Archive for Rag Trade

Very nearly scarlet

A not-necessarily-fashion bit from earlier this week:

Outraged celebrities tore into Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana on Monday after Dolce described children born to gay couples through fertility treatment as “synthetic”.

Pop superstar Elton John, leading the chorus of criticism, called for a boycott of the brand on Sunday.

I am not convinced that a boycott will make that much difference. By coincidence, Eric Wilson’s “Look Smart” article in the April InStyle — Wilson is the magazine’s Fashion News Editor — looks at the case of John Galliano, a designer who was pilloried back in 2011 for what Wilson describes as a “drunken outburst of anti-Semitic and racial remarks,” resulting in the house of Dior telling Galliano to take a hike. Galliano is back in the industry, as creative director for Maison Margiela, and all, or at least most, seems to be forgiven:

Flash forward to the Screen Actors Guild Awards on January 25, when Jennifer Aniston became the first A-lister since the uproar to wear Galliano, a deep-cut gold dress from his signature collection for 1998, on the red carpet. And there wasn’t much to-do. Not even on Fashion Police, where the E! critics made no mention of Galliano’s past. On February 8, Sophie Hunter wore a Maison Margiela gown at the BAFTAs in London, the same night Rihanna performed at the Grammys in a Margiela tux.

Dolce & Gabbana window in Florence, photo by Debra KolkkaSo if there is any banishment of Dolce and Gabbana, I suspect it will be brief, and then no one will ever speak of it again — with the possible exception of Eric Wilson.

In the meantime, Debra Kolkka has done some window-shopping in beautiful downtown Florence, and judging by D&G’s window, their signature color for the moment is red. Not just any red, of course; we’re talking Spanish bullfighter red. I could learn to like that very quickly, I think. And you should definitely read the whole thing, from which you will learn that (1) not everyone in Florence is thinking of that same color, and (2) yes, D&G will happily sell you the appropriate shoes to go with those dresses.

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Um, probably not

I mean, if I’m going to wear nearly nothing, I might as well wear nothing and be done with it, right?

(Below the fold for reasons that might be obvious.)

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Taint necessarily

You know those used-panty vending machines in Japan? Well, forget about them:

When foreigners gush about finding a used panty vending machine, they’re usually referring to a gachapon machine. While many of the machines advertise the contents as used, anyone who can read Japanese knows that this isn’t the case…

Above the price … are the words “super used kakou.” Kakou, in this case, means that the panties were manufactured to appear used — kind of like the Abercrombie jeans that are sold with holes and frayed edges straight from the factory. The addition of [the] two kanji characters makes it instantly apparent to a native speaker that the panties are not, in fact, used. Perhaps an enterprising gachapon machine salesperson realized that they could trick non-Japanese into believing the urban legend by slapping a single English word on the sign.

If this restores your faith in humanity, do not proceed below the jump.

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Foiling photographers

The “candid” celebrity photo is not yet a thing of the past, but perhaps this scheme will catch on:

Thanks to DJ Chris Holmes, celebrities can now ward off those pesky paparazzi and their intrusive photography with ease. They just need to wear pieces from Holmes’ new “Anti Paparazzi Collection” — a line of clothing made from a reflective material [that] completely ruins flash photographs.

The collection currently consists of a hooded jacket, an infinity scarf, suit pants, a blazer, and a hat. While they look like regular clothes, the fabric is actually coated with glass nanospheres. This coating makes the clothes act like mirrors when hit with bright light, so the resulting images are horribly underexposed and the wearer is practically invisible.

For example:

Result of photographing a chap in the Anti-Paparazzi Blazer

The line is actually being crowdfunded, and not all the items are currently completely funded yet.

(Via American Digest.)

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Measure for measure

On one level, I absolutely adore this:

Then again, my sight-reading is already questionable without the presence of, um, distractions.

(Via pianist Wayne McEvilly, who wouldn’t have such problems. I think.)

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Training heels?

Elle UK has put up a slideshow of what they deemed the best catwalk shoes on display during Milan’s Fashion Week. Some were awful, some were really awful, and then there was this curious specimen from Moschino:

Moschino shoe from fall/winter 2015 collection

At one level, it seems sorta cute, though I can understand this reaction: “YUK!! A GAZILLION X YUK!!”

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Studied indifference

Some, in fact, majored in it, and this is the sweatshirt for them:

I Literally Do Not Care shirt

The UK branch of Forever 21 has this garment for £12. Size 12 is as far as they go, though: the model here appears to be a 5, maybe. And what’s with the comma after “literally”? Is this a Briticism I’d not previously seen?

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A bag with a grin

Celine, the Shoe Girl, with new discoveries:

Fendi shoes and bag courtesy of the Shoe Girl

These are from Fendi, and I have some reservations about the shoes — exactly what the heck is going on there at the toe? — but that’s definitely a friendly-looking bag. As she says, “Too much cute.”

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Note to future husbands

Of all the red-carpet appearances on Sunday night’s Grammy Awards broadcast, it was Meghan Trainor’s that shook me up the most:

Meghan Trainor at the Grammys in Galia Lahav

This appears to have emerged from Galia Lahav’s MoonStruck collection, about which the designer says:

As the moon is the spotlight amongst the many stars in the night sky, so is the female’s body when reflected within layers of lace and silk. This collection is a black prism of black shades and shimmers of sheer textured fabric representing a midst summer nights dream. Moon Struck elegantly takes you away to a place of serenity where body silhouettes are revealed as a revolutionary era of evening gowns are born.

Rediscovering the mermaid shape as nymphs once roamed the oceans in Greek mythology, this is like a collection like never before, elegant with movement in the night. Each gown holds the shape to a figure of a goddess.

And then suddenly it made sense. Trainor, as she’s mentioned before, ain’t no size 2; but a goddess appears as she damned well pleases. If you have designs on her, so to speak, here are your marching orders. Keep in mind that she brought her dad to the Grammys.

(Via InStyle.com.)

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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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