Archive for Rag Trade

Quickly spotted

By gum, here’s another vintage item from The Fashion Capital of Delaware:

Chiffon dress with polka dots

I think you have to be exactly the right age to appreciate this sort of thing.

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Is it Mary or Sue?

From the faraway early 1960s, a dress over which to obsess:

Pretty Girl dress from Braunstein's

Stag line, indeed. (Yet the dateless guys still queue up, even today.)

And I have to chuckle at “The Fashion Capital of Delaware.”

(Tip of the hat to Roger Green.)

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Once this was cool

Now, I guess, it’s a political statement, but in the 1970s it was kinda whimsical:

Landlubber clothing ad

Yeah, I suppose it is sort of uncomfortable.

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Strictly boho

I have a feeling I’d like this dress:

What I’m seeing is pretty spiffy.

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Because I needed this

I didn’t do any Rule 5 stuff this week due to, um, illness, but I had to say something about this Bai Ling tweet.

“Rawr” should about do it.

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Block partier

Not so long ago, Stuart Weitzman came up with a shoe called, for good and sensible reasons, “Tasselmania.” What happens when the shoe is not so, well, manic?

Tasselean by Stuart Weitzman

The nice thing about the block heel is that it looks like it won’t give way under you, unlike some styles you could name. Says Weitzman’s storefront about “Tasselean”:

Boho goes modern by way of a tassel detail and a minimalist single-sole design. This fashionista favorite is finished with braided straps and is crafted from cipria leather or suede. Wear with structured shorts and a silk tunic.

Um, “structured”? Okay. These are structured AF, or at least A&F.

The cipria version of “Tasselean” is “Frosted White.” Either way, it’s $398.

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Fantasy and then some

Claire Farron here is the new face of Louis Vuitton, kinda sorta:

Lightning for Louis Vuitton

Not that she’s going to walk the runway for them or anything: Ms Farron, better known as Lightning, is the protagonist of the game Final Fantasy XIII, and her existence is purely virtual. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I guess:

On the ad pages of a recent Vanity Fair, Lightning can be seen sporting her trademark pink hair and brandishing a metallic leather handbag. The clothes and purse look ordinary, but her skin is smoother than that of even the most excruciatingly Photoshopped human woman. Lightning dwells in the uncanny valley; she is real enough to pass as a model, but her dead eyes and perfectly regular features create a subtle sense of unease.

If you ask me, she’d create a subtle sense of unease were she “real”:

Lightning is determined, concentrated and independent. Initially, she is cold and standoffish, distancing herself from her companions. She only looks out for herself and doesn’t care if others are left behind.

Sound like any flesh-and-blood models you’ve heard of?

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Hey, (almost) nineteen

The 21st of this month is Rebecca Black’s 19th birthday, but I figured I’d mention it here today because it’s Friday and that should require no further explanation.

A couple of weeks ago she turned loose a video in which she’s talking music with the two brothers who make up funk-pop duo Fox Wilde, with whom she’s apparently working on some tunes. The main thing I gleaned from it, though, was a reminder of how great a simple t-shirt/jeans combo can be:

Rebecca Black as casual as she wants to be

Interestingly, there’s apparently only the single rip, over her left knee, so these jeans aren’t fully “distressed” in the contemporary sense.

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Hardly there at all

Once upon a time, I professed a fondness for “insubstantial” shoes, not for myself of course — I wear a freaking size 14 HyperWide, fercrissake — but as an occasional fashion choice for my fair lady. (At the time, I didn’t have a fair lady, and I have no reason to expect I will get one any time soon, but let that pass for the moment.)

In terms of substance, this shoe is an iceberg, with next to nothing above the surface:

Eva La Rue in Valentino heels

And I suppose it’s technically a peep-toe, but who’s gonna know?

When this picture showed up, I went combing through the Net for suitable red-carpet information, the carpet’s lack of redness notwithstanding. It took little effort to find out who this was — it’s Eva LaRue, at the second-season premiere for Showtime’s Ray Donovan — but this was evidently not enough of an event to warrant any fashion coverage. After too many searches, I have ascertained, I think, that this shoe must come from Valentino’s Spring 2013 collection, which also contains a Lucite-ish bag:

Plexiglas bag from Valentino, Spring 2013

Way to trompe the hell out of l’oeil, guys.

