Archive for Rag Trade

Varying degrees of niceness

I suppose I should have expected to see this banner ad this spring, though I have to admit I didn’t expect to see it at Equestria Daily:

Stuart Weitzman banner ad

Then again, some of those mares have, um, really nice legs. Four at a time, even.

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Almost wasp-y

Rihanna generally looks pretty darn good in Chanel, or indeed in almost anything, but I kept looking at this and going “Girl, what is the matter with your waistline?”

Rihanna in Chanel 2014

The answer, of course, is nothing. This is something Karl Lagerfeld pulled out of his magic hat for the Fall/Winter 2014-15 collection, and it’s all optical illusion: crop top and skirt fit rather loosely, and there’s a mild control panel around the midriff, to create the illusion of wasp-waistedness without having to hit the Industrial aisle at Corsets R Us.

Not everyone finds this appealing, however: neo-neocon says it looks like a lampshade.

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In semi-living color

I’m pretty sure this ad came out around 1954; while I wasn’t in a position to notice, really, I don’t remember anyone around this time period wearing this shade of blue — indeed, any shade of blue — on her toes. (Heck, it’s not that common today.) Still, it’s sort of compelling:

Advertisement for Phoenix hosiery

Phoenix, despite its name, was based in Milwaukee, incorporated in 1897 as the Phoenix Knitting Works; their 1917 factory in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, long since converted to office space, changed hands last year for about $4.5 million.

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Comfy can be cute

So said San Diego fashion blogger Cyrillynn, who runs Any Second Now, and who let everyone know via Instagram what shoes she’d just bought:

Honiton by Hotter

“Honiton,” by UK shoemaker Hotter, is described as “the all day everyday moccasin”:

You’ll love the pillow soft cushioning of blissfully soft classic moccasin Honiton. Revel in the butter soft leather and ultra lightweight sole for sublime casual comfort.

Black, beige and tan variants are offered as well, at the $115 price point.

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What wondrous things they do with strings

Circa 1955, what the well-dressed harpist was wearing:

1955 advertisement for Flatternit hosiery

The old mill in Morganton, North Carolina, which dated to 1882 and which was no longer being used for textiles of any sort after 1995, was acquired by the municipality’s Redevelopment Commission and repurposed for mixed use; City Hall and the local cable company were the first occupants.

Morganton North Carolina former textile mill

The result for the community:

The community benefits from the reclamation of a derelict area. The 4.5 block area has spurred the influx of new stores, restaurants, banks and pharmacies. The result is a new neighborhood with a historic feel.

Cue the harpist.

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They gotta wear shades

The Friar returns to the Old School, and the level of sartorial splendor is essentially unchanged after all these years:

Undergraduates are still as cute as puppies, from the young women who wear wildly inappropriate clothing (knee-boots with tights and a T-shirt that allows other people signifcant information about undergarments) to the young men who still haven’t learned how to put the bill of their caps in the front. When I was here I was a decrepit 28 years old, so I was never “one of them,” always observing undergrad culture from a different perspective. So I can mock them and ignore how we tried to dress like Duran Duran and Pat Benatar. Although when visiting a nearby restaurant popular with the Greek-letter set I will say I saw more Wayfarers than I had since 1984.

Not to waste my best shot or anything, but Pat Benatar these days looks like a very successful mommyblogger — not that you can say things like that anymore.

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So last-century

“Style is originality; fashion is fascism. The two are eternally and unalterably opposed.” — Lester Bangs

As Lynn sees it:

I have never been fashionable and I’ve always taken pride in refusing to follow the crowd. That’s still true now but at the same time I realize that, at my age, people don’t see a rebel doing her own thing, willfully ignoring the fashion world; they just see an older woman who can’t keep up. And I have to admit that today’s fashions confuse me a little bit. What is in? There doesn’t seem to be one overall kind of look like there was in earlier decades. You can look at picture of a woman from the 60s and immediately recognize it as 60s or a woman from the 70s and immediately recognize it as 70s but current fashion? Well, maybe I am just an older woman who can’t keep up because I just can’t get a handle on the modern look. I wouldn’t know how to be fashionable in this decade even if I wanted to.

