Take Me Out To The Fashion Show

With a heavy heart we bid adieu to our local “Boys of Summer;” gone unceremoniously as the Mets “dropped the ball” in the bottom of the ninth inning, game 5 of the World Series Sunday night to the Kansas City Royals. Not wishing to cry over spilled milk or un-agitated Champagne magnums in the Mets clubhouse, I’ve decided to enumerate the ways in which the American pastime of baseball is similar to that of the field of fashion. Although the two pursuits seem like unlikely bedfellows, the fact that I’m obsessed with both, indicates, at least to me, that they must have some shared characteristics.

OPI Nail Polish Collection from 2014

First I will “step up to the plate” and compare a fashion show to a ballgame. In both scenarios you are sitting in tiered seats waiting expectantly. While the “Star Spangled Banner” is not a feature of the runway show, there is still music; either the designer’s selection accompanying the show’s theme or, at the game, walk up music selected by the individual player. When the first pitch is thrown it is like the first outfit coming down the runway. Will it be a “knock your socks off” Charlie-Brown-style throw to make the other team/fashion critics sit up and take notice with a hint of things to come in later innings/outfits? As the game/show progresses are we being served up a diet of mostly fast balls, curve balls, sinkers, breaking balls, change ups or nasty sliders? What is the overall statement that the fashion designer is wishing to make and is he in his “wheelhouse” as the models parade on the catwalk? Is he playing in the Major Leagues; a heavy hitter (like Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel) or is the bat whiffing the air (like many nameless and faceless industry wannabes/rookies)?

Once the ball is in play by the leadoff hitter what will happen? A single, a double, a home run is good; a ground out, fly out or strike out is not. Same thing with the designer’s collection: will it be a hit with the press, bought by the right stores, worn by the right celebrities? Will it be knocked off by H&M? Or will it perhaps spawn its own much ballyhooed collaboration a la “Ball-Main.” Ha! Perhaps it will linger unattractively on the racks gathering dust until it is marked down or sent into “extra innings” in some tragic clearance outlet?

Another aspect that fashion and baseball share is that due to trades (baseball) or design house reorganization (fashion) there is a chance to keep reinventing and recreating the status quo. Sometimes this is a good thing –it’s doubtful that the Mets would have ever gotten to the playoffs if many of the players had not been reshuffled or traded during the regular season. In the case of the fashion industry where you’re only as good as your last collection, designers tend to feel the pressure to “cover all the bases” and are often “brushed back” or replaced by a “cleanup hitter” should they not be “batting a thousand.”

Long Hair, Don’t Care

The baseball player’s personal style on the field comes under scrutiny similar to a celeb on the red carpet. Although they wear uniforms, there is some variation on how they wear them particularly whether they favor the pants tucked into the high socks or left loose and flowy in the breeze. In fashion terms this is like opting for the skinny jeans with high boots or the flares. Other than the Yankees where a “clean cut” rule (no facial hair, no hair below the collar) is enforced, many teams allow players a lot of slack with their grooming especially during the postseason.

My personal favorite is Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom with his long curly locks; so adorable you could eat him with a spoon. Some players wear necklaces or lucky talismans, colorful wrist guards or other distinguishing trademarks which show a bit of their personal style. Just like their celebrity counterparts, their behavior can be less than dignified. Often they are shown spitting, chewing or scratching (make that “readjusting” certain parts of their ahem anatomy), making them “just like us.” That is if “we” could toss, hit or field a 97 mile an hour fast ball.

Where is my white blouse?

There is often a shared lingo between baseball and fashion. When I’m in a hurry (“a bang-bang play”) yet am able to select an inspired outfit from the thick of my closet, I feel like I’ve “hit one out of the park.” Wearing a denim shirt with a pair of jeans could be known as a “double play” in case you’re tired of the “Canadian tuxedo” reference. If someone is sporting something really heinous and unflattering you could ask them if that “off-base” choice came out of “left field” or if they are intentionally throwing a “curveball” — a “whole ‘nother ballgame.”

Chanel 2012 Karl and Bride

And with that, and a fear that this concept has been “played out,” I think it’s time to bring in the ball game closer/ fashion show bride.

– Laurel Marcus

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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