October is here, and once again it’s time for post-season playoffs, foliage and fashion magazines thicker than the Old Testament with seasonal guidance for the young and voguish. What’s in for the fully outfitted professional woman on the go this year? Why, according to Vanity Fair, it’s that old mid-nineties reliable: conservative counterrevolution.
Remember the MSNBC blondes? Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter and Jennifer Grossman? The three picture-perfect pundettes with one opinion among them are now oh so ten minutes ago. The new vanguard is composed not of TV temptresses, according to VF fashion guide Sam Tanenhaus, but genuine thinkers and writers–like Midge Decter and Gertrude Himmelfarb, but with DKNY camisoles and Frédéric Fekkai styling. These pretty young smarties, Tanenhaus tells us, are “the coming thing, heralds, or sirens, of a genuine conservative chic.” “Sexy but not too,” the author coos of Wendy Shalit, who is “part ingenue, part vixen.” “Cool and polished” Danielle Crittenden is half of one of “the capital’s pre-eminent power couples.” “With her trim figure, short copper hair and smart red jacket,” Amity Shlaes “could pass for a stylish college professor.” “Handsome,” “quirky, bold, original” Virginia Postrel, who is “tallish, with flowing locks,” has a “striking pallor…accentuated by a navy-blue suit, a cobalt-blue silk shirt and matching nail polish.” Lyn Chu is a literary agent, not a writer or thinker, but never mind. As her photograph demonstrates, she is quite a babe. (Not pictured, for reasons unexplained, is the “slender” 25-year-old Keachan Kimaye, who showed up for her VF interview wearing “an ankle-length, body-hugging, translucent Ralph Lauren V-neck sleeveless cotton summer dress, striped in sunset pastels, atop a salmon-colored DKNY camisole.”)
Oh yeah, the brains part. What are the ideas that young girls across the land will be accessorizing this season, the ones “shaping a new politics, untethered to tired left-right dichotomies,” ignoring “partisan debates” and “focusing instead on shared generational experiences”? Well, at 23, Shalit published a buzz-heavy book arguing that young women would be happier if they dressed like Hasidim and saved themselves for Mr. Very Right. Crittenden, power right-wing editor and proud bearer of her maiden name, has authored a tome to convince women to give up their careers and proudly bear their husband’s name. Amity Shlaes doesn’t like our system of taxation. And the “visionary” Postrel has “created a new vocabulary, part Ayn Rand, part Star Wars.” (I think Tanenhaus means this as a compliment.)