Archive for Rag Trade

Size approximate

What is a size 16, anyway? No two manufacturers seem to agree:

[S]itting in my closet are clothes — including jeans — ranging from sizes 14 to 20. Just like no two bodies are ever the same, it would seem no two pairs of jeans are ever the same, either.

So because I’m into fashion/beauty experiments (like finding out how photo editors around the world manipulate my features or gauging reactions to my low-rise bikini), I decided to use my median size of a “16” — which is what I find myself purchasing most often — to investigate what different brands and designers think that number actually means.

Even better, she distinguishes between stretchy and non-stretchy jeans: either “Lycra” or “No Lycra.”

Interestingly, I’d read her Photoshop Me! article when it went viral, so I was ready to take a look at the swimsuit shot. Not half bad, if you ask me.

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Don’t let the stars get in your thighs

Hikaru SkirtThe young lady on the escalator is wearing the Hikaru Skirt — “hikaru” translates to “shining,” which sort of makes sense in this context — and, says Neatorama, it was “designed to illuminate the thighs of anyone certifiably insane brave enough to wear it.”

Of course, this could only happen in Japan, and here’s how it did:

The brainchild of Japanese designer Kiyoyuki Amano, the skirt is lit from underneath with LED lights equipped with gyro sensors, so that the light colors and patterns change with the movement of the model.

Amano said that he was simply experimenting with lights on skirts when he discovered that they shone a spotlight on the wearer’s thighs, which he found enlightening.

There is, so far, no indication that the Hikaru Skirt will be produced in commercial quantities. There is, however, a Tumblr.

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A new Madrid

No, Spain is not moving its capital, nor is that scary fault line through the Missouri bootheel attracting more than perfunctory attention, except among geologists. “Madrid,” in this context, is a shoe from Klogs, which doesn’t appear to be an actual clog — I suppose we could see if there’s enough wood content to make them float — but which have a charm of their own.

Madrid by Klogs from their Villa Collection

From the Klogs Villa Collection, “Madrid” is available in Coffee Metallic (as shown), black, and white. The latter two colors have silver buckles. A Zappos customer likes them:

[I] have a high instep, wide toes, narrow heel, and I supinate and pronate. I have a history of falling arches with hairline fracture and tendonitis, not to mention diabetes and RA. The pain, swelling and fatigue in my feet, ankles, knees, hips and back are gone.

And Fillyjonk likes them:

I know there’s a school of thought that says women’s shoes should be alluring and “sexy.” And yeah, these shoes begin to approach the territory of what a college friend used to call “B.C. Shoes” (B.C. for “Birth Control,” as in “No man will look twice at you when you’re wearing these”).

But to be honest, any more, I dress to please myself rather than to please anyone else, and I like these shoes. I think they’re cute. And they’re definitely comfortable, which is a consideration when you spend multiple hours in a day standing on floors that are a thin layer of tile over poured concrete. They have good support built into the footbed, and I need that. They’re also not too flat, which is something else I need.

“Not too flat,” in this case, is about half an inch of heel rise.

The Villa Collection includes a couple of men’s shoes as well; assuming similar prices, they’d be worth my consideration if they made sizes larger than 13.

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It’s Deb, Jim

The disappearance of one-time mall stalwarts continues apace:

[A]nother mall staple is putting down the store gate for good: Deb is liquidating and closing all 295 of its stores.

You know, Deb. That store where you tried on a bunch of prom dresses but ultimately didn’t buy any of them. Or maybe that was me.¹ The chain was still in existence and almost 300 stores strong, but sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of 2014. Without a buyer, the company will close all of its stores and liquidate.

And actually, it’s not just Deb; dELiA*s is dead, and Wet Seal is shedding two-thirds of itself. This is not to say that retail targeting teens is in irreversible decline, but there seems to be a serious squeeze-out going on.

¹ [It wasn’t me.]

