What Does Glamour Mean in the Age of Adidas Pool Slides?

RIP, Lauren Bacall.


As I write this, I’m lying in bed, still wearing yesterday’s underwear, and thinking about pulling on some cut-offs to go have a cigarette on my stoop. I’m definitely not the most glamorous of humans – I eat with my hands when no one’s looking, my hair is neither very shiny nor particularly bouncy, and I have chronically lazy feet incapable of carrying me more than 12 blocks in high heels. Flatforms are my spirit shoe. I still love getting dressed up, appreciate fine tailoring, and I do a mean cat-eye, but I also occasionally wear Puma basketball shorts I got for $15 from Modell’s Sporting Goods. To work.

I’m not normally a huge sucker for Old Hollywood glamour. Slinky ‘40s dresses and Audrey Hepburn eyebrows still set my heart a-flutter, but exaggeratedly side-parted curls and kitten heel wedges I could certainly take or leave. Mostly leave. But Lauren Bacall, with her prickly reputation, nonchalantly judgemental brow raises, and a husky voice fueled by a however-the-fuck-many-I-want per day smoking habit, makes me want to live out the rest of my days in all of the liquid lamé. Her Old Hollywood was anything but musty.


As I reach what I will soon have no choice but to call my mid-to-late ‘20s, I often find myself harboring vague thoughts about becoming a Lady of Effortless Luxury. I will only work in silk kimonos, I will learn to like heels, and the communal milk will always go into a glass before it goes down my throat. I will playfully chastise men who don’t know how to whistle. I will own nice suitcases.

It’s funny that many of the people who wax lyrical about Bacall’s style (every single person working in fashion, I’m looking at you) are simultaneously heralding the return of Tevas. No shade, no shade – I’m including myself in this. But it makes me wonder, is Effortless Glamour officially a thing of the past? A thing we’ll fawn over on Tumblr between ignoring texts from last night’s OkCupid fling?

At the very least it’s a thing that’s being radically redefined in the age of under-butt. I think, though, it’s consistent with awkwardness and oddities. Bacall had her gravelly voice and sharp one-liners. I have my appropriated Birkenstocks. Maybe she’d be cool with it. Though I still plan on investing in more gold lamé.

What does effortless glamour mean to you? Let us know here.

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