Saturday, 25 June 2011

Fashion Faux PaNTs

I’ve had this blog idea that I can’t get out of my head, it fits nowhere except in the section of my brain folder titled ‘humurous but pointless’. The ‘humurous but pointless’ folder keeps rattling it’s manila pages (not unlike a possessed magical text book from Harry Potter)…and I keep ignoring it as I like to focus on things that are positive and inspirational, more about ‘what I think is good/cool/fun/awesome/rad/inspirational’ however I can't bare the rattling any longer, so here is a rare post on what NOT to do…with special attention on the bificated garment we call pants!

Me and my group of gal pals love our fashion banter, we often jest at the style trends that sweep our towns, we have a few pet peeves and some very serious ‘no go’ areas, but mainly we’re free in our individual styles and appreciate every kind of personal fashion flourish, imagine less ‘Gossip Girl’ bitchiness and more ‘Vogue Forum’ healthy discussion.
One of these gal pals completed her PHD in ‘Cool’ (it’s much more academic and technical than that but I am a simple creature) and sadly (for us) was offered a position in sunny Brisbane. OH the fashion horrors she reported back to the mother ship…so this post is dedicated to her:

A brief history of the Pant – Shannon O’Shea style:
In ye olde times lets just say the 1300’s to the 1700’s men wore skirts and stuff:

Later in the 1800’s when things got a bit fancier men wore breeches and long stockings. (who doesn’t love Colin!)

However our ever fashionable (and inspiration for Coco Chanel) were our fabulous Sailors who had been wearing the looser fit work trousers since the 1580s, (see Melbourne Designer ‘Queen’ for the best modern day Sailor pant for gals).

In 1800-ish a pasty English fellow was in Punjab, India and as he was far too pasty for the heat, he borrowed some Indian pants and coloured them using mazari, a native plant and gave birth to the Khaki. See lovely Victoria rockin' it with heels:

Chinos were military issue pants which were originally Chinese made. When soldiers returned from WWII they continued to wear their military chinos, especially to college – and here is a fine example, the pants are kinda hard to see, but clearly that’s not the point to this one…woof.

Also in the 70’s Barry Manilow wore them with his copacabana frilly shirt:
In the 1860's knee pants were popular for hunting and golf. 
Golf inspired fashion has made a come-back with some style trends based on Golf Chic, Golf Punk, Preppy Hip Hop fashion etc, see Pharrell rockin' this the best:  
Frequent photographs from the 1930s of actresses Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn in trousers helped make trousers acceptable for women.

The Zoot Suit was highly popular in 1930's...

This could easily have been the style reference for the 80’s hit pant trend – the infamous 'Hammer pants': 

Which should never be repeated - Don’t think I’m not looking at you ‘harem’ or ‘ninja’ pants…(guilty...I own  harem pants, but for house schlepping only) the low crotch is strictly for the Japanese kids I don't care how much you think you can pull it off, you can't: 

Pierre Cardin popularized bell bottoms in the 60's but if you’re anyone but Abba – you really shouldn’t:

Jeans were around from the 20’s but went mental after James Dean appeared wearing jeans in the 1955 movie "Rebel Without a Cause":

Let me be very clear here, friends don't let friends – wear WHITE DENIM!!! (actually all white pants are pretty iffy) Unless you’re Cameron Diaz, you really shouldn’t.

Not to be confused with the glorious Janelle Monae slammin' it home in a white tuxedo...this is the exception to the 'no white pants' rule: 

The 70’s saw some experimental 'Ziggy Assymetrical Printed Onesie' action…if you try this, you're off your meds:

Also in the 70’s we saw our first 'Cut off jean shorts' with cheeky cheeks - unless you are a 'bum model' you shouldn't go near these: 

Our recent re-emergence with the added feature of 'pockets exposed' is still no exception, again if you get paid to be a movie 'bum double' then that is the only reason to go for it:

In the glorious 80’s  and 90’s (I was mental for this) pleather and/or lame fabrics: If you can high scissor kick like David Lee Roth or are as rich as Britney, only then should you rock the camel toe emphasising fabric:

Kelly Kapowski is the only individual who should wear a pair of femmy floral pants: This 2010 re-emergence was utterly woeful: 

In 1992 the baggy/saggy jeans look gained popularity in the rap and Hip Hop scene, inspired by beltless prison jeans and the look of prisoners who loose weight in the "big house", a few redneck states in the U.S tried to ban/fine/outlaw this look but was found to be racist:

90’s Raver scