Monday, 3 May 2010

Leave the lederhosen to the kinder

If I had to choose my favourite season, summer would not be number one. In fact, it wouldn't even make it into the top three. Fall is my favourite for its poetic blend of nostalgia and bitterness. It's both beautiful and cruel, just like those expensive five-inch stilettos that cost you two paycheques and which you vowed to wear all-the-time because they go-with-everything but which almost caused you to plummet to your death while negotiating a spiral staircase after several martinis. And by you, I mean me.

This year, though, I'm looking forward to summer. The only explanation I can offer for this uncharacteristic change of heart is that I just went through my first Canadian winter as a dog owner. Of a dog, mind you, who curls up on a patch of ice and falls blissfully asleep the way most animals can only do on your goose-down duvet in front of a roaring fire. Of a dog who is capable of clawing through glass just to get a face full of fresh snow. A dog who sweats in -20 degree winds. Come to think of it, for a 14-month-old chocolate Lab, Floyd is remarkably similar to a menopausal woman in the throes of a hot flash. And being a good 20 years away from experiencing hot flashes myself, I tend to get a bit chilly when I walk the little monster. So yeah, I'm pretty psyched that summer is upon us.

What I'm not looking forward to, however, is the inevitable onslaught of fashion don't's that accompany the season: short-shorts and high heels, white jeans and red thongs, tube tops and tan lines. I dare say, I wouldn't bat an eyelash if I saw a woman swing herself around a bus stop pole. To add insult to injury, designers have decreed leather shorts to be a summer staple this year. They're calling them lederhosen (German for leather pants), the likes of which have until now been reserved for deutsche kinder and anyone with a walk-on role in The Sound of Music. (Though I would be remiss if I didn't also cite Chevy Chase in the greatest scene in European Vacation where his misunderstanding of a traditional German dance spirals into a festival-wide brawl.) It would seem that leather shorts are no longer the sole domain of S&M bars and gay pride parades. No, they're trendy. As seen on the runways of Chloé, YSL and Pucci, in the Bergdorf Goodman catalogue and even the shelves of Zara. You know what that means: expect to see them on a Main Street near you. Worse, near me. Scheiße.

Lederhosen on a child, where they may (or may not) belong

 Leather shorts at YSL and Cholé, where they definitely do not belong

I'm not so naive that I don't understand the sweeping appeal of a girl in short-shorts and heels, white jeans and a red thong, a tube top and tan lines, I just think it's tacky. But leather shorts bring out a whole other finger-wagging, tsk-tsk'ing old lady in me and she's most concerned about hygiene and breathability and ensuring a safe environment for all your lady bits. All things that will be highly compromised by leather shorts on a hot, humid day in July. And that's cruelty of the ugliest kind.


  1. Was this post brought on by our breathability conversation with LDC in Anthro the other day?

  2. A rather parochial opinion at best. Lederhosen are far more than a mere trendy fashion statement, although the concept in its most culturally empty state seems to have lodged in the most superficial level of consciousness found in contemporary pop culture dweebs' craniums. That said, Trachten has been around for a good long time and it often ill suits those who do not have cultural links to it. As we often say in Bayern, "Scheiss in der Lederhosen!"

    Here's a memorable quote for you on Lederhosen: "Screw up my life?" He stared at me for a second and then said, deadpan, "I'm a five-foot-three, thirty-seven-year-old, single, Jewish medical examiner who needs to pick up his lederhosen from the dry cleaners so that he can play in a one-man polka band at Oktoberfest tomorrow." He pushed up his glasses with his forefinger, folded his arms, and said, "Do your worst."
    (--attributed to Jim Butcher)