Privilege Blog

The Sturdy Gal Dreams Of A Grand Resort, v.2011

In recent weeks the fashion industry has been showing its Resort collections. High WASPs love resorts. They are places of tennis, sand, and alcohol. What’s not to like? We aren’t sure, however, what the point is of Resort collections, shown in the summer, and not available until 2011. We think it’s an “industry thing,” which makes us think of commerce, which makes us have to lie down.

As long as we are lying down, we will look at the clothes. Good news. There’s something for everyone.* The Sturdy Gal, Artsy Cousin, and Grande Dame can all participate in what the fashion pundits have deemed a “2011 Resort trend.” Good news. For us, or for the industry, of course, I cannot say.

But one might wonder, what trends of the season does the Sturdy Gal like?

Brogues, otherwise known as boy shoes. Black and white. Belts that hold your pants up.

Akris, via simple+pretty

If it’s a girly day, we change out pants for a skirt. We don’t, however, frown. Sturdy Gals are nothing if not cheerful. And we aren’t sure why this woman is so cranky. After all, she’s modeling and she’s over 16. Shouldn’t she be full of joy at breaking ground?

Organic, by John Patrick, via simple+pretty

We can even do dresses. Bottega Veneta bags are our secret vice. We have been known to pat them on the sly.

Bottega Veneta, via simple+pretty

Given these predilections, you can see why the Sturdy Gal worries about her Artsy Cousin. Artsy lives for prints. She adores a good floral, even those haunted by ghosts of upholstery past.

Kenzo, via

And, while the Artsy Cousin will sometimes wander into Sturdy Gal territory, tending on those occasions towards the wistful colors of seaglass green, fallen peach, and dusty berry,

Calvin Klein, via simple+pretty

she is never happier than when she glows like a multicultural flame. Which the Sturdy Gal just doesn’t get. Why would anyone want to wear clothes that, um, show up?

Alberta Ferretti, via

Now the Grande Dame is, of course, another story altogether. She lets her wild side out. On vacation. Sometimes. Dramatically. With dignity.

White looks so good with a perfect tan and fabulous sunglasses. The Dame rules in Lanvin. Meanwhile Sturdy Gal dreams secretly of a love that would blow her skirt askance. Failing wild romance, a trade wind or two will do. Too bad the sunscreen she is never without lessens white’s impact.

Lanvin, via simple+pretty. It appears that the above is a wedding dress. The Grande Dame is considering the etiquette of such a choice.

For a cocktail party, the Dame toes a structured line. Sturdy Gal perks up. “Really? That counts as dressing up? Can I wear flats? Take off the bracelet?” Sturdy Gal makes some allowances for glamor, but none for pain in her feet, or accessories that interfere with eating.

Chris Benz, via simple+pretty

There always comes a moment, in the midst of vacation, when the Grande Dame mutters, a little grimly, “Resort be damned. I say it’s a dinner dance and I’m wearing long and tight. Long, tight, and black.” The intellectual Grande Dame loves the semiotics of this dress, brazen references to beauty caught in symbols and hieratic rites. Or maybe it’s the lace. She’s a sucker for lace.

Oscar de la Renta via The Grande Dame’s friend, is Oscar.

The Sturdy Gal, having arrived early to the dinner dance as she does to everything, sits and eats her salad. At the sight of the Grande Dame in her finery, Sturdy Gal cocks her head. If she squints, she is reminded of favorite tees with silly sayings. Writ large, as they say. Writ wizard. Not a bad thing. Everyone wants to make a mysterious and magic entrance, come the Resort.

*The Sturdy Gal, Artsy Cousin, and Grande Dame are High WASP style archetypes. If you’re curious, just type the names into the blog search box and see what we’re talking about. In future, I’ll put up a page devoted to explicating this curious taxonomy.

31 Responses

  1. Jung would be delighted to learn about your expansion of the archetypes. These are undeniable archetypes and were in need of a name. LOVE it! When I think of WASP and resort I think of Lilly Pulitzer. Which archetype does LP fall under?

  2. Ah, you've done it again!
    Great insights into the WASP life a la resorts!
    What sunglasses would they be wearing?

    Akris is doing some very refined bags but I do love Bottega Venetta's…

  3. "Been known to pat them on the sly" is my favorite quote in your piece today! So funny and so true. That black dress rather took my breath away :-) Have a great day friend. xoxo

  4. Models no longer smile unless they are selling lipstick. But that Sturdy Gal there? She looks a great deal over 16 – is it perhaps now hip to not only dress like your grandmother, but look like her too?


