I had to laugh when I read the following Tweet yesterday by novelist and fellow client of Rachelle Gardner, Richard Mabry.
I gave up on MTV when they dropped the “M” and morphed into the cable version of TMZ. So had Richard not pointed out that MTV Movie Awards took place, I would have never known. (Unless someone was shot, stabbed, or had french-kissed a member of the same sex on stage, which would have found its way into network news.) In either case, I wouldn’t care.
However, this trend toward sloppiness amongst the rich and famous intrigues me, and appears to have a trickle down effect. Nowadays it is not uncommon to see college students going barefoot on campus, wearing pajama bottoms, or sporting matted rat nests. Who would have thought that the “bed head” would ever be en vogue? And to think, all the gel I’ve wasted trying to look cool.
In case you live on Pluto (or don’t watch MTV), this phenomenon has a name. It’s been called “messy chic,” “earthy elegance,” and “the new bohemian.” Urban Dictionary calls it slobby chic and follows with the single best definition:
The art of dressing like shit or wearing the same outfit for consecutive days or even weeks even though, or even because, one possesses an extreme amount of wealth and because they know they can get away with it. Often, people who subscribe to the “slobby chic” mentality will complain about “rich people”, intentionally ignoring the fact these “rich people” generally include themselves, their parents, their siblings, their extended family, and their friends.
But before you go trying to emulate the latest celeb’s “thrift store” wardrobe, consider how expensive it is. You see, buying clothing that looks used is quite costly. It’s not enough to own designer jeans. If you’re going to capture the anti-Barbie / anti-Ken look, those jeans must appear faded, have perfectly placed holes and trail threads. And if the price is any indication, tearing holes in designer fabric is a science. It used to be you could look homeless for a fraction of the cost. Needless to say, it’s got me wondering whether the new bohemians are just as conscious about their image as the glam models.
Anyway, I recall hearing some sociological theory about all this suggesting that how people dress is indicative of a society’s trajectory. The theory goes like this: When the lower class try to dress like the upper class, a society is on the incline. But when the upper class try to dress like the lower class, a society is on the decline. In other words, fake Gucci’s are a good sign. Pricey designer jeans with holes in them, on the other hand, are a sign of the Apocalypse.
Cleanliness may be next to godliness, but apparently it is not evidence of wealth or a high IQ. And if you’re looking for tips on personal grooming, you may want to bypass Michael Moore and Lindsay Lohan. As for me, I can only dream of the day when I replace my Dockers with pajama bottoms and my hair weave with a bed head. Alas, the only thing keeping me from chucking my toothbrush, comb and razor, is a few million bucks.