Oh No She Didn't by Clinton Kelly
As you may have already surmised from its title and its candid (though well-intentioned) author, Clinton Kelly’s Oh No She Didn’t is not your mama’s fashion tome. Brutally honest, Kelly’s book addresses the atrocities that occur in the world of women’s fashion. You get the sense that a gender-inclusive book would either have encyclopedic heft or disastrous effects on Kelly’s sense of Zen. Each two-page spread consists of one bright, looming image of an oblivious model proudly sporting a hideous garment on one side, and a well-observed rant against her and anyone who might be so unfortunate as to align with her, on the other.
Of course, we expect Kelly to be a little scathing in his assessment. After all, these poor unfortunate souls are making his life a living hell. He experiences serious emotional lows and fierce physiological reactions to seeing human eyesores walk around all day. While this could very well be a condition he might want to have checked out by a doctor, we can all be grateful that, for the moment, it has yielded this helpful, witty, straightforward fashion guide. Kelly’s book leaves little room for misinterpretation about what he does and does not condone. Seriously. If you have any doubts about his preferences after reading the book, you can pretty much just call yourself a hopeless case. Be aware that this might require you stay indoors most of the time, lest Kelly catch a glimpse of you looking like a sloth and experience some kind of very public breakdown. You wouldn’t want to be the cause of that, now would you?
Many — perhaps even most — of the fashion faux pas Kelly abhors border on the obvious. Even people who commit them know that consultants like Kelly, certain long-standing rivals, and … well, even their mothers might call them out on their distasteful choices. To give you an idea of the book’s range, it includes blatant fashion disasters like wearing knitted holiday sweaters, showing a “whale tail,” sporting stained clothing and the granddaddy of the female fashion faux-pas — the visible panty line. You don’t have to be an obsessive fashionista to intuitively know that these are crimes you shouldn’t commit, right? But I get it. Sometimes people are too lazy, too cheap or simply fail to prioritize “looking good” right up there with sleeping, eating and breathing. Woe betide them. The point isn’t that women are unfamiliar with these mistakes. That’s not what’s keeping Kelly up at night and making him “throw up a little in [his] mouth” when he sees sloppy women sauntering along the street. It’s that they are choosing to ignore the obvious, even in light of their awareness. Therein lies the tragedy — they do know better; they are simply too lazy to put forth the appropriate amount (which is, as yet, undetermined) of effort.
If he weren’t so particular, he also wouldn’t be so observant and I wouldn’t have walked away from this quick, vibrant read knowing about the few (yes—FEW!) fashion mistakes I do commit. For example, I truly, 100 percent, hand to God, did not know that white girls aren’t supposed to wear beige. I didn’t know that the cuff of a woman’s sleeve is supposed fall at a different part of the hand than a man’s. I didn’t realize that I’m supposed to put stained T-shirts I only keep for house painting somewhere other than the closet because my closet is my “sanctuary of fabulousness.” And I was blissfully unaware that I was no longer allowed to wear Capri pants. Okay, I might have had a hunch about that last one, but my point is that I did actually learn something in this picture-book adventure. And I didn’t even mind that Kelly often makes fun of me, insofar as I represent the sluggard whom he nobly battles on a daily basis, because I, too, get to rally behind Kelly in making fun of others who are worse than I am. Besides, he’s also not above sprinkling a little abuse on himself here and there, like when he warns that if his quick witticisms aren’t “the most profound thing you’ve heard all day, you are too smart to be reading this book.”
Kelly’s guide is definitely worth a look even if you’re a conscientious fashionista who follows all the latest trends and never has a worthless piece of clothing in your closet. You should at least check it out for verification purposes. I’d be really surprised if you don’t have some beige in there! Basically, if you’re a woman who wears clothes, you will find something important and compelling in Oh No She Didn’t. You might be surprised to discover how often you, in fact, did.