I scan several news Web sites on a daily basis, usually first thing in the morning, along with my first cup of coffee.

These online pages are increasingly full of non-news items, including many slideshows on various topics—celebrity sightings, comfort food recipes, fashion triumphs and faux pas, decorating and organization tips, financial advice, 15 travel destinations readers MUST visit—you get the drift. Some are interesting, and even helpful; some...not so much. These articles (more pictures than words, of course) may include as few as five slides, or as many as dozens of images, along with short blurbs of commentary.

Depending on the day, I click through some of these slides, but others are not worth even a few moments of my time. One example: how formerly gorgeous TV and film stars from the ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s look now, decades later. I always wonder if the writers would be willing to post (for the whole world to see) pictures of themselves from 20, 30 or 40 years ago alongside their current photos. But then, I also have a theory that these pieces are put together by 24-year-old writers, who clearly don't have any aging experience of their own (or wisdom, for that matter). Another common theme is photos of makeup-free celebrities ("Without Their War Paint!") picking up their dry-cleaning or a few groceries. Riveting!

Last weekend, I happened upon a slideshow titled, "50 Ways to Master the Art of Outfit Layering." I am interested in fashion, as are most women I know. Many of us like to keep up on new trends and different ways to put outfits together. That doesn't mean dropping everything to run out and buy whatever dress Kate Middleton wore yesterday, as some women apparently do. But I decided to click through this series.

Before sharing my commentary, I should note that these photos are not images from high-end designer fashion shows. Fashions displayed on runway models at those events can range (literally) from the sublime to the ridiculous. Many of the looks are completely unsuitable for real life, including the recently unveiled "thong jeans" (they look just like you'd imagine) or outfits apparently constructed entirely from plastic wrap, shower curtain rings, and feathers. I'm guessing nobody actually expects reality at these events; but the adoring expressions on the faces of wealthy fashion show attendees remind me of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes." In other words, if the society women sitting next to the runway don't act like these looks are really cool, they will be viewed as not very fashionable.

But, back to the 50 images of outfit layering strategies for real women. To underscore the authenticity of these looks, they are photographed on the streets of (just guessing here) New York, with many of the women shown standing among a throng of people apparently going about their business without giving them a second glance.

The first slide shows an attractive woman wearing a hot pink turtleneck and bright yellow pants, topped with a vivid orange, black and white printed coat featuring a huge purple faux fur collar—or maybe it's a bathmat draped around her neck, my mother has one in exactly that color. Several men and women in the background are dressed in normal business casual attire. The looks go generally downhill from there.

Several of the looks apparently involve wearing as many different pieces of clothing as possible at one time; for instance, a long green and black hounds tooth patterned skirt, topped with a purple crushed velvet shorter dress, a blue and red paisley scarf, pink and white rope belt, navy blue raincoat, brown and tan purse and a large black felt hat adorned with a large white bird ornament. Stunning...but not in the intended way. In fact, the fake bird looks like it might be trying to take flight and leave this layered look behind. This trend could be the next "ugly sweater" party look—participants would simply wear as many odd-looking pieces together as possible and have everyone vote on the winner. They could even dare others to go out in public this way. Fun!

Other looks include wearing a sweater several sizes too big over a white tulle tulip-hem skirt over a pair of jeans and boots. Another pairs leather pants and a leopard-print blouse under a puffy green jacket and a fur stole over that. A third look combines the same green puffy jacket over a blue and white striped wrap dress—or possibly a bathrobe—with a black sheer top peeking out. I could go on and on—there are 50 slides, after all—but I must admit, these images are as painful to write about as they are to read about. But if you're curious, here's the link, to view the slideshow: <>.

One thing I do know about the afore-mentioned apparently up-and-coming wardrobe trends. Those awful photos documenting, "What Some People Wear at Walmart," don't even come close to the weirdness of big city layered fashion looks.

Copyright © 2018 Ruth Wasmer

Contact Ruth at ruth.wasmer@yahoo.com

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