Did you see that?!

Clicking over to The Sartorialist and other favorite blogs, I get a taste of what is being worn and seen in the cities of New York, London, Milan and Paris.  I envy the terrific people-watching and what is essentially fashion immersion happening as a part of day to day urban life.  I spent a week in Manhattan not too long ago and simply adored the élan of its inhabitants and the amazing variety of styles just walking the streets.

Living deep in the heart of Southern California suburbia my daily fashion exposure is, well… a bit more…um…SUB-urban.  We embrace sameness here in the OC, even when expressing personal style.  Yawn.  My one big exception is when I trek up to Los Angeles proper to go to an NBA game.  We are long-standing season ticket holders so this happens frequently and provides me with a great opportunity to see LA fashion in its extremes.

And it is extreme!  A professional basketball game audience will span a wide age range, countless cultures and economic levels – 15,000 or so folks in a single open viewing area, complete with television coverage.  You will see it all – from people dressed in sweats to people dressed to be seen and everything in between.  My sweetheart has spent so much time listening to my observations as we sit through half times or wait on time-outs, now even he has joined in the game I have come to call “Did you see that?”

Just watching the variety of fashion do’s and don’ts that don the array of folks who sing the national anthem is fascinating.  There are the All Americans who stride out in perfectly distressed and fitted denim, boots and tees; the local gospel groups in concert ready black; and the up and coming pop stars that teeter onto the floor in platform stilettos and spangled dresses with really short skirts.  And their entourages are usually even more interesting, sometimes bizarre.  Some look terrific, others make me want to gently take them aside and offer to help.    

The “regulars” at a game are especially great to watch as you see them over time and really get a sense of their style.  Our seats happen to be quite near the home bench so we sit with families of the staff and team.  There is one woman whose husband works for the team and she is always amazingly chic and put together.  I watch just to see what bag she will be carrying!  She usually has her two young sons in tow, so keeps it practical wearing nice trousers or jeans, usually with a fab pair of Gucci boots, loafers or ballet flats, a silk shirt or tee, and a great jacket – sometimes baby soft leather, sometimes (real) Chanel tweed – always chic and tasteful.  Clearly she loves designers but has managed to pull her look together without looking like a Beverly Hills label-fest.   

One of the other regulars is a beautiful girl with the worst fitting wardrobe of jeans I have ever seen.  A former cheerleader, she does media work for the team.  She has a perky personality, pretty face, good hair and great figure, her “uniform” is a top with the team logo, jeans and heeled sandals or boots.  For some unknown reason the poor girl has the hardest time with her jeans.  She is always tugging them up – and I mean ALWAYS.  Watching her pulling on the back of her low rises as she walks and wiggling to adjust the sides over a muffin top otherwise non-existent if it weren’t being created by bad fit, I feel uncomfortable for her!  I can feel the chilly air of the arena hitting the small of my back, can feel the pull of too snug denim moving the wrong way.  To add to her fit woes are her otherwise very cute bedazzled tops – some a little too small/short, and some that are so big she has tied them up in various ways to pull in the extra fabric.  I just want to give her a gift certificate for a good tailor.    

Sitting near us are several women in their fifties and sixties who clearly dress to go to the games in coordinated outfits cleverly accessorized. One woman favors bold mustard, deep orange and chocolate which she pairs with large scale gold jewelry, matching bags and shoes (of course) – she is a goddess in these ensembles and works it.  Another gal has several fedoras and newsboy caps that she pairs with a cape or trench coat, creating a look so chic and effortless she should give the young starlets some lessons on how to wear hats! 

These women clearly watch the fashion show as closely as the basketball, too.  I recently wore a gorgeous embellished Anna Scholz tunic that had them all raving, “ooooh, you GO girl!” And when a certain b-list celeb walked by in a truly unfortunate outfit two turned to me simultaneously, eyebrows raised, lips pursed, and said “Did you see that?!”

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