Dealing With ‘So Vegas’

Showgirls should remain icons, not wardrobe inspiration

The worst possible thing Nina Garcia can say to a contestant on Project Runway is that their garment is “so Vegas.” On the show, the majority of designers are sent packing due to problems with their taste level. “So Vegas” usually means their creations are overworked, overembellished and underdesigned.

It is kind of sad that our city has become a metaphor for bad taste. Las Vegas should be glamorous with an edge, instead of flashy and trashy.

Much like the gold rush of 1849,

Las Vegas has seen its fair share of prospectors in the last 50 years—people willing to risk it all for a big house, good job and a happy life. We live in an age where the valet attendant becomes vice president of the hotel. Because of this boomtown mentality, we are left with a hodgepodge population, hailing from all over the world, and now a growing crop of second- and third-generation locals.

Although the showgirl remains an icon of the city, take this as inspirational rather than literal. Showgirls need rhinestones, feathers, skin and fishnet tights to put on a great performance because the audience is paying $52.50 plus tax to see them perform. They need the extra sparkle. Going to dinner and a nightclub does not require the same effort, and if you sit outside any number of clubs, you will undoubtedly see a Jubilee-esque ensemble that has been tragically misused for dancing the night away with vodka Red Bulls instead of a twice-nightly show that results in a paycheck at the end of the week. Applaud the showgirl, show her reverence, but don’t steal her costume! 

There are certain cities you could be dropped into blindfolded and within five minutes know where you were, based on a collective fashion sense. San Diego boys and girls have their own aesthetic, with flip-flops, surfer shirts and a generally laid back, casual wardrobe. Step off the plane in New York and the sensibility is fairly specific. A true New Yorker can be easily spotted even outside his natural habitat. Miami has its look down, beach side to nightclubs, it’s pretty easy to spot the south Florida vibe.

An opportunity presents itself here, and by adopting an aesthetic that reflects our lifestyle, weather and goals, we can change “so Vegas” into a positive, denoting a fierce, edgy look that is confident and a little wild. Vegas is the home to some of the biggest and best architecture in the world. This is something that should be embraced and used as inspiration. Strutting to dinner in a tribal inspired Balmain jacket or severe McQueen-shouldered dress and sky-high platforms simply would not work in Austin.

In our desert city, don’t think twice about dressing that T-shirt and jeans up with an enormous statement necklace. Las Vegas has a rich history of showgirls and movie stars, so go forth, be bold, wear color, patterns and high heels.