Recently in High Fashion Category

The Victoria's Secret frontpage these days is hawking the Very Sexy® Infinity Edge™ Extreme Plunge Push-Up Bra. Every time I see this, I think that Infinity Edge™ sounds like the name of a sword from a Final Fantasy game. Probably one of those swords that your ninja character can through for large amounts of damage. I rather doubt that the Victoria's Secret Infinity Edge™ can be thrown for similar damage, though I suppose it depends on the circumstances.

I'm largely a fan of American Apparel. Sure, their clothes cost about 30% more than comparable clothes from a non-trendy brand, but they're comfortable, they're simple, they come in a variety of colors, and they're hip and casual without forcing you to be embarrassingly ironic about your clothing.

I have managed to look the other way at the utter skeeviness of the company's founder and president, Dov Charney. According to various articles, he treats AA headquarters in LA as his personal harem and apparently puts on auto-erotic displays for female reporters who come to interview him. By all accounts, he has created a moderately successful, trendy clothing company and turned it into his own personal 70s porn fantasy world. So far I've managed to justify continuing to give them my business by telling myself that most companies are far worse. I'm sure a lot of sexual harrassment happens behind the doors at the upper echelons of other companies; the difference at American Apparel is that they keep the doors open. And they do a good job in terms of paying good wages and benefits, using sustainable materials and methods to produce their clothing, etc. They're a highly responsible company but for the open and flagrant sexism.

That sexism bleeds into the product lines. I've come to accept that they only sell men's clothing under protest. My theory is that essentially all of the clothing they sell starts out as part of a Dov Charney sex fantasy. As it happens, though, Charney's fantasies tend to involve women in 70s vintage men's clothing. Sometimes, therefore, American Apparel accidentally creates a garment that could be worn by men. These go into the Unisex line.

So, you know, there's a lot not to like about the company. But they tend to produce a very high-quality product, and it's generally quite tasteful, in contrast to a lot of the ironic t-shirt companies you find out there. But then sometimes Charney's weird fetishism creeps into the lines a bit too much and it becomes impossible to ignore. And when that happens, you get things like this: the Cotton Spandex Jersey Tank Thong.

For the love of Pete, why? It looks hideous, it serves no practical purpose that can't be served by sensible garments that are readily available, and it looks horribly uncomfortable. Is this a fashion style that really needed to be resurrected? Are hipsters dressed as extras from 80s exercise videos flooding the trendy night clubs of Los Angeles and New York? And, if they are, why must American Apparel inflict their nonsense on the rest of us?

This is enough. Have you no sense of decency, Dov Charney, at long last?

I now own two suits.

I don't possess two suits, but I own two suits. I possess one suit. The second suit is currently a bailment of which I am the bailor. Brooks Brothers is the bailee of said suit, on the understanding that they will return it to me on August 11th, with certain modifications having been made to it (shortening the sleeves, making a 1.5 inch cuff on the pants, etc).

Nonetheless, I now own two suits, where three hours ago I owned one. After having gotten the bum's rush out of first Macy's, then Brooks Brothers on Park Avenue, then Sak's Fifth Avenue, then Barney's, I finally got serviced by a salesperson at Brooks Brothers on Madison Avenue. The rushing of my bum was entirely justified at Barney's and Sak's; they literally had no suits for less than one thousand dollars, and their average suit cost more than two thousand dollars. I'm not sure what went on at the first Brooks Brothers, and Macy's just doesn't employ salespersons who care to make sales, apparently.

Anyhow, I now own a very nice, conservative grey pinstriped worsted wool suit. It's single-breasted, has two buttons, a low button stance, a single vent, and hand-stitched panels. It's a size 36, which I discovered is the smallest suit they make. I had to buy a rather more expensive suit than I was initially looking at because I apparently have freakishly narrow shoulders. They didn't have anything that worked off-the-rack, so I had to buy a suit from the fitted suit section. This means it's tapered, with a european fit that suits my form quite well.

It also cost more than the entire rest of my wardrobe combined. And that includes the suit I bought in February. The sticker price was $900, no sales, no discounts, and it leapt to nearly $1000 with tax.

This is quite a lot for me. I just spent more on one suit than I believe I've spent on food this entire year. Certainly more than I've spent on videos, books, video games, board games, and probably all of my other entertainments combined.

I am told that people can tell a nice suit from a cheap one. I am told that hiring partners at law firms can spot a cheap suit in an instant. I am told that the one thing one does not want to be at a law firm is the competent fellow who can get the job done, but who can't appear in court or be shown to clients because he dresses too shabbily. This is a recipe for getting overworked and underappreciated, toiling ceaselessly in the obscurity of the back office.

And yet: I can't, if I'm being honest, tell the difference between my $900 suit and something purchased off-the-rack at Men's Wearhouse for $200. Maybe this is something I'll pick up. Or maybe this was all a huge waste of money.

In any case, I now own two suits.



I went back to The Village Scandal for the third time in as many weeks today. This time, however, I followed through on my frequent threats and actually bought a hat. It's a white straw fedora that I'd been admiring last week. I was between this and the same model in black, but decided that black straw just didn't make sense (straw hats are for summer, and if I'm to even pretend that it's a practical hat it ought not to be colored heat-absorbing black). So now I have a straw hat that I may or may not wear, but at least it's comfortable and cooling.


As usual, the first photo I took was the best. All the futzing I did with the angle and such didn't improve on the one I just clicked at arm's length.


