Seven Sharp host Hilary Barry and the real issue with wardrobe critic Ken


It usually brings me no joy to report on tragedies but this one is different: last night, a New Zealander called Ken was rushed to the burns unit in critical condition after commenting on Hilary Barry’s outfit.

The injury was pretty much self-inflicted as Ken, a man with a profile photo of himself wearing one of those flannel shirts with hoodies sewn on to them, should know better than to offer Barry his reckons on what she should wear.

Fancying himself as a bit of a sartorial expert, trucker cap wearer Ken wrote: “Good god, Hilary! What are you wearing tonight? Looks like something you picked up at an op shop? Get some style advice, girl”.

A post shared by Hilary Barry (@hilary.barry)

Ken, who is yet to realise purple is not his colour, took issue with Barry’s white top but had no sage advice to give to suit wearing Jeremy Wells, which feels unfair. Wells has to spend all of today wondering what Ken thought of his suit and tie combo. Lucky Barry doesn’t need to wonder because she got Ken’s reckons, free of charge.

But you know what, the problem with Ken’s comment isn’t just the obnoxious sexism, nor the stink of misogyny or the fact that Ken should really just mind his own damn business.

The real issue here is that Ken’s attempt at criticising the Seven Sharp’s host’s outfit doesn’t even work.

“Looks like something you picked up at an op shop” is just not a good insult.

Ken watches Seven Sharp which tells me he is someone who tries to keep up with current affairs – yet he seems to be in the dark about a few things, including the horrifying and destructive cost of fast-fashion, the environmental impact of the fashion industry or the fact that op shops are actually going through a major resurgence, as educated and well-informed people who aren’t Ken realise they are a sustainable alternative to an incredibly problematic industry, plagued by environmental and social concerns.

Please don’t tell Ken but my absolute favourite thing to wear is my vintage Juliette Hogan dress, in immaculate condition, that I scored at the local op shop for a grand total of $7.

The pre-loved clothing market is coming back into fashion, with dozens of NZ-based Instagram stores popping up all the time, selling secondhand garments online.

I get what Ken’s comment was implying and I don’t like it. Ken thinks secondhand clothes shopping is for poor people who lack money and style.

Except, it’s not. It’s for poor and rich and everyone in between, and it’s for anyone who gives a damn about the fact that we can’t keep throwing clothing into landfill at the rates we’ve been for the last few decades and we can try to minimise our footprint by reusing what we can.

As anyone who’s listened to Macklemore knows, “looks like something you picked up at an op shop” is not even an insult.

Because this is a news site, I’ll finish by giving Ken some actual news: buying from op shops is cool, Ken. You should try it – they probably have some of those hooded flannel shirts you seem to like.

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