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Linda Lippners Column

photo by Tanya Tesche
It is getting cold in Moscow and I am as happy as a shopper looking for a fur coat on the sale racks in a discount fur store. I am not happy because of the on-coming cold, but there is a certain feeling of relief because I wont be out on the summer streets competing with the beautiful Russian women of Moscow. Soon, on the winter streets, we will all be wrapped up in our long coats and zipped up in our boots showing as much skin as well a Russian in winter.

Most women are competitive in their fashion choices. We dress for other women and we check out the competition. Summer months in Moscow makes a sensible expat woman groan with frustration. Here I am with my comfortable aging hippie/Chico chic look and I am being outclassed by every Russian woman who is tall, thin, young and beautiful. While I make my fashion choices based on comfort longish skirts and loose pants for that no-stockings look, flat soled sandals or low-heeled shoes for my typical Mosow City death march from one side of the Ring Road to the other, the Russian girls are dressing for life in the fashion lane. A female expat or two has called it the Flashy Trashy look. But I just cant believe that a beautiful Russian girl really wants to be seen as Trash along with her Flash. I have a theory or two about the fashionistas of Moscow, and here goes.

The typical Muscovite man is not an ogler. (Ogle to stare impertinately.) This is not Italy and this is not France. The Muscovite male who is sober and going about his business on the streets is keeping his eyes where they should be in polite Western society.

And so a lady who wants to be noticed is going to have to try a little harder. Baring a midrift is a good start. That was last summers trend up and down the Ulitsas. Bare midrifts were not so prevalent this summer, but I think the hiphugger jeans have gone an inch or two lower on the midriff this season, so the result is the same. Our fashionista girl is teetering on stiletto sandals and her lacquer painted toes are temporarily liberated from stiletto pointy toed shoes (at least until cold weather sets in). The skirts are short and everyone has a tan. But the most prevalent fashion statement this summer are the skin tight white pants. The perfect accessory for the see-through white pants? The you - can - see - it - all contrast colored thong. Some of us thought underwear meant just that; an undergarment usually concealed under your clothing. Not in Moscow in the summer. The thong is truly a fashion accessory along with the plunging and pushup lacy bras that finish up the Flashy summer look.

Finally, I found one summer fashion that was hot this summer, for some strange reason, since it definitely bucked the trend of half naked fashion. This was the peasant skirt. In this part of the world it comes closest to the gypsy skirt, with several tiers of rather full fabric. I jumped at this fashion statement as soon as it hit the stores and rinoks. I could now be united with my Russian sisters in riding the fashion wave. At least my sensible sandals would be less obvious under that voluminous skirt. Then I saw a girl walking ahead of me on Tverskaya that blew my fantasy of fashion sisterhood out of the water. Her peasant skirt was pure white, slightly see-through, and her black thong was on full display. I knew I would never be able to compete. Im getting my fur coat out of storage and trying it on tonight.

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