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A shot from Paper's fabulous Thanksgiving at the Russian Tea Room spread, 2011.
I work in the fashion industry. Whenever I go home for the holidays, this becomes a topic of discussion. What colors are trendy, does this dress look good, should I return this item? Everyone from my mom to my mother-in-law to my aunt gets involved. I feel weird doling out advice like I'm some What Not To Wear wannabe and I don't ever want to make anyone feel bad. Is there a good way to sidestep this conversation?
Color Me Cautious
I think this just comes with the territory and is virtually unavoidable. Every holiday I go through the sort of the same thing, a sprinkling of questions ranging from trend-right colors to body-appropriate fits to what's-selling-now-and-why analysis.
Everyone wears clothes—it's a very tangible, relatable thing. And whether the relative you're chatting with shops at Nordstrom or Sam's Club, they are pretty curious about where fashion comes from, they have an opinion and generally they want to look good.
Blame The Devil Wears Prada and Project Runway. Fashion Democracy.
And, think about it, no-one wants to hear about what the accountant or the dentist at the table does at work.
So embrace it. Save your relatives from stories about taxes and molars. Indulge their questions and compliments. Recognize that even if your job isn't that fabulous, to your relatives back home you made it. You're writing about or designing or wholesaling capital-F Fashion. You said you would and you did.
It's totally harmless: Keep it general and answer their questions; compliment them even if, you know, it's a bit of a fib; and give them a chuckle or a shock by telling them how much something frivolous retails for or how you're working on four-seasons-away collection back at the office.
After a few minutes, change the subject. I'm Italian so, obviously, a comment or question about the food is a no-brainer.
Then, usually, I can enjoy my Cabernet and green bean casserole in peace.
Got a style question for Frank? Leave it in the comments or email one in here. Then buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, because it's going to be ? Something.
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