Fresh style insights, tips and commentary by Michelle Tea, Michael Braithwaite, Leo Plass, Page McBee and Carrie Leilam Love.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hey, Watch it!

In a world where cats can Twitter (true, though somewhat boring, story), I find the Luddite tendencies within myself occupying more cerebral real estate. The 21st century spy in my ten-year-old self has given way to some brand of lady Don Draper. Don Draper appeals less for his stiff upper lip and disturbingly attractive philandering ways and more for his squarely analog office accouterments--his wet bar, his cigarette case that could hold gum for a non-smoker, his cuff links, his wristwatch. Jezebel recently posted an article all about your Don Draper/Liz Lemon fantasies that I should probably read more closely, but for now I think it's safe to say that I want to be Don Draper and his wristwatch is the reason why.

What time is it? I don't give a shit. I just want to see what sort of watch you're wearing. It's a ruse. Why? Because the watch makes the woman. Shoes used to be the sole snap determination of personality upon first meeting. A quick glance at the feet. I know, I know--shallow (shrewd). But if you'd looked at my shoes (wristwatch) you'd have already guessed (loved) this about me. In an age of iPhones, cellphones, blackberries, etc., a deeply considered wristwatch says a lot about a person.

I know what you're thinking:"what could a bunch of gears and whatnot really say about a person?" I don't like that you're thinking that, but I'll explain. It's not just about the watch and what you wear it with--it's about how you wear it. Unlike a pod, berry, etc. checking time on a watch comes with a whole host of bodily movements that belie the person beyond the clothes. It's the combination of watch style and accompanying body language that speak to the personality of the wearer.

Do you hold your wrist at eye level? Is your elbow bent at 90 degrees or just barely askew? Head slightly tilted? Don Draper holds his elbow at 90 degrees, tilts his head ever-so-slightly and closes his fist. Powerful, but with an undercurrent of sensitivity. Nice.
So, what can your wristwatch say about you?

1960s Sutton wristwatch :
She likely knows of a cocktail arrangement
not seen since the days of Nouvelle Vague.
Wrist held nonchalantly at waist level speaks to an ease of personality
(or a studied persona, 50/50 really).

Vintage Swiss Orion :
She very well might own a blimp. Befriend immediately.
Elbow out at 90 degrees, with relaxed wrist reinforces the blimp possibility.

1970 Prince Francois de Baschmakoff Jump Hour Watch :
She cares about the past and the future in equal measure.
A light shake of the wrist to move her sleeve
off of the face of the watch indicates a comfort with herself.

LIP Ladies Sculpture Watch :
I'm sorry,
I just passed out from the sheer awesomeness of the person wearing this watch.

Details, people! Details! It's the little things that make the outfit. Any one of these watches set the wearer apart in an ever-increasing sea of denim and t-shirts. Skip the bangles, gaudy 80s plastic, ironic this and that. All you need is a pair of oxfords, the same outfit you wear all the time and a really good wristwatch. Do you see it? That's success dancing your way. Success looks a lot like Don Draper, that old cad.


  1. I use to have a HUGE collection and would swap them much like shoes. The right watch for the right outfit. Now I have one trusty Swiss Army watch. Big numbers (none of that crappy roman numeral stuff) a date display and a second hand. A rubber band because those metal ones pinch my now hairier arms.

    The collection has been replaced by a single really good watch.

  2. I've been emulating Don Draper for months! Going so far as to ask myself last weekend 'Well, what would Don wear to a BBQ?'. The world needs a sea of lady Don's.

  3. first of all, i love that you are policing a fashion inner dialogue of others. second, i also have a fantasy lady draper inside me, much more so than a joan. although i will watch joan walk away all week. and now, since i have been wearing a weird plastic running gadget, it has recently occurred to me to hunt down a gorgeous daily watch. i need something that will work with my reality of casual, yet hold details of my fantasy classy, albeit a touch boyish, dame.

  4. you are truly awesome and hilarious. this post is spot on.

  5. Please teach a watch workshop so I can come. I don't understand how to wear one!