U.S. Senator John Fetterman (D-PA)/WTIF.org/Marc Levy/The Associated Press

Defund the fashion police

Schmatta lives matter

Jeffrey Denny
6 min readNov 5, 2023


Jeffrey Denny

Feeling stressed, anxious, traumatized and terrified about what to wear today?

Whatever your gender identity, here’s a tip from Vogue reporting from the 2023 Paris Fashion Week:

“Khaite’s black Malek double-breasted blazer is a timeless take on this [“street style”] trend. Wear it with a pair of High Sport’s signature kick-flare pants, Stella McCartney’s blue oxford shirt, and a pair of Repetto Mary Jane flats. There you have it — a look that will never get old.”

Philistine question: Is this outfit really “street style” when it costs $7,000 plus tax?

More important, does Vogue seem, pardon my Parisian, a bit pas en vogue?

First, that “never old” outfit is already old since it happened way back last spring in this fast-fashion era. Which is propelled by today’s young Instagram and TikTok influencers we should hear and heed because current youth are smarter about cognitive dissonance. Like balancing concern for climate and human rights with swooning for fast fashions made from petroleum-based fabrics cut and sewn by poor wage workers.

Also, if you wear that $7,000 outfit more than once a week, the fashion police, feeling unsafe, might tase and put you in a neck hold. To feel safe from the fashion police, you need at least five different fashionable outfits like this per week with a wardrobe budget of roughly $2 million a year.

Most of all, to real actual people, fashion today is old-fashioned.

Covid accelerated the trend that style is for schmos. Shmatta is in.

Fashion media sources say Ralph Lauren is working on a new line for the 2024 Paris Fashion Show dubbed “George Costanza in sweatpants.”

People who dress well only matter to people who dress well. They’re disappearing faster than dry cleaners using poisonous chemicals to make you look sharp.

Fashionistas are Trump MAGAs in couture — desperate lost-cause militants.

We don’t dress for success, in excess, or to impress anymore. Except if we’re on the douchey preening wealth spectrum. Or on Halloween. Otherwise we don’t care what we wear because nobody we care about does either.

Miranda Priestly — you know, the devil wearing Prada — is stabbing a Christian Louboutin stiletto heel into her forehead because it’s more stylish for a DIY lobotomy than an icepick.

You see the Slobbing of America everywhere and raises interesting questions:

The U.S. Senate

By unanimous consent, the Senate recently passed a resolution to formalize the unwritten Senate dress code of “business attire” that “shall include a coat, tie, and slacks or other long pants.”

This after Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman showed up in sweatshirt, cargo shorts and flip flops that internet sources say were blown out by a pop top in Margaritaville.

Senate dress code violators will be arrested by the Sergeant at Arms and sent home to change. Wardrobe insurrectionists will be impeached. Because it’s not whether you shut down government to slash help for struggling Americans, or support a criminally indicted president who abused power, obstructed Congress, incited an actual national insurrection, or conspired to illegally overturn an election and destroy The Greatest Democracy in the World. It’s what you wear doing it.

Of course, just like a brand of patriarchy hair coloring that shall go unnamed, the new Senate dress code is Just for Men® like everything else is, as it doesn’t spell out business attire for women.

Question: Who would you rather have in Congress:

Fetterman, a decent Pennsylvania fellow who looks like his blue-collar constituents?

Or his House colleague, Matt Gaetz, with greased coif, Hugo Boss bespoke suit, and penchant for self-serving political chaos and comely interns, looking sharper than his Margaritaville “Florida Man” voters he suckers for power?

The gym

You can’t show up at Equinox ($200/mo., $2 million annual fee) wearing the same workout fashion as grandparents at the YMCA ($20/mo., $0 million annual fee). (Prices vary.)

You also can’t show up at Equinox for a workout looking dreadfully like someone who needs a workout, let alone dressed like one.

For Equinox, shop.lululemon.com for workout fashions that show off how hard you worked for a wicked hot bod and hedge fund bonus.

For YMCA, shopthesalvationarmy.com for threadbare rock band tee shirts and the old Dollar Store Real George Costanza Sweatpants® line.

Question: If Equinox and YMCA have largely identical machines, the weights weigh precisely the same, exercise is exercise, and can be done anywhere, anytime, at zero cost, then why do we need to spend up to work up a decent sweat and heart rate?

Air travel

Vile passenger fashion, for decades a stand-up comedian go-to, has turned toxic and tragic.

Thank airline deregulation that produced $50 round-trip flights from Trumpland to Margaritaville like on Mike Lindell’s MyAirline® featuring rows of Dollar Store beach chairs. And bottomless Costco Kirkland® Signature Anejo Tequila shots for pilots and crew but not passengers who need them more.

Nobody expects to jet today with Sinatra in a suit, tie, cufflinks and fedora beckoning from a private charter strip crooning “Come Fly with Me,” which if you know Sinatra means intercourse.

But we also don’t need to experience fellow passengers in Covid loungewear such as Big Lebowski Dude-abiding tattered robe, tee-shirt, shorts and sandals. Or even scarier insurrection MAGA militia fashion as seen on the J6 Capitol reality show.

As Americans, we have the right to fly without needing those air sickness bags when even first-class passengers dispense with class. Like crypto bros.

U.S. Senators from Florida, Texas and other leading MAGA insurrection states unanimously defeated an amendment to the Senate dress code resolution aimed at imposing polite air travel dress codes.

The measure would have authorized TSA to arrest and send violators by megabus scented with Febreze MotorCoach Restroom® to the secret Miss Manners Reeducation Camp, located somewhere in lower Connecticut and nicknamed “Guantanamo for the Abominable.”

Some Democrats opposed the measure because it would allow TSA to undermine our freedom and abuse its “Minority Report” pre-crime profiling tool to catch a certain passenger in sweatshirts, cargo shorts and pop-top blown-out flip flops at Harrisburg International Airport heading to Reagan National Airport to make good laws.

At work

Post-Covid workplace dress codes are confusing. Many are hurtful enough to involve HR. Like when you proudly dress in your traditional ethnic garb of lederhosen and nothing else like I want to.

That’s because employers are confused about what they want from their people — their most important asset except for all the others — before rightsizing them to chase new waterfalls.

So whether you’re in-office, remote, hybrid, or let go months ago but didn’t get the email so you’re still Zooming from Margaritaville — who knows what professional fashion best compensates for lousy performance?

Brilliant career consultants schooled us to “dress for the job you want.” But what if your boss is a pathetically naked climbing douche who still wears a coat, tie, and slacks like he’s in the U.S. Senate because his boss does?

And what if your boss’s boss switches to the new dressed-down “executive look” featuring Brooks Bros. jeans, oxford button-down, and workwear vest? Shouldn’t you? To leapfrog your boss, become his boss, and revenge?

Question: When working remote, can men do oxford button-downs in Salvation Army Hanes boxer briefs? Can women do the same, only in a top that also looks professional? And why can’t men wear tops?

As Devil in Prada Amanda Priestly sniffed, you may think fashion has nothing to do with you.

To paraphrase, you wear Gap from Goodwill because “you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back.”

But maybe you’re just comfortable with yourself and think you deserve to be in comfortable clothing.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.



Jeffrey Denny

A Pullet Surprise-winning writer who always appreciates free chicken.