Have I become the sickest prude on Earth because I see girls all over the place dressed like 1970's streetwalkers? Somehow I don't think so but I may not have the right perspective. The woman on the left in the photo is an actual prostitute, the woman on the right is supermodel Gisele Bundchen. The prostitute is actually wearing more clothes than Gisele. How fine is the line between a tongue-in-cheek reference and a bad, literal representation? Is the difference fame? The cost of your shoes? Just 'cause it says Christian Louboutin on the insole doesn't make it look any less trashy than if it said Bordello.
I grew up in New York and sometimes I would go to my dad's office on 26th and Broadway and wait out the day with him so we could ride home together. In winter, it always got dark early, which meant the prostitutes on Park Avenue South would come out and work the dinner shift in front of the Belmore Cafeteria, which incidentally was a prominent setting for Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver. As a little girl of nine, I thought it odd that women were outside in the snow wearing hot pants and platform stilettos and I probably even asked my dad what was up. First lesson in the oldest profession. I knew what a hooker was, even though I didn't even know anything about sex, before I hit fifth grade. Platform shoes became representative of hos and strippers, they did not mean haute couture.
Fast forward to the present. I'm leaving the bank in Ladue on a sunny, Wednesday afternoon and crossing me in the lobby is a woman of about 50, wearing a short black skirt and platform stiletto sandals. Modern times dictate that pantyhose are passe so she couldn't even hide behind the modesty of nylon. She was trying to be trendy, but all I saw was hooker. Not hooker chic, hooker. Maybe she was a stripper and just depositing tips but I think she was chasing a trend that she was no longer fast enough to catch. Even Gisele can't get herself around that one.
I understand that despite all common sense, some girls are going to adopt any and every trend in order to seem hip and current. Some middle-aged women are going to ignore what is appropriate for their age and wear the same things that college girls are sporting. Fine, I get it, I get it. But do you have to wear them with Daisy Dukes? The Belmore closed in 1981 and was torn down to make room for condos. I'm wondering why that style didn't die along with it. Why not accept tips in your g-string while going through the self checkout at Schnucks? A woman needs to pay for her groceries, right?
Madeline Meyerowitz is the owner of enokiworld.com, a website specializing in vintage designer clothing.