Here's pokin' at you, kid.


Pulled down for sleeping. I tried this on the subway ride home and it's surprisingly uncomfortable. I got the idea from Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indy put his fedora over his face to get sleep in the plane. It turns out that you end up resting it on your brow, which means your face gets pulled in weird ways, and meanwhile the brim in the back makes it hard to lean back. But this was just on the subway; it could be that it'd work better in a more relaxing seat.


Trying to read nonchalantly. My big concerns is whether I can pull the hat off without being self-conscious about it. I'd rather not look like a hipster doofus. If you saw this guy in a coffeeshop, would you think to yourself "Goofball?"


And the real reason I bought the straw hat, and why it had to be white. You can't play a banjo without a straw hat, and black would look too modern and sophisticated.

Dame Fashion Smiles on Me


Woo! According to the Times, mid-thigh trunks are back in fashion for men's swimwear! This makes me happy because the only swim suit I own, and the only one I've owned for several years, is a pair of drab mid-thigh trunks. And now they're fashionable again! Take that, board shorts! Also, take that, Britney! That'll learn you to make fun of my swim trunks for being too short!

Chains of Love


Something Positive is currently running ads for Twisted Links, a custom chain mail clothing manufacturer. My guess is that this is for people who are about five notches more into fantasy than I am. A few interesting things about the page:

I note on the front page at the top that you can get your chain mail in a variety of colors, including "various colors of the Neon Spectrum." I had absolutely no desire to own a chainmail garment until I discovered that I could get a cowl in the same color as my highliter. This puts me in the mind of Risk and other war games in which your armies are depicted as brightly colored plastic figurines.

From the bottom of the main page: "Custom Items are available upon request. Prices will vary accordingly. Custom items include, but are not limited to: Earrings, Anklets, Finger Rings, Inlaid Designs, Belts, and Fetish Gear." Fetish Gear seems like a pretty broad category. In fact, it's quite conceivable that every item on the site could be called fetish gear. Nonetheless, I have to wonder if here it means something even beyond what else is on the site, which both frightens me and arouses my curiosity.

Most interesting: For the Ladies, chainmail bikinis, consisting of bra + G-string. First, ouch! I've come to a cautious co-existence with the thong; I've heard the claims that they're more comfortable than standard underpants and though I'm skeptical I'm willing to grant the benefit of the doubt. But if this G-string is, as I suspect, metal links up your butt, I'm afraid I must protest. At long last, have you no sense of decency?

I'll add, though, that if you look at the pricing you can save a lot of money by being small of chest. In fact, if you're an A-cup and willing to go with a large gauge and forgo the pleasure of a chain-link g-string, you can have your own chain mail bra for $10. I have to wonder about the support, though, and whether it might be pretty obvious under shirts (though I suspect it's not meant to be worn under clothing). Still, at that price, even I'm thinking about it. And I could get it in neon yellow, too...

UPDATE: I just noticed the Chainmail Necktie. Now I really want one for On Campus Interview season next fall...

Ninja Scarf


Today, as the previous post stated, was quite cold. But I had to go to the Upper East Side to give blood. I left the apartment about 40 minutes before my appointment and took the subway over. I decided, as I was heading out, that it would be fun to walk all the way home from the blood donation center. This is the sort of decision that seems like a good idea until you find yourself faced with a four mile walk home after having lost a pint of blood. Nonetheless, I stuck to the plan.

Now, getting down there required very little exposure to the open air, so that was no problem. But as I started off homeways, I realized that there was no way I would even make it as far as Central Park, let alone all the way home, with my nose freezing off in the chill wind. Fortunately my scarf is made of thin black cotton, and can easily be wrapped around my face in order to form Ninja Scarf (seen here from the front ...


... and here from the side):


Granted, it's not super-fashionable. I looked quite goofy walking down the street and through the park with a scarf covering half of my face. I looked like a train robber, or perhaps one of those anarchist kids who shows up at protests to get violent and break windows.

Nonetheless, it kept my nose and face warm, and that's what counts. Also, people don't mess with you when you wear Ninja Scarf. Because, while the rest of your apparel and demeanor might not signal "Ninja," who wants to take the chance?



On friday at a mock interview thing for Public Interest summer jobs, I was told in no uncertain terms that I needed a suit for interviewing. Even though it's just a summer internship for the first year, and even though these are public interest groups.

This means I will have to go out and buy a suit. I need a suit that meets all of the following criteria:

1. Fits my budget (I'm shooting for $300, but I can go somewhat higher or lower).

2. Is suited for wearing in winter and summer. That is, I'm buying this suit for interviews in the winter, but can't really afford another one for summer or next fall's interview season. Because I am heat-averse and cold-loving, and because I will be wearing the suit less in the winter than I will in warmer times, I am willing to sacrifice insulation now for comfort later.

3. Doesn't look embarassing (This is really all I can hope for shopping for myself, I've decided. I have no sense of fashion and can't tell you how many articles of clothing I've bought that looked fine at the stores and I now refuse to wear except on laundry day).

I have absolutely no idea what to look for in a suit. I was told by both parents not to buy a trendy suit; go for something conservative that'll stay acceptable for a while. This is fine advice, except I have no clue what trendy is in suits. It's snowing today, so I think I'll go downtown tomorrow and do this. Does anyone have any general advice about suit buying? What should I look for? What should I avoid? How do I test the suit in the shop so that I know it'll look good on me? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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