summer like New York Fashion Week. I was up late Friday night, dreading the stealthy approach of fall and winter. I still had a raging case of the post-Emmy blues, and I was worried sick about the fresh feud between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. The end of NYFW (that’s my abbreviation for New York Fashion Week) threatened to do me in. It was almost three in the morning and I was trying to channel surf these anxieties–and my indigestion–away.
About an hour earlier, I had panicked when I found in my refrigerator a whole pint bottle of Trader Joe’s Strawberry Chia Juice Smoothie that said “Enjoy by Sept. 12.” How did I miss that? I hate wasting food, and I hate wasting money, and, since the little fucker cost me $2.99, I opened it up and drank two-thirds of it. It was still fresh, but it gave me a nasty, sugary bloat. I ate a few plain water crackers and sipped some lime seltzer with a tiny splash of Coke in it.
American Dad!, a show that makes me want to cry it’s so unfunny, was on in the background. I hurried with my seltzer from the kitchen to the living room and planted myself on the couch, picked up the remote, and started to surf.
I hit upon a really tacky Sixties cult-favorite movie called Lady in a Cage about a mature, wealthy woman with a broken hip who gets stranded in her in-home elevator and is terrorized by a wino, a swindler, and three psychopathic hoodlums, led by a very young, pre-Godfather James Caan. Olivia de Havilland plays the title role. For those of you who’ve never heard of Olivia de Havilland, she’s a two-time Oscar winner who played Melanie in Gone with the Wind. For those of you who’ve never heard of Gone with the Wind, it’s this epic movie from 1939 about the Civil War. For those of you who’ve never heard of the Civil War–I still can’t believe you’ve never heard of Gone with the Wind.
Anyway, Miss de Havilland yells “Help!” a lot, presses her emergency alarm button that no one ever hears, and perspires heavily as the wino and the swindler lick their chops over her exquisite silver collection and the psycho juvies do some crazy shit. My brother and I used to watch this movie on TV when we were kids. It was campy but creepy, and seeing it again after so many years brought back a wave of rancid nostalgia. So I continued to surf.
Luckily, I landed on the late-night rerun of the Kathie Lee and Hoda hour of the Today show just as they were starting a segment on New York Fashion Week. My spirits soared. A ridiculously bleached blonde expert would lead them, and us, through examples of one of Fashion Week’s hottest trends—the white button-down shirt! And not for guys but for gals. Apparently, the white button-down shirt was everywhere on the runways.
The ladies agreed that their favorite use for the shirt was as lingerie. At that point, a photo of an old Kathie Lee CD that showed her in a sexy, white button-down appeared on the screen. For a subtly Bible-thumping Christian, she sure doesn’t skimp on the cleavage or the white wine.
As she and Hoda walked from one uncomfortable-looking model to the next, the incredibly articulate expert demonstrated how versatile the shirt could be. Who on earth could have imagined that a white shirt could be so versatile? Not me. And it’s something that every girl already has in her closet! At the bottom of the TV screen, the caption read, “WBD=White Button-Down.” So cool.
My personal favorite has always been the work outfit that, after a few simple tweaks, a girl can wear on a BFF night out, or on a disastrous OKCupid date. A black leather jacket and skirt with the WBD is perfect for work, the expert explained, as she paused by one of the models. Then, she simply removed the jacket, yanked open the collar of the WBD to reveal a chunky gold necklace, and the girl was ready for the evening. There’s something so satisfying about a smooth transition.
Another model wore an olive green scarf for a chilly work day, and then removed it to show more of the WBD. Kathie Lee remarked astutely that, in the evening, one could use the scarf as a wrap. I guess olive green scarves are pretty damn versatile, too. (I hope they’re paying KL enough.)
The favorite add-on accessory was a clutch purse—with just enough room for absolutely nothing.
Suddenly, before my brain could take it all in, the segment was over. I wanted to scream, “Help, help!” like the lady in the cage, but I didn’t. I resumed my channel surfing, but found nothing that even remotely (no pun intended) compared to the WBD. I sighed, burped, and counted the days until the Golden Globes.