Monday, August 31, 2009

Hats for the Memories

Man 7/30/09

The Return of the Fedora. Kennedy tried to kill it in 1960, and two-score and nine years later, the fedora has officially marked a new renaissance. Not a return to glory like the old days, but at least a return to respectability.

As such, this man’s fedora was not to be ridiculed though admiration was not in the cards either. Just a philosophical tip ‘O the hat (all pun intended). His was a new hipster fedora. More a trilby than a fedora really. Black and white in color, and in a faux Prince of Wales check pattern. It was sitting above his head, exposing his full head of dark wavy hair.

With his long thin sideburns and his thinly sculpted goatee featuring a soul patch under his lip, there was no mistaking this gentleman for another. He was a hipster and he was not afraid to tell the world.

The standard uniform was thus observed on this man.

Jeans – dark, dirty and indigo. Skinny with cuffs folded up.

Shoes – possibly used. Very dirty but very Euro in style. White leather athletic-inspired, with 3 velcro straps – two of which were non-functioning bungee bands.

Black Tee – crew neck. Blue and white graphic across the front stretching around to the back. More tattoo or street-inspired than irony-filled.

Sunglasses – new shiny faux Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses hanging off the tee collar.

Canvas Messenger Bag – khaki, again quite worn and old looking. A red, white and navy fabric strap giving a hint of Americana.

Frankly, he looked like he was a hipster who dressed like he shopped at JC Penney or Kohl’s. Other than the trilby, nothing on him was authentic and they all seemed manufactured to confer that hipster vibe.

Nothing we dislike more than a faux-hipster.

Calling all Bikers! Ride for Charity.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

White on White

Woman 8/26/09

Immediately, one notices the obvious. White pants. Summer white, pristine and not quite sheer and very weather appropriate. The white singlet. Ok, the white wifebeater. Plain white and in this context, again, very weather appropriate. On her arm was a grey cardigan, no doubt for the cooler air that her work environment was sure to provide.

Curiously, she wasn’t tan at all. All that white, and her skin was just as alabaster though perhaps not as severe. The singlet revealed very freckled pale arms which matched her equally freckled and pale face. No makeup on her but a slight hint of lip gloss. She had shoulder length brown hair.

On her ears, pearl earrings. One pearl on each lobe, sitting on a gold setting.

As much as one noticed the big hits of white. It also came into view that there was a very deliberate secondary color at play. Orange.

On her neck was a necklace composed of three strands of beads. Well, more like pearls – orange pearls. Three stands of orange faux pearls that demanded to be noticed in a sea of white.

On her feet, a pair of burnt orange sandals. Faux-leather gladiator-inspired straps from toe to ankle with a comfortable sole - maybe Aerosoles? And all this topped off with toenails in a near matching color. Orange, but not quite burnt. Her fingernails though were clean – no color.

Her handbag was this large brown leather handbag. In a hobo styled design. A large brown leather strap on each end attached to silver buckles. No pockets or outside zippers. Just one large opening on the top of the bag.

And as modern women are no taking to doing, she was wearing a men’s watch. A stainless steel sports model with a round black face. Couldn’t make out the brand though.

About three stops into her ride, she pulled a book out of her handbag and proceeded to spend the rest of the ride in reader-trance. She was reading “Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living” by Pema Chodron.


Man 6/16/09

People talk about the Brooklyn attitude like they do about the Bronx attitude or in some cases, the Queens one. (Apologies to Staten Island and Manhattan) The more one lives in Brooklyn, the more you realize that perhaps there is such a thing. Starting from Tony Manero, to the Eighties rap renaissance and followed by the latter day Jay-Z shout-outs. There have been all along pop culture the personification of this Brooklyn attitude.

The kid was dressed much like a lot of his urban compatriots. First off, the shoes. Air Jordans. Not the late model ones, but the early model re-issue. Looked like Air Jordan III to the non-expert shoegazer. The white patent leather, the purple accents and finished with ultra clean white laces. A modern take on a street classic.

Super skin tight black skinny jeans. Worn not in a rocker or hipster manner, but more in the style of the street skaters of today. Just hang out at Tompkins Square Park if you need a closer look.

Over the jeans was a large black puffer vest. It was severely oversize. It’s shiny fabric reflecting the light off the subway train and highlighting the quilted design. The hood was detachable and the collar was in perpetual pop-up mode. Two side hand pockets on the front. Basic gear for this crowd.

But all this was put together with quite some thought. The tee under the puffer vest was this purple crewneck. Not royal but your basic purple. And on his head was a Colorado Rockies baseball cap. Why the Rockies? Purple. The interlocking CR logo was purple with a white outline – no doubt the cap was bought to complete the color scheme. The cap’s bill was as flat as new, and the size sticker still affixed to the top of that bill. His hair was completed hidden under that cap.

His baby face suggested someone no older than his late teens. Which meant the diamond studs in each ear were probably fake – though being that impossibly large screamed fake anyway. A gold crucifix hung across his neck over the front of his purple tee.

On his hand was a metal silver and gold link strap watch. A white face with black numerals.

Further up his left forearm? A large Brooklyn tattoo done in script. Bold, brash and obviously in homage to his hometown.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

State of Confusion

Woman 6/17/09

Variety is the spice of life. So, what happens when one has outfitted and accessorized with the idea of achieving variety?

At first glance, she already appeared to be out-of-sorts. Not in a hair-all-over manner but in a way that one instinctively knows after years of riding the subway – some people are just inexplicable.

