Dear Joe Zee, I don´t do minidresses

US Elle 2009 nro. 287 2

I was superhappy and exited when my friend phoned me that she had seen my Hel-looks photo in the newest issue of US Elle! After the 15 sec adrenalin rush had faded I realized that the only photo that had been taken of me to Hel-looks was.. well not my top fashion moment. I thought maybe my friend just had made a mistake. Why on earth would they have printed my sorry look in their magazine? When I finally got my hands on US Elle this morning, my nightmares came true.. Yeah, it´s me in the photo, but definately not what I would have liked to be my "Elle debut". It´s more like "after 12 hours of working on laudry day..". Of course also Elle´s creative director Joe Zee had noticed this also and helpfully gives me a few advices on how to improve my look. Thanks Joe, but I don´t do minidresses. I appreciate the help though as my look definately needed it and the fact that you covered my stupid grin with a prettier yellow X.

*EDIT* If Elle want´s to give me with some high street fashion tips, go ahead. I´ll never be able to afford them anyway as much as I value luxury materials, top tailoring and professional style. And even if I would I´m more into eco, DIY and indie fashion brands. I can return the favor though by teaching you guys how to sew and make your own DIY fashion, preferably from recycled materials. E-mail me Joe, when you have a vacancy in your calendar. I´d love to sit down and have a word. A permanent DIY column in US Elle would be a good start... I´m not saying I should be the person making it, I´m saying there just should be one in Elle since you of all magazines should have the savvy, resoureces and contacts to make it happen. I´m sure it would benefit your readers loads more to have this two page column filled with DIY tips and projects from high street designers instead of dissing regular folk. How about it? Could Mr. A to Zee concentrate on being a bit more green?

I´ve never liked the tabloid styled do-don´t lists with pictures. Not even if they would be 100% right on the money and be only about celebs. I mean everyone has the right to piss on celebs, right? (Wrong!) Dissing someone elses style/works just makes you an ass. Whenever I need to do an educational post to my blog I always try to do it through positive examples as it rarely makes me a better person if I used someone elses works as a negative example. It´s totally different if someone asks for my opinion and advice. That´s called "constructive feedback" as I´m sure that´s what Joe here intended it to be. But I didn´t ask... They just picked a random photo from Hel-looks line-up. If Elle continues making this column, I hope it would be changed to reader submitted photos. Hopefully tabloid styled articles like A to Zee never find their way to Vogue.

*EDIT*EDIT*EDIT* Hel-looks contacted me and they have not given Elle permission to use their photos... I knew it! Hel-looks would never violate the trust of their fans and models like that. :) I´m sorry US Elle, but you obviously run your magazine with very shady ways. I hope someone sues you big time for violating photo-right like this. Joe Zee, maybe it´s time you remind your staff on how photos are acquired professionally for magazine publishing. I´m embarrassed for you.

I´ve always liked Hel-looks because they show all kinds of streetstyles in their photos, people who truly have an original style. It gives streetwear a more wider perspective than regular runway fashion as it is just that. Not just the "hip and trendy types" like so many other street fashion sites only show.

*EDIT*EDIT* As Vasiliisa pointed out in comments, the nro 8. picture is a known Finnish media and TV-personality Maria Veitola. Her photo is actually taken in the last Finnish Elle Fashion Gala where she was awarded Best Dresser Of The Year..... (awkward silence). I´ve always loved Maria´s style and her ability to wear things that most of us wouldn´t even dear to touch. She makes exentric fashion look good and fun. She really should no be in this article. And no one else for that matter.

Looking on the positive side, "my picture was published in Elle US". (Woppee..) Have a great Monday guys!

Maria Veitola, Best Dresser of the year (Finnish Elle Fashion Gala).

US Elle 2009 nro. 287 1

Photo from and scans from Elle US nro. 287.

Outi Les Pyy

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  1. Hehheh, näin sitä tehdään suomalaista tyyliä tutuksi maailmalle. Taitaa olla lähes koko Ellen Don't-osio koottu pelkistä Hellooks-kuvista. Mahtavatkohan kääntää saman jutun vielä Suomenkin Elleen? Mielestäni tuo Maria Veitolan sininen paljettiylläri oli ihan veikeä, mutta ehkä asu toimii paremmin kun tietää sen kantajan olevan eksentrisenä pukeutujana tunnettu mediapersoona...