And if you ask me — not that you should or anything — anyone over 29 who wants to look like Miley needs to contemplate looking like someone else.

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Not to be hemmed in

The fellow from the Telegraph was interviewing pianist Yuja Wang, in London for a concert series, and he brought up a distinctly nonmusical subject:

It seems as good a moment as any to raise her fondness for riskily short, clingy dresses, which have generated even more comment than her fabulous playing.

[A] certain determination, not to say stubbornness … shows in the exasperated shrug that greets my question. “It’s just natural for me. I am 26 years old so I dress for 26. I can dress in long skirts when I am 40.”

I’m betting she won’t. In the meantime, here she is in a Little Black(ish) Dress:

Yuja Wang in LBD

“Little” is evidently played sforzando.

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Still there, but barely

Stuart Weitzman has come up with a shoe he calls “Nudist,” and it does seem to have a certain lack of adornment to it:

Nudist by Stuart Weitzman

Definitely meets my spec for Insubstantial. In a rare concession to reality, this flavor is Goose Bump Nappa; there’s also a black version, similarly textured. The heel is 4½ inches. Price is $398.

I can’t imagine any nudists actually wearing this, except to the occasional formal. (If the next question is “How would you know?” I just point to the shoes.) Certainly the shoe has little potential as beachwear. I plan to spend the next several hours not thinking about how I’d react were someone to show up at my door wearing these and these only, though I’m pretty sure I have a better chance of being struck by a meteorite, and indoors at that.

(Via this nudiarist tweet.)

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Meanwhile, back in the flats

For some years now, tennis star Maria Sharapova has been designing shoes and accessories for Cole Haan; in this shot, she’s wearing the 2011 version of her ballet flats.

Maria Sharapova in Cole Haan ballet flats

I expect we’ll be hearing more about Maria in weeks to come, mostly because when she was two, her family moved from Nyagan to Sochi, site of the ’14 Winter Olympics, and the place where she first picked up a tennis racket. In Sochi this week, she launched her candy line, Sugarpova (yes, really):

Maria Sharapova introduces Sugarpova candy to Sochi, Russia

I imagine she doesn’t eat a whole lot of this during training.

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The softer side of seeress

One Miss Fiendish turned these out as a one-off and offered them through her Etsy store; somehow they found their way to my Facebook wall, and I pass them to you for your inspection.

Ouija board heels by Miss Fiendish

Miss Fiendish’s own pitch:

The shoes pictured are a Classic spirit board colour design with a sprinkling of amber yellow rhinestones just a perfect twist of glamour horror for the darker side of you..

The heels are 6 inch high, and the shoes also come with a optional safety ankle strap.

Concealed platforms, ultra stylish heels, really gorgeous other worldly shoes that scream individuality and personality!

Nobody tell Hasbro, okay?

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We know it wasn’t a pair of socks

In the weird world of women’s wear, the function of an article of clothing is not always immediately recognizable:

While shopping the other day I held up a filmy $300.00 piece of I-don’t-know-what and asked my daughter, “What’s this?”

“IDK,” (she speaks in text) “but it’s marked off 60%.”

“It’s either a skirt or a top,” I say with great confidence.

“No, it’s a dress!” She shows me the little bralette insert at the top.

Well, I’ll be damned. In addition to the price, manufacturers should include the type of clothing and how to wear it — you know, skirt, top, dress, pants. Wear with buttons in back — something like that.

Close as I’ve seen to that was the Woot Shirt instruction: “Not to be used as pants.”

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Not blocky

I honestly don’t understand this dress, but it definitely draws my attention:

Ming-Na Wen at the LEGO Movie premiere 2-1-14

Ming-Na Wen wore this to the premiere of The LEGO Movie. (In other news, there is a LEGO Movie.) There’s a definite air of “I’m fifty years old and I’ll wear what I damn well please” to it.

