Muffy explains it all. Thank you, Muffy. Have some W's.

Do you know Muffy Aldrich? Oh, she is wicked and witty and wise and wonderful. Dorothy Parker is supposed to have moaned that every time she had a witty thought, she'd find that Oscar Wilde had already said it. I often feel that way about Muffy's ineffable blog, The Daily Prep , and today I recognized that feeling in connection with the post to which that link will bring you. Muffy has translated contemporary retail-speak into English, and many of us will bless her for it or at least chuckle.
Here are some examples:

Inspired by MaineMade in China.
Inspired by fall in MaineInspired by our year-end bonuses.
Inspired by New EnglandWe stole the design from Walmart, slapped lighthouses on it, named it after a New England town, and tripled the price. You're welcome.
Inspired by our archivesBut obviously, if we just copied our archives, we wouldn't be able to make our now customary 5X markup and our CEO would not be happy. 
And here Muffy translates the Copywriter from Space:
Preppy with a twistFor people who want to pretend they don't dress the same as everyone else.
Preppy coolUrban fashion train wreck, with just a hint of tartan.  
Classic with a twistThe twist is, it's not classic at all. Save it for Halloween, 2017.  You'll thank us later.
Muffy is a great believer in moderation and in avoiding the infra dig, and so I think that's why she didn't stoop to translate OBSESSED and EFFORTLESS

I, of course, am shameless, and my view of the CFS' use of effortless is that she just doesn't know what it means. I think she's going for studied, but that's because in our house effortless attire means a bathrobe and a hairclip, accompanied by cries of "Can you get that? I can't find my glasses." Studied, naturally, means I remembered to check for fallen hems and stuck zippers.

I have different feelings about being an obsessed shopper, because to me shopping is a form of research and I am dogged. Dogged, I tell you. Whether research (in other areas) is really shopping by another name is, of course, a question of ethics, and I leave that to those more gainfully employed than I. 

But once you've been properly fitted for a bra and appear 2 inches taller and 3 inches slimmer, once you've found the shade of taupe that makes your eyes look green not muddy, once you've identified the shoe that inconspicuously takes you through the day without causing wincing -  you might allow yourself a little perseverance, too.  Of course giving way to these and other obsessions is enabled by living in the midst of stores in an apartment equipped with wireless. In the days when retail websites were primitive, I once called a manufacturer (California) to find out if a particular reversible jacket of theirs - double faced cashmere - was sold anywhere in New York City or on Long Island. They kindly gave me a few names, one was a small boutique not far from me. I called and got this: "What's it your business what I sell and when I'm open?" Yes, I learned in a tough school. 

Here is where I point out that there's one more element to the equation of obsessed + ______ = effortless. The missing ingredient is Fate.  The silk blouse that perfectly matches the wool skirt must have come back from the cleaners. The pants that felt a little tight last week must be fine now after 3 days of rabbit food. The sweater must not have decided to grow pills overnight. And with the stars in alignment, one goes to the closet, pulls out a few things with eyes closed…

How do you define effortless? What are your obsessions? And of course, what are your favorite Inbox Translations? Not to mention Fate….

And of course, thank you, Muffy.

33 comments:

  1. Effortless means you don't give a shit and go out in the jeans and tee with a slight stain you swear no one can see but you, flip flops, and your hair in a pony because you didn't want to wash, blow, style it...effortless. Fate means you are still wearing it three years later and love it...it was meant to be.

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    1. Oh, my obsession is the perfect white tee shirt that I can wear for more than three wearing without leaving yellow toxic armpit stains. Still looking.

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    2. So you are beaming self-confidence - a famous article on In and Out, loosely based on Nancy Mitford's U and Non-U, taught us that the In way to dress is as though you Had Better Things On Your Mind.

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  2. Effortless: something that doesn't need a special accessory or shoes or a special way of wearing it (say, half-tucked in with a button left open but not two) to look good. As in: requires the littlest effort from the wearer. I think the confusion with "studied" comes from the expression "effortlessly chic" that seems to imply that one put a lot of effort to look like she/he didn't.
    No time for obsessed right now but will be back!

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    1. You nailed it, Ema!
      Now I want to hear about your obsessions.

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  3. I'm still on the prowl for that elusive whatever that will make me inches taller and thinner. More research ensues ...

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    1. Well, a bra size that I never would have guessed was for me, got me partly there, so I recommend a fitting at The Town Shop in NYC.

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  4. You are absolutely right. Effortless is not an adjective that can be used to describe me. There have been far too many lessons on looking one 's best taught to me. Plus I think it is fun. Now for my husband, he is truly a lesson in effortless dressing!

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    1. Except that if you don't have to stop to worry whether a tweed skirt is better with a thin short-sleeved blouse, or a long-sleeved sweater, but just do what's ingrained, isn't that effortless? A puzzlement.

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    2. Ingrained to look one's best doesn't answer all the hows and whats to achieve the goal. It requires effort to weigh options and make critical decisions . But for me that is also the fun .