  2. I agree. I love Maria´s style and her ability to wear things that most of us wouldn´t even dear to touch. She makes exentric fashion look good and fun. She really should no be in this article. And no one else for that matter.

    I´ve always liked Hel-looks because they show all kinds of streetstyles in their photos, people who truly have an original style. It gives streetwear a more wider perspective. Not just the "hip and trendy types" like so many other street fashion sites only show.

    I just think "If it´s positive, say it, if not, shut up."

  3. I totally agree with you about the do's and dont's article type - moronic at it's best =). And it probably makes this particular article even more hilarious that every suggestion he makes about specific items are notions to high fashion brands - for ordinary people who whip up their outfits from totally different starting point. Joe, get ur head out from your *ss.

    Oh the style polices in the world, come on and arrest us! I might fight back with my flea market purse.

  4. Onpas tämä jo törkeää ja aika lailla vääristelevää, esim. tuo toka juttu. Today´s groupies?! Tuon Hel-Looks-kuvan, jota tässä jutussa siteerataan Lady Gagan matkijan kuvaksi, olen nähnyt jo kauan ennen kuin Poker Face pärähti soimaan yhtään mistään. Eli siis täyttä vääristelyä, kun jutusta saa sen kuvan, että nämä Hel-Looksissa esiintyvät ihmiset olisivat nyt näissä kuvissa koettaneet jäljitellä idoleitaan.

    Ja ylipäänsä minäkin vihaan noita Dos and Donts-juttuja. Hel-Looksin ideana (ja mielestäni pukeutumisen ylipäänsä) on esitellä vaatteiden kantajien ratkaisuja ja persoonaa niiden kautta. Hel-Lookshan esittelee sitä, miten jotkut ihmiset ovat itseään esille tuoneet ja miten HE haluavat pukea vaatteet ylleen - ei sitä, miten jonkun muoti-ihmisen mukaan pitäisi pukea. Hohhoijaa.

  5. I've been on the receiving end of this too but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself how creative does the creative director of ELLE US magazine look himself in his designer shirt & blazer...not very in my opinion!
    A lot of these people are nothing but soulless corporate fashion whores who think they are the authority on all things style, I say bah humbug to them!
    You rock your own idividual style, not to mention create & design looks from scratch... this fact should be celebrated at all levels!

  6. I love hel-looks for the same reason. Less of the same and more of the inspiring. Don't worry about it love, you're a doll.

  7. Isn't it ironic that Maria (no8) was actually nominated the best dresser of the year... By the Finnish Elle? And that this pic was taken at the awards gala? :D

  8. Vasiliisa! You´re so right!! She did win the title just a few months ago. Finnish Elle must be really pleased right now... :D

  9. I was just going to comment about the same thing as Vasiliisa. I think it's kind of ironic and awkward that they don't do their background checks any better at Elle.

  10. I´m sure Maria, being obviously a gal with a healthy self-esteem, does not mind getting a few tips about her style. She´ll propably just have a laugh about all this, but for Elle it is a bit embarrassing... When is fashion and fashionistas going to learn? Negativisms always backfire in public forums.

  11. I was very surprised to read your post this morning. A few of many thoughts in my head:

    1. Elle could have easily staged photographs in their studios of models wearing the "wrong" and then the "right" -- no need to get personal using strangers on the street.

    2. Street style shows people who might not ordinarily be seen by the traditional fashion/ style media and the choices they make to express themselves through what they wear. The Sartorialist doesn't always tell us what he thinks of the people he photographs, but when he does, he writes something positive. He wouldn't take the photo unless he felt positive. But I want to decide for myself. Most other street style blogs don't editorialize at all.

    3. Elle should send out their own photographers for street style shots, and have the people they photograph give express consent for Elle to use the photos in any light they wish, even for "don't do this" columns. I doubt that any of the people Elle used from Hel-Looks signed such a consent/ waiver.

    Sorry to rant a bit here in your comments, but I wish Elle would save their opinions and recommendations for the runway and their own fashion spreads, and leave street style to the people. BTW, I sent an email to Hel-Looks and I will forward you a copy.

  12. You know, I often wonder about these "don't" columns. Are the people in it aware? Were they paid for their image?

    As an artist, I have to ask and receive likeness rights before I can paint someone, especially if I hope to one day sell the portrait.

