The soft-newsification of the Wall Street Journal under Rupert Murdoch proceeds cautiously. We are treated to a weekly style column — yes, on a weekday! — but it cleaves to business angles, though as elsewhere it offers plenty of envy inducement. Christina Brinkley, author of previous columns such as “How to Pull Off ‘CEO Casual’” and “Billion-Dollar Question: Is Bling Over?” tells us that when she wears her St. John suit, “maitre d’s snap to attention, sales clerks rush to assist me,” while when she wears “my black Banana Republic pantsuits,” waiters can be “slow to respond.” Who needs that at a power lunch? Yet St. John ensembles only cost a “couple thousand dollars apiece — a steep price, but only a third the cost of similar outfits at high-fashion brands like Chanel and Akris.” No digging through Barney’s sale racks for Brinkley, she has a plane to catch.
While “the cost of luxury can seem outlandish,” Brinkley says, “clothes also have the power to transform you.” She then lays some semiotics on us — the ultimate status symbol! Also, in her magical suit, she got shoe tips from Pete Rose, who was wearing “an ostrich-skin baseball cap and matching boots” at the time.
There are some concessions to the new austerity: Status-conscious sub-CEOs can keeps their lone expensive suit fresh by having it periodically blocked. “My suit rarely needs dry-cleaning,” she tells us, “and looks as good at the end of the day as it did at sunrise.” Also, the suit is “strong workmanship and non-trendy style.” Next week: the best earrings for one’s head to wear at the end of a pike.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 30, 2008