Thursday, October 20, 2011


The exquisite agony of the 1%, according to the New York Times Style section: what do I wear to drop off my child at school?

IN the West Village, a stunningly decked-out woman is nothing unusual. But Rose Cameron still managed to turn heads in the neighborhood recently, with her long black hair and full-length fur coat. Perhaps it was because she wasn't leaving Bar Pitti at midnight, but exiting the Little Red School House after dropping off her child. The time: 8:30 a.m.

As New Yorkers descended blearily into the subway, Ms. Cameron rattled off her fashion credits with the practiced air of a star on the red carpet. The coat was Prada. Her boots, too. "And the dress was, like, $40," she squealed. Is her high-low mix a representative look for the neighborhood?

"I am the wrong person to ask," said Ms. Cameron, who works in marketing. "I'm not the typical mom."

But in fact Ms. Cameron and her ilk are becoming, if not exactly the norm, far more common despite the faltering economy....

That's to drop off a kid at a Village school with a seriously progressive history and alumni who include Robert De Niro, Angela Davis, and the Rosenbergs' kids.

Uptown, there's this:

The area between Central Park and Lexington Avenue in the '90s features a cluster of private schools including Spence, Nightingale-Bamford, Dalton, the 92nd Street Y preschool and Convent of the Sacred Heart. Outside many of the schools' buildings, parents wait in line to enter with their children, a configuration that lends itself to label-gazing. Celine totes and Carolina Herrera jackets abound, and the looks are classic: shirtdresses with simple ballet flats, for example.

"A lot of moms are talking about the red jeans," said Cheryl Hoch, a mother in a snappy trench coat pushing a stroller down 93rd Street on a crisp fall morning, referring to this season's Technicolor denim trend. "Someone has to get a pair of the red skinny jeans!"

Then there is the vogue for Christian Louboutin's red-soled shoes. The author Jill Kargman's daughter Sadie, whom her mother described as "a hawk with all things fashion-y," once observed post-pickup at her Upper East Side school, "Mommy, you’re the only one without red bottoms on your shoes."

These ladies then repair to a coffeeshop called Yura, where one whines to another about how awfully unfashionable moms are in tony but less chic suburbs:

As the morning wound down at Yura, [Lillian] Holtzclaw Stern recalled: "I lived in Greenwich, [Connecticut,] and let me tell you: it's so different. People are in their -- what's the name of that designer, the terrycloth? They're all in their Juicy. Oh, it's awful, actually. It's actually awful. Because they're -- all of them, it's a uniform. And they all end up at Starbucks."

[Her friend Olivia] Gerard gives her a look. "Yeah, I know, but we end up here."

"Yeah, but it's not Starbucks, and we're not in Juicy," Ms. Stern retorted.

So there!

Look, I don't care if these people voted for Obama. I don't care that Lillian Holtzclaw Stern was on the event committee for a Hamptons shindig meant to help save the oceans. I hate these people. I want them to be ashamed to flaunt their wealth, however tastefully, at 8:30 in the morning. I want a sociy that values these people less than it does now, and lets them know it.