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You too can be Zooeyfied

Amazing how these things find their way to my inbox:

To Tommy, From Zooey.

It sounds a bit like a love note, but is in fact something different altogether — the name of a new capsule collection designed by Tommy Hilfiger and Zooey Deschanel, the doe-eyed actress, musician and star of the hit TV show New Girl. The collection, which will mainly consist of flirty dresses, will make its debut at Macy’s this spring.

Well, this certainly seems flirty enough:

Dress from To Tommy From Zooey line debuting spring 2014

We will try to overlook the miraculous job they did of transferring every last sign of age from ZD to the steamer trunk.

The dresses will be priced at retail for between $98 and $199, and 14 of the 16 styles will launch at 200 Macy’s stores beginning April 14.

On April 21, the entire lineup is set to reach tommy.com and Tommy Hilfiger anchor and specialty stores in North America, Europe and Japan. Select Tommy Hilfiger stores will also carry Deschanel-designed jewelry and handbags.

Tommy has an outlet store here in Oklahoma City; I expect to see these dresses no earlier than Memorial Day.

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The unflirty dozen

A title I could not resist: “12 Fashion Trends MeredithAncret Hates (But Apparently Some Idiot Put On A Runway Anyway.” I looked at all twelve, and maybe one might have been marginally defensible. Maybe.

One thing she cannot stand is the over-the-thigh boot:

Are you a pirate, a dominatrix, or an extra in The Matrix?

Otherwise, please no.

Does this mean that a woman becomes undatable for owning — or worse, wearing — stuff like this? Well, no, but:

I’m allowed preferences in my own clothing and I’m definitely allowed to have preferences in what I like to see on a woman. So what? Do I expect random women on the street to strip off the offending item right there because I think it looks stupid?

No.

And I bet most men don’t expect that either.

I don’t expect that even in the unlikely event that I’ve lured them away from the street.

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Almost nothing to it

Shoebunny is back, albeit with a different focus: all shoes, no celebrities. This might be just as well, given the sad state of some of the celebrity feet previously exhibited: high heels can exact a price far beyond the sticker on the box.

I’ve spoken before of my fondness for insubstantial-looking shoes, and this one borders on wispy:

B Brian Atwood Kelston block-heel ankle-wrap sandal

You’re looking at “Kelston” from B Brian Atwood. The extra B stands for — well, no, actually it doesn’t. This is a diffusion line, made by a high-priced brand to be sold at high-priced stores at prices not quite so high. (This particular example: Neiman-Marcus/$275.) The heel, at 2½ inches, is perhaps bearable. Of course, if you’ve been wearing heels since you were 12, you won’t think anything about this one; you probably won’t even consider how, um, revealing this shoe might prove to be, but perhaps you should. (Warning: slideshow; also some possibly upsetting pictures, though these are a lot less horrible than what I’ve seen in some other galleries on the same subject.)

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Bush administration

American Apparel’s new mannequins are about as un-Brazilian as they come:

This week the American Apparel on East Houston Street [NYC] put up a new window display, featuring a more natural looking mannequin. We called the shop up this morning and the employee who answered told us that the mannequins just went up last night, and he had never seen them before … “not in this configuration” (a.k.a. full 1970s porn bush showing through a high-waisted white panty). While leaving nothing to the imagination, at least this mannequin looks like she’s of a more … legal age, than say, the models used to sell the clothes online.

This isn’t going to spread to other stores in the chain, though:

American Apparel’s Ryan Holiday tells us, “The display was created for that store specifically.”

Note: Every possible “merkin” joke has already been used.

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He who made kittens put snakes in the grass

Apparently there exists something called Jungle January, in which persons skilled with the needle are invited to come up with something suitably exotic for themselves. Lynn’s participating this year with her own spiffy creation, a burgundy-ish dress with a front panel just jam-packed with giraffes.

