All The Rage

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Susan Boyle and the era of ordinary chic

April 27, 2009 | 11:34 am

Rage_boyle There's been lots of Internet chatter about "Britain's Got Talent" breakout star Susan Boyle's new, darker, more relaxed 'do and plucked eyebrows. (Boyle's performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" during the show, when her hair was more frizzy and her appearance more frumpy, has gotten more than 13 million hits on YouTube.) But she's not going from ugly duckling to swan just yet.

"Maybe I'll consider a makeover later on," Boyle, 47, told the London Times on Saturday. "For now I'm happy the way I am -- short and plump. I would not go in for Botox or anything like that. I'm content with the way I look."

And why not? Isn't it funny that now, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute is getting ready to launch its annual fashion exhibition "The Model as Muse" on May 4, it's not models but mortals who are the focus of our attention? Welcome to the era of ordinRage_boyle2ary chic. After all, first mom Michelle Obama is the style icon of the moment, despite her toothy smile and sometimes awkward gait, not Kate Moss or Katie Holmes.  

Over the weekend, I watched a screener of the upcoming Fox show "Glee," about a group of high school outcasts who bond over show choir. There's something telling about the fact that this is Ryan Murphy's follow-up project to the plastic surgery show "Nip/Tuck," and that the most memorable line of the pilot is when the singing jock says to his football teammates, "We are all losers." 

The flip side of that is that we can all be stars, so long as we find our own voice. Maybe the collective embrace of Boyle is a sign that we are at last tiring of faux-reality and unattainable perfection, of the "happy couple" Heidi and Spencer, the airbrushed Kim Kardashian and the rest of Hollywood's incredibly shrinking celebrities. In this age of engineered attractiveness anyone can be beautiful, but oh, to be ordinary!

What do you think? Is Susan Boyle a style hero?

-- Booth Moore

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Photos: At top, Susan Boyle on April 21. Credit: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images. At bottom, Boyle on April 24. Credit: AP Photo / Andrew Milligan, PA