Archive for Rag Trade

In and out of chambers

Jeanine Pirro (currently “Judge Jeanine” on Fox News) posted this picture to Instagram earlier this week:

Jeanine Pirro in some fancy duds

“Can you believe I just walked 14 blocks in these heels?!” she said. “Cold outside, but warming up the office with my #ootd.” Outfit Of The Day, if you’re not hip to the lingo.

Let’s get a closer look at those heels:

Jeanine Pirro from here down

Manolo Blahnik, of course. (The dress is by Hervé Leger, and it’s clearly not one of his Bandages.)

And because every point needs a counterpoint:

Jeanine Pirro cuts the grass

The grass never had a chance.

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Dollars for scents

Various forces converged this week to tell me that famed fashion designer Tory Burch now has her very own fragrance:

Tory Burch announces a new fragrance

As usual, I’m behind; she actually pushed out this product last fall, though apparently Bloomingdale’s had an exclusive for the first year.

Burch, arguably the wealthiest art-history graduate around — Forbes says she’s worth about a billion — is inclined to share the wealth:

The New York-based designer is promoting a new partnership between her Tory Burch Foundation, a nonprofit launched in 2009 to support the economic empowerment of women, and Bank of America.

The joint effort, launched in January, is known as Elizabeth Street Capital and named for the New York street where Burch launched her first boutique. Through it, Bank of America is giving a total of $10 million in loans to female entrepreneurs — first in eight markets, including Charlotte and the Carolinas region, New York, San Francisco, Boston and Philadelphia, and then in other markets over the next two years.

An exceedingly comfortable place to be in. Then again, she always looks comfortable:

Tory Burch in her flagship store

Before you ask: she’s forty-eight.

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The yellow-ish peril

This probably will not end well:

Would Sephora really ban customers who spend thousands of dollars every year with them? Last year, frequent customers say they had their ability to place online orders taken away for buying too much stuff. This year, frequent customers report having their accounts shut down or their ability to place orders restricted. Funny thing though: all of these customers have e-mail addresses based in China, or Chinese surnames.

This must be one of those definitions of “funny” that don’t actually involve laughter.

Why would Sephora cut off any customers, let alone Asian customers, right now? This week, there’s a 20% off sale for Sephora customers who spend more than $350 per year, which is a fabulous time to go shopping and boost your profit margin if you’re a reseller. The question for Sephora is this: how can they tell the difference between someone who is reselling and someone who just reapplies eyeshadow a lot?

Angry customers claim that in the last day or so, Sephora has been using geographic and ethnic profiling. In addition, customers who use e-mail providers based in China like qq.com or 163.com say that their orders have been canceled and their accounts deactivated.

Well, duh, says Sephora:

[I]n some instances we have, indeed, de-activated accounts due to reselling — a pervasive issue throughout the industry and the world. As part of our ongoing commitment to protecting our clients and our brands, we have identified certain entities who take advantage of promotional opportunities to purchase products in large volume on our website and re-sell them through other channels. After careful consideration, we have deactivated these accounts in order to optimize product availability for the majority of our clients, as well as ensure that consumers are not subject to increased prices or products that are not being handled or stored properly.

You can probably imagine what reddit thinks of this.

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First-class ticket to ride

There was a time, apparently, when it was considered appropriate to dress to the nines to visit an amusement park, and that time was in the middle to late 1950s:

Advertisement for Berkshire Carnival Colors

I wonder if they actually shot them right-side-up and then flipped the photo.

By the spring of 1959, Carnival Colors had expanded to Orange Pop and Merry-Go-Round Yellow; the Steeplechase Green apparently fell by the wayside.

In 1955, Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates and Hathaway Mills had merged. Seven years later, this happened:

In 1962, Warren Buffett began buying stock in Berkshire Hathaway after noticing a pattern in the price direction of its stock whenever the company closed a mill. Eventually, Buffett acknowledged that the textile business was waning and the company’s financial situation was not going to improve. In 1964, [BH chairman Seabury] Stanton made an oral tender offer of $11 1/2 per share for the company to buy back Buffett’s shares. Buffett agreed to the deal. A few weeks later, Warren Buffett received the tender offer in writing, but the tender offer was for only $11 3⁄8. Buffett later admitted that this lower, undercutting offer made him angry. Instead of selling at the slightly lower price, Buffett decided to buy more of the stock to take control of the company and fire Stanton.

By the spring of 1965, Buffett owned all of Berkshire Hathaway, and in 1967 he started buying, um, other things.

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After which you vanish into thin air

The purveyors of Pricey Beauty Stuff have mapped it all out:

This summer I was in a department store looking for moisturizer. I was in London, in search of Boots No. 7, which came highly recommended. Standing in front over an overwhelming product assortment I asked the well made up sales clerk for help. She explained the brand came in 3 versions (I paraphrase):

1. Dewey new skin ages up to 25

2. Slightly older skin that needs some TLC from 25-35

3. Mature skin which encompasses everyone over 35

Subtle differences, one surmises, between 25 and 35. After that, though?

I fell into the last category. As do many, if not most women. I wondered how the vast majority of women, from 35 to as long as someone is willing and able to purchase moisturizer, could possibly be clumped together.

Some time after 35, I’m guessing, is when you realize you can get the same results, or lack thereof, from a product that sells for $5 as you can from a product that sells for $25. Or for $125.

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Just a little bit flowery

Celine, the Shoe Girl, will every now and then show us something from her closet, or, in this case, a pair she actually designed:

Celine Ouaknine design for Betsey Johnson

This is, she reports, “one of the last pairs of shoes I designed for @xobetseyjohnson before Steve Madden bought her out and took over,” which would have been about 2010. She really enjoyed that gig, too:

Working with Betsey Johnson as her shoe designer was one of the best experiences of my life. It was a perfect fit! I got to make shoes with flowers and bows and over the top cuteness, and I was so happy doing that.

Over the top? Well, maybe over the top of the foot. I think it’s swell.

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Velocirapture

Well, I do know someone who would wear these:

Venus by John Fluevog

John Fluevog explains what this shoe is all about:

Inspired by fashion-forward members of the Cretaceous period, The Queen of the Skies Family takes a step back to a time when spikes were all the rage. The Venus, with its soft, Italian suede and stunning 4″ pillar heel, is the perfect companion to charm that sexy Paleontologist you’ve been eyeing with your best Deinonychus impression (and if you know what that is, you’re totally in).

Also in black, at the same $339 price.

(Seen here.)

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Quote of the week

InStyle’s fashion news editor Eric Wilson chatted with fashion reporter Teri Agins (in the November issue) on the subject of Agins’ new book, Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities Are Stealing the Spotlight from Fashion Designers (New York: Gotham Books, 2014), and somewhere in the middle of things Wilson posed this question:

I still have conflicting feelings about Kanye West’s fashion collection in 2011. Should we have held him to a different standard because he’s a celebrity? He continues to bring up his treatment by the media and our negative reaction to his desire to become the world’s next top designer.

Agins replied:

Kanye raised his hand and decided that this was what he wanted to do. It wasn’t like he was going to try to sell a few snorkel jackets at Macy’s, like Sean Combs. He wanted to be like Balenciaga or Tom Ford. Bless his heart. He’s a talented entertainer, make no mistake about it. But just because you spent an afternoon with Azzedine Alaïa, that’s not going to make you a designer.

Bonus points for the canonical Southern use of “Bless his heart,” though Agins hails from the not-so-Southern metropolis of Kansas City, Kansas. This article (two pages total) was enough to drive me to seek out Agins’ book.

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Imported from Paradise Island

Columnist and Fox News contributor Jedediah Bila shows off a little of that Diana Prince style:

Jedediah Bila from here down

And when you get right down to it, which you should, Wonder Woman is a perfectly reasonable fashion choice, though bracelets that properly resist ordnance are probably harder to design.

Not that you asked, but Bila is about five-foot-five.

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Is this next year’s sandal?

It’s certainly one of next year’s sandals: InStyle.com included it in a gallery of “Standout Accessories From Spring 2015 New York, London, Milan, and Paris Fashion Weeks,” and I do freely concede that it stands out. Thakoon (Panichgul), a designer born in Thailand who grew up in Omaha, perhaps is best known for outfitting Michelle Obama on the last night of the 2008 Democratic convention, though I can’t possibly imagine Mrs O wearing this particular shoe under any circumstances:

Wedge sandal by Thakoon for Spring 2015

The unnamed model here is probably happy, though, because (1) she’s working and (2) Thakoon’s wedge is not making her obvious heel blister any worse.

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Appreciate the vision

If this doesn’t interest him in poetry, nothing will. It’s Emily Dickinson tights:

Tights with a poem by Emily Dickinson

For the record, it’s the same poem twice, so the poor reader won’t become befuddled if you cross your legs. Price from this Etsy seller is $24.90 in any of ten colors — not including this particular blue, which is out of stock for the moment.

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Götterdenimerung

Roberta X, not being made of money, is actually mending a worn pair of jeans:

I’ve got to mend them, Carhartt having discontinued women’s double-fronts because they’re fools, or maybe too few of us do the kind of work that calls for ‘em, and “so there” to all those lady geologists, archeologists, paleontologists, zoologists, botanists, electricians, plumbers and heavy-equipment operators. Sure, us distaff types may only spin up to ten or twenty percent of the total number of “persons who need heavy work trousers,” but let’s see, everyone times, oh, 0.2 for number of workers-needing-this-workwear, times 0.2 for female workers: 0.276 billion, subtract ten percent for the “can’t wear slacks” wimmens not counterbalanced by fellers who don’t wear trews and we’re left with, roughly, a quarter of a billion. You’d think even just the Western Civilization part of that’d be enough of a market but no.

I’m betting I could put on Eddie Fisher’s “Dungaree Doll” and get blank looks from almost every direction.

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Social shoes

The canonical Explanation of Social Media, up until now, has involved donuts: on Twitter, you’d see “I’m eating a #donut,” while on LinkedIn, it’s more likely to be “My skills include donut eating.”

Now I like donuts as much as the next guy, maybe more if the next guy has an impacted sweet tooth, but I don’t write about them very much. By comparison:

The shoes, incidentally, are by Gianvito Rossi, stand 4.3 inches high, and run $1135; they’re from the ’14 Cruise collection.

Ms Mallet came to Zindigo from Neiman Marcus, where she was the senior fashion director.

(Via @PatriotsOfMars, whom you may know under another name or two.)

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It’s just a print

Given Emily Deschanel’s longstanding commitment to animal welfare and vegetarianism and such, it’s not at all surprising that she’d make an appearance for Mercy For Animals, but I have to admit, I wouldn’t have expected this dress:

Emily Deschanel for Mercy For Animals 9-12-14

I mean, yeah, great dress, but it seems like it might suggest something contrary to the mission. (The organization’s annual gala was held Friday night at The London West Hollywood.)

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The adventures of Sophie

Once upon a time, there was a British band called “theaudience,” which was given to songs with fab titles like “A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed” and “If You Can’t Do It When You’re Young, When Can You Do It?”

Theaudience managed only the one album, back in 1998, before breaking up; lead singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, then nineteen, went on to a solo career, and has now released five albums, the most recent being Wanderlust, from which we extract the current single, “The Deer and the Wolf.”

Definitely a departure from her dance-pop days. And this came out day before yesterday:

I sort of explained Pretty Polly last summer.

This is the cover art from Wanderlust:

Cover art from Wanderlust by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Why the lapses into Cyrillic? Ellis-Bextor has said that the album is like “a soundtrack to an Eastern European film from the 1970s,” and indeed one track features a Bulgarian choir, recorded at the Bulgarian Embassy in London:

It’s not often I’ve stuffed a post into four different categories.

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Mutant Slinky

Next Wednesday, an exhibit called Killer Heels opens at the Brooklyn Museum, and this is what we should expect:

Killer Heels explores fashion’s most provocative accessory. From the high platform chopines of sixteenth-century Italy to the glamorous stilettos on today’s runways and red carpets, the exhibition looks at the high-heeled shoe’s rich and varied history and its enduring place in our popular imagination.

So far, so good. Now to get right down to the real nitty-gritty:

As fashion statement, fetish object, instrument of power, and outlet of artistic expression for both the designer and the wearer, throughout the ages the high-heeled shoe has gone through many shifts in style and symbolism. Deadly sharp stilettos, architecturally inspired wedges and platforms, and a number of artfully crafted shoes that defy categorization are featured among the more than 160 historical and contemporary heels on loan from designers, from the renowned Brooklyn Museum costume collection housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and from the Bata Shoe Museum.

At least one of the shoes on exhibit defies not only categorization but recognition:

Zaha Hadid X United Nude shoe

Seriously.

The prospectus is admittedly impressive:

Guided by her 30 years of experience working with complex structural principles on all scale levels, [Zaha] Hadid has developed an innovative cantilevered system that allows the staggering 16cm (6.25 in) heel to appear completely unsupported.

The rhythmic, articulated transformation of the shoe’s composition encapsulates the seamless integration of materials, inventive engineering and highest standards of comfort. As Hadid’s most recent expression of this symbiotic association, the NOVA shoe design transcends the disciplines of fashion and architecture.

Now I’m just trying to imagine suitable accessories.

(Via InStyle.)

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At least they’re not blue

The preceding piece was taken from the New York Post, as was this one:

(Why not blue? This is why not blue.)

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Fingering the perp

If there’s a tragedy here, it’s that there’s a recognizable need for this product:

An undergraduate team at North Carolina State University might have just revolutionized your make-up drawer. The four students are working to develop a nail polish that changes color if it comes into contact with date rape drugs Rohypnol and GHB. That means that women who wear the new polish — dubbed Undercover Colors — could determine whether their drink has had an unwelcome ingredient added just by dipping in a finger.

The four-person company — all men, as it happens — has raised $100k in funding and continues to work on its product.

There is a downside, of course: this won’t work with rapists who use other drugs, such as strawberry daiquiris.

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Stronger than Trabants

I admit, I can’t read the model’s expression on this package:

Package of Enda brand pantyhose

It’s a look that definitely predates German reunification in 1990: these are East German tights, mit Gesäßerweiterung, which Google persists in altering just enough to mean “with vasodilation.” So: East German support hose, and why the heck not?

Back then Esda was using some mysterious fiber called “Dederon,” which turns out to be a version of Perlon/Nylon 6 that the DDR chose to name for itself. Esda’s plant in Auerbach, Saxony apparently still exists, though the company is now a part of Ergora Fashion GmbH in nearby Oberlungwitz.

Personal note: Back in the 1990s, I had a dental hygienist who looked almost exactly like this, minus the eyeroll, at least from here up: I never saw her in a dress. Which is probably just as well, since I’d probably have asked her to run away with me¹ to Germany or something.

¹ Yeah, right.

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Orange you interested?

I can almost always find a reason not to watch Fox News, though I suspect I miss out on a whole lot of gratuitous eye candy that way.

Yesterday, Harris Faulkner, one of the four female panelists on the Fox series Outnumbered — there’s one token guy in the middle — sent up this little image:

This is double, and maybe quadruple, the number of orange shoes you’re likely to see on an ostensible news program, reason enough for me to mention it here. The shoes themselves are perhaps overly pointy, though not to Rosa Klebb levels, and somebody complained about Kennedy’s little tricolor. (Incidentally, that’s not Kennedy’s Twitter account: this is.) Imagine if she’d showed us her elephant.

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Form perhaps following function

Nine West is offering a collection titled, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, “Starter Husband Hunting.” (Presumably, more advanced techniques, whatever they might be, call for different shoes.) This is part of something they call Shoe Occasions, and you’ll find this shoe in the page header:

Chillice by Nine West

This style is called “Chillice,” and it appears here in “Natural Black/Multi Pony.” I guess I’d notice that. (It’s ten bucks cheaper — $99 — in black.) The pitch:

A crisscross vamp and an adjustable ankle strap closure give our Chillice pointy toe pumps those inevitable double-takes. Padded footbed provides all-day, into-the-evening comfort. Leather or pony upper; simply mouse over your favorite color for upper information. Man-made lining and sole. Imported. 4″ high heels.

Incidentally, a member of the site staff opened up a chat window while I was snagging the picture. I should have told said staffer that it didn’t come in my size. (It does go up to 12.)

Addendum: Do you think maybe they need more than two Shoe Occasions?

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A memory left behind

Women of a certain age may relate to this:

I remember with the few friends I did have — who were kids from families that were frugal like mine — whispering furtively “lard-ass jeans” about the Jordache jeans (I think that may have been a joke on SNL?). Whispering furtively because “ass” was a bad bad bad word and we could have got in SO MUCH TROUBLE had a teacher overheard. Heh.

Actually, it went far beyond “joke on SNL”:

In 1984, Jordache Enterprises, Inc. was the designer jeans behemoth of its day, grossing about $400 million annually. Jordache had just launched a $30 million ad campaign to keep up the momentum.

That same year, two Albuquerque women, Susan Duran and Marsha Stafford, started a home-based company to market a brand of designer jeans for plus-sized women.

The two ladies were passionate about their new venture. Duran, 35 (5’8″, 190 pounds), and Stafford, 33 (5’7″, 170 pounds), had long wanted to create jeans for the amply-proportioned woman.

They considered a variety of brand names for the new company — Calvin Swine, Vidal Sowsoon, Seambusters, Buffalo Buns, Thunder Thighs. In the end, they chose Lardashe.

Jordache, of course, was not amused:

During the three-day trial, an attorney for Jordache said, “The term Lardashe, which everybody understands to be lard ass, is an offensive, insensitive term to use to apply to overweight women.” He claimed that potential customers might think Lardashe jeans were a Jordache product and could take offense… The District Court in New Mexico held, and an appeals court later affirmed, that no trademark infringement had occurred.

There was, however, one unexpected later development:

Although the ladies won, the legal battle proved to be particularly costly for Stafford. She developed an ulcer and lost 60 pounds, making her too svelte for Lardashe jeans.

She and her partner solved the problem by creating a new line of Lardashe junior sizes.

Eventually, Lardashe was wound down. Jordache survives today, although they’ve diversified into lots of other product lines, and their jeans are no longer considered even slightly iconic.

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You’ll have a ball

And apparently you don’t need to hold it up, either:

1950s advertisement for NoMend hosiery

Mayer-Beaton Corporation of Wayne, New Jersey owned this brand, which was made in a mill in Philadelphia that closed around 1955. The company still owned several brands of unmentionables after that; trademarks owned by them started to show up as Cancelled Section 8 — no declaration of continued use — in the 1980s.

I also got a CD cover out of this.

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In which Mindy projects

There’s actually no projected date for the publication of Mindy Kaling’s second book, Why Not Me? It didn’t stop her, though, from putting up some Instagrams from the photo shoot for the book cover, a couple of which I’ve borrowed, with the help of InStyle.

This first lacy thingumabob comes from Dolce & Gabbana:

Mindy Kaling in D and G

And this, with pockets yet, from 5th & Mercer:

Mindy Kaling in 5th and Mercer

If you’re not familiar with 5th & Mercer, it’s a line designed by La La Anthony, who is married to NBA star Carmelo Anthony. The shoes are all Jimmy Choos.

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There are also wardrobe adjustments

About three years ago, I posted an item about one Andrej Pejić, a rather androgynous fellow who actually looked really good in a print ad for a bra. I said at the time:

[Pejić is] arguably the prettiest six-foot-two blond(e) working the runway today. I’d argue that he sells the product remarkably well, inasmuch as it brings a figure with no actual bewbage at all up to an almost-solid B.

That figure has changed a bit since then: Pejić has added an A to her first name and has undergone sexual-reassignment surgery. Apparently this is what she always wanted:

I figured out who I was very early on — actually, at the age of 13, with the help of the Internet — so I knew that a transition, becoming a woman, was always something I needed to do. But it wasn’t possible at the time, and I put it off, and androgyny became a way of expressing my femininity without having to explain myself to people too much. Especially to my peers [who] couldn’t understand things like “trans” and gender identity. And then obviously the modeling thing came up, and I became this androgynous male model, and that was a big part of my growing up and my self-discovery. But I always kept in mind that, ultimately, my biggest dream was to be a girl. I wasn’t ready to talk about it before in a public way because I was scared that I would not be understood. I didn’t know if people would like me. But now I’m taking that step because I’m a little older — I’m 22 — and I think my story can help people. My goal is to give a human face to this struggle, and I feel like I have a responsibility.

Certainly this will make matters a bit simpler for the gatekeepers in modeling:

[W]hen I first moved to London. It was like, I’d walk into the boys’ casting, and they were like, “No … you don’t belong here.” And then at the girls’ casting, they were like, “Why are they sending us boys?” So it took time for everyone to get on board. It wasn’t all sweet sailing.

For the non-fashionista, the place you’re most likely to have seen Pejić is David Bowie’s 2013 video for “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” the existence of which offers up two layers of irony: Bowie’s own long-ago flirtation with androgyny, circa Ziggy Stardust, and the unexpected Woman of a Certain Age appearance of Tilda Swinton, who much of the time aspires to look like Conan O’Brien. As Ray Davies once said: “It’s a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world.”

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Like this stuff grows on trees or something

After World War II, DuPont, inventor of nylon, went back to vending it as a silk substitute, but a lot of wholly unrelated requests came in over the transom, and the versatile polymer was pressed (or extruded, or whatever) into service in many different forms. One of the least likely, perhaps, was Remington’s Nylon 66 rifle, with nylon stock and receiver; they sold a million of them, and heaven knows how much .22LR, in thirty years.

But in the 1950s, DuPont’s bread and butter for nylon was still the garment industry, and when they came up with new dyed versions of the fiber, well, this was the result:

DuPont institutional ad for stockings in color

(Note: This embiggens to over 1.2 MB.)

Hosiery manufacturers rushed to take advantage of the new colors, just in time for the Sixties.

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Arch nemeses

Once upon a time, there was a guest on David Letterman’s show — don’t remember if it was on NBC or CBS — who was billed as having the perfect foot, the standard by which shoemakers judge their lasts. I remember very little about her except her size, which was either a 6 or a 6½, decidedly smaller than average, and I speak as someone who (for a short time) dated a woman who wore a size 4.

Shoemakers are having to spend more on materials today, it appears:

U.S. shoe makers including Stuart Weitzman and Cole Haan report average sizes are creeping up. And retailers are watching the extended-size market carefully. Nordstrom has seen strong sales of larger sizes, says Anne Egan, national merchandise manager for salon shoes. It has held special in-store events for extended-size customers, including women who wear up to a size 14 and men who wear up to a size 20. Long Tall Sally, a U.K.-based apparel and footwear retailer that gets almost half its sales from North America, sells the most shoes in U.S. sizes 12 and 13, says Chief Executive Andrew Shapin. Size 15, added earlier this year, now makes up 10% of its footwear business.

I’m hoping this means that a men’s size 14 will soon be common enough to stock in places that don’t routinely charge me three figures a pair — and then I think of Shaquille O’Neal, always reported as size 22, who now claims to wear a 23. (And truth be told, I might be a candidate for 15s now, or at least an additional E on my 14s.)

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The advantage of transparency

The Shoe Girl, a favorite around these parts, informed her vast audience that “Clearly, these are sexy shoes.” I, of course, took a look:

Clear Manolos from Saks

Doing due diligence, I asked her about them; said she, they were Manolo Blahniks from Saks.

I didn’t see them among the current Manolos (166 styles!) on the Saks Web site, but she never said they were new; for all I know, they’d been sitting in her closet for ages and were recently unearthed. They appear to be part of his long-running Chaos range, which typically sells for $725.

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Say yes to Z Dress

I might be excessively impressed by this, largely because I have no idea how difficult to live with it might be, but what I can see, I sort of like:

Z Dress Lookbook from Anastasia on Vimeo.

Then again, I used to own a couple of reversible ties. If you must judge me, judge me for that.

(Seen here.)

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Faye accompli

Faye Emerson, born on this date in 1917, sticks in my mind because she did all manner of television in the 1950s: variety shows, game shows, you name it. Of course, she didn’t start out that way: in the 1940s she was on the Warner Bros. studio payroll, and while she never made it up to the A-list, she was pretty much always working, and pretty much always pretty:

Faye Emerson, starlet

Curiously, while I was out looking for additional photos, I encountered this phenomenon:

Faye Emerson wardrobe malfunction

This 1950 clip, once you get past the Pepsi promotion, illustrates how such a thing could be possible in that sanitary age:

Bonus: Steve Allen in his late twenties.

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