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    3. My latest obsession has been looking for new boots. It's become cold enough to need and enjoy them.

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    4. Great point, Teacups, we can become so bound up in intergalactic fibers, off-putting details, inconsistent fits, overly random accessories, that it's easy to forget the object is to enjoy oneself.

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    5. And please let us know the result of the quest for boots!

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    6. As Ema pointed out, I and many others employ a far less literal interpretation of the word obsessed. It can mean little more than liking something especially if our reading material includes style guides! Now to the boots. Since my birthday passed I have been considering the short boots I wear with my jeans and cords. I have decided that some have too many biker influences to feel appropriate for me. Still wanting something fun I am looking at the Frye Paige short boot in Redwood and a via Spiga Inali boot in black. While I was looking Inali introduced me to her taller cousin Idola who suggested that she looks great with a skirt!

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    7. I went to look up those boots. Have fun choosing!

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  5. How I'm defining effortless, unfortunatly, has been influenced largely by the CFS, at least for the moment. It means not putting any effort to: understanding that "mercerized" means a treatment to the fiber to increase luster and does not mean to blend with acrylic; correctly using the words/phrases "jacquard," "embroidered," "standing collar" or "just below knee"; proofreading garments printed with words for typos or grammar error; ensuring items with the Collections label truly are worth collecting ... oh I could go on but you get the idea.

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  6. Obsessed. The problem with the overuse of "obsessed" in fashion is that you can be obsessed with only one thing at a time by definition, so we can't be obsessed with everything JCrew has on the website and so can't them (unless each of them is obsessed with a different item and they use the collective "we are obsessed" to confound us). When you are obsessed with something it takes over everything, you literally cannot think of something else. I have been properly "obsessed" with something only once, a pair of limited edition Reebok when I was living in Paris. I was so obsessed that I would even dream of them (dream that I would buy them). Obsession typically ends with the acquisition of the object, at least in my case. I am not "obsessed" with anything I have, I just like most of the stuff but don't dream of them.

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    1. Yessss… I've stalked pieces of jewelry on eBay with that kind of anticipatory possessiveness! It's sort of like having a crush on someone, and then when you get to know him a little, the crush vanishes. He's just some guy.

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  7. Thanks for the link to that blog - love it!

    Effortless means your butler picked out your clothes and you have a direct debit monthly standing order to your stylist who pick out those very clothes and your trainer wakes you up four times a week so you can fit into those very clothes.

    I am obsessed at the moment with chairs. My bum still fits into most chairs unlike my clothes.

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  8. Hilarious post. It's funny because it's true. For me effortless is one of my many knit dresses, especially the Lacoste polo dresses. One piece + shoes and you are set. Get the best quality and they will keep you looking fine all day long.

    I'm obsessed with shoes of course. Oh, and jersey dresses.

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    1. right, shoes. Wore my Chie Mihara teal & black Colmenas to lunch and ballet today and didn't want to take them off.

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    2. For a second I saw you in a pink leotard, then realized you went to a show

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  9. Muffy is awesome. I rarely comment there, but she has such wonderful photos of my old /current stomping grounds( CT, RI, ME), and she embraces effortless like no one's business. If it's not a Lotuff bag, she's not carrying it , unless it is an LL Bean canvas one, only in certain colors. Still can't believe she wore whale printed cords to a Manhattan Christmas party!

    I share Ema's distaste for obsession as applied here; "addiction as the framework for life" is so reductionist and limiting and boring.

    "Kneelength" is one inbox I ignore. Who's knees are we talking? Give a back neck length, please.

    MLane is the effortless one. Everything is Brooks/Beans or Reny's and "perfectly fine". "Darling, I think you need a technical shirt for our trip." "Technical Schmechnical,", is what I got.l

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    1. another inbox favorite: "hits at high hip." Who makes this stuff up? I have to then figure that the model is 5'10" or 5'11", so her high hip would be about here, and the garment would fall 4 or 5 inches lower on me, then I have to allow for curves where most models have planes, then I have to go lie down.

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  10. Loving Muffy!
    I am obsessed with finding the right jeans at the moment. I was even measured properly in a Levi's shop, tried a squillion pairs on, only to return home and discover I couldn't sit down in them. Basic error.

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    1. Hi, Trish, when it comes to jeans we are all pursuing the Questing Beast.

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  11. Effortless? I don't think I can afford a whole battalion to clean my house, do my cooking and laundry, and take are of my errands. No, I don't know effortless!
    Oh, and my favorite? Hit an in above the knee. Blast you, CFS!

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    1. Before autocorrect got to me, that should have been hits an inch above the knee.

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    2. Oh, and a word that makes me cringe? remixing. When I was younger, people wore their clothes, now they "remix" them. Oy.

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  12. Hi, AB, I actually did a post that featured an anatomy lesson inspired by too many descriptions of thigh-high or bottom-grazing miniskirts that were described as "hits at the knee." Then I wondered if I was being politically incorrect to people who were knee-deficient.

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