Monday, July 28, 2008


The August issue of Vogue demands an end to the spandex leggings era of last season, favoring the rebirth of the high-waisted, wide-leg trouser. Thus, as soon as the weather turns cool, women throughout Manhattan will rush to the store fronts of Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus in search of this fashion frenzy. And of course, the craze will pulse from New York to LA and back to Chicago – infiltrating the shopping malls of middle-America until our twelve year old daughters in North Dakota are wearing these new pants.

Why? Because Vogue says so.

America thrives on trendy – new habits and styles are adopted and discarded like dirty socks. And so it follows that this obsession with the cool and chic has transcended fashion and media into a medium once monopolized by old, wrinkled white men – American politics.

Political awareness has become the latest fad. Couples on first dates at trendy martini bars smile coyly at one other, softly questioning, “So…Obama or McCain?”

Life is full of casual choices:
Red or white wine?
Red Sox or Yankees?
Light or dark beer?
And so it follows that the Obama / McCain controversy has become the latest trendy social debate.

Today, political choice trumps religion, wealth, and status. It’s become a source of social identity. In fact, while on a first date last week, a nice Jewish man said to me, “Listen, I don’t care that you’re Catholic….I just care that you’re not voting for McCain.”

And although Anna Wintour hasn’t proclaimed Obama as the next big trend, many other media avenues have been fearless in their endorsement. Barack Obama has become the epitome of cool; he’s the human equivalent of the Toyota Hybrid Prius, fusion resturants, the Mac computer and the Blackberry.

Because Americans love what is cool, Americans love Obama. Let’s face it – the man is trendy. Not only is he young, hip, and charming, but his wife is a rockstar. The Barack-Michelle ‘fist-bump' has permeated social coolness: first on the political podium, then on the set of day-time television’s The View, and now on Wall Street’s trading floor. Just last week, USA Today ran an article entitled, “Can the Fist Bump Mix with Business?”

As Frank Rich (NY Times) claims, “Obama-branded change is snowballing, whether it’s change you happen to believe in or not.” McCain will either need to reinvent himself, or admit to being last year’s leggings. Either way, those wide-leg trousers are looking pretty appealing to me.

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