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We Deliver Our Royal Decrees in the Plural

February 23, 2001|Jeannine Stein

Dear Fashion Police: I enjoy reading your column, but something about it really bugs me. Why do you use the royal "we"? "We understand," "we'll assume . . ." Do you consider the Fashion Police a collective? If so, you should claim your status as spokesperson or commander in your byline. Otherwise, your "we"-ing seems so condescending, which is a shame because you have a great column and very nice advice.


Dear Semi: Thank you . . . we think. Oh, there we go again with those "we's" that you despise so. We are hardly the first to use this literary device. In newspaper circles, the "we" is used in editorials to signify the opinion of the paper, and also by various writers and columnists to sound important. We like to think of it as the royal, editorial "we."

We prefer not letting you know exactly how many are on our force. Just think of the Fashion Police as omnipresent and ever-vigilant, lurking somewhere in the shadows or around the next corner, keeping a sharp and wary eye on your sartorial goings-on. That way you'll always be on your toes and not tempted to do silly things like wear shorts and a tank top to a job interview or buy a two-sizes-too-large bright orange cashmere sweater just because it's on sale for $25.

But frankly, we always thought that that tiny picture of us looking down our nose was evidence enough that we are the supreme ruler of the Fashion Police realm. Also, the fact that there is one person in that picture and it never changes might be a tip-off.

We are sorry if our "we"-ing comes off as condescending; we certainly don't intend it. But let's be honest--a touch of imperiousness doesn't hurt when you're trying to keep the world looking good.

When Is a Plus Size Not a Plus Size?: While perusing People magazine the other day, we were struck by the latest ad from plus-size clothing retailer Lane Bryant, featuring actor Chris Noth, a.k.a. "Mr. Big" on HBO's "Sex and the City." No, it wasn't the handsome Mr. Noth that caught our eye; it was the fact that the two models flanking him, wearing super-sexy red and black lingerie, didn't look particularly plus-sized. True, the model on the left has thighs larger than your average anorexic-looking model, but other than that, we didn't see a whole lot of excess flesh.

We called Lane Bryant and talked to a spokeswoman, who explained that both models are indeed a size 14, the company's lowest rung of sizing (they go up to 28).

"I know that when the company shows lingerie, they try to find well-proportioned bodies," she explained. "And, frankly, this is the retail business, and we try to make the clothes look as good as they possibly can. Size 14 is the average size of a woman in the U.S. [FP note: Some estimates say the average is size 12, FYI.] Just because we sell plus-size clothing doesn't mean you're always going to see some enormously large woman."

We don't begrudge Lane Bryant its choice of on-the-small-side plus-size models, but we are curious about what you think of the campaign. Did you notice the first time you saw it that these were not typical, skinny models? Do you think Lane Bryant's skimpy lingerie should be shown on smallish or large-ish models in a national general-interest magazine? Do let us know.

From the Fashion Police Blotter: Last week, "On My Way To Frumpdom" wanted to know where to find at-home clothes and weekend wear that were more fashionable than her favorite sweats, but just as comfortable. However, we left out two catalog/Web site resources. One is Soft Surroundings, which rates the softness of its clothing and linens. For a catalog, call (800) 749-7638, or find them online at The other is Hot Cotton by Marc Ware, offering casual separates in cotton and other soft fibers in misses' and large sizes. Kudos to this company for using models who look like real women, with a little meat on their bones and a few lines on their faces. Their Web site is, or call (800) 827-9380.


Fashion Police, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. CA 90012; fax, (213) 237-4888; e-mail,

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