  5. Artsy Cousin seems a flibberjibbet!
    Oscar is my friend too, love love that dress.

  6. Aha The Three Faces of LPC: great fashion and social commentary. Love dress with Bottega bag.

  7. why this woman is so cranky

    Maybe it's because she knows her shoes are totally wrong for the outfit?

  8. Belette – If Jung were a woman, perhaps he would have thought of them himself:). LP is how the Grande Dame goes casual, and the Sturdy Gal dresses well…

    Hostess – Aha! Future post! Sunglasses!

    Preppy – Thank you. Yes, that black dress is something…

    Janet – Thank you.

    DaniBP – I think you are right. She is somewhat of a flibbertyjibbet!

  9. I've never understood the concept of "resort dressing." Every "resort" I've ever visited tends toward the Quite Casual. But you've shown us some pretty clothes, so I'll put my skepticism aside and dream along.

  10. "Pat them on the sly" this is utterly hilarious and oh so true!

    The reason I love WASPS and the main point that distinguishes them from the average Yank is their lack of abstinence and very public pride in the enjoyment of that congenial pre prandial cocktail or four!

  11. I have a feeling I will age into Grande Dame-dom someday. In the meantime, I'll settle for being the Artsy Cousin with a side of common sense. ;-)

  12. Deja – Yeah, I know. Where are the 18,000 pairs of white jeans and tank tops on the runway?

    Tabitha – Thank you. Hey, we got the gin and scotch preferences from you all:).

    agirl – Oh certainly you are.

    VA Gal – I love that. An Artsy Cousin with a side of common sense.

  13. Love the Calvin Klein. Don't love resorts.
    I love to see the geography, get lost and explore.
    What does that make me?

  14. Miss J longs for a resort where folks actually DO wear "resort wear" rather than slobbing around in cargo shorts and flip flops… and she longs for brogues…

  15. the Oscar de la Renta would be fabulous for a cruiseliner circa 1950; oooh so glamourous!

    ps, my heart skipped a beat when I saw "sand, tennis and alcohol" :) achingly perfect!



  16. I love your take on each piece, well put! To me "resort wear" is still simple yet elegant lots of whites and loose fitting outfits paired with fun bright accesories!!

  17. Love this. It's so well thought, although I'm a little sad that the only one who seems to like color is the artsy cousin.
    p.s. as hard as it may seem to swallow, Resort actually stays on the racks the longest of all seasons and is the biggest money maker…
    Hoping you are well!

  18. fabulous and hilarious and, dear God in heaven, how I love that de la Renta gown.

  19. I love your blog, and this post is a great read. I am now convinced that I am a Sturdy Girl, right down to arriving early for everything. I'm surrounded by Grande Dames so I always feel underdressed and too casual.

    Any suggestions for perfumes/scents appropriate for each WASP archetype? Not necessarily to wear at a resort, but in general.

  20. I would pat those bags on the sly too! Love the Chris Benz dress and the Calvin Klein. This was really fun!

  21. Great post Lisa! I really enjoyed reading it, and I totally get the "haunted by upholstery past" thing. No prints or florals here lol. Definitely more of a Sturdy Gal though I admit to admiring the Oscar gown and the Lanvin!

  22. Love this analysis! While I'm firmly planted in Grand Dame-dom — I dress up to go to the grocery store and I never, ever get to the party before there is a crowd in which to make an entrance — there are days when I strive for "Ingenue". Think Audrey Hepburn or Reese Witherspoon. Ingenue would have the presence of a Grand Dame blended with the practicality of a Sturdy Gal peppered with a dash of Artsy Cousin for fun.

  23. Ms. Givens – Artsy with a touch of Sturdy:).

    Miss Janey – I long for them too.

    QueenBee – Hahahahah! Thank you.

    CDS – Yes, that hair's kind of deliciously subversive, isn't it?

    Kay – My mother lived in white jeans for summer dressing up.

  24. Mary Jo – Thank you for the insider insight:). You know, it might just be me who has issues with color:).

    Marieanne – Why thank you!. Why is Oscar so good these days, I wonder?

    Jane – :).

    Caroline – Oh thank you. I was supposed to write about perfumes and I forgot!

    Maureen – I can see you in the Calvin Klein easily.

  25. Jill – Couldn't agree more.

    Leah – Thank you! Isn't that Lanvin amazing?

    3-Penny – Interesting. Ingenue is right, I think, for the young Grande Dame:).

Comments are closed.