    Why do these rules not apply to big corporations, too? I'm very disturbed by Elle's actions. Couldn't this amount to slander, in some ways?

    And I agree, too - this approach is so very petty and small-minded. And it is SO boring! I may not look like a fashion plate every day (heck, MOST days), but at least I look like me. These tips just seem bland, as if Elle was trying to make people into clones. What if we don't all want to look ALIKE? Why is difference so threatening?

    Finally (almost done!) Not only do I agree with you that the assumption that everyone has the same funds (or even the desire to consume overpriced fashion goods rather than to source at the flea market or DIY), I'm also stunned by the assumptions being made here about age. Some of these folks look too young to be "revisiting" the 90s; why crush their exploration of these looks, particularly if it's their first time experimenting with them?

  13. You know, I really loveee the tiered white dress and the "Courtney Love" look! The tiered white dress has been in my inspiration folder on my computer for ages. I just don't get the point of "don't" columns, everyone has their own personal style. Not to mention, as someone else posted, I'd bet there's legality issues with's stated on the site (or it was last time I checked) that the photos can't even be re-posted on a blog, let alone in the "don't" column of a magazine!

  14. I agree with your assessment of "Style A to Zee." It's always been my very least favorite part of Elle US. I actually kinda like the outfit you were wearing, and I like Maria's. I think he is a bit too critical.

  15. Fleur_delicious, I complitely agree with you. The girl in the grunge outfit must be something like 15 years old. She´s never lived through the 90´s like I have so why would she be not allowed to wear that style head to toe. It´s her first round for heavens sake! It´s like saying I could not wear a complete genuine outfit from the 50´s or 70´s! I love people who take an style (mod, rockabilly, manga,..) and really live it in their look. For me it tells of dedication. Besides let teens be teens! The´ve got enough problems allready with out Joe Zee telling them what to wear. After all a big part of teen years is the search for your personality.

    Being photographed to Hel-Looks was sort of an honor for me (even though it was not my top look). I´m sure also for some of the other people in this article. That´s why I felt so bad seing this.. Ok, I felt like shit. I´ve been strugling my whole life of people thingking I dress funny or weird. Finally when I´m ok and proud of the way I look and dress, along comes US Elle.. (***not printable**) If this article would have been just on-line I could have asked for it to be removed, but print is permanent and therefore feels worse to me.

    This kind of "don´t list" could have been done so much better. Like dropping out those slandering tittles and sarcastic comments. They just show that Elle really had a laugh on our expence and that Joe Zee is yet another arrogant fashion figure. I love fashion but really loath the people working with it sometimes.

    I would have loved to see this article done from Elle staff´s daily outfits! They should have the balls to do it as they feel this kind of commenting is ok and educational for other readers.

  16. Hel-looks contacted me and they have not given Elle permission to use their photos... I knew it! Hel-looks would never violate the trust of their fans and models like that. :)

    I´m sorry US Elle, but you guys run your magazine with very shady ways, and I hope someone sues you big time for violating photo-right like this. Joe Zee, maybe it´s time you remind your staff on how photos are acquired professionally for magazine publishing. I´m embarrassed for you.

  17. Haha, as I have just started blogging I have been thinking a lot do I have rights to use this or that picture. If an example given by major fashion magazine is this... I think it's tasteless and nasty in every possible way to use street look pictures in article like that.

    I really can't see what good does writing an article like that does to anyone. I think if someone is brave enough to wear what they want and be happy about themselves, and get photographed to street style site it's just sad that some arrogant guy has to make an article about what doesn't happen to please HIS trained eye.

    Onneksi en osta/ tilaa lehtiä, tämä voisi taas pistää miettimään millä ammattitaidolla Elle on toimitettu ja onko se hintansa arvoinen. Ala-arvoista, tuntuu hiukan siltä että sisältöä on ollut pakko yrittää keksiä mistä tahansa tarvittavan sivumäärän täyttämiseksi. Mielikuvituksetonta. Ja inhottavan ylimielisesti, jotenkin alentuvasti kirjoitettu juttu kuin toimittaja olisi jollain jalustalla jakelemassa armollisia huomioitaan. Blah.

    (Paitsi että martina aitolehden pussycat doll-vertaus hymyilytti. Martina varmaan ottaa kohteliaisuutena.)

