People without style can really wreck a girl's nerves. Granted, peer pressure is the devil and we've all succumbed in one way or another, but you just have to bet on the horse that's gonna win for you personally, instead of the one that (Nikes, khakis, platform flip-flops) everyone else is riding. Conformist over-kill can be observed in the most bizarre places. We wonder outloud at least seven times a year, about what exactly drives all fifty-plus filmmakers to wear baseball caps over their gray ponytails? This sort of clan behavior occurs naturally everywhere from the animal kingdom and the country club to modern day conversations. Multimedia production companies guilty of overcharge pull the same smoke and mirror shenanigans as interior design firms by using like "chairs dancing in the corner" to embellish their invoices. On-line dudes, however, have things like "navigationality" and "functionality" roll off their tongues and the check always gets signed because the flashy unknown term somehow warrants the expense. The main difference between the two genres is that no one would really never hire a group of straight white men to decorate one's apartment - although they do dominate the world of Web design. Dark wood, plaid horse blankets and little ducks everywhere would be enough to send any style savvy decor maven South of the Border. Personal style is one of the precious few things left that is still in our control. Let's use it.

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In honor of her own unwavering personal style in the speech category, we give three cheers to the little Jamaican whiz kid aka Speller 74, Jody-Anne Maxwell, that cleaned up at the recent Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee. Each correctly spelled word was prefaced with a ritual string of excruciatingly polite questions, and long, long pauses that visibly tried the mediator's nerves - and drove the judges crazy. Our favorite part was that she won! Witnessed with a group of fashionistas in tow, words like chignon, sangfroid, and gauche were spelled with no problem at breakneck speed. Sadly, Pannetone (an Italian desert cake high in bathing suit offending calories) was a struggle.

Every so often it really is a good idea to travel to a strange planet to investigate new customs and broaden one's style horizons. We found Los Angeles, heralded as the *new* forerunner of creative pulse, to be as dry of style as its surrounding deserts. L.A. based Mack Daddys still sported printed polyester thrift, clearly unaware of the approacing millenium - while the babes still wore crotch skimming minis, sheer tops, and spike heels. The beauty of their Clueless attire, although emotionally trying for outsiders, is that if they never leave their oasis, they remain safe from ridicule. Heading East fast, leaving hairpins suspended in midair, I realized that any unsettling experience, that strengthens one's style convictions, is worth the torture. I will remain committed to my oath to never get silicone implants and to never wear hot pants to a business meeting - during which I will never be compelled to casually cram every-famous-person-that-I-know into one sentence (ref. gauche).

Mind you, the West Coast is not the exclusive center of poor style. It just happens to be an unfortunate bottle neck of bottom line mentality, which does not breed the big hotbed of creativity. It is exhausting and near impossible to reach such a huge throng of people with such deeply ingrained poor style habits with a wake up call during a mere four day trip. Unable to accept defeat this mammoth on the first round, we will give it another shot later.  

Another odd behavior style pattern witnessed on the Autre Coast is the absurd number of managers, publicists, assistants, lawyers and agents attached at every turn. Not only can a New Yorker do almost anything for themselves and by themselves, but they can dress themselves without a personal stylist on the payroll. LA Fashion Week should be entertaining.