Tribune senior correspondent
June 8, 2012
Don't know about you, but I love to hate celebrities.
They're richer and better looking than I am. And they have people. People to keep track of their cellphone chargers, people to cook delicious low-fat meals, people to help them get dressed, to Google their names for them and people to tell other people where to send all the free stuff that celebrities get.
Do you really think that any celebrity has ever sat there on hold while arguing over a late fee on her Visa bill? Or circled the block waiting for a parking spot to open up?
The celebrities in People magazine seem to be either shopping at stores I can't afford or frolicking on a beach with impossibly beautiful men and women who, like them, manage to look great in swimming suits.
For these reasons and so many others, I've had a bad attitude toward the fashion lines that bear celebrities' names. And anyone who has wandered through a department store knows that it's becoming increasingly difficult to avoid celebrity labels on not just clothes, but perfume, jewelry, purses, sunglasses, bath towels, tables and chairs, you name it.
Pretty soon the question will be which celebrities don't have their own lines.
Madonna and her daughter Lourdes have one. And now they've picked another celebrity spawn, Mick Jagger's teen daughter Georgia May Jagger to be the new face of the "Material Girl" line at Macy's. Of course there are other singers — Beyonce (with her mom), Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Lopez and lots more — who have their own celebrity labels.
The rich just get richer.
OK, so now that that's off my chest, I have a confession. Some of this celebrity-wear is tempting. I discovered this by accident when shopping not long ago at Nordstrom. I grabbed a cute shoe off the display and was stunned to discover it was a Jessica Simpson.
This made me at least soften my anti-celebrity stand long enough to look into other high-profile offerings.
Yes, I think in many cases you're paying a premium for the celebrity label and ad campaign. And much of this stuff (Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen's The Row; Victoria Beckham's collection) costs more than many of us mere mortals can afford.
But not all of it is out of reach. I'm not ashamed to admit that I now own a velvety teal T-shirt by Jaclyn Smith (one of the original Charlie's Angels) that I picked up at Kmart for under $20. Smith, incidentally, was a groundbreaker in the celebrity rag trade. She got into the clothing game at Kmart with her own label way back in 1985.
Whether it's because celebrities have great taste, good advisers or both, some of the clothing they have attached their names to is actually appealing, especially when it goes on sale.
To show you what I'm talking about, here's a sampling of some celebrity lines that I've decided — grudgingly — are worth a second look.