Weirdly, this hit my timeline yesterday:

I like it, but I think Lynn has the better of it — especially considering what Lilly is asking for this.

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Reverse that scoop

“Graphic necklines,” said InStyle (2/14, page 100), and asked “Are you ready to dip?”

This is evidently the inverse of the classic sweetheart neckline:

Dakota Fanning in Valentino

Valentino has worked well for Dakota Fanning over the years, but this may be overdoing — or pretending to be overdoing — that whole “modesty” bit.

God (or Saks) only knows what the dress (from the fall ’13 collection) cost, but the shoes, also from Valentino, can be had for a mere $895. Stylebop says it’s a kitten heel, but if so, that’s a damn big cat.

(With thanks to Because I Am Fabulous.)

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Teetering on the edge of damage

Lynn takes exception to a recent television commercial:

The worst of the car commercials are those for Lexus. This year they had one in which they showed a woman using a treadle sewing machine. They showed a quick close-up of her feet and she was wearing stiletto heels! I cheer the use of a treadle sewing machine but in those heels? Not happening sweetie.

Besides the implausibility of that little scene, it greatly annoys me that that style of ridiculous, uncomfortable and possibly even dangerous footwear is considered an essential part of the standard Attractive-Female Uniform. While it’s certainly not as extreme as the old Chinese custom of foot binding it comes from the same mindset.

I must give her props for consistency. I occasionally report on shoes in this space, and she happily denounces anything with a sufficiently high heel.

Girls, you can’t call yourselves modern, liberated women as long as you are slaves to fashion. It is hard to find shoes that are both comfortable and attractive but they do exist and if you buy them shoe designers will respond by making more. Do us all a favor and stop stuffing your feet into overpriced torture devices.

Not at all incidentally — I am a firm believer in second opinions — I brought up that same commercial to a friend yesterday at lunch. Her objection was different: “If you can afford a Lexus, you can afford an electric sewing machine.”

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While the ball drops

It is a tradition in parts of South America, says Fausta, to wear fresh yellow underwear to ring in the New Year:

Among the traditions, is wearing yellow underwear at the moment when New Year arrives. According to beliefs, doing so brings wealth and prosperity in the coming year.

Venezuela, the country with the least prosperity, had difficulty following the tradition:

Agencia Carabobeña de Noticias (News Agency of Carabobo, ACN) reported that this year, Yellow Underwear is Rare and Costly, with panty prices increasing by 73% and 185% (depending on the shop) since 2012. Bra inflation was worse, with prices increasing by 300% to 500%. Men’s underpants doubled in price (the article doesn’t specify jockeys or boxers). ACN also itemized the rise in prices in the foods traditionally served on New Year’s Eve, with similar results.

The Venezuelan government, still emotionally wedded to the halfwit Marxism of Chávez, presumably blames gnomes.

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Real-world shoes

Most of the time, a shoe report from these quarters will elicit a comment, perhaps submitted, perhaps just spoken out loud, to the effect that Normal Women couldn’t possibly be seen in those shoes because they cost too much or they look too implausible or they’re impossible to walk in.

With that in mind, here are three pairs of shoes known to be owned by a Normal Woman — just down the street, in fact — which she’s willing to sacrifice from the collection:

From the PippinPearl shoe offering 12/13

All the stuff she’s trying to move can be seen here. The shoes are size 8 or 8½.

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Harmonization now

UNICEF, one of the zillions of United Nations alphabet agencies, doesn’t get on my radar much anymore, what with kids no longer trick-or-treating for it, the way they (occasionally) did when I was of an age to tote a sack. They did, however, hold the Snowflake Ball, presumably a fundraiser, in New York a few days back, and here’s Angie Harmon looking wonderful in an Angel Sanchez frock:

Angie Harmon at the Snowflake Ball

Now let’s turn her ninety degrees, and — oh, my:

Angie Harmon at the Snowflake Ball

Bless you, Angel Sanchez.

