by my daughter, Peregrine
I chose the stripy pantsuit, sequin dress, and puffy dress to write my critique about. The pantsuit was chosen because I find it utterly loathsome, and I write better when I hate something. I chose the sequin dress because abhor it less than the other clothes (barring the suit jacket, which I feel utterly ambivalent about). I was left to choose between the suit jacket and the puffy dress, and I at least feel some emotion towards the dress (distain mostly), whereas the suit jacket was only interesting until I realized that the buttons said Versace rather than Vengeance, so I settled upon the puffy dress.
How would I describe the pantsuit? How would a decent person describe Hell? I imagine that, could you answer the second question, you would find the same answer for the first. I believe that this is because both of the questions are permutations upon the same basic idea: How does someone who has always tried to do what is right, or at least never strayed beyond the pale, into the realm of atrocities, even find words to encompass the absolute antithesis of what they have always worked for, whether their lifelong goal be fashion sense or righteousness, the belief-crushing sense of wrongness they feel when viewing, respectively, the pantsuit or Hell, is the same.
So I ask again, and it truly is a question this time, how do I describe the pantsuit? I do not know. The human mind lacks words to describe the utter and absolute wrongness that permeates every fiber of its cloth, of its pattern, in a color that is simultaneously reminiscent of dead, rotting fish, and Donald Trump’s face, both of which I hate. How can I put words to paper to convey the spatial absurdity of clothing that I imagine conveys the impression that the wearer is both overweight and unhealthily thin? I suppose that I do not. Perhaps my valiant struggle for words, for descriptions, is enough to impart just how detestable I find the pantsuit. But nevertheless, it seems that I must find silver linings in a world of charcoal and eternal blackness, so three things I like about the pantsuit are: 1) I am not currently wearing the pantsuit; 2) Barring an ultimatum of death or wearing the pantsuit, I will presumably never have to wear the pantsuit; 3) The pantsuit is presumably flammable, so its evil can one day be purged from this world in a cleansing inferno.
Moving on, the sequin dress caught my eye because it is, as the name suggests, a dress covered in sequins. It is also very green. Three things I liked about it: 1) The back is quite nice, and I imagine it would look really awesome on someone with the right figure; 2) It is a very nice shade of green; 3) I imagine that it’s what a leprechaun would wear to go clubbing, and the mental image imparted by that thought was fun.
As for the puffy dress, it is, shockingly enough, puffy. I don’t really like it. It reminds me of someone who was beautiful in their younger years, but as they age, and maturity should replace youthful freshness, they refuse to relinquish how they looked when they were young, clutching fruitlessly at what they think gives them value, unable to truly maintain it, instead sinking deeper into an overly makeup-ed and plasticized facsimile of their long-ago beauty, and when time should have given them dignity and poise, all they are left with is an uncanny visage of how they once looked, twisted beyond all reason and concepts of grace. The puffy dress reminded me of that, tiny beads pulled off, leaving training threads and vacant knots, mesh covering everything in a layer of coarseness, looking inelegant and almost…unfinished, as if waiting for a last layer of fabric to cover the fine netting. Three things I liked about it: 1) The fabric was soft; 2) It’s not pink; 3) It’s not the pantsuit.
If I had to choose any of these garments to wear, I would probably choose the sequin dress. I do really like the lining of beads along the neck and straps, and the back is intriguing, and might distract from how poorly I imagine it would fit. As for which garment I would never think of wearing, the answer is easy. The pantsuit. The hideous, flattering to neither man nor beast, possibly malevolent, pantsuit. I imagine that if one were to put it on, they would be immediately possessed by a spirit of terrible fashion sense, assuming one does not already reside within them, based upon their decision to allow something as abhorrent as the pantsuit onto their bodies, when there is literally anything else they could wear, such as paper sacks, a thin veneer of self-confidence, or the skins of their enemies.
As for who in popular media would wear what, I’m not entirely sure. I suppose that the puffy dress could be used in some very off-Broadway production of the Wizard of Oz, because Glinda wears white (or pink) and their prop budget is presumably in the negatives. The sequin dress might work in some modern version of the Wizard of Oz, if you wanted to represent some fun party leprechaun or something; I don’t really know, maybe also the Little Mermaid? As for the pantsuit, I think it would probably be worn best by some grisly monster that eats your face and absorbs your soul, for example, IT from IT. I think this pantsuit would work well in this role because its attempt at cheery colors would be a nice juxtaposition to the monstrosity wearing it, until you looked closer and realized that the pantsuit was just as monstrous as its denizen.
I think that the purpose of this exercise is probably to make us practice writing critiques and reviews, as well as using our own opinions to convey things, rather than going with the herd mentality that forms among many of my peers (and perhaps to some small extent, myself, but I’m not sure on that point). Presumably you also want to see what each of us notice and remember when looking at certain things, because one hundred people could all see the same dress and not a one would exactly share what stands out, what they like or dislike, how it makes them feel. I think that it might also be so that you can have proof that we wrote things, and it is a good way to combat the people who usually come up with plays at the last minute, without an inkling of a script. Whatever your reason, I do enjoy ranting semi-incoherently about pantsuits, more than I like writing scripts, so I appreciate it.