It is award season here in the states. What that means is that this month we have so many award ceremonies shown on television and splashed about the morning papers that any gravitas those prizes may have enjoyed in years past has long since evaporated. Between the first of the year and the end of this month we’ll have had the Golden Globes, the Critic’s Choice awards, the People’s Choice awards, the SAG awards (which, as a woman, I’ve always found to be a dubious honor at best), the Producer’s Guild awards, the Director’s Guild awards ….well, you get the idea. The Oscars used to be the only game in town for most of us lay people but these days, by the time that illustrious pageant takes place, not only do we already know who’s going to win the golden statue, we no longer really care. Like too many of the actors themselves, all the mystery has been syphoned away by hype and over-exposure. It’s no wonder, I suppose, that these spectacles have primarily devolved into fashion shows where every outfit elicits endless scrutiny, criticism, and comment.
And so …. people have been abuzz this week over the appearance of the actress, Susan Sarandon, at the aforementioned SAG awards this past weekend. Ms. Sarandon strode onstage in a beautiful white pantsuit but rather inexplicably she left her shirt at home, choosing instead to let her black bra do all the heavy lifting, so to speak, by itself. This sartorial choice was made even more note-worthy by the fact that her onstage duty was to deliver the memoriam tribute to the actors who had died in the previous year. For myself, the resulting effect was a bit cringe-worthy.
In the ensuing chatter over Ms. Sarandon’s outfit, a lot of opinion has centered around her age. From “She’s way too old to parade herself around like that!” to “Hey, if you’ve still got it, flaunt it.” For myself, that’s not even remotely the issue. She’s undoubtedly a gorgeous, well-endowed woman who could easily turn heads in a potato sack. For me, what was lacking in her ensemble, beside the shirt of course, was a sense of appropriateness. I have to admit that I miss the days when women dressed with an eye to the occasion, and yes, I know I sound like an old crank saying this. But it’s true. It’s also why I don’t wear jeans to funerals or white to a wedding. Like any art form, fashion is a form of communication and sometimes what we need to communicate is respect and even, dare I say, a wee bit of dignity. Forgive me, but this is difficult to do shirtless.
Last September, The Songwriter and I were having breakfast in a tiny cafe on Kings Road in London. Seated next to us was a young woman and her very elegantly dressed grandmother. I was close enough to overhear their conversation and am afraid I frequently found it too delicious to ignore. At one point the elderly lady was heard to say, “I’m sorry, my dear, but I just don’t understand most women today. They all seem to dress as though they are in a French play.”
I suppose that’ll be me in a few years.