Privilege Blog

What Do You Wear To Meet Your Idol?

What should one wear to hear Cathy Horyn, fashion reporter for The New York Times, speak at the Stanford University Humanities Center? Because that’s where I’m going today.

In standard High WASP tradition, one would rather wither in obscurity than be seen trying. Better to settle for a cultural costume then to attempt Fashion. (One might wonder whether it’s not dreadfully tiring to use the pronoun one all the time. Yes. It is.)

In my case, the cultural costume of Northern California High WASPs means Levi’s, white tee, new peanut-colored Prada cardigan, Ferragamo Varinas. The Varinas for a certain My-Aunt-Wore-Them je ne sais quoi. Oh, and oone tall, handsome, retired professor of English as power accessory. Dad was the second director of the Humanities Center, back when. Thanks Pops. You’re better than Bittar.

I know, of course, that it doesn’t matter one whit what I wear. I do not plan to besiege the woman nor, most likely, even to say more than “How do you do?” should the chance arise. But it’s kind of fun to run my old sartorial anxiety movie and remember how the theater light flickered, and how the film ran, clickety clack, clickety clack.

With due Bloomian credit to kidchamp’s imaginary reading group:

01 What would you wear to this function?
02 Who is your own private Horyn?
03 Extra pencil or use a pen?
04 Compare and contrast the use of accessories in Miuccia Prada’s recent show to relevant sources in The Preppy Handbook. Extra credit for reference to True Prep updates.
05 Did you know Bloom’s The Anxiety of Influence can be found on Google Books? I did not.

You have 90 minutes. Please bring the blue book to the front of the lecture hall when you’re finished. Be sure to sign the honor pledge. Begin.

BTW, you should read Horyn’s blog, On The Runway. And follow her, CathyHorynNYT, on Twitter, if you are there. While you are on Prada’s website, go to Fashion Shows and watch the video.

31 Responses

  1. Ack! I didn't know there was going to be a test! Or am I having that dream where I registered for a class, but didn't go until the last day of the semester…..

    Have a wonderful time with your tall, handsome father!

  2. Lucky you to get to see Cathy Hoyrn!
    But why the levis as part of your cultural costume? Why not a nice pair of gray flannel trousers with the t-shirt and cardigan?
    Oh and I agree about a tall handsome man, retired professor or not, as the ultimate power accessory!
    Enjoy your day.

  3. 01 when i ran into la horyn on an escalator here at my office, i believe i was wearing a knee-length, purple-and-black-zebra-striped moschino cheap + chic sheath dress with black tights and black patent skimmers. that was alright with me.

    02 fashion-wise, probably rei kawakubo.

    03 always, always pen.

    04 as is my wont, i'll digress: miuccia tricked me into wanting clogs – CLOGS! – with her satin cats. the fact that i can't abide satin shoes is, i'll admit, the only thing keeping me honest.

    05 google books is a magical thing. all kinds of useful for fact checking on the fly, and for writing book reviews without lugging books to one's office.

  4. Fantastic – I'd love to see Cathy Horyn. Your outfit and Academic Pop accessory sounds perfect. I'd wear jeans too. Really looking forward to hearing all about it.

  5. Yum, I am loving the sound of the peanut Prada….and the image of you in a white Tee and jeans is so California cool…
    and the Varinas kick it up a notch…
    you could be at the podium :)

  6. Have a wonderful time!

    And sadly, fashion baffles me, so I do not know of whom you speak- eek! 'Could I choose instead to lunch with einstein? Or earhart?

    And pen, as a pencil might break. Always practicality.

  7. Oh, I'm so envious!! She was banned a couple of years ago from a couple of designers' runway shows for having written less-than-glowing reviews. I always admired her for sticking to her guns. And we want to see this Prada cardigan!!

  8. hi lpc,

    have fun today.

    that picture of her makes her look a little angry.

    i say be yourself and you cannot go wrong. that's your best accessory.


  9. I have the HARDEST time deciding on what to wear to big things like this! However, when you pair Varinas with anything I think you are golden my dear!

    Hope all is well- I am sorry I have been a terrible commenter this year!

