The Austin Chronicle

The Good Eye: Auntie Miriam Is Not Impressed

Guest columnist Miriam Malinger is so over it

By Miriam Malinger, March 21, 2014, Columns

[Editor's Note: Amy Gentry, our regular style columnist, is taking the week off. We are pleased to present in her place guest style columnist Miriam Malinger.]

Well, darlings, it appears your regular style columnist has been called away for a colonoscopy or something in the wake of a particularly exhausting SXSW season, and yours truly has been called out of an impeccably tasteful retirement to be a "pinch hitter," whatever that means. I believe it has something to do with "sport." At any rate, you'll have to go without Ms. Gentry's charmingly enthusiastic ravings this week about books and street murals and how everyone is radiant on the inside.

You poor darlings. Auntie Miriam is here now.

Well, I must say I was surprised to get the call. I was in my bathtub at the time, trying out a fresh round of the handmade bubble bath Kate and Laura Mulleavy send me each month in mason jars.

This brings me to the first item on my agenda, which is to pronounce mason jars OVER. Oh, they're very clever and rustic, my dears, but have you ever noticed that they're made of glass? Back in my day, glass was for ceilings, menageries, and keeping the chauffeur from overhearing stock tips. Nowadays, you get a dozen of them filled with "deconstructed" lemon bars every Christmas. Next we'll have Park Avenue princesses toting them around instead of handbags, their poor little splay-legged Chihuahuas paralyzed with fright, suspended in midair, seeing the world through lines measuring the quarts and so forth. This is anarchy.

As I was saying, a renowned style columnist who once bestrode the fashion world like a colossus has no business taking calls in her bathtub, but darlings, she is a bit strapped for cash. At the pinnacle of my success, certain people wished to see me fall; certain people got their wish; down I tumbled, my fall cushioned only by the tender ministrations of sycophants like Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang and dear Kate and Laura, with their misplaced investment in making bath products by hand. Now, if Women's Wear Daily had called – well, my dears, certain entities at the WWD would revive my career out of spite, simply to kill it a second time. Let us say, concerning the plural of the word "peplum," we had differences. We won't discuss it any further, dears. The long and the short of it is, Auntie Miriam needs her pin money.

Let us proceed to the next item on today's agenda to pronounce OVER: brown leather "work" boots with both laces and zippers. Is there any clearer sign of a generation's precipitous decline? Blue-collar footwear is not my cup of tea in the first place, but I think we had all better agree that to install a zipper on a pair of perfectly good laced boots is frightful. For God's sake, think of all the servants you're putting out of work. No wonder there are so many mommy blogs these days.

And while we're on boots, let's talk about so-called "vegan leather." Some upstart cordwainer who claimed to be on "Etsy" – a designer drug, I should think – sent me a pair of vegan leather boots the other day. Now anyone who's spent as many Thanksgivings with Marc Jacobs as I have knows what vegan means. I naturally assumed "vegan leather" meant the cow, like Marc, had consumed no meat or dairy during its lifetime in order to increase the velvety suppleness of its skin. Imagine my shock.

But I digress. Now as you know, children, in each and every column, your Auntie Miriam reserves her most poisonous depths of vitriol for a single item that is simply beyond OVER.

One word: wellies. Tall, molded rubber galoshes that make an unbearable squelching sort of squeal every time you move. Only one woman in the world was able to make wellies look like anything other than Paddington Bear costumery, and her name, oh my children, was Lady Diana Spencer. You have heard of "do or die" situations; wellies are "Di or don't." Do I need to spell it out for you? Unless you're Princess Di, take them off – and that includes you, Duchess. You heard it here first: Miriam Malinger gives wellies the finger.

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