Young at Heart, but not with Clothing, Please

One of my least favorite things about living in Los Angeles is the problem of age inappropriate dressing. Last week I was at dinner at Jar (best filet in Los Angeles) and a table of young Hollywood starlet types was at a big table behind me. They all had the same light blonde, shoulder length hair, and tight short skirts. Now if you’ve seen Clueless you know what I mean when I say it was a real Monet moment. From the distance of the door everything looked good, but as I got closer to their table, whoa, it all fell apart. They were, in fact, not young starlets but older Hollywood wives who had visited the plastic surgeon far too often.

I have never considered doing a reality show. People are always telling me, “You and Noreen should have your own reality show. I bet it would be hilarious.” It wouldn’t be. It would be very dull moments of people working on their computers with occasional profane outbursts. I would like to do a reality show, though, where I help people who dress age inappropriately with makeovers. We would shop at Brooks Brothers, J. Press, Chanel, and other sensible brands.

Now don’t get caught up with this being “Preppy” or any other such nonsense. This is just plain good sense that would make the world a nicer place to live.

There are many benefits of growing older: you can yell at people, you sleep less, and you can wear certain clothing items previously inappropriate. These are some of my rules:

1.     Men may wear seersucker before the age of 12, or after 45. Between those ages makes one look foolish.

2.     Men may wear white bucks in the summer, or all year after age 45.

3.     Madras jackets work if a man is over 45, but younger people look like a horses ass in them.

4.     Men can wear bow ties over 45, unless you are a southern politician or Ivy League professor, in which case any age is appropriate.

5.     Ponytails are wrong, wrong, and wrong for anyone over 45.

6.     There is nothing wrong with a sensible bob haircut for women over 45.

7.     Skinny jeans are wrong for anyone, especially people over 45.

More specific rules are listed below. But the point is to stop the madness. When you see an elderly person on the street in tight jeans and a groovy t-shirt, stop them and ask if you can help them to the nearest age appropriate store. Unfortunately, I don’t think my reality show idea will work. As Terry Stone told me, “So you would take mature people and make them look old?” Uh, yeah.

A Map of the World

Last night I had dinner at Jar with my good friend, Michael Bierut, who is always a perfect dinner partner providing a mix of great stories and smart insights. I regretted the 2 martinis at 3:00 in the morning, but that’s probably a bigger issue. Michael talked about some of the things that tie all designers together. Since I had the two martinis I don’t remember what they were, but I do recall they were smart ideas. I know that as designers, we share the predilection to collect and covet odd items that others find confusing. One of the items that I collect, and you may find this hard to believe, is Disneyland and Walt Disney World maps. I love that there are so many different types. Some rely on illustration to give a simplified overview, while others detail every building. Each exists to help direct a guest around the park, but they all presume different ways that the guest thinks. Anyone who has ever designed a signage program has faced the problem that a client insists on a floor plan for a directory. But, large percentages of people stare at floor plans and have no idea how to read them. The next time an office building or hospital signage program needs a directory, I’m going to follow the cute 3d building and funny people with a trombone style.