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A bigger Coach

There exist tags on this site for both Coach and Stuart Weitzman, which makes it almost mandatory for me to incorporate the news that the two brands are moving in together:

Footwear fanatics, rejoice: Two of your favorite labels are joining forces. In the latest fashion move, Coach has signed an agreement to purchase the Stuart Weitzman brand in a transaction valued at $574 million, WWD reports.

This is Coach’s first acquisition, and perhaps it was a wise one:

[F]ounder Stuart Weitzman and the existing management team will continue with the company to oversee the brand’s operations, working closely with Coach’s team to breathe new life into their designs.

This is not the first time Weitzman’s sold a business: after the death of his father, Weitzman and his brother sold the family shoe biz to a company in Spain. Twenty years later, Weitzman bought it back.

And maybe this is just me, but I tend to think of Coach as primarily a bag company with a shoe line on the side, so the combination of Coach and Weitzman seems to make a bit more sense than it might otherwise.

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Approved by the Bureau of Appropriate Clothing

They’ll get my hoodie when they pry it off my (up to that point) warmly insulated body:

After consulting with the Department of Public Safety, Senator Don Barrington (R-Lawton) has authored a bill that would make it unlawful to wear a mask, hood or covering during the commission of a crime or to intentionally conceal his or her identity in a public place.

There are provisions. Such as, pranks of children on Halloween, religious beliefs and special events like a parade, masquerade party or weather.

But if you wear a hood with ill intentions, you could be slapped with a misdemeanor fine of $50 to $500 and or one year in jail.

I grumbled about this earlier:

This is the epitome of “Well, let’s give the prosecutors something else to hang on ‘em.” And the first time some woman in a burqa gets busted for something like shoplifting, what you’ll see hitting the fan will not be at all halal.

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Kicks far from pumped up

Robert Stacy McCain, still amused by feminists, tossed out this line:

[S]tand-up comedians have endlessly mined the female obsession with shoes. I’m convinced that every woman, no matter her socioeconomic status or cultural background, secretly yearns to be Imelda Marcos. Even the wealthiest man is probably content with owning two or three pairs of shoes (dress shoes in black and brown for business, plus a pair of sneakers for the weekend) while his female office assistant owns a closet full of shoes in every color and style imaginable.

I left him a comment to the effect that I had, in fact, seven pairs of shoes. The breakdown, should you be curious: sneakers (2), walking shoes (2), sport sandals (1), black wing-tips (1), slides (1). In those cases where I have two pairs of a type, one is newer and the other is awaiting demotion to yard duty or lower.

In fact, I’ve been at between six and eight pairs for at least a decade. I note with no small amount of amusement that so far as I know, Trini has never owned more than five.

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Sneaked in

Rebecca Black by now has done enough shoefies over the last few years, on Facebook and Instagram, to make it possible to identify her just from an ankle shot — providing she’s wearing Converse. This one from a couple years back testifies to her loyalty to Chuck Taylors:

Rebecca Black from here down in Converse high-tops

This one, however, threw me for a loop. She put this picture on Facebook with the tag “if only you knew how i took this”:

Rebecca Black from here down in Converse low-cuts

Phone in her third hand, am I right?

No?

Assuming she did take it herself, I’m thinking the most plausible explanation — I’ve worked with timers, and you never get yourself back into position exactly the way you wanted to be — is that one of those two hands actually belongs to someone else, and I see what I think is just enough disparity in wrist diameter to confirm.

Oh, and one more thing:

Make that two more things:

After three years, it still elicits the giggle.

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Funky kicks going down in the city

Last week, Jeanine Pirro sent up a shoefie — a more-or-less spontaneous photo of her shoes of the moment — to Instagram. (You may have seen it here.) Apparently this is something she does on a regular basis, and these heels appeared Saturday night:

Jeanine Pirro's Nicholas Kirkwood heels

She didn’t say whether she’d walked to work in them.

This appears to be Nicholas Kirkwood’s “Ava” sandal with a 105mm heel. Kirkwood sells these from his UK Web storefront for £616.67, which might as well be a thousand dollars.

I just wish she’d sent up a picture of the white dress she wore for her TV show that night.

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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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