A Little Flash That Ended in a Crash

By Magali Castaneda

20sStrength. Independence. Women grabbed the future by the balls and made things happen in the 20’s. It all started with one badass lady, Susan B. Anthony. She dedicated most of her adult life to women’s rights and it paid off! August 18, 1920 the 19th Amendment was passed which granted universal women’s suffrage. We were allowed to vote! Then, in 1921 the first Miss America was crowned, a sixteen-year-old Margaret Gorman.

These events empowered women to make changes in other parts of their lives. 20s4They started to think of themselves as equals to men. At this point women were already allowed to attend college but were restricted to majors like home economics, you know, why we ALL go to college now. Ladies’ thoughts were now consumed with a new reality, if you will; she could have a career and support herself. Women began wearing different things, dancing, showin’ a little leg, makin’ a little love… maybe, I don’t really know about that last one. The 20’s was an era of flappers and flappers were the personification of how women were feeling. They wore flashy dresses with no defined waists, smoked cigarettes out of fancy sticks to keep it classy, drank as much as they pleased to keep it trashy and danced the night away to jazz, heathens, I tell ya!

20s2Coco Chanel was the epitome of a woman in the 20’s, she created a fashion house that still stands today based on silhouettes that were non-constricting. So, you can thank Chanel for getting rid of corsets! Then, this era took an unexpected turn with the stock market crash of 1929. Postwar prosperity was over and the outlook of America’s future was steep. This resulted in high unemployment, for men in particular and kicked off The Great Depression.

As I read through pages and pages of the 1920’s I felt like I could relate to all of it. I remember 2008 and 2009 and how my friends’ parents were unemployed and going through rough times. Once again America’s faith in the future was close to gone. 20s3We have all gone through similar but miniscule experiences of what happened in the 20’s. I’m an educated woman, I don’t plan on making dinner for anyone but myself in the next 5 years and if I want to run for the Miss America pageant, I can, even though I’m Mexican American. And contrary to popular belief, I was born in America. I wonder how many of us would’ve made it had we been born in that era? Now, we live our lives with no restrictions and women and men are allowed to do whatever their hearts desire. If they want to be stay at home dads, they can do it, if women want to be single until their 30’s they can do that. We can thank the ballsy women of the 1920’s for pushing social norms and giving us things we now take for granted, like voting! 😉20s5

 References

  http://www.cmt.com/sitewide/assets/img/shows/miss_america/miss_america_moments/1921_GormanWin01-x365.jpg (Miss America kisses)

Prosperity and its Demise. (2013). America’s best history. Retrieved from http://www.mentormob.com/learn/i/1920s-playlist-3/americas-best-history-us-history-timeline-1920-to1929

http://www.societysecrets.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/GreatDepression.jpg

The 1920s: Lifestyles and Social Trends: Overview. (2013). American decades. Retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3468300881.html

 http://upchucky.us/JukeCity/RoaringTwenties/Flappers.jpg (Dancing Flappers)

 http://viliflik.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/coco_chanel.jpg  (Chanel smoking)

 1920’s Fashion: Coco Chanel, Marlene Dietrich and more Style Icons from the Era. (2013). Huff post style. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/20/1920s-fashion-coco-chanel-_n_3293425.html

 http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lb8lab2MxO1qzr6zyo1_500.jpg

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It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times

By Abbey McNeill

90s2Let’s take a nostalgic trip back to our childhood. I know that this can be somewhat scary and that there may be things from the 90’s you might never wish to revisit, but it is what it is and maybe some time travel would do you well. After all, what’s not to love about the 1990’s? From butterfly clips to scrunchies, revealing belly shirts to jean overalls; what an unforgettable and easily identifiable era. The decade ushered in a collection of memorable trends, pop stars, singer/songwriters and TV shows we all know and love.

90s3If you had older siblings as I did, you may remember all too well riding in the car and having to listen to a painful rendition of N’ Sync, The Backstreet Boys or Britney Spears. Those are things I do not miss, however there were several influential TV shows that made a statement of their time: you know the one’s: Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Cosby Show, Full House, Boy Meets World, Family Matters, Friends, Sister Sister, and the list goes on and on. Pop culture had more influence than one would realize at the time. Shows like Sex and the City portrayed a wild mix of fun and flirty with high emphasis on the latest fashion. It was becoming more and more acceptable for woman to be sexy and to display their bodies with contemporary revealing confidence. Teenage actress Tiffani Amber Thiessen was a role model for teenager’s nation wide. TV show, Friends, took comedy to a new level and also had some affect on style of the 1990’s among younger crowds. MC Hammer’s rapid rise to fame contributed greatly to the evolution of hip-hop. And who could forget the beloved Spice girls, a phenomenal global act of the decade. As entertainment progressed it seems like style regressed.