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There Armani here among us

Hillary Clinton's infamous jacket… who feel that this entire discussion of Hillary Clinton’s pricey Armani jacket is but a joke:

People are saying mean things about Hillary’s wardrobe, particularly the $12,000 coat she appeared in recently. I think that’s a cheap shot. The coat is not becoming — she can’t carry it off. She looks like she picked it up at some store that features garments for older women. I can just see some upper middle class woman wearing it to church or to a do at the Women’s Club, and looking better in it than Hillary.

No kidding, I think I would look better in that coat than she does; she is not interested in looking attractive, and I am. Surely the pantsuits she wore in office were dreadful, but so was everything she wore, including her ugly hairstyle, which made her look like someone who does not visit her stylist often enough, or maybe doesn’t even have a hairstylist. She does not place a high value on her appearance, having more worthwhile things to concern herself with, like how many bombs to drop on ISIS this week or what to do about hunger. I’m not saying she shouldn’t spend a lot of money on her clothes; no one expects a millionaire in public life to shop at JCPenney.

Best handwave I’ve seen so far: someone imported into my tweetstream who swears that this shapelessness of hers is caused by bulletproof vests.

There is, I suggest, no point in getting worked up over the price of Mrs Clinton’s garb; she’s a private citizen and can spend her money any damned way she wants, and those who feel like yelling “But inequality!” can go whiz up a rope. This is not Pat Nixon’s Republican cloth coat. And let’s face it, you’ve seen worse.

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And oh, what heights we’ll hit

What we have here is “a story about a pair of flats that wanted to be a heel”:

Kind of heartwarming, or at least footwarming. There’s even a video on how it was done.

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Cold in one’s hose

Now here’s a catchy title: How Freezing Your Tights Will Change Your Whole Damn Life.

Oh, they mean it, all right:

Those opaque bad boys are a lifesaver when the temps start to majorly dip … if only they stayed run-free for longer than, oh, a day. Good thing there’s a super-easy trick for extending the life of your tights.

You freeze them.

Yes, it sounds crazy, but hear us out: The next time you buy a new pair (and before you wear them), run them under water until they’re damp. Then place them in a plastic bag and freeze overnight. Take them out and give them a day to defrost and thaw out.

You only need to do this once — after that, you’re good to go. The chilly temps firm and strengthen the individual fibers of your tights, making them less susceptible to runs later on.

Hmmm. Wonder if this works on sheer, or at least non-opaque, varieties.

(And why am I hearing about this only now?)

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Never gonna give them up

Most guys, I suspect, have at least one pair of shoes coming close to this description:

When I got home I realized there was a pebble in my shoe. I’m not sure how it got there. Those old shoes have been through a lot. They are worn and dirty. I bought them five or six years ago. They are white leather Adidas. The trademarked three stripes are unusual in that they consist of two blue stripes and one red in the middle. Those old shoes sure have traveled while on my feet. They have trod untold miles. They have been to Mexico, Belize, the Bahamas. They’ve walked through the VI and both French and Dutch St Maartins. Those old Adidas stomped around on the Great Wall of China and protected my feet through at least 14 different states. There is a scuff mark on the right heel from where I routinely rest the foot on the floor while pressing the accelerator. The insoles lost any support long ago. The inner padding and liner is worn through at various contact spots.

I had a pair of Nike sport sandals I managed to keep more or less intact for a decade; eventually, of course, “less” won out over “more,” and I wound up replacing them with these. Three years later — well, I don’t envision getting seven more years out of ’em, but you never know.