  18. Unbelievable! For such a big magazine to use people's pictures without permission... I don't think I'll be buying us elle for awhile.

    And I too hate those don't/do columns. I really don't see a need for that kind of negative commenting, unlees it was specifically requested by someone wanting advice. I feel like columns like that take all the fun from fashion.

    Also these kinds of columns end up srewing themselves over really often. Maria's case certainly isn't the first time I've seen something declared wonderful only to be declared awful the very next issue.

  19. I love Outsapop style! Elle style is boxed and cliché! Not to mention corporate with the interest of selling the products they advertise!

    All I can say is THANK GOD there is alternative/DIY trashion in the world!

    As a girl who grew up in the third world-it is obvious to me that many corporate companies exist due to the enslavement of the third world-lets think sweat shops, damage to the enviroment, child workers all on the long list of problems with massive multinational companies. How long can we be apathetic to the reality?

    PUNK. DIY. ALTERNATIVE. Lets embrace something a little different!

  20. Minä olenkin sitten ainoa tämän pitkän kommenttilistan perässä, joka on sitä mieltä, ettei kyseisessä artikkelissa ollut mitään vikaa. Kaikista artikkelissa olevista asuista saisi mielestäni
    erilaisella stailauksella paremman näköisiä.

    Miksi vetää herneenpalkoa nenään, kun puhutaan kuitenkin mielipiteistä? Se, mikä toisen mielestä näyttää aivan mielettömän hyvältä, on toisen mielestä so last season. Kyse on vain vaatteista eikä mistään sen vakavammasta!

    - Anna E.

  21. Vika on siinä ettei Elle kysynyt valokuvaajan (ja valokuvaaja mallien) suostumusta kuvien julkaisuun niin kuin lain mukaan heidän kuuluu tehdä. Hel-looks ei salli kuvilleen tämäntyyppistä käyttöä. En olisi antanut kuvaani otettavan saitille, jos he tekisivät niin.

    Henk.koht. en pitä tämän tyyppisistä artikkseleista (onhan näitä seiskat ja muut pullollaan), joten olisin kieltäytynyt artikkelista kysyttäessä. Eri asia olisi jos kuvat olisi otettu varta vasten tätä juttua varten tyyliin "Haluatko että asukokonaisuutesi esiintyy Ellessä ja saat siitä ammattilaisen kommentteja".

    Mielipiteitä on jokaisella, mutta jos niitä esittää julkisesti, on pohjustus tehtävä oikein. Ei näin.

  22. Gosh, as if there is any rights and wrongs in aesthetics. "You need something feminine..." whaddaf???

    Anyway, if I were behind Hel Looks, I would definetely start thinking about how to make some money and publicity of this :)

  23. BTW: Maria on itse tainnut toimia aikaisemmin muotipoliisina jossain lehdessä

  24. Oh that Elle article is all about

    How to dress conservatively and please the eye of conservative men

  25. Aina kun olen suomalaisissa muotilehdissä nähnyt esiteltävän ammattilaisten pukeutumisvinkkejä, on asut puettu joko mallien päälle tai sitten poimittu juttuun varta vasten mukaan pyydettyjen yksityishenkilöiden kaapeista. Teksti ja asukommentit on kuitenkin kirjoitettu asiallisella, ammattimaisella ja rakentavalla tavalla toisin kuin täsä Ellen jutussa.

    Kysymyksessä ei siis todellakaan ole se etteikö ihmisten pukeutumista saisi/pitäisi kommentoida millään tavalla vaan siitä miten huonosti tämän kyseisen palstan tyyli ja kuvien taustatyö oli toteutettu.

  26. Outi, as a matter of fact I think you look nice and interesting in that outfit.

  27. "And mittens? The last time I saw someone wear them, he was five and had chicken pox."

    Vaikka koko juttu oli ärsyttävä Lady GaGa -vertauksineen sun muineen tämä kohta pisti todellakin vihan pintaan. Joe Zee ei ole edes sen vertaa tehnyt taustatutkimusta että ottaisi selville missä maassa kuvat on otettu... Kun Suomessa talvella on kylmä, käytetään lapasia. Yksinkertaista. Eikä hän varmaan tiennyt että kyseinen tyttö on Hanoi Rocks-fani ja menossa muistaakseni näiden keikalle...