90s4Economically, the country was in great condition and making remarkable advancements technologically, culturally, and socially. In 1991 poverty rate was 10.7% and by 2000 it had declined to 8.6%, which was the lowest it had been since 1959. This bull market produced wealth and turned millionaires into billionaires. Peace, love and prosperity, times were good, so why so grunge? In the early 1990’s people and their style were reacting to the economics downfall of the 80’s. American’s overindulgent nature led to recession, which greatly affected the fashion of the times. Floral print dresses, cargo pants, oversized sweaters, flannel shirts, highwaisted jeans, and outdated logo-fied t-shirts let 90s5teenagers expressing their anti-materialistic philosophy. This fad caught on like wild fire and had gone mainstream in no time, making its way into designer lines on the runway. As James Truman, editor of Details Magazine, put it best, “It’s unfashion. …Grunge is about not making a statement, which is why it’s crazy for it to become a fashion statement. …Buying grunge from Seventh Avenue is ludicrous.”

Boy bands, scrunchies, denim overalls are now a thing of the past, and we have the millennium to thank for that. But keep your high waisted jeans and shorts close because you might be needing them again.

You Little Sneak

By Magali Castaneda

sneakers3You can wear them casually, you can wear them to work out, and everyone has at least one pair in their closet. No, not underwear, and I honestly hope you own more than one pair. I’m talking about sneakers! It’s probably safe to assume that thieves that enjoy breaking and entering all own a pair of sneakers. After all, they’re called sneakers because of the hushed rubber soles. But before the nickname, came the shoes. They were shoes with rubber soles called Plimsols, catchy name aye? Also, there was no distinction between left or right feet, making it easy for 4 year olds all over the world to be free of judgment. Then in sneakers1892 the Rubber shoe company and the US Rubber Company collaborated on creating a sneaker. You’ve probably heard of them, Keds? When they were deciding on the name, they were stuck between Ved’s and Keds… Yeah, good choice. The next innovation in sneakers came in the early 1900’s and it’s probably safe to say that everyone has owned a pair of these canvas beauties. Converse. Marquis Converse created this high top canvas sneaker and it became popularized in the sport of basketball by Chuck Taylor, who endorsed them. If you wore them now to play a pick up game, you’d probably break your ankles. At this point in the sneaker game, sneakers were very basic and mostly used for sneakers2sports activities. In 1924 a man called Adi Dassler made the first pair of Tennis Shoes for the number one tennis player in the world, Stan Smith. Adidas became one of the most popular sneakers in the world and a couple decades later they became even more popular. A rap group called Run DMC made a song called My Adidas and made arrangements to have Adidas execs come to a show. While they were performing the song, they asked the crowed to show their Adidas and some 3,000 people were wearing the sneakers. Run DMC signed a 1.6 million dollar deal with Adidas and created a line of sneakers. Although Run DMC can be given credit for the popularization of Adidas, only one man can be given credit for wearing sneakers as a fashion statement. Our Rebel Without a Cause, James Dean. He wore them in the movie and kick started the shift from wearing sneakers for sport to wearing sneakers as a statement. Even with sneakers becoming a sneakers4fashion statement, sneaker companies were still using athletes to make their shoes known. Nike, then got their hands on a legendary Rookie. His name, Michael Jackson. Just kidding, Michael Jordan, just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. Michael endorsed Air Jordan’s and if there is an iconic sneaker, this is it. His sneakers have really become a phenomenon, I know guys with no cars that own about every pair. It’s safe to say the sneaker industry isn’t going anywhere, considering all the shoe companies I mentioned are still alive and thriving.

Reference

http://www.beyondretro.com/en/blog/2013/05/23/the-iconic-chuck-taylors/ 

http://www.geoclan.com/style/articles/08/images/rundmc.jpg

Fact Monster. (2013). The history of sneakers. Retrieved from  http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0932723.html

 McCafferty, H. (2013). The evolution of the sneaker. Swide. Retrieved from  http://www.swide.com/sport-man/apparel/sneaker-history-evolution/2013/9/4

 http://images.sneakernews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/air-jordan-retrospective-aj1-

 http://www.swide.com/sport-man/apparel/sneaker-history-evolution/2013/9/4 

Taralyn, P. (2011). History of sneakers. TimeToast. Retrieved from http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/history-of-sneakers–2

Alber Elbaz’s Favorite Accessory

By Ashley Frost  

            necktie4Maybe it’s because I’m single, but I’ve recently become obsessed with men’s fashion. With Paris Fashion Week currently going on it is not women’s fashion I am fawning over, but men’s. I’ve always loved a well-dressed man, and neckties are the pieces that, literally, tie an outfit together. Neckties are an iconic part of menswear with a rich and fascinating history, can you think of any other fashion item which does not serve a functional purpose that has been around for centuries?