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This is not a Bag O’ Crap

I actually saw this on Woot yesterday:

Chanel Boy Quilted Flap Bag

I am not making this up:

Exuding sophistication and elegance, this size new medium Chanel Boy Flap Bag is masterfully constructed in Italy from durable black textured caviar calfskin leather, showcasing the iconic flap design with its sublime signature stitching/quilting pattern. The Pushlock Boy Lock is distinguished by the two interlocking C’s in rustic silver, which is identical in color to the bag’s other hardware. This bag can be worn on the shoulder, hand held or cross body, making it irresistibly versatile. The oversized adjustable chain is smartly paired with a leather strap and can be worn with either the single or double chain option. The brownish red fabric lined interior compartment features one pouch and one zip-closure pocket to help properly organize belongings. This bag measures 11in (28cm) length by 7in (18cm) height by 3.5in (9cm) depth and comes with original Chanel authenticity hologram card and black dustbag.

List price is given as $5200; Woot will let you have one — but no more than three — for $4779.99 each. (Plus, um, $5 shipping.)

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Neutral shift

Have you ever picked up a garment labeled “nude” and then put it back down, muttering “Yeah, right”?

It’s probably past time for this:

Advertisement for Naja nude undies

Naja have launched their “Nude for All” range, a collection including seven shades to suit women of all skin tones.

Naja CEO Catalina Girald first got the idea while watching the 2012 Olympics and seeing Gabby Douglas wearing “nude” coloured shoes that didn’t match her skin.

“I used to be a gymnast so I’m always sensitive to those things, and it was the first time that it dawned on me that the wrap didn’t exist in other colours,” she told Cosmopolitan.

They apparently will ship to the States, which is a good thing, considering how slow we’ve often been to adopt trends along these lines.

(Via @MoxieBeautiful.)

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Handy, but not in a good way

I’m hoping this is not a real product:

The Jerk Shirt from CamSoda

Gadgette explains:

The basic premise is that the shirt includes one fake arm, which disguises the fact that your real arm is under the fabric of the shirt, getting jiggy. Thankfully, the part of the shirt that might come into contact with your “manhood” (if you can still call it that after using this) is splash-proof and wipe-clean. Hooray!

I believe I speak for everyone here when I say “Ewwww.”

The, um, promotional video has about 400,000 views already.

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The name is killing me

But this was a thing in 1947, a thing a guy might not be shown:

Suspants by Blue Swan

Note the “Junior Miss Sizes”: 9 through 17.

Blue Swan Mills operated out of Sayre, Pennsylvania, hard by the New York State border; among other distinctions, Sayre has a newspaper called the Morning Times, which used to be called the Evening Times.

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Sweet and simple

In an era of Rampant Overdecoration, I have to appreciate something like “Amanda” here:

Amanda pump from Shoesinitaly

That heel is 4.1 inches. And there are three non-black colors, should you prefer.

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This much and no lower

Meanwhile in London, they worry over whether you’re wearing shoes of the correct height:

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. The British naturist Lady God1va, from whom I got this report, doesn’t think much of the petition:

After noting that it would be just about as useless to petition for nudity on the job, she added:

I can manage only so much empathy here: I can remember exactly one instance of a woman wearing heels to work on any day after her first, and I remember that only because — well, never mind.

In the meantime, this is the petition in question.

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Taking no chances

I have to admit, I wouldn’t have thought of this as a precautionary measure, but it makes a certain amount of sense:

I wasn’t sure which size to go for with these Valentino Rockstud City Sandals as I’m a 40 in the heels in patent leather, but I know with sandals you always need to size down if there’s an open back and an open toe. I ordered both the 39.5 and the 39 on my credit card and I kept the 39. The 39.5 did fit me, but there was too much gapping at the toe area and the straps weren’t as tight, so they were definitely too big. I recommend you size down if you are buying these as they need to fit securely and will probably stretch a bit from the heat during the hot months.

A 40 on the Continent is about a 9½ in the States, so she ended up with what we would call an 8½. (I’m not about to compare our “hot months” with theirs.)

And I did not know about downsizing for sandals. Maybe it’s something specific to women’s shoes; me, I tend to be grateful for anything that comes close to fitting.

There’s just one potential hangup with this procedure: these shoes were priced at £650 — $940 a pair. Charging two pairs might be beyond some people’s credit lines.

