Why is it offensive to see people in the street dressed up in fashion? Because they act like an obstacle course is the grand hall of a mansion.
The subway and the sidewalk don’t really accommodate silk and tulle; under real-world conditions, the delicate blouse should plaster to its wearer’s back; the coiffured hair should wilt; the moiré tunic should wrinkle; if their wearers lived anything like us, the filth of the street would darken those low white elegant cuffs, and the grating would wait to devour the high heel.
For fashion-wearers, it is different. They move in bubbles, in inviolate air; many-colored, elegant and cool, they are habitués of another world. The rare woman who can wear this skirt of iridescent green, fitted below the knee, and deep-colored top of creamy silk, and corseted bolero jacket, and Land of Oz heels, all on the street, without anxiety of scuffs, or stains, or consciousness of wearing something delicate and unfamiliar, like the rare man who sports his lightweight charcoal suit, threaded with cinnamon and pink, and crisp collar opening at his throat, and shoes of thinnest leather, each of them traveling without protection from the elements, and yet unwrinkled and unruffled, cool as cucumbers and fresh as daisies—this man and this woman are not you.
Neither of them lives in your world of dirt and wear-and-tear. Each suggests the existence of an alternative world, to which you are not invited.
(Continued in Introduction)