Archive for Rag Trade

She’s such a girl

Sometimes Rebecca Black shops, and she will show you what she bought:

I got curious about that neutral-colored shoe, the one her mom picked out for her, and went looking for it:

Flat oxford from Zara with rippled sole

In sand color, $89.90 from Zara. Not especially pricey, but perhaps tall for what is nominally a flat. And, as she says, “I already know some of you guys are going to hate these, but I really don’t care.”

(I was listening to this in the editing stage, which may explain the first line.)


What the well-dressed hooves are wearing

Found by Fillyjonk on Polyvore, and contemplated by yours truly for entirely too long:

My Little Pony peep-toe pump


Headed to Equestria, dames? A darling pair of My Little Pony platform pumps, these vegan heels are fashioned in a charming cosmic celestial motif, boasting a peep toe, sleek 4.75 inch heel, 1 inch hidden platform and PU rubber outsole. Let your imagination run wild!

Unique Vintage has these very shoes for $64, or however much that is in bits.

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Remaining decent

Lynn reports on an online petition:

Fifteen-year-old Cassy James has started a petition requesting that American Eagle Outfitters, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21 start selling “modest, but fashionable clothing.” I really wish I could speak to and be heard by this young lady and others like her. Of course, even if I could she wouldn’t listen. I’m “too old”; I just “don’t get it.” But I have things to say and I have a blog and I’m calling on my three readers to make this go viral.

Inasmuch as I now have a teenaged granddaughter, I am happy to endorse this effort.

Also, last week someone uploaded a class picture from the distant past, which included somebody I was once horribly in love with. She’d have understood this, even then.

And Lynn makes a sensible suggestion:

When you know what you want you need to start voting with your purse. Do you really have to shop at the three stores you mentioned? You say they are your favorite stores but why is that if they don’t have what you want? Look around. Try other stores. Try Amazon. You can find anything on Amazon. Also, you can improve clothes by the way you accessorize. If a garment is “too old looking” for you add some young jewelry. If a shirt or dress is too low cut add a scarf. If a shirt is too tight just buy the next larger size. That’s the easiest problem of all to solve.

Yea, verily.

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Strictly off the rack

I sit through live tweets of the red-carpet arrivals of things like the Golden Globes because, well, sometimes I get stories like this one to pass on.

This is Bryce Dallas Howard, resplendent in Jenny Packham:

Bryce Dallas Howard at the 2016 Golden Globes

Contrary to usual Hollywood practice, she did not borrow this gown from Packham’s atelier. It’s not the way Howard plays the game: “I like having lots of options for a size six as opposed to maybe one option, so I always go to department stores!”

As it turns out, she’d bought it last week from Neiman Marcus for $4800, which, as red-carpet gowns go, seems almost comically inexpensive.

Checking the archives, I see that she’s generally done a good job of finding her own frocks:

Bryce Dallas Howard street-styling

Maybe this one was a wee bit small for a six:

Bryce Dallas Howard at Terminator Salvation

But no matter.

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Worn down under

About three years ago, I did a piece on the French unmentionables company Clio, finishing with this paragraph:

There exists an Australian brand called CLiO — usually typeset that way — which is, to my knowledge, not related to the French company. This is not the most unheard-of thing I ever heard of, either; the down-under CLiOs can be found at Target stores in Australia, which have no connection with the Target stores in the US.

This Australian ad, and their Web site, indicates that CLiO is these days selling through Woolworths Limited, an Australian firm which is not actually related to other stores of that name worldwide — where have we heard that? — and through Woolworths Big W chain.

Advertisement for CLiO Hosiery, circa 2011-12

I do marvel at those shoes.

Their Facebook page occasionally coughs up some memeworthy commentary:

CLiO says: Some days you go eat salads and go to the gym.  Some days you eat cake and refuse to put on pants. It's called balance.

I understand. Really I do.


