Tucson is not a fashion capital of the world for good reason.
The often oppressive heat and laid-back attitude insure not many people care what others are wearing, at least to a degree. And that’s quite alright.
It’s awesome living in a place where pretty much anything goes.
But no matter how laid back the Old Pueblo may be, certain styles should still be kept in the closet.
Before I proceed, I must warn you are reading fashion tips from someone who owns leopard print shorts, a faux fur leopard hat trimmed with a feathered brim and patent leather leopard shoes.
I’ve also been accused of wearing pajamas to work.
Yet faux fur is a far cry from some other fashion faux pas.
Like wearing socks with sandals. Sandals are meant to keep your feet light and airy. Pulling on a pair of socks underneath defeats the purpose, kind of like wearing a sweater beneath a tank top.
Or wearing sandals all year long. One well-respected fashionista, who asked to remain anonymous lest she lose her job, said she can immediately tell when someone just moved to the desert.
“They’ll be wearing sandals, shorts or sunbathing when it’s February and 50 degrees,” she said. After all, they think, it’s Arizona. It’s supposed to be hot.
She also noted how newcomers have a penchant for buying cowboy hats, boots, bolo ties and other “authentic” finds from roadside markets.
“It would be great if they were buying legitimate Navajo jewelry,” she said. “But they’re buying junk. Turquoise that’s not really turquoise and coral that’s not really coral.”
Rather than a striking sterling silver bolo, they end up with some chintzy plastic thing. She’s seen couples fresh from the Midwest sporting giant rodeo belt buckles, bizarre cowboy boots and even chaps.
“Gee, did you just move here?” she asks them.
She also has an issue with certain sundresses.
“Sundresses that the women should have stopped wearing 70 pounds ago,” she said. “Or older women who wear those sandals with little flowers.”
Another sundress faux pas is when the bra straps stick out. Some of the slinkier summery styles scream for equally slinky underwear. Yet we’ll still see the strap or full outline of the bra beneath the sheer, light fabrics. Even sweaters look better beneath a tank top than a chunky, obvious bra.
At least the butt crack fad passed. Low-rise jeans coupled with a peek-a-boo thong was a trend for far too long. It was as if some chicks were taking fashion cues from repairmen or plumbers.
Guys had a version of the butt crack fashion, too, with the prison-inspired baggy jeans with the waist that hung near their knees. That, too, has petered out in many circles.
But another trend won’t go away.
We still have the mullet. This hairstyle, which features a cropped top and sides coupled with long tresses in the back, was the rage in the 1980s. It continues to haunt us, in Tucson and beyond. As proudly proclaimed in the introduction to the site mulletjunky.com: “To a true mullet connoisseur, the mullet is not viewed as just a haircut. It’s a phenomenon…a culture…a rare breed that can transform interest and curiosity into an obsession.”
It’s also something I lost count of when I tried to tally the number of mullets I saw at the Pima County Fair. To be fair, at least most folks had their bra straps tucked in, their sandals sans socks and their pants pulled up and fastened at the waist.
Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist and performer who would wear pajamas everywhere if she could. Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM. Listen to her webcast at 4 p.m. Fridays at www.party934.com. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org