She was wearing a denim jacket. Not an acid-wash retread but it was in a light indigo hue which was very, very 80’s. Still it was a standard denim jacket design, with the double patch pockets in front, silver buttons and rivets, and as her once-folded sleeves illustrated - working buttons on the cuffs. Still it was at least one or two sizes too large for her. The jacket shoulders drooped over her tiny frame. Not a tent or a poncho, but it wasn’t a flattering slim fit either.

Under that denim jacket was a simple white cotton tee. It was longer than the typical tee, and the tail of it reached down to her hips. It looked like there was graphic on the tee that resembled the writing on a typical doctor’s eye chart.

The pants were basic business work pants. Black with slim gray, brown and blue stripes running vertically. You could make out the black stockings she had on underneath. And on her feet were two inch heels with a square toe and a small bow on the front. There was a strap at the heel. The contrast of the beige colored shoes and the dark pants with black stocks only served to highlight the continuing enigma that was this woman’s style.

Her accessories only confused more. First, a black briefcase. Yes, a black hard-shell leather briefcase usually seen with die-hard fans of L.A. Law. Sure, this one was slim making it a non-Willy Loman issue, but still nowhere close to being an acceptable part of a respectable woman’s executive attire. The second? A medium green tote bag. The primary color was green but there was a sea of white, blue and yellow dots as well. The dots were positioned such that it reminded one of star constellations. The larger blue dots could have been planets and the smaller white and yellow dots possibly stars and moons. And not content with those two pieces, she was carrying yet another bag with her. This time a very basic run-of-the-mill white canvas tote. The kind LL Bean makes.

Does the woman’s style end with her clothing and accessories choices?

Her hair was short. But the mane was teased up in such a way that coupled with the obvious brown dye job with even lighter brown highlights, one could only say – Tina Turner. A slightly shorter version but unmistakably Tina.

Her makeup wasn’t spared either. The foundation, is understood. The lipstick in a subtle pink hue was even tasteful. Then came the blue eye shadow and the heavy black

In her hand was a thick handheld PDA. I’m not even sure what brand, model or decade it came from. But there she was tapping away with that black stylus pen. Perhaps she was playing a game? She was staring at it rather intently.

On her neck was a small gold crucifix dangling from a thin gold chain.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

John Hughes R.I.P.

I'm just naming my favorites here:

Pretty in Pink
The Breakfast Club
Weird Science
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Sixteen Candles

There's nothing I could add that hasn't been written about John Hughes over the past week. But I'll say this. Until John Hughes came along, no one made movies for teens. And certainly not movies about contemporary teenagers specifically for teenagers. I can only think of George Lucas's American Graffitti, Saturday Night Fever (1977) and of course, Rebel Without a Cause (1955) as two before John Hughes. But Lucas' movie was in 1973 and set in the 50's. So, really only Rebel and Fever. That's a long time before anyone realized that an entire generation existed without a voice in cinema.

There's no one who spent their teenage years in the 80's who could deny the influence of those movies. The Breakfast Club taught us that we're all the same insecure and frightened teenagers under all that bluster and bravado. Ferris Bueller was the smart kid who was cool because he was free of everyone's rules and opinions, and not a typical jock or caricature nerd. Andie making her own prom dress and Duckie in vintage in Pretty in Pink - that is fashion.

And though I hate to admit it, Andie kissing Blane in front of that 3 Series? Made me equate BMWs to girls forever.

Just look at the casting, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Jon Cryer - yeah they were really white and really surburban, but none of them with classic Hollywood-ready looks and all of them had something for each of us to relate to.

We all loved the movies.

And for a generation of moviegoers, one man was largely responsible for making us feel like we were all in it together and perhaps we were not so different after all. And with a little courage and a little luck, we could be who we really were and possibly even succeed in love and life.

Dear Mr. Vernon,

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong, but we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are.

You see us as you want to see us. In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions.

But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain,
and an athlete,
and a basket case,
a princess,
and a criminal.

Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours,

The Breakfast Club.

Lady In Red

Woman 7/21/09

What is it with men and redheads? Men are under the illusion that all redheads are attractive and desirable. Perhaps its because we’ve yet to see an unattractive redhead.

Her hair was slightly more orange than red. Burnt orange might be the more accurate term. And that hair was tied back into a ponytail. With her face devoid of make-up, she reminded me of Molly Ringwald in Fresh Horses. Then again, for men of a certain age, all redheads remind them of Molly Ringwald, just as older men view all redheads as descendants of Ann- Margret.

The curious case of this redhead is the amount of colors on her that matched her hair color. Her scarf was orange. A summer weight scarf with ruffles and tassels and tied in a double loop around her neck. It really made the orange of her hair all the more obvious. And on her feet were orange Wellingtons. They were from Hunter, and had the usual buckles on the outside of the boot, right near the top, which reached to just under her knees.

Was orange possibly also her favorite color?

She was wearing a large oversized grey cardigan. Long enough for one to tell that it reached to about her hips when she was standing up. Under that a faded blue deep v-neck cotton tee. Just about peeking out from under that tee was what seemed to be a collar of an identical v-neck tee in white.

Slung on her shoulders was a black tote bag that had a black umbrella sticking out from one of the corners. It was one of those cheap street vendor umbrellas.

On her lap was her iPhone with a pink silicone cover. And in her hand was a large coffee cup.