  28. This guy makes me laugh, how ridiculous - this man comes across like a paranoid bully, quick to point out other people's 'faults' (in his opinion) because he wouldn't have the courage to wear something truly individual like the people he is mocking.

    What I dislike in general about those mainstream US publications as opposed to the European ones is that they are bland and predictable, and I would rather read about and be inspired by individuals who are proud to express themselves without fear of other people's opinions.

    Keep on inspiring us, in my humble opinion you rock :-)

  29. This is so crazy. I remember reading this article last month with my friend, and both of us saying, "this is so wrong." I hate fashion "do's and don'ts" and it's absolutely despicable to take pictures from Hel-Looks without the websites' or the subjects' permission!!! Are these photos all from Hel-Looks? I bet that they thought that nobody in America would recognize where the photos came from...I hope you email this post directly to Joe Zee and the Elle team!


  30. All the photos is this issue are from Hel-looks... We might be far from NYC geographically but pretty darn close via www and our newspaper stands. Hel-looks is known worldwide so I really don´t think Elle thought of anything when publishing this. Someone will notice. Maybe if this would have been a smaller indie fashion publication in South-America or Australia, yes, but not Elle US.

  31. Regarding the angry mails/phone calls to Elle, I cannot do it. Hel-looks has the copyrights to all pictures, so I cannot make any claims for them. If Hel-looks decides to take this further it´s their call.

    I am also publishing fashion magazine scans and fashion show images in my blog (although the context is always positive, and nothing like what Elle has done here) so Elle woul´d propably end up sueing ME for copyrights. Big companies and their army of layers..

    So I came to the conclusion that Silence Is Golden. Besides I don´t feel bad about this anymore... Two days of negativity is enough. Time to move on.

  32. OK, time to move on; but I'd be interested in their opinion about your designs - prehaps they'd have to reconsider their words. :D Well, actually I'm not all that interested... because I never really cared about fashion magazines, with the exception of Burda WOF...

  33. Yeah, I´d love to know that too! But this time a simple "yes" or "no" would be enough :D

  34. I hate this kind of stuff! You've handled it all with grace too, I'd be so mad. Just because a photo is on the internet doesn't give a magazine the right to reproduce it for free and then say bad things about someone's creative expression.

  35. Just unbeliveable... I would be furious! I admire your attitude :)

  36. whaaat :o he doesn´t even tell in the article where he got the photos from. I hate these kinda articles. Even if he doesn´t like some1´s outfit he doesn´t have the right to humiliate them in a magazine. I agree... I hope some1 sues their butts -__-'

  37. Erittäin rumaa ja mautonta toimintaa Elleltä. En ollut uskoa silmiäni kun näin jutun lehdessä. Arvelinkin ettei HEL LOOKS/kuvatut ole moiseen antanut lupaa.

    Niin ja löysin just sun blogisi. Tykkään! Mahtavia DIY-ideoita, joita varmasti otan käyttöön.

  38. Itsekin katsoin lehteä selaessa että 'hetkonen, onks nää hel-looksista' ja seuraavalla sivulla varmistus tuli nähtyäni Martina Aitolehden ja Maria Veitolan. Kyllähän naurahtelin lukiessani heidän kahden arvosteluita mutta on törkeää käyttää ilman lupaa kuvia.

  39. I feel like almost everything about this matter has been said already.
    (Except that all of the pictures aren't from hel-looks, 3. is from Style Slicker.)

    But I seriosly can't believe that a magazine as big as US Elle publishes photos without permission.
    ..And I can't believe Joe Zee's style tips either. "Try a Hèrve Lèger minidress", gee Joe, that's a really helpful piece of advice for an everyday woman. If the woman has an extra 1400 euros in her pocket that is.

  40. I know! If I could (and would) spend 1400eur to an everyday dresses, I propably would have all together a quite different style. :D Joe seems to be complitely into the NYC high fashion scene that he honestly has no place to give usable fashion advice to regular folk.

  41. Maria Veitola has a great style, like it or not. Just because elle says something doesn´t mean it must be so.

  42. Anteeksi, että tulin hieman mainostamaan tänne, mutta oli pakko kun inspiroiduin tästä blogikirjoituksesta kysymään Marialta itseltään, mitä mieltä hän oli kyseisestä ELLE-jupakasta:
    (linkkasin myös tähän blogiin).