            In the mid-1600s Croatian officers were presented to the French royal court, these officers wore scarfs around their necks as part of their uniforms. This look was immediately adopted by French high society who called it “la cravate”. In 1784 Beau Brummel created the three piece suit, including the necktie as the focal point. Brummel is said to be the first person to start using neckties for expression of individuality. In the mid-1800s the word tie replaced cravat and ties started being mass produced.

            necktie2The first designer tie was created in the 1920s by French designers; they started making ties from nicer fabrics such as silk with various designs on them. Throughout the rest of the 20th century neckties went through various trend cycles. In the 1940s they started growing thicker, and then the trend switched to thinner ties in the 1950s. Due to men’s trousers moving lower on the hips and vests becoming less popular, ties have become much longer.

            In the late 1800s and start of the 1900s bowties were primarily worn by intellectuals. Men who were architects, professors or attorneys were frequent wearers of the chic bowtie. Bowtie wearers began to be thought of as snobby. Today the bowtie is worn mainly at formal events. Clowns and comedians such as Pee-wee Herman have helped the bowtie loose its snobby stigma. Historians are unclear whether the bowtie led to the necktie or vice versa, but as long as handsome men are still wearing both I could care less which one came first.

            necktie3Neckties are not a fashion item that can be only worn by men. Thanks to fabulous trendsetters like Diane Keaton ties are a trendy part of today’s women’s fashion. In fact during New York Fashion Week several female collections included ascots and bows. If you want to use a necktie in a little less chic way, try wearing it loose over a white button down or V-neck. Think Avril Lavigne, early Brittany Spears and Jennifer Aniston… but with clothes on.

            Public figures such as Winston Churchill, Carey Grant, Frank Sinatra and many other dashing men have helped neckties withstand the test of time.  Alber Elbaz, Gucci, Brooks Brothers, and Karl Lagerfeld are just a few designers continuing the legacy of the necktie. These designers emphasize ties with quality and functionality while remaining stylish. The necktie is my favorite part of men’s wear and I sincerely hope it never goes out of style.

 necktie5

References

Beau Brummel – Famous Tie Wearer. (n.d.). Tie-a-Tie.net. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://www.tie-a-tie.net/blog/third-most-famous-tie-wearer-beau-brummel/

Top left picture.

Get Spot!. (n.d.). Coolspotters. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://coolspotters.com/clothing/jason-wu-pre-fall-2011-cream-pin-tuck-blouse-with-bow-tie

Bottom middle picture.

History of the Neck Tie . (n.d.). Mens Fashion Blog and Consulting. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://gentlemans-closet.com/mens-fashion-blog/history-of-the-neck-tie/

Men’s Neckties . (n.d.). Mens Fashion Blog and Consulting. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://gentlemans-closet.com/mens-fashion-blog/mens-neckties/

First picture on the bottom.

Most Famous Tie Wearers – Celebrity Tie Aficionados. (n.d.). Tie-a-Tie.net . Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://www.tie-a-tie.net/blog/the-10-most-famous-tie-wearers-of-all-time/

Mr. Darcy . (n.d.). MBTI in Fiction. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://mbti-in-fiction.tumblr.com/post/32460673648/mr-darcy

Top right picture.

sexy bowties : theBERRY. (n.d.). theBERRY. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://theberry.com/2012/01/24/berry-hot-men-bow-ties-24-photos/sexy-bowties-17-2/

Bottom left picture.

A Leaf for your Brief

By Preston Blackburn

Picture4Billions of dollars are spent every year in order to keep our most prized possessions protected. It’s not enough to just rely on the decency of man, for we have created highly effective security systems, intelligent enough to outsmart any common citizen in an effort to protect what matters most. However, sparkling diamonds, ancient artifacts, and century old documents are not the only things that need protection. One can argue that the most precious jewels that need airtight security is attached right onto the human body, more specifically, the human male body. Men’s undergarments have taken many forms throughout the years; an industry creating the boxer, the brief, and God’s greatest gift to man, the boxer brief, has catapulted into a money making juggernaut, making the protection of men’s…eer…most sensitive area their top priority.

Picture1From the days of Adam and Eve, coverage became a very important part of attempting to remain decent. At the time, the fig leaf did the job however, that didn’t provide any support and I can’t imagine accidentally getting into some poison ivy. We then fast forward to the loincloth which was just a small piece of leather that hung loosely from the waist. The codpiece was the next to emerge, completely surrounding the body with closures down the front that made it easier for men to relieve themselves without taking off all their clothes. Around the 1920s, men were wearing long, flannel drawers that stopped at the knee. They gave protection from their outer garments as well as much needed support. Eventually as fashion changed, the desire for more breathing room became apparent mainly in sports. Jacob Golomb, founder of the boxing equipment company Everlast, decided to create underwear that mimicked the loose fit of the shorts that the boxers wore. Not surprisingly, boxers were not an instant hit. And it wasn’t until after WWII that they began to compete with the classic brief (Boxer, Brief, or Loincloth).Picture3