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Put it on your Bucket List

I mean, they still sell KFC by the bucket, don’t they?

There’s a precedent for beauty products inspired by fast food: Last year Burger King Japan released a cologne designed to smell like flame-grilled beef patties. But the new effort from KFC in Hong Kong is arguably more bizarre.

Working with Ogilvy & Mather, KFC launched two edible nail polishes with flavors based on the brand’s best-loved recipes: Original and Hot & Spicy.

As Ogilvy explains in a release: “To use, consumers simply apply and dry like regular nail polish, and then lick — again and again and again.”

And KFC certainly can’t object to your finger-lickin’, can they?

Still, I have to wonder if this sort of thing is making Colonel Sanders rotate at faster-than-rotisserie speeds.

(Via Vandana Puranik.)

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It’s not rocket science

And, well, Dolly Singh is not actually a rocket scientist, though she did work at Elon Musk’s SpaceX for five years as Head of Talent Acquisition, which tells me that she’d know a rocket scientist if she saw one. So I take this quote seriously:

To me, when you’re surrounded by some of the smartest people on the planet, building some of the biggest and most badass machines on this world, the idea that my shoes are such crap became really obnoxiously unbearable.

Women, in case you hadn’t noticed, do have a tendency to take shoes seriously.

Dolly Singh explains it all

Dolly Singh poses on a wing

So Dolly Singh vowed to create some shoes that were not crap. After leaving SpaceX, she did a stint at Oculus VR, the virtual-reality outfit, since acquired by Facebook, before striking out on her own with Thesis Couture. From their current lookbook:

Our mission is to decouple beauty and pain, and show just how sexy smart can be.

Sleek, sophisticated curves on the outside, cutting edge technology on the inside.

A prototype, with the Thesis-designed underpinnings:

Prototype Thesis Couture shoe

“Our patented design,” says Thesis, “is engineered to redistribute load, minimize impact shock, and reduce fatigue.”

Which you have to figure would be the priorities for a woman who is going to wear heels No Matter What.

Dolly Singh not saving lives

The shoes aren’t on sale yet, and they’ll be pricey when they are. But such is the way of technological advance.

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Look what just blew in

A pleasantly pointy pump from Nine West:

Tornaydo pump by Nine West

This shoe is called, um, “Tornaydo,” and here’s the pitch:

Keep your look classic in our Tornaydo pointy toe pumps. It’s an ideal choice for the office or the perfect evening go-to because it complements so many fashion choices. Ultra thin T-strap detail. Adjustable ankle strap closure.

Always did have a thing for the T-strap. (No, I have no idea why.) Heel height is 4.25 inches. Nine West is asking $89; there are a couple of solid-color versions as well.

(Via Fevrie.)

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Pedi concerns

When I was a lad, the very word “pedicure” seemed a mystery to me: women spend actual money on such things? Today, of course, there’s a nail salon or two on every other block, so it may simply be that the time for this product has passed:

Really want to accessorise your sandals with a snazzy pedicure, but just cannot be bothered? These tights were invented for you.

Hosiery with painted-on toenails

I suppose the effect might work if your toes happen to match up with the factory measurements. And I concede that it’s more pleasant than the Dragon Lady scheme, in which the nail can’t possibly be enclosed in any fabric, but then most things are.

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Hence the name “duds”

In this society, we don’t have uniforms — except, of course, for the fact that we do:

In all seriousness, there are only so many ways that someone can dress. Ninety percent of the people I see while eating lunch downtown are wearing the same unhappy combination of Third-World-sewn business casual clothing and square-toed, unpolished black shoes.

Yeah, that’s me when I’m downtown, lunch or otherwise.

Ninety percent of the people I used to play golf with as a kid wore the same outfit.

Ninety percent of the road cyclists out there dress like Lance Armstrong to maintain a rolling average of 12.3mph.

It’s hard enough for people to stand out; it’s more so when they think there’s a competitive advantage to not standing out.

