fashion

Beauty in Age & Street Signs

2017 Pirelli Calendar: The calendar, a collector’s item that is produced annually and delivered free to a select group of high-powered clients and members of the fashion elite, is the second in the company’s history to subvert its decades-long tradition of displaying scantily clad models in campily suggestive poses.

  • For 2017, the calendar stepped up the game by concentrating more pointedly on age, and in the process flouting fashion’s last taboo. Evidently the bias against age, long endemic to Hollywood and the fashion runways, no longer applies to style marketing campaigns.
  • Helen Mirren peers imperiously from inside a high collar that lends her an aura of majesty. Nicole Kidman confronts the camera, her features slightly furrowed, her muscular arms hugging the back of a chair. Charlotte Rampling does each of those A-list stars one better, her pale skin and famously hooded eyes devoid of discernible makeup.

Julianne Moore. Credit: Peter Lindbergh

I LOVE NEW YORK: The bright placards were dreamed up and placed there by the state to promote tourism, each brandishing New York’s cheerful and familiar credo: “I Love N.Y.” But there is one problem: The federal government says the signs are illegal. The signs are out of compliance with signage rules because they are so big and crammed with words and information that they are dangerous distractions to drivers.

New York State Thruway sign. Credit: Mike Groll, AP

Curated by CLAI

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How to Fall in Love + Sideburns and Mustaches

Curated by CLAI

HOW TO FALL IN LOVE IN AN EXPERIMENT: Given a few commonalities, you could fall in love with anyone by creating interpersonal closeness. Saying things like, “I like your voice, your taste in beer, the way all your friends seem to admire you,” makes certain positive qualities belonging to one person explicitly valuable to the other.

Love is an action. It assumes that what matters to my partner matters to me because we have at least three things in common, because we have close relationships with our mothers, and because he let me look at him. Love doesn’t happen to us. We’re in love because we each make the choice to be.

Chart: The decline of sideburns and the spectacular rise of clean-shave men

The decline of sideburns and the spectacular rise of clean-shave men (American Journal of Sociology)

DECLINE OF SIDEBURNS, BEARDS, & MUSTACHES: To analyze changing modes in men’s facial barbering” from 1842 to 1972, the pictorial news magazine “The Illustrated London News” that featured mostly prominent British gentlemen was used. The men in the photos featured beards, moustaches, sideburns, any combination of those, or were clean-shaven.

Wealfies & Fake Brand Names

Curated by CLAI

WEALFIES: Wealfies are selfies taken in a luxury context that confirm one has money, status and social currency. The paradigmatic wealfie is the image you take of yourself getting on or off a private jet, possibly on your way to New Year’s Eve in Morocco or Anguilla.

But to the extent that people so closely identify with the things that they buy and receive, the picture shot of the Hermès or Chanel or Prada gift “unboxed” and then posted on Instagram is another kind of wealfie. Of course, there are so many ways to broadcast status these days.

Read more: The Season of the Wealfie (NYTIMES)

Chrisdien Deny

Chrisdien Deny (Gilles Sabrie, NYTIMES)

FANCY BRANDS WITH FANCY GIBBERISH NAMES: Eager to glaze their products with the sheen of international sophistication, many homegrown retail brands have hit upon a similar formula: Choose a non-Chinese name that gives the impression of being foreign. Some Chinese appear loath to spend their disposable income on locally produced fashions.

  • Chrisdien Deny, a retail chain with more than 500 locations across China, sells belts, shoes and clothing with an “Italian style” — and a logo with the same font as Christian Dior’s.
  • Helen Keller, named for the deaf-blind American humanitarian, offers trendy sunglasses and classic spectacles at over 80 stores, with the motto “you see the world, the world sees you.”
  • Frognie Zila, a clothing brand sold in 120 stores in China, boasts that its “international” selection is “one of the first choices of successful politicians and businessmen” and features pictures on its website of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Venetian canals.
  • Other apparel brands include Wanko, Hotwind, Scat, Orgee and Marisfrolg (the L is silent)and Biemlfdlkk.

Read more: Adidos and Hotwind? In China, Brands Adopt Names to Project Foreign Flair (NYTIMES)

Women Power Suits and A Good Job for the Hubby

Curated by CLAI

POWER SUIT: Want to project power? Your clothes have to fit you. To be a power dresser, it has to look like you command the clothes, not that the clothes are commanding or wearing you.

  • The 1980s was the reign of the floppy bow tie and the suit. And that was the look most women wore in their 20s and 30s when they started in the workplace.
  • By the ’90s, women began to hang up their broad-shouldered jackets to favor the softer, more luxurious fabrics used by designers like Donna Karan.
A publicity still from the movie Working Girl, which prominently featured the beloved power suit.

The movie Working Girl, which prominently featured the beloved power suit. (NPR)

GOOD JOB MOST IMPORTANT IN A HUSBAND: What ever-married women want in a spouse, more than anything else, is someone with a good job. 78% of women said steady employment was important to them in a partner, more than the 70% who wanted someone with similar ideas about raising children, or the 38% who cared about sharing moral or religious views.

There are no gender differences between the spousal personality traits that helped a woman’s career and the ones that helped a man’s. In both cases, having a conscientious partner is the only trait that had any measurable correlation. What allows someone to lean in is a conscientious partner. It’s something both sexes should think about in their careers.

History of Eggs and Jeans

Curated by CLAI

BLUE JEANS: The nation’s devotion to denim is wearing thin. Sales fell a significant 6% over the last year after decades of steady growth since Marlon Brando’s 1950s.

  • Sales of yoga pants and other active wear climbed 7% in the same period. Everyone wants to look like they’re running to the gym, even if they’re not.
  • Blue jeans’ fade could also be due to a lack of new styles since brightly colored skinnies hit the market several years ago.
Levi's didn't even call them "jeans" until after James Dean wore them. Would he have preferred stretch fabrics and elastic waistbands?

James Dean in Jeans (AP)

WASH EGGS: About a 100 years ago, many people around the world washed their eggs. But there are a lot of ways to do it wrong, so the method got a bad reputation in certain parts of the world.

  • By 1970, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had perfected the art of the wash with the help of fancy machines, and it required all egg producers to do it to prevent salmonella.
  • Meanwhile, many European countries were prohibiting washing, as egg-laying hens are vaccinated against salmonella.
  • Asian countries never got on board with it. The exception was Japan, which joined the egg-washers after a bad spate of salmonella in the 1990s.
To refrigerate or not to refrigerate? It boils down to bacteria, aesthetics and how much energy you're willing to use.

Refrigerated v. room temperature eggs (Robert S. Donovan; Flickr / Alex Barth; Flickr)