  10. Patsy – Well at least you aren't naked and taking the test.

    Belle – Because it's Northern California, because it's a university, and because I am likely more of an earnest old hippie than Privilege might lead one to believe). If hippies are allowed to wear Prada and estate jewelry, that is.

    lauren – well yes the fact that it was zebra not leopard elevated everything cats would do the same.

    That's Not My Age – I am very excited, and I'll report back.

    Hostess – Well thank you, but in all honesty, the only podium I'm qualified for is far more boring unless you like software product management.

    Southern – Horyn is kind of the einstein of fashion at the moment. I'm expecting some structuralism.

  11. It's 4am my time I can't sleep. I wouldn't wear levis but hey that's just me!

    I have your dad's book on order from amazon- will there be interesting stuff in there about you??

    tell us all about meeting your writer!

  12. Your dad is Ian Watt?? But Ian Watt is dead. I have ties to Stanford Humanities, so I'm racking my brains as to the identity of this retired professor. Maybe a hint? A tiny clue?

    someone who sat through many a SHC presentation, but remembers none of her outfits. Was too anxious about the Q&A session at the end.

  13. OMG, what fun! This post is wonderful. Don't have time to answer right now, but I'm certainly going to consider coming back later tonight. xx's

  14. spot-on, I am keeping my fingers crossed, though I am sure that I don't need to, that you were best-dressed!

    xoox and an email in a sec


  15. FF – Hope you got some more sleep:).

    Tabitah – Hah! Imagine peanut with a tinge of rose.

    minerrva – email me. You are right. Dad wasn't the first director. I will correct that.

    Splendorosa – Thank you.

    QBS – I felt just fine in my duds.

    Colleen – Thank you!

  16. Deja – She spoke to that exact issue. She was just great.

    Gardners – Yes. It was like being in school when a really good idea hits you for the first time.

    Kappa – It's kind of fun these days, figuring it out, much less serious than it used to be. You always look impeccable.

  17. Uh, you didn't put a link for where you can find a "retired professor of English as power accessory". Love it!!
    Have a fantastic time. Can't wait to hear all about it.xo

  18. Sorry, do not have 90 minutes, give me a detention! Am sure you looked marvelous. Tell us what she says- and what your Dad says.

    I'm avoiding saying much about the levis; I am 62, not what I'd wear, but you young'uns , go ahead.

  19. It sounds fabulous. You sound fabulous and I think it is exactly what you should wear, but it is not what I should wear had I been able to go.
    Do please tell us more about the details.

  20. Good morning Lisa! How was the lecture? Did you bring your diamond studs along or the antique golden earrings?

  21. I read your papa's book – and now I've ended up here. Do let us know how it all went. Am Eueopean so wouldn't wear Levis, but I think you choose well.

  22. I hope you had a wonderful time with your father and enjoyed yourself no matter what you were wearing. :)

  23. So fun!…love clever ideas….90 minutes, huh? Well, in 90 seconds, my outfit would be the same except there might be holes in the jeans, the shoes would be Bass weejans and the sweater would be wool!! As for the accessory…it might be an aging, portly gentleman…sweet as can be!!
    Have a great time—I'm sure you'll look smashing!!!

  24. Belette – Probably in the same place where one meets one's dream analyst boyfriends:).

    Duchesse – Oh no, we are child-led learning here:). I will post some of her thoughts tomorrow.

    Mardel – Thanks. If we all wore the same thing life would be quite different.

    fruewirth – I will answer your earring question tomorrow:).

  25. Fashion, Art and Other Fancies – I am so curious as to how you found Dad's book. Feel free to email me. Your blog is great, BTW.

    Mise – OK. An entire post – only remember my aunts, the ones I knew and know, are all Sturdy Gals. I will work on it.

    Lori – I had a great time. And it was really nice to be with my dad.

    Donna – You would be perfect with all the professors. An honorable dress code.

  26. Oh! I am late and unprepared.

    But I can say: I wore black cashmere, as she was the queen of it – Donna Karan. Always a hard bound artists notebook and a pen, never a pencil – she is very decisive… and she was my beloved boss. And no I did not know but it sounds like something I better read asap… I love that at your level of accomplishment you keep your idols dear. Very genuine. And there is not enough of that, LPC…

  27. Blue Books…hadn't thought about 'em in ages. And when I saw those words, my stomach got nervous. Funny how that Pavlovian thang pounced from slumber.

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