Are you feeling old and out of fashion? Would you like to be au courant? Would you like be considered a trend setter? Well, I’m going to tell you exactly what to do. Have you got a pencil ready? Okay, write this down. W.A.I.T. You heard me. All you need to do to be in vogue is to wait. Wait for what, you ask? It really doesn’t matter because every single thing that was once popular comes back again. Overalls. Granny glasses. Combat boots. The city streets are full of hip stylistas rocking them all and it’s not just clothes.
Just last month there was article in the tony food section of the New York Times Magazine celebrating the return of…wait for it…quiche, that dry doughy egg pie that used to be the staple of pot luck dinners in the nineteen nineties. Really, I am not making this stuff up. And recently, the Boston Sunday Globe announced that the decorating motif of my living room was in vogue. That’s right, my forty year old collection of mismatched furniture, flee market finds, swap shop trash, inherited wall hangings and hand me downs, is not only au courant, but has a name.
The old couch with the Indian blanket covering the cat urine stain; the oriental carpet that the rug dealer told me was too worn to bother having cleaned; even the table lamp made from a straw covered chianti bottle can all be summed up as Bohemian décor or as the description reads, ‘the perfect blend of eclectic and fun without trying too hard.’ I never would have known what to name my fashion concept, no less describe it, although if pressed the term inertia might suffice, that is, keeping a lot of stuff that got there from somewhere and was just too heavy to move.
Of course, nothing comes back in exactly the same way. There are always new tweaks or adaptations to the previous trends, which are usually built in to make them more expensive. Seriously, a trendy restaurant can combine imported Gruyere, high butterfat brie, and aged gouda with a pound of whole wheat noodles instead of bow ties and Velveeta but it’s still mac and cheese no matter how much they charge for it. In fact, in a boom and bust economy like ours, everything that becomes passé when times are good comes back in again when the bubble bursts and the stock market tanks.
For example, as a result of the foreclosure crisis back in two thousand eight when people could no longer build McMansions or even afford to rent, the tiny house movement became popular and kitchens like mine, which resemble the galley of a submarine, became tres chic. Who would have thought that a peg board wall and a ceiling full of low hanging pots would get featured in Architectural Digest?
Not that I’m complaining. It feels good to be in the Avant Guard. I’ll even admit that I’ve always been a little ashamed of my tiny kitchen because a lot of my friends live in new houses that have kitchens that bring to mind the lobby of Courtyard by Marriot with long sleek marble countertops and pendant lighting and stainless steel bar stools.
It always struck me as an ironic twist that few of these people ever cooked a thing. They either went out to eat every night or were always on diets, and if you opened their sub zero freezers in search of an ice cube you realized they were as dependent for nutrition on Trader Joe’s frozen food section as a new born is on mother’s milk.
But now here I am, a guy who hasn’t updated his kitchen since the Clinton administration and, because fashion repeats itself, I’m all of a suddenly on the cutting edge.
So, take heart. Getting old doesn’t have to be about being behind the times. You can actually be ahead of your time if never throw anything out. Because everything comes back again….and depending on how long you live, again and again and again.
I’m Ira Wood…and that’s my opinion.