This might be stretching it a bit

Lynn looks inside Spanx and finds a silver lining of sorts:

In 2010, an Oklahoma woman wore Spanx over her head while she robbed a McDonald’s. Oh that is so Oklahoma. I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed. Robbery is definitely not cool but it goes to show that we could come up with better uses for Spanx. It could be up there with duct tape and WD-40 in the Stuff With 1001 Uses category.

I dunno if you could come up with a thousand and one, but even just one — other than “medieval torture device,” that is — might be worth the effort.

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Only slightly more artificial than usual

Which scowling supermodel from your favorite runway will be the new face of Louis Vuitton? No matter who makes your list, the answer is “none of the above”:

Geek chic is poised to make a big splash in 2016, and Louis Vuitton recognizes that few things are geekier than the Final Fantasy series.

The face of the French fashion icon’s spring-summer 2016 campaign is Lightning, a key character from Final Fantasy XIII and its two subsequent spinoff games. She pops up in new ads for “Series 4,” a collection that was created in collaboration with game publisher Square Enix and FFXIII main character designer Tetsuya Nomura.

Which makes more sense than you might think it does:

Fashion is an integral component of Nomura’s work, with each character’s style serving as a reflection of their personality. Some of the more recent Final Fantasy games even tie costuming to character abilities, with swapped outfits representing a shift in what that character can do.

Besides, virtual models presumably take better care of themselves.

(Via Cameron Aubernon.)

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None more saggy

If pants fall any farther, this is all that will remain:

Tara Strong begs to disagree: “Actually I think you CAN go to jail for this.”

Me, I think I’ll just stare in disbelief.

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No straps, Sherlock

The following two paragraphs have more in common than you might think. First, from Wikipedia:

The ability of geckos — which can hang on a glass surface using only one toe — to climb on sheer surfaces has been attributed to the van der Waals forces between these surfaces and the spatulae, or microscopic projections, which cover the hair-like setae found on their footpads.

And now, from HelloGiggles:

We have a love/hate relationship with strapless bras, for sure, and by love/hate, we mostly mean hate; strapless bras pinch, push, and fall down. Oh do they fall down. Especially if you’re, uh, more gifted in that department, you’ll find yourself pulling up your bra all night when no one is looking (curse you, perfect dress!). Not fun.

This is where they met:

Kellie K Apparel 2015 Kickstarter Campaign Video from Anthony Roy on Vimeo.

They raised $26,921 in that Kickstarter, and they’ll be offering two versions of this garment, with or without underwire.

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Put on your red shoes and dance the blues

Greetings from Manolo BlahnikAfter looking at Manolo Blahnik’s little online greeting card for perhaps longer than I needed to, I started contemplating the matter of accessorizing, which indeed is no small manner. What, I wondered, would one wear with this very red and somewhat bulky shoe? The photo offers no indication; indeed, it hews to that trope made popular in fashion books and lad mags alike, the notion of a woman wearing nothing but high heels. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anybody like that, and while my world is obviously the poorer for it, it’s not like I’d have any kind of chance with someone who is known to have done that sort of thing, such as Mary-Kate Olsen, and besides, she just got married to someone older, though certainly not older than I am.

At the very least, I reasoned, one would not wear this with an actual red dress: that would be overkill. Cristina up in Toronto came up with one case where red shoes and red dress work, and that’s on the red carpet with a very minimal red shoe:

Rosamund Pike on the Academy Awards red carpet

Here we see Rosamund Pike at the 2015 Academy Awards, resplendent in Givenchy, wearing about the least amount of material that can legitimately be called a shoe. For any other situation, you need to throw in at least one additional color, as Pike does here with a green platform:

Rosamund Pike takes a breather

And well, since I don’t give up on mental images quickly enough, once again Rosamund Pike, this time not wearing shoes, and probably not anything else either:

Rosamund Pike takes a bath

Although if you really want your eyes to bug out, what you need to see is a list of Pike’s nominations and awards for her work in 2014’s Gone Girl, one of which resulted in her being on that particular red carpet in the first place.

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And some happy new gear

Manolo Blahnik sends his regards:

The man clearly knows how to get my attention.

Then again, when I was a mere prat, “second Advent” meant something more than the second Sunday after Advent: it meant the Second Coming, apocalypse now, horsemen and all, guess it’s time for the Judgment Day.

Oh, well. Bye, Feliz navidad.

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See all the shoes

I started paying attention to Sarah Sloan MacLeod when she was thirteen and went viral-ish with a video called “Slut Shaming and Why It’s Wrong,” which ultimately drew over 700,000 views. Nothing she’s done in the four years since has had that kind of mass impact, but she still has the ability to take me by surprise, as she did here with a question you’ve heard before: “Just how many shoes do you have, anyway?”

Actual shoebloggers should do this, I think, though as I told SSM, they “would beg off because they have like 247 pairs of shoes.”


Strappier than thou

My fondness for strappy sandals — well, I won’t say it knows no bounds, since obviously I have my limits.

Meanwhile, Cristina of ShoeTease, everyone’s favorite Toronto-based shoe blog, finds a spiffy shoe that doesn’t overdo it with the horizontals:

Strappy sandal from Le Château

She writes:

With their fine straps & delicate leather covered buckles, I feel like I’m literally wearing a party on my feet! Not only are these shoes made in Brazil & out of actual leather uppers, but the gilded shimmery gold outsoles a[dd] the perfect amount of holiday shine. Talk about making a fancy entrance and exit!

These might be the easiest 4″ stiletto heels to walk in & by far the most spectacular pair of black pumps I own.

There is also a tan version. The Le Château store nearest you has them — assuming you’re in Canada, as are 221 of their 222 retail locations. Price is $170.

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Several shades of Mary Jane

There exists a shoe line called “Irregular Choice,” and if ever there was truth in advertising, it’s in that name. Nancy Friedman, always alert to such things, pointed me in the general direction of that line, and this particular shoe seemed — well, I don’t know if “appropriate” is the word, but “timely” definitely fits:

Irregular Choice Avant Garde Gnome Lyric Heart Velvet Polka Dot HeelTo give it its full name, this is the Irregular Choice Avant Garde Gnome Lyric Heart Velvet Polka Dot Heel, and since you’re going to ask, the gnome is four inches tall. I think. I mean, it’s not like he’s slouching or anything, or at least he doesn’t look like he’s slouching, and one (okay, “I”) might well cherish verticality in a shoe heel.

I’m not sure who’s the intended market here — gnomismatists? mockers of holiday cheer? crushing-video fanatics? armpit fetishists? collectors of the unwearable? — but there are only a couple of sizes left, at $185, so clearly somebody liked this shoe at some point.

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As flat as the town itself

Some people, I am told, can run in heels. I’m guessing none of those people are Italian schoolgirls:

Secondary school l’Istituto Tecnico Industriale di Avezzano, in L’Aquila, Italy, has reportedly banned wedges, flip-flops and high heels measuring over 1.6 inches. The Ansa news agency reports the rule was set in place due to concerns that the shoes could prevent a quick exit in the event of an earthquake.

“The directive isn’t the result of a puritanical fantasy,” Anna Amanzi, a teacher at the school, tells Ansa. “It’s a serious requirement to teach students prevention and education, especially in a high-risk seismic zone.”

Which L’Aquila evidently is:

The town was devastated by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in 2009, which killed 309 people and displaced over 60,000.

This is the same town where six seismologists and one government official went on trial for allegedly misinforming the public about the seismic risk. Some convictions were obtained, but were later overturned. None of the defendants, I suspect, had been in the habit of wearing high heels.

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His and hers

Footwear News stuck this into a slideshow, and it struck me as just wacky enough to show off here:

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade from here down

At left: Gabrielle Union in sandals by Giuseppe Zanotti. At right: Dwyane Wade in sneakers by Saint Laurent.

Both outfits in full, if you’re curious.


Having had it up to here

I’ve gone out more than once with mismatched socks, which of course was utterly mortifying once I found out. (Never tell me my socks don’t match. You will plunge me into the Slough of Despond.) What I need is this level of indifference:

I’m getting ready to go out and I just put on two knee-highs of different colors and I don’t even care. But it made me remember back to a time when knee-highs were something new and they were more stockingish and less disposable. I read somewhere — Hints From Heloise or a fashion advice column in Seventeen magazine — that if you had a bunch of mismatched knee-highs you could boil them together and they’d all come out the same color. I did that at least once. I don’t remember if this technique actually worked but I do remember that one knee-high touched the dry rim of the metal sauce pan and burned up.

I wonder if it would help to freeze them first.

Not being part of the target market, I’m asking: Do buyers actually stock up on several different colors?

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Cold in the hose

BuzzFeed is touting this as a way to avoid runs and ladders and such in one’s hosiery:

As soon as you buy ’em, run your tights under cold water, put them in a plastic bag, and put ’em in the freezer… The cold air is supposed to strengthen and reinforce the nylon.

One commenter — yes, children, I did look at the comments, don’t judge me — said she’d been doing this for a decade, and that you thaw them and let them air-dry the night before.

I have no idea whether this will work or not, though I note that nylon is hygroscopic and can absorb (or, for that matter, desorb) water from its surroundings.

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Another closeout

Another shoe shows up in my Twitter timeline:

“Quickly” indicated here, I think, that most of the sizes were then gone; by now, all of them are gone. Anyway, while they lasted, they were marked down from $110 to $65.99.


Skin in the game

Rebecca Black for Flaunt MagazineAn uncle of mine was fond of quoting the old adage — wait, aren’t all adages old by definition? — “If you got it, flaunt it,” which may be more than enough to explain the existence of Flaunt magazine, which, judging by this Instagrammed portrait, did a modest photoshoot with Rebecca Black. At least, I thought it was modest. One of the commenters on her Instagram account — click the picture and you can see the whole thread, if you’re so inclined — wasn’t having any of that:

“Just don’t get why musicians think it’s always a good idea to have bits showing off, women moan that they’re always sexualised and yet they walk around looking like that? Would you walk to the shops wearing only your bra? I doubt it. Would you go to a formal dinner in only your bra? I doubt it.”

“And yet women moan about being made into sex icons etc etc yet they still walk around with their tits hanging out moaning they only attract scumbag guys.”

Up to that point, I hadn’t noticed the way this outfit was cut. And RB’s done lots of fashion stuff of late — see, for instance, this quickie video for Twist magazine, one of several 16 replacements — and this is pretty much of a piece with her recent appearances at various openings: trendy without being particularly spendy. As for “hanging out,” well, she’s eighteen and nowhere near an A-cup, and I don’t think she needs to be, um, bound down.

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Random footwear

One of the side effects of writing about shoes is that people send me links to shoes, sometimes gorgeous, sometimes the very antithesis of gorgeous. I’ve received these this week, and I’m not quite sure what I think about them, so I’m turning them over to you guys:

Portuguese shoes supposedly characteristic of the nation's exports

Cover of Biker Babes

Not ugly, really; still, they don’t grab me. You?

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When things go insufficiently wrong

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” — Niels Bohr

The scene: the New Balance factory store in Edmond, just before Labor Day. As you may remember, I wound up needing a pair of 928s in the unheard-of size of 14 EEEEEE, which is a lot of damn E’s. Not surprisingly, not in stock. She turned to the terminal, asked for a ship date, and then said:

“Officially, it says here the fifth of October. I think it will be more like the end of October.”

The voice of bitter experience. I shrugged, said that would be fine, here’s my number, so call me maybe when they come in.

They arrived at the store on the seventh, which means they probably shipped on the, um, fifth. I chose not to bring this up, inasmuch as the clerk in question had the day off yesterday when I picked them up.


A cupful of misery

First, an informal statistic:

34B is one of the most popular bra sizes in the country. “That size is always the first to sell out,” the Aerie saleswoman said as she checked for the size among the dozen or so lightly lined options in the store — the only ones left were in beige and black. “I swear, half the people who come in here say they are a 34B,” said a saleswoman at Victoria’s Secret, “and they buy that size whether it fits or not.”

A subsequent test with nine women reporting themselves to be 34Bs suggests that “not” is the most common result:

Some of the women had been professionally sized previously. Some had not. Some were wearing bras that were only a few months old, while others had been wearing the same bra for years, despite the fact that most bras lose their elasticity after six months to a year of regular wear. No one fit every bra. Some people didn’t really fit any of the bras. Bra sizing is so weird.

And that’s just one size. Imagine how complicated this gets when you get beyond 34B.

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Gumming up the works

When I saw these posted, I left the following comment:

With that color and that much height, you put these on and you look like you have three kilograms of Already Been Chewed Dubble Bubble stuck to your soles. Somebody might look good in that, but nobody I know.

Here’s where we find out if I know you:

Nightcall shoes by Zooloo

Says Cristina, who posted about it:

In my old-er age, I’m going to presume that this is something only the raver kids would wear? (I mean, ravers still exist, right?) or possibly to add some flair to a Robot Barbie halloween costume?! I love pink shoes, I really do, but when it comes to a sandal that looks a little like a TEVA on crack, I have no say #thanksbutnothanks. I have a way of mentally sifting through the hideous & the trendy by visualizing whether a particular shoe, such as this Pink Panther-pink ridiculousness would jive on the concrete runways of say, Milan, London or New York. This style would definitely not.

In New York, anyway, you can find stuff this color stuck to the concrete on just about any sidewalk. And I strongly suspect it loses its flavor at the bedside overnight.

Zooloo calls this “Nightcall” and sells it for $112 — if you wear a size 8. (They seem to be out of stock on other sizes at the moment.) If you don’t, thank your lucky stars.


Not exactly kinky boots

Cyndi Lauper has introduced a shoe line, and it’s not because girls want to have funds, either:

Lauper has been a staunch supporter of LGBT rights, becoming a fixture at gay pride events and raising money through charity work. Now, she’s parlaying her unwavering belief in equality into something tangible with the launch of her shoe collection with Make a Difference Everyday, an organization dedicated to creating products with a purpose.

The three-piece line, priced between $65 and $75, includes a denim hi-top sneaker, a leopard print slip-on sneaker, and a men’s white hi-top sneaker. “Each style was designed to be worn in all kinds of situations,” Lauper told InStyle. Proceeds from sales benefit the True Colors Fund, her foundation which works to end homelessness among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth across the country.

The shoes themselves are not particularly wild-looking, but perhaps that’s the whole point: sometimes you have to blend in a little.

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It never really went away

InStyle proclaims with a straight face:

The sleeper shoe of the season comes from a quite traditional source: Chanel. Originally designed by Gabrielle Chanel in 1957, it was the only footwear option shown on the house’s mega runway last March. Though it boasts the heritage cap-toe, its modest heel and seductive cutouts were remixed by none other than Karl Lagerfeld. It is precisely the opposite of Instagram click-bait, which makes it all the more covetable.

I’ll bet it didn’t cost $800 a pair back in 1957. Still, it’s worth icon points, as classic Chanel lines always are.

Chanel Slingback shoe rebooted for 2015-6

Chanel has put together a series of short films — none as long as a minute — which feature the Slingback. My favorite was this one:

You do want to take care of your shoes, especially your $800 shoes.


How could I leave this behind?

Hmmm. I suppose I should check this out:

Natasha Wagner has a secret weapon … it’s her butt. For fourteen years this anatomically-gifted woman has been trying on jeans for designers, and getting paid for it.

Natasha is thought to have the best butt in the world because of its “ideal blend of curves and flat”. Because of her curvy-flat butt, designers can see if a pair of jeans will look good on everyone. She’s been the butt stand-in for all kinds of brands, too, including Levi’s, Paige Denim, 7 For All Mankind, and Citizens of Humanity.

Upside: She’s got to be at least 30.

Still, I don’t quite comprehend how jeans that will look great on Ms Wagner will look great on someone with a non-perfect butt — or, for that matter, with no butt at all.

(Title from track 7 of This Is Spinal Tap.)

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Beyond mere timepieces

You say “wearable technology,” and people think you’re talking about either (1) a watch or (2) some weirdly designed dress riven with circuitry. This time, or at least one out of two times this time, it’s different:

Chromat’s new line includes two garments powered by Intel Curie, an incredibly small low-power chip that’s the perfect base for responsive wearables. These garments are a 3D-printed dress that structurally reacts to a rise in your adrenaline levels, and a new sports bra that responds to changes in breathing, perspiration and body temperature by opening vents to keep you cool.

I’m ever-so-slightly put off by a dress controlled by adrenaline, but the sports bra sounds actually useful:

The sports bra, full title Chromat Aeros Sports Bra, is made from Lycra, neoprene, mesh, and a 3D-printed carbon-fiber frame. It will open vents to cool down your body when it senses increased levels of heat and sweat, allowing you to exercise harder for longer periods of time. So long boob sweat, you shall not be missed!

Price goes unstated for now, as it probably should, but I can’t imagine that there will be only one of these on the market for too awfully long.


Slightly less nude

We are fans of Stuart Weitzman’s deliciously insubstantial “Nudist” shoes, though admittedly we’re not likely to see them often in the circles in which we usually travel. This year there’s a variation on the theme with the name “Nudistsong”, sporting a couple new colors and a slightly lower heel (3¾ inches).

Nudistsong by Stuart Weitzman

The price is not even slightly lower, at $398. If you want this look but want to hold on to more of your hard-earned cash, listen up to Cristina:

Although there have been a vast array of less expensive “nudist” copycats around, the knock-off sandal style that comes the absolute closest to Weitzman’s more expensive version, is Steve Madden’s “Stecy”. Not surprising, really, as Madden could easily be crowned King of designer shoe knock-offs (well, maybe? possibly? second to Jeffrey Campbell?). The Madden brand is really, really good at their unrelentless copying (see its take on Brian Atwood here!), which is more than evident with the outcome of the “Stecy”. Online reviews of Madden’s $80, more affordable shoe version have been mixed, as it seems to fit a slimmer foot & ankle, which from what I understand is a close fit to the actual Nudist itself.

Differences? She found a few, and really not too few to mention:

[T]he Madden version has a slightly lower heel & padded insole (which can be considered added value, allowing for greater comfort!). It has a synthetic lining & outsole vs. leather ones. The toe strap is slightly thicker. But all in all, it’s an aesthetically pleasing duplicate & if the fit of the shoe works well for your foot, it’s definitely a bargain at 1/5 of Weitzman’s original. Definitely a great look for less! Unless, of course, you’ve seen The Wolf of Wall Street & have a developed a deep-seeded issue with Madden’s shady past.

My seeds are shallow as can be.

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I don’t know, I’ve never Shepled

Sheplers is being merged out of existence:

A 116-year-old name in retail and one of the oldest continuously operating western wear brands, is going away this fall.

Sheplers stores are being rebranded as Boot Barn and the changeover is expected to be completed by Thanksgiving, said Boot Barn vice president Jayme Maxwell.

Irvine, Calif.-based Boot Barn purchased Wichita, Kansas-based Sheplers in June for $147 million to create the largest western wear retailer in the U.S.

How large would “largest” be?

Before the companies merged, Boot Barn had 152 stores in 23 states. Sheplers, a chain of 25 stores in 10 states with a healthy e-commerce business, had sales of $157 million in its last year, including $66 million online. Together the two chains represent more than $550 million in annual sales.

Sheplers dates back to 1899, kinda sorta: J. W. Gibson’s Harness Shop, founded in Wichita back then, was subsequently acquired by Harry L. Shepler (1914-1976), who put his own name over the door.

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