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It followed me home

Debra Monroe, Professor of English at the University of Texas at San Marcos, is a Facebook friend in an unexpected manner: she appreciated the reception I gave to her memoir My Unsentimental Education. Now it’s hardly unexpected for a woman on Facebook, even one with serious intellectual heft, to comment on her new shoes, and I, being, well, me, duly said something about them, with a consequence I should have expected: Amazon, having apparently heard from Facebook that I had said something about this shoe, sent me an actual email offering to sell me a pair of my own, and probably will bother me about them for several weeks.

Anyway, this is “Carissa” from Miz Mooz:

Carissa by Miz Mooz

“They make me euphoric,” said Professor Monroe.

“Who puts a price tag on euphoria?” I replied. “Not me, not ever.”

The current Amazon price depends on color and size: might be $82, might be $140. That heel, 2.75 inches high, is described as, um, “moderate.”

I told a friend at lunch that I didn’t know what I’d do if anyone actually started sending me shoes for review. She smiled and said “I wear a 7 wide.”

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Vaguely mature

Cristina up in Toronto has been going off about “grandma shoes,” and she’s evidently serious enough to call them “fuddy-duddy-esque.” Some, she conceded, might be wearable, but the others, not so much. I weighed in with faint praise for this Aquazzura shoe, from the more-wearable group, though I was forced to admit: “I can’t envision it, though, on any of the grannies I know.” Then again, I know few grannies who can pony up high-triple-digit sums for a pair of shoes, even these shoes:

Alexa by Aquazzura

I think it’s that feeble-looking strappage that makes “Alexa” here look unreasonably jaunty.

Oddly enough, the same day I came up with that response to Cristina, I got a shoefie dropped into my timeline, yet another Aquazzura shoe:

Wild Thing by Aquazzura

Presumably this one, tagged “Wild Thing,” will not appeal to your grandma. But I could be wrong: actually wearing those shoes in this picture is former Homeland Security Advisor (2004-07) and occasional CNN contributor Frances Townsend, who at sixty is probably old enough to be a grandma, but isn’t one.

Should you wish to own either of these two styles, you will get some insignificant change back from a $700 bill — if you live somewhere where there’s no sales tax, anyway.

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Hang them on the fridge

Not often do I see a dismissal of a new shoe quite this absolute:

Mabu by Maria BKLet’s take a closer look, shall we? Please note that this particular style is EXCLUSIVE AT NET-A-PORTER.COM.

Each pair of Mabu by Maria BK’s sandals is unique and has been made by hand in Greece. This sand leather style winds high up your calf and is woven with playful pompoms, glossy beads and coins. They’re reinforced at the sides with geometric embroidered canvas straps.

The price, $200, does not (to me anyway) seem inordinately high, unless you’re inclined to price these things by the pound; it does seem awfully insubstantial, even compared to my standards for inchoateness. I said something about “a six-year-old playing gladiator,” which brought this response: “It does look like a 1st grade art project gone awry.”

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They don’t look fast

Lee Ann — you remember Lee Ann, don’t you? — sent me a link to these, presumably because she thought I’d hurl:

MLP Rainbow Shoes

The source of this image assures us that they have “no clue where this picture came from.” And I wonder how old it is, since that’s clearly a Generation Three Rainbow Dash, who wasn’t particularly fast; for that matter, she wasn’t even a pegasus in G3.

And pulling the fabric over the back of the heel like that? What’s that all about?

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You can look, but you better not touch

New York-based designer Monika Chiang has said that she only creates clothing that she would wear herself, and judging by her Instagram, I figure that (1) she’s not wearing these at the moment but (2) she almost certainly would, given an appropriate ensemble.

Model wearing Monika Chiang Barros sandals

“Barros” is not really barbed wire, of course:

This “barbed wire” lace thong sandal is carefully hand crafted with soft tan leather and fine burnished brass chains that effortlessly tie-up the leg. The “barbed wire” laces are entirely made out of leather and are soft to the touch. Gold zip along the back makes for easy fastening and removing. The 15mm inset heel is the perfect height for when you want to give your feet a break from your heels. Wear with a long flowing skirt or with shorts.

Still, it’s darn near impossible not to look at. Is that worth $575 to you?

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