What I’m going to say today could come across as prissy and judgmental, so first, let me assure you that I am actually quite open-minded when it comes to fashion. I swear.
For example, you might wonder whether I’d be down with gift-wrapping my torso and calling it a dress. Guess what? I am totally into it. I think this looks fabulous:
You might think, “I bet she doesn’t approve of a grown-ass woman dressing as Super Mario Goes to a Tea Party.” Au contraire. I DO approve. This outfit looks fun, if perhaps a bit warm on top:
And lo, though I am growing a bit weary of every single top having cold shoulder cut-outs (of all the body parts that could possibly need airing out, why did we decide on the shoulder? why not cut the hole on the other side of the sleeve and call it a ventilated armpit? why not leave a gap where the inseams of pants come together and call it a cool crotch?), I’ve grown resigned to it. It’s the new norm.
But this . . .
. . . is . . .
. . . madness.
Can you explain the semi-detached poof-sleeve on a swimsuit? Here, I’ll try:
It’s like this bathing suit and this top were playing poker, and the bathing suit said, “I’ll see you your cold shoulder, and I’ll raise you . . . a warm bicep.”
Attaching a sleeve to a bikini top makes as much sense as hooking a pair of knee socks to a bikini bottom. We might as well add a set of cuffs.
Oh wait, we’ve tried that.
This look is perfectly darling if it’s 1963 and your name is Debbie and you and your roommate Barb sling cocktails all night before going back to your tiny New York apartment to smoke cigarettes and count your tips while dreaming of moving to LA to make something of yourself on your own because YOUR DAD WAS WRONG, YOU DON’T NEED A MAN (Go, Debbie!), but we’re not her and it’s 2017.
Why is this bothering me so much?
Maybe because it just doesn’t visually make sense. On a top or a dress, a poofy little sleeve or an off-the-shoulder ruffle looks cute in a retro way — like a young Sophia Loren picnicking on the Amalfi coast, or an adorable farm gal who just got her first sewing machine and a bolt of calico. Like, wheeeee, I’m having so much fun, my sleeves slipped!
But put that sleeve on a swimsuit, and it looks like you ripped off your tear-away dress to transform into a beach superhero but the sleeves got stuck and stayed on your arms.
Anyway: Have you tried it? Did you end up with a wide tan-line midway up each arm? And if so, did you then look like you went yachting while being held hostage and that the hostage-taker’s hands around your upper arms blocked the sun? Did people ask if you needed help? These are things I wonder.
And here is something I fear: Maybe I am too damn old to understand anything anymore. Perhaps, if you’re 20, it all makes sense. I went to bed last night thinking I comprehended things, then I woke up feeling stuck on the wrong side of a one-way mirror, banging on the glass screaming, “THAT OUTFIT IS BROKEN AND YOU LOOK INSANE,” but no one can hear me, because my voice no longer makes sound.
Maybe I’ve aged out of being on-trend. Already? I don’t know.
Or maybe this is just who we are now: a nation of puff-sleeved swimmers. It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing about our world.