Thursday, July 30, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Man 7/21/09

Full disclosure. I am a Chicago White Sox fan. Not because of President Obama, not because they won the World Series in 2005, not even because of the dungeon called Old Comiskey (R.I.P.) But really because of Frank Thomas, Jack McDowell and the greatest Okie State baseball player, Robin Ventura (sit down Pete Incaviglia fans).

It’s no wonder that a man wearing a Chicago White Sox jersey riding the subway in Brooklyn makes an appearance here. That distinct “Chicago” in black script lettering across the chest with sliver and white outline. The white socks on black logo on the sleeves.

What’s really the wonder here is that the man was also wearing a Boston Red Sox baseball cap. Yes, a Red Sox hat – navy blue hat with the distinctive “B” in its auld glory script.

What on Earth? WTF?

The rest of him was a fairly standard blue collar guy uniform. The basic light blue jeans. Loose fitting in a standard wash and there was a handkerchief dangling from his left pocket.. The white Nike sneakers with enough off-white to suggest a decent amount of wear. A digital watch in a stainless steel casing with a black rubber strap – probably a Timex or Casio.

The glasses on his face were a pedestrian rectangular style metal frame. A goatee on his face to highlight his masculinity while not wearing any jewelry of any sort. He was carrying a small black drawstring nylon bag.

One last thing, a lanyard with I (Heart) New York printed on.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cuts like a Knife

Man 7/16/09

What hurts isn’t when you see someone dressed in a wild inappropriate manner, or when they are showing too much skin, or when they just plain can’t match, or they are just too damn weird.

No, what hurts is when said subject dresses not quite up to snuff but you can tell that they are trying. They are really trying to be fashionable or presentable and it’s just not happening.

The man was really a kid. Probably right out if not still in college. His baby face gave his youth away. His clean-cut looks were aided by the close cropped hair and the lack of any facial hair.

For starter’s he was wearing black dress slacks that were double-pleated. Apologies to the sartorial gods for not intervening immediately, for the rules clearly state that if you are born past 1980 you are not allowed to wear pleated pants period. You are not allowed to wear pleated pants. Plus, his pants were not only cuffed but they ended at the top of his feet. Too short, two pleated.

On top of those pants? A pastel lime-green short sleeve button front shirt. And paired with that day-glo shirt was a bright yellow wide tie with an equally fat knot. No, he wasn’t dressed as if at a masquerade ball, he was dressed like he was on his way to a desk job or an interview.

The black loafers on his feet were polished and the dark dress socks were not going to be out of place in a standard Herman Miller cubicle. He was carrying a brown leather messenger bag on his right shoulder. It was a fairly worn light brown bag with the standard bronze hardware though his seemed to be crammed full – of what it wasn’t readily obvious.

To complete his look, gold rectangle rimmed glasses and the gold link watch on his left wrist, plus keys dangling from one of his belt loops.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Do the Right Thing

Woman 7/2/09

Sometimes the world sends you a signal that says, “Hey! You! Yeah, you! Pay attention for there is much that you don’t know and paths will cross.”

And it was this morning where that sign appeared though it was little more than a wink and a wry smile.

In case some have missed it, and most have. It was the 20th anniversary of the release of the seminal Spike Lee movie, “Do the Right Thing”. 20 years ago when Public Enemy seared through the ears of the wayward youth, Rosie Perez turned boys into men and Ghetto-blaster entered the nation’s vocabulary. So, this very morning, if this wasn’t a sign, then perhaps it was just coincidence.

Have you ever seen a tote bag that resembled the large Ghetto-blaster that Radio Raheem was carrying around the entire movie? This one was black and on the front was a print of a very large, loud and colorful stereo or Ghetto-blaster. It was an exact reproduction on canvas from the knobs and switches right down to the red, yellow and green colors on the equalizer. Of course this being 1989, there was no CD player, just one large mouth of a cassette tape, plus two large speakers that anchored each side. And funny enough, the side panels of this tote bag had AV input and outputs in the standard red and yellow.

So, what sort of person carries this tote bag?

She, yes a she. I’d say mid-thirties to early forties if I had to guess. Her hair was short, curly and purple. Yes, purple. But the dye job might have gone a little awry as the hair was black in the lower back portion of her head. Or perhaps she had only wanted a crown of purple and liked the black below her eyeline.