Concurrently, men’s underwear was about to change forever due to the innovative ideas of Arthur Kniebler (Knee-bler). In 1934, Kniebler received a postcard with a man on the front dressed in a white, one piece bikini style bathing suit. After a lot of experimentation, Arthur created the snug, legless brief that offered a high level of support. This brief became known as the jockey or “tighty whitey” (Boxer, Brief, or Loincloth). In the 1970’s and ‘80s, underwear began to become more fashionable with brands like Calvin Klein giving a fresh take on the classic piece. And eventually, the boxer brief hit the shelves giving the wearer the best of both worlds.

Picture2It’s safe to assume that underwear has become a staple in most men’s everyday attire. Whether you’re looking for support or looking to just hang free, briefs and boxers have evolved to a place where “packaging the package” is no longer uncharted territory. Protection is ultimately what every man wants and with all the new options available, how could he resist the need to make his own…err…jewels sparkle.

Reference

Trex, E. Boxers, briefs or loincloth? a brief history of men’s underwear. August 5, 2013. http://mentalfloss.com/article/22897/boxers-briefs-or-loincloth-brief-history-mens-underwear

La Mode, C’est La Vie

By Emily Guerra

Nous aimons la mode française! Translation : We love French fashion! And why do we love it? Because it’s the home of haute couture. The author Kershner says it best: “High fashion began in 1715, when ladies from the court gathered a group of tailors and designers, and plotted out new, custom-made fashions on the spot. And Voilá: couture.”  Soon after, couture kicked into high gear when Charles Frederick Worth, an Englishman, came to Paris to find fame and fortune in the fashion world and created what we now know as haute couture. He started things that we take for granted like staging fashion shows with live models and sewing labels into his pieces – the first branding!

Source: Wikipedia

Kershner fills in our fashion timeline: “By the 20th century, the bustle and corset disappeared, and French women took to loose-fitting undergarments and the sleek look of art deco infiltrated French fashion.”  A familiar name that we all know very well lead this fashion movement.  “Coco Chanel stripped fashion of excess material, frilly lace and the constraints of the past….And, rather than using more fabric, Chanel used beads and embroidery to decorate her clothes.” (“Coco Chanel” ). Among other things, she made the little black dress a classic, trousers for women fashionable, and is the woman who single-handedly started our whole mania for suntanning.  But it wasn’t easy: many people turned up their noses to this new type of style at first. However, with styles that showed continuity and symmetry between the chest, waist, and rear, Chanel found her business exploding among women in Europe and America. 

Source: Style Check Up

French fashion eventually emerged into the art genre called “surrealism”.  Kershner writes, “Designers made hats that looked like shoes and evening dresses printed with not entirely elegant giant lobsters. These bizarre looks continue in haute couture today. Lady Gaga, for one, should be grateful to the French for their foresight whenever she pulls her meat dress out of the hamper.”  Where can you personally see the roots of fashion surrealism?  By checking out the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s upcoming exhibit:Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations exhibition, which opens in May.

Source: Egodesign.ca

 Nowadays, street fashion in France can be defined with neutral colors, statement accessories and classic pieces.  Parisians say, “Leave your hoodies and matching sweatpants, white tennis shoes, shorts and bright colored nylon windbreakers at home. If you dress nicely, you’ll be rewarded with better treatment in cafés, shops and restaurants” (“What to wear,” ).

Source: Elizabeth and James

French influences aren’t only seen on the streets of Paris, but also within the collections of designers all over the world. The Elizabeth and James designers (AKA, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen) created their Spring/Summer 2011 collection with French inspiration that had a touch of femininity with a modern and urban twist. The line featured neutral colors often see in modern French fashion.

Source: EQ:IQ

EQ:IQ from Hong Kong also created a French-inspired collection in 2009 that brought forth feminine blouses, little black dresses and sliming trouser pants.

And of course, we couldn’t forget the label that is the essence of French fashion, Christian Dior. The fashion house that gave the world the “New Look” in 1947 continues to showcase elegant dresses, bold, hourglass silhouettes and classic colors.  So even if you can’t afford couture prices but want a French-inspired look, just remember the words of Christian Dior: “Simplicity, good taste and grooming are the three fundamentals of good dressing and these do not cost money”.

To Read More about La Belle France

Christian dior quotes. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.enjoy-your-style.com/christian-dior-quotes.html

Coco chanel: The 1920s fashion designer who changed the face of style. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.1920s-fashion-and-music.com/Coco-Chanel.html

Kershner, K. (n.d.). Traditional french clothing. Retrieved from http://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/national-traditions/french-tradition3.htm

 What to wear in paris, france. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.parisescapes.com/paris_wear.html