Famed author, public speaker, documentary subject, International Best-Dressed List honoree, quintessential New Yorker and long time Interview mag columnist, Fran Lebowitz sat down with Elle magazine to share some mini-lectures on fashion — including topics such as: "Yoga pants are ruining women," "This most recent revival of platform shoes embodies everything that's wrong with young people," and "Men in shorts are disgusting,"— as well as many other sartorial tirades. Here are some of our favorite excerpts …
People care more about trends now than they do about style. They get so wrapped up in what's happening that they forget how to dress, and they never learn who they are because they never learn how to take care of anything. So much of what my generation was taught regarding clothes was how to make them last. How to wash and care for them.
On References and Mood Boards:
Now, when something reappears, an 18 year old has no clue that it's a revival. Despite the fact that they're almost always online they don't get references.I think that's part of why visual things are becoming so derivative. Designers now, they all have these things called mood boards. I suppose they think a sense of discovery equals invention. It would be as if every writer had a board with paragraphs of other writers—'Oh, I'll take a little bit of this, and that, he was really good.' Yes, he was really good! And that is not a mood board, it is a stealing board. What's the point of being young if you're not going to make new things, I wonder? It's their job to innovate. That's the entire point. It's why they're here.
On Men in Shorts:
I have to say that one of the biggest changes in my lifetime, is the phenomenon of men wearing shorts. Men never wore shorts when I was young. There are few things I would rather see less, to tell you the truth. I'd just as soon see someone coming toward me with a hand grenade. This is one of the worst changes, by far. It's disgusting … My fashion advice, particularly to men wearing shorts: Ask yourself, 'Could I make a living modeling these shorts?' If the answer is no, then change your clothes. Put on a pair of pants.
On New York Fashion:
The trademark of New York City fashion used to be that we dressed more seriously here. More formally. Now people need special costumes to ride bicycles. I mean, a helmet, what, are you an astronaut?? To a certain extent people still dress formally. Of course, more people should wear overcoats than those damned down jackets. Please. Are you skiing, or are you walking across the street? If you're not an arctic explorer, dress like a human being.
On Yoga Clothes:
All these clothes that you see people wearing, the yoga clothes—even men wear them!—it's just another way of being in pajamas. You need more natural beauty to get away with things like that. What's so great thing about clothes is that they're artificial—you can lie, you can choose the way you look, which is not true of natural beauty. So if you're naturally beautiful, wear what you want, but that's .01% of people. Most people just aren't good looking enough to wear what they have on. They should change. They should get some slacks and a nice overcoat.