Black was the predominant color of choice for her. A black sleeveless tank top – cotton crewneck. A black knit skirt that ended at the knee with a slight flare. Not chunky but honestly looked homemade. And the shoes? Black. Black Converse Chuck Taylor lowcuts. No socks though, this was summer after all.

For all the juxtaposition of her old school radio tote bag. She was actually wearing these black wireless headphones. The oval panel connecting each ear bud was had a Motorola logo which was lit up in blue to signal the use of Bluetooth. And when she pulled out her iPod Touch, you could see the adaptor plugged into the player.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I've Got You Under My Skin

Woman 6/29/09

Summer means skin. Well, it also means sheer. And what perplexes are the New Yorkers who insist on riding the subways wearing sheer outfits that barely conceal the swimwear they have on underneath. If you’re already showing plenty of skin, must you wear and outfit that reveals even as it covers?

You couldn’t help but notice. If sitting across from you is a woman whose pink bikini top is clearly visible underneath her barely there tee. Well, it’s not a skimpy tee. It’s actually a white tee that has a day-glo peace sign with paint drips to suggest an LSD mind melt of colors. This peace tee covers her well enough but it’s so worn it’s essentially sheer. So, while looking at the LSD Day-glo peace sign, one can’t help but also notice that you are staring right at her pink bikini top. Right through that peace sign.

There’s no doubt she’s preparing for a day at the beach or perhaps by a pool. Or being a New Yorker, it could just be a trip to the park to lay out. She was wearing sandals that had white straps across the front and back of the foot. One particular strap across the front of the foot had the word Camelot printed on. The sandals had a tan sole and footbed.

Her shorts were not of the bohemian kind one would expect. They were in fact quite tailored, with buttons on the side hems as well as a button on a rear pocket. The shorts were a white and purple plaid fabric – giving it a more sophisticated look. Still they were short and ended at her upper thigh.

With her was this large green tyvek tote bag. There was an equally large Steve Madden logo on the side printed in white.

She reminded me of the wispy girls one sees on America’s Next Top Model. Tall, skinny and pale. A noticeable mole above the left side of her upper lip. Her brunette hair was long but tied up into a ponytail that was then folded back over making it look like a short stump on the back of her head.

And since she was in the outdoor state of mind, her sunglasses were already on her face. They were a purple resin frame - in an oversize exaggerated retro-aviator style popularized by Tom Ford. Frankly, the Barney the Dinosaur purple made those glasses more fun and interesting.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Stars and Stripes Forever

Woman 7/1/09

It’s a fairly common in NYC to spot genuine or faux genuine military clothing appropriated as fashionable attire. However this statement generally applies only to men, and it’s really rare to see a woman build her wardrobe around something from Army surplus.

Military field jacket. Or what may also be referred to as a Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) Coat. This was the standard issue BDU Coat made of sturdy cotton and in a green and black camouflage print. The large jacket was too large for her small frame and drooped over her shoulders. The stripes on each arm were Sergeant’s stripes, but with the extra stripes on the bottom, they were definitely of a First or Staff Sergeant rank. What I couldn’t (and still can’t) figure out is if the stripes were current or from a certain era in military history.

What I do know is that the star in the middle of the stripes indicated US Air Force. Of course, so did the patch on the left breast of the jacket. On the right side was the name patch – Benton. There were two other smaller patches, one under each name patch, but it was tough to make out the design from a distance.

So, how does a woman complement her BDU coat?

Well, underneath the jacket is a blue cotton crew neck tee. I’d say it was a Thomas the Tank Engine blue. She was also wearing a basic black knee-length skirt – a cotton poly blend by the looks of it.

She also had on knee length argyle socks. Brown and grey argyle which were just visible above the top of her Wellingtons. Well, Chooka rainboots to be exact. The same Wellingtons that I had described in my earlier post. She was the owner of those much admired shoes.

Her handbag was a medium sized, white canvas with a black tribal or ethnic print. But with these green-yellow bordered black racing stripes going around the bag from center front. The leather straps were black with gold hardware. And there was one front pocket with a zipper.

She was reading a hardcover copy of “Wish I Could Be There “ by Allen Shawn.

In one of the few instance when she looked up from her book, you could just make out the lip piercing. A silver stud centrally positioned under her lower lip.