Stuart Ewen’s article “…Images Without Bottom...” was particularly interesting reading to me this week mostly because it talked about “style”. This brought up a sore subject of my work meeting this past week. I work once a week at Express it’s a fashion store at the mall, and we had our annual “Spring Launch meeting” where we were informed about our new collection for spring and of course spring/summer dress code. This was not new information about not being able to wear shorts or short skirts but we were introduced to a new rule just born. Women’s shoulders should not be bare, meaning no more tube tops or spaghetti straps. Pretty much wear something over your spaghetti strap shirts or dresses that have thin straps. Can you imagine when it comes to style and working at Express how we all felt; where majority of our spring and summer clothes bare shoulder or more it was pretty controversial news to us all!
This is not all; it was controversial to all of us mostly because Snooki and Paula D from Jersey Shore show on MTV are hired by Express to do a fashion show, consequently representing our store and our brand. Now I don’t know if a lot of you know Express fashion and what kind of clothes we sell but if you check out the website here http://www.express.com/home.jsp and also check out what Snooki and Paula D usually look like on regular basis http://www.snookienicole.com/ you can judge it yourself of what I am talking about when it comes to Snooki and Paula D representing Express Fashion.
This could not have gone over well with many of the Express employees around the nation because of the way Snooki and Paula D portray “style” and the way Express is supposedly choosing to portray “style” by telling its employees we can’t wear shorts, short skirts or even show our bare shoulders. But they choose to hire Snooki and Paula D to represent the store that we are representing on daily basis in front of our customers. What kind of mixed messages are we getting here form our CEO of the company? I thought this quote from the article summed it up all too clearly for me to answer my own question. “In the world of style, ideas, activities, and commitments become ornaments, adding connotations and value to the garment while they are, simultaneously, eviscerated of meaning.” (20)