The New Looking Good...

Here’s an advertising trend that comes up every now and then: putting glamorous apparel on models made to look sad/greasy/hostile. I’m stumped by this. Why would it help sell an outfit to show that outfit on a person who looks miserable? There must be a method to this madness, or so many designers wouldn’t be doing it. But what? What’s the thinking?
To get my head around the idea, I tried to envision how each of these ads came to be, by imagining a conversation among these characters:
Ad Exec: Mike
Photographer: Steve
Models: Zelda, Daphne, Marcia, Lisette, Brenda, Chloe and Babs
(* None of these are the real people’s names, obviously. They’re just people I’m making up in my head.)
* * *
Mike: So Zelda, what we’re going for here is warmth of coat, coldness of heart, OK?
Steve: That’s right. Zelda, give us a look that says, “I fucking hate this navy scarf and my ex-husband who gave it to me.”
Zelda: Got it. Can you guys get the lighting a little more harsh? Let’s see if we can create the effect of bags under my eyes, symbolizing the baggage we all carry through life.
Mike: Zelda, you are a genius.
* * *
Steve: Mike, I don’t feel like this is going to work. The client wants “anemic, angry, and disheveled,” but Daphne here is just too damned attractive and perky.
Mike: You’re right, Steve. Here, let’s comb some salad dressing through her hair.
Daphne: What the SHIT, you guys?
Steve: YES. Get MAD, Daphne. THAT’S the look we want!
* * *
Marcia: Um, this jacket is like four sizes too big.

Mike: Zip it, Marcia. We have a strategy here.
Marcia: Zip it? There’s no zipper.
Steve: He means “zip it” like shut up.
Marcia: You guys are mean.
Mike: Get in the pool, Marcia.
Marcia: Wha-?
* * *
Zadig & Voltaire
Mike: So, Steve, what the company wants here is to reach the audience of women who bite their nails, cut their own hair with yard shears, and perform home perms on themselves.
Steve: Because those are the women most likely to wear red pantsuits?
Mike: Exactly.
Steve: Lisette, can you cover up all that exquisite bone structure with your bangs, maybe put your hands up in front of your face, too?
Lisette: I think so. How’s this?
Steve: Slap my grandmother, that’s perfect.
* * *
Steve: Mike, I can’t work with Brenda. She’s too human.
Brenda: I don’t have to be human. I could be an inanimate object.
Mike: A day late and a dollar short, Brenda. Get out.
Brenda: F*** you guys. [leaves the room]
Mike: Well, Steve – what are we going to do now?
Steve: I’m going to bring in this freaky life-size marionette instead. See?
Mike: I love it! This works out great, Steve, because as you know, this brand is really looking to target women who identify with giant-faced, creepy-eyed, disjointed wooden puppets.
* * *
Marc Jacobs
Steve: Wow, Chloe and Babs, you two are beautiful.
Chloe: Yeah, we get that a lot.
Babs: Honestly, it’s kind of a curse.
Steve: Well, let’s see what we can do about that. Both of you, close your eyes, take these scissors, and cut your hair. Make sure you leave about 5 inches in the back. Great. Now, rub this Vaseline on your heads. Perfect. OK, Chloe, give me a look that says, “My dad ran over my puppy.”
Chloe: Like this?
Steve: Perfect. Now, Babs, I want you to give me your best open-mouthed, double-chinned, borderline mentally disturbed look.
Babs: Like this?
Steve: No, more.
Babs: Lahk dis?
Steve: Bingo
Mike: We’re all going to be billionaires, people. This is cash money on the table, right here.
So remember this fashion lesson, folks: You’re never fully dressed without a simmering glower.
* * *
Article brilliantly written by When I Blink 


  1. this is hilarious I remember seeing the last ad in a mag and I was like wtf???

  2. Haha! I often wonder "what were they thinking?" with some of the styling in ads. This is genius!

  3. Thank you for such an entertaining post! But really, I don't understand these ads either.


  4. Seriously! This is horrible marketing and does not make me want to buy the clothes AT ALL.

    Hilarious commentary!

  5. This is so perfect Nicholl! The last one KILLED me. I was on-board with the slightly disheveled hair thing J Crew had going on (I caught your hilarious post about that too!) but this is just terrible. I may do anything NOT to look like these ads, which would def include NOT buying what they're selling.

    Chelsea & The City

    Today is the last day to enter my 2 year blogiversary giveaway for a chance to win a Baublebar Pave Links bracelet & sweet hanger necklace!

  6. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for sharing.

    Stop back by I Miss You When I Blink anytime!

    -MLP at I Miss You When I Blink

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  8. This made me laugh so hard -the last was HYSTERICAL!!! Thanks for this :-)

    -Jill @ ConnecticutCoutureStyle.blogspot.com

  9. Hilarious, I love it. And seriously dead on. :)


  10. That last Marc Jacobs ad is ridiculous!! What even is that face?!?!?

  11. lmao!!!!

  12. Hilarious! I'm always puzzled by the way these models are made to look. XOXO

  13. I think you are becoming one of my favorite fashion bloggers. I love it!


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