*TBT Thoughts: Tommy Hilfiger

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In 1996, I heard that Tommy Hilfiger said that he didn’t make his clothes for black people. I admired Hilfiger’s clothing, but there was no way I was going to purchase another piece, if indeed, he was going around making racist comments.

So, I didn’t.

Four years later, Spike Lee’s satirical film, Bamboozled, criticized America’s race relations. In it, Lee also ridiculed America’s fascination with brand-named fashion and alluded to Hilfiger’s alleged racism, with a parody he called Timmy Hilnigger.

As an avid Spike Lee fan, I was amused. I thought it was clever, and I was happy to be on the “right” side of an issue. My position remained, and I didn’t buy any more Hilfiger clothing.

That is until Saturday, September 14, 2019.

On that weekend, I was looking for something appropriate to wear to a tea that I’d been invited to. The host was going to wear a dress, and according to Google, I should too. I ended up at TJ Maxx because I had no intention on spending a bunch of money on clothes I may or may not ever wear again.

img_1646After several minutes, I found a cute, classic navy blue and white dress. The only issue is it was by Tommy Hilfiger! Yes. Twenty-three years later, I was still holding out on my Hilfiger ban. But I tried it on anyway because like I said, it was cute.

It looked even more fabulous on, and I had no hesitation. I was buying this $40 dress, racist Hilfiger or not.

The next day, I showed Dwight, who also agreed it was nice.

“Too bad I’ll be wearing clothes by a racist,” I said. “I’m choosing to exert my willful ignorance for fashion.”

Dwight pushed back a little and wondered what Hilfiger had actually said decades ago. His point was nowadays, people take things out of context, so how did it come about that Hilfiger allegedly said he didn’t make clothes for black people?

Unlike 20 years ago, this time I could Google it. That’s when I found this: Did Oprah Winfrey Throw Tommy Hilfiger Off Her Show for Making a Racist Comment?

And this, Tommy Hilfiger Addresses those Racist Rumors from 1996 One More Time.  

And finally, this, The Racism Scandal that Rocked Tommy Hilfiger.

In case you don’t have time to read these, here’s what I found out. Tommy Hilfiger never said those words, ever.

<sigh>

This revelation is a little more than disturbing. I can’t imagine having built a company, with a primary goal of being the best in my field, having succeeded in that goal, and then having an untraceable rumor ruin my reputation and decrease sales.

What’s equally disturbing is how quickly we will stop supporting businesses with little to no facts. It’s called cancel culture. While I’m not opposed to boycotting businesses with verified questionable practices or opinions and morals not aligned with what I believe, I am opposed to canceling a company or brand simply because of a rumor.

After this incident, it’s clear that I have to do better. But I’m starting to believe we all do.

*And oh! Welcome to my new category…#TBT Thoughts 😉

Comfortable on the Outside and Inside

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The other day I saw a woman struggling in the parking lot. I felt bad for her. How was she was going to make it to the Publix door? I thought about offering her some help. But she wasn’t elderly or disabled. She was wearing, what looked to be like some very uncomfortable, four-inch, purple heels.
“What’s wrong with her?” My husband asked.
“She’s having a hard time, huh?” I replied.

We laughed.

But the more I thought about it, it wasn’t that funny. Why was she wearing those heels? Don’t get me wrong. I’m the last person to criticize heel wearers. I used to teach high school in 2-3 inch wedges most days for ten years. As an elementary school instructional coach, the front office staff would often ask, “Where are you going?” because my shoes didn’t match my environment. My closet is now a mausoleum for years of heel choices. However, if I ever thought I was going to be uncomfortable, then either I didn’t buy them, or I packed a pair of flip-flops or flats.

But I guess the culture has changed a bit.

“You know when women are always looking for a man, it causes them to make some uncomfortable choices,” I thought out loud.

“Nope,” my husband answered, “that’s how they dress at work, married women too, sitting at a desk.”

Seems a bit illogical, I thought. Sitting at a desk, wearing four-inch heels that no one will really see. Even Wendy Williams wears flats and then changes before she goes out for a show.

It’s not just shoes though. It’s liquid leggings. It’s skinny jeans, specifically made for certain body types. I mean, it’s in the description, skinny. It’s exposed muffin tops peeking over the tops of shorts. It’s button up shirts with the second button hanging on for dear life. It’s “wait a minute let me suck in before you take that picture,” so I don’t have physical proof of my discomfort.

Some women look uncomfortable.

There’s a lot of contemporary conversation about being yourself and being comfortable with who you are. But I beg to understand: How can women be comfortable in their own skin when they’re not even comfortable in their own clothes?

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t shoe shaming This is not a sermon about covering up your body.  This is just a suggestion. If your jeans feel better off than on, then maybe you should consider a style that fits your body type.

And by all means, if you can’t make it from the grocery store parking lot to the front door, then maybe you should choose a lower heel. Or at least carry some flats.

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