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Fashion Advice

[whitespace] Miss Pinkie Shears

Miss Pinkie Shears

Dear Miss Pinkie Shears,
I am a graduate student in philosophy, currently struggling with my dissertation in the philosophy of language. My problem is that I want to conserve the mental energy that I find myself expending while deciding what to wear. It occurred to me that the most straightforward way to solve this problem would be to wear the same outfit every day. I had a similar problem with food--I've been quite happy now for about a year eating exactly the same things for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Could you suggest an outfit that is attractive and comfortable and that won't cause me dire social consequences if I wear it all the time?
Peter Hanks, Dept. of Philosophy, UC Berkeley

Dear Peter,
If you had received a letter in your mailbox one day from a fatigued advice columnist asking if you knew of one thing she could say over and over to everybody that would not cause her dire social consequences, I wonder what you would say? I find it curious that someone with your interests should be so quick to toss aside such a basic medium of communication. The philosophy of language is but a speck in the eye of the philosophy of fashion. Fashion--the conscious choices we make in how we present ourselves--is the primal moment when we begin to manipulate the thoughts of others.

But since my words may fall on deaf ears, I suppose I could suggest a number of things to "help" you. Nothing too severe--day after day, people will suspect you. Nothing too, too casual or you may gain a reputation for sloth. If you had seemed to be the sort to carry it off, I might have suggested several intriguing options. Anyhow, I believe there is a store for just such a crisis. Black shoes, a few pairs of jeans, a couple pairs of chinos, six basic T-shirts, one white and two blue oxfords, and provided you wash your clothing, no one will ever notice what you're wearing. Except for Chairman Mao. Somehow I think he would be quite happy.

In need of advice? Send all queries and comments to Miss Pinkie Shears at San Francisco Metropolitan, 1776A 18th St, San Francisco, 94107. Miss Shears cannot be reached by phone.

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From the February 1, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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