This "glam girl" and photo setup is the type we can see in magazines like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and countless other North American and European high-fashion magazines.
This is a pretty "sedate" photo: purely classy and elegant.
But other editorial photo spreads or ad campaigns can feature models who look like they just rolled out of bed, with bed head or Bride of Frankenstein big hair, and dark rings around their eyes reminiscent of raccoons but really just kohl-rimming accents. Half the time the models are ugly -- or actually they might be pretty in real life, but with the way they're "made up" they are suddenly ugly; the clothing -- which costs in the hundreds and thousands -- looks highly unwearable and I wonder why a designer bothered to lose sleep or swear in Italian or French while putting together the collection that this garb is part of.
I myself prefer the classic, timeless look. A look that a company like Talbots offers.
Huey Lewis & the News had the song "Hip To Be Square." I think subconsciously -- and consciously -- I've always made that my motto. As the song lyrics say:
"...Don't tell me that I'm crazy
Don't tell me I'm nowhere
Take it from me
It's hip to be square."
Now, not everything in a classic-clothing company catalog is perfectly nice, perfectly beautiful. Sometimes I look at the offerings, supposedly timeless, and wonder: What time period are these from? They're gross, they're dated, they're yukky, they just miss the mark! I guess it is possible to be too timeless!
And then there are catalogs like Sears (Sears-Roebuck to you Americans) and newspaper inserts/flyers like Wal-Mart.
Okay, let's take Sears, for example. The models might be plainly pretty, but some of the clothing...? I think I'm looking at a catalog from the late sixties, early seventies! Which models have the "good fortune" to be featured in the winter jacket/coat spread, or the fall footwear spread, or the eveningwear pages? Do they say to themselves, "Phew...thank G-d they didn't have me doing the sportswear and casual dresses. Those designs are enough to make me puke up my breakfast."
I don't know about Wal-Mart in the States, but here our newspaper inserts feature employees and their extended family members as the models. So Carol from Consumer Relations (a nice name for Customer Service) might be modeling jeans, while Timmy, "nephew of Carol from Consumer Relations" might be modeling infant wear. What about Betty, a "Greeter," who is showing off this week's underthings selection, and LaTicia, "neighbor of Alice, who is a daughter-in-law to LaTicia, a greeter." WHAT?! Couldn't they get someone to model, someone who's a little bit closer to home? Um, I mean Wal-Mart?)
As you look through catalogs and photo spreads featuring models or just everyday people, as is the Wal-Mart way, do wonder what they're thinking about what they're modeling in that shot. Is it something you'd wear? Is it something you think THEY'D wear? It would be nice to do a Model Survey after the photo shoot...
1. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being best, how would you rate this outfit you just wore?
2. Would you willingly pick up something like that to wear?
3. Would you be more likely to use it as an article of clothing for yourself, or would you use it as a rag to polish your car?
4. Would you be model for us again?
5. Would you be a little likely to model for us again?
6. Would you be willing to model for us again?
7. What incentives would we have to offer to have someone wear this outfit?
Okay, I must go now and do something with my bed head and raccoon eyes. You can look for me on page 114 of the Sears Fall catalog, where I'm modeling a La-Z-Boy chair... leaning back in one, eyes closed!
(How many of you are actually going now to check out the catalog!?)