Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The new uniform of women who cook on television: a form-fitting sweater.

FLIP through the channels or scan the bookstores and the look is there in all its glory: sort of tight, sort of low-cut, definitely sexy. It’s the new uniform of women who work with food.


Giada De Laurentiis wears it. So do Rachael Ray, Cat Cora and Sandra Lee.


Simon Doonan, the creative director of Barneys New York, called the current look “updated wench chic” and said it successfully solves the dilemma faced by women in the cooking world. “They have to exude competence, but they can’t be frowsy,” he said. The old housewife-like era of Betty Crocker and Julia Child is out, he said, because the culture no longer allows that kind of happy frumpiness. “Everyone has to have a little bit of hootchy,” he said. “But the trick is not to have it go too far, because if it becomes too overly sexual, issues of hygiene come into play.”