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Shoes for European industry

While gathering material for the Rule 5 piece on Helle Thorning-Schmidt, I happened upon these shoes of hers:

Shoes worn by Helle Thorning-Schmidt to a EU convocation

Couldn’t find any identifying material on them except for this:

Great shoes from Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt as she arrives for an EU summit in Brussels. European Union leaders meet in Brussels ostensibly to agree on ways to find more jobs for the young, who’ve been disproportionately punished by years of crisis and recession. Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

And I did find a shot of what she wore them with:

Outfit worn by Helle Thorning-Schmidt to a EU convocation

Well played, Madam Prime Minister. (This photo by Georges Gobet.)

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A private little mix

Rita Moreno is perhaps best known for playing Anita in the film version of West Side Story and dancing up a storm. (Her vocals on “America” were dubbed, but you’ll get over it.) This year, she’s been on a book tour to promote a memoir:

Rita Moreno and her book

Which may be the perfect picture: Then and Now in serious proximity, and that’s a nifty little orange dress. The photo source has a whole gallery from this March 2013 appearance in south Florida.

Oh, and she turns 82 today.

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Super Fun Hourglass

I missed this during the Television Critics Association’s summer bash, so it gave me a jolt to see it in InStyle. We have here Rebel Wilson, in Tam’s immortal phrase tromping the hell out of l’oeil, in this not-really-monochrome Calvin Klein special:

Rebel Wilson at TCA 2013

Said the mag:

Use strategic (OK, sneaky) colorblocking to your advantage. Vertical black panels on the sides of this dress make you look lean, mean, and just begging to be seen.

Had she been in front of a black background, this might have been “What happened to her?”-inducing.

And you know, hair this blonde and this big without being, you know, big adds a whole extra unit of je ne sais quoi, which is why you also get the head shot.

(Via DailyVenusDiva.)

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Disliking the overall effect

This is the sort of flat statement you (meaning “I”) just don’t see that often:

I mean, this is someone who can wear almost anything and make it look wonderful. So I had to find out where she draws the line, and apparently it’s here:

Tulle-Skirt Overall Dress by Urban Renewal

Now admittedly this probably skews a little young for a married woman with a J.D., but — oh, hell, I don’t know. Talk it up amongst yourselves.

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No sneakers involved

This dates to about 1953, and Phil Knight, then fifteen years old, wouldn’t be making athletic shoes for another decade or so:

Advertisement for Nike hosiery 1953

I didn’t find where the Cunninghams of Kilmarnock wound up, though apparently the burgh was celebrated for both textiles and heavy industrial production — and for Johnnie Walker, which was bottled there until 2012.

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Melissa displays it all

I have occasionally expressed discomfiture over the appearance of Hervé Léger’s Bandage dress, which to me suggests really stylish mummification. On the other hand, Melissa Joan Hart seems to grasp the Zeitgeist here, and by “here” I mean at the premiere of Disney’s Frozen:

Melissa Joan Hart in Herve Leger

Or maybe she’s the only one who managed to get it in the correct size.

Random stumbled-upon biographical bit: Apparently MJH is named for an Allman Brothers song.

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Revisiting the question of the ages

Women, I am told, can bike in heels. Or they can’t. Inasmuch as at the moment I own neither heels nor a bicycle, I am not in a position to go Full Empirical.

Someone who is has fabricated the appropriate shoes:

I was inspired to make these shoes on my ride home one evening when I witnessed a beautiful woman riding in high-heels along Market Street in San Francisco. True to form, I will acknowledge that I noticed the sexy handmade bike before the woman, and what was (perhaps, unfortunately) most noteworthy to me was how awkward the connection was between the pedals and the shoes.

Having recently built up a bike for my beloved, I was immediately taken with idea of making high-heels with a clipless cleat. I had been keen to build a pair shoes for a while and the curves of a high-heel shoe seemed like an inviting challenge.

And so he did:

Low-heeled shoe for bicycling by Corwin

I make no judgment one way or another: I merely seek to continue the conversation.

(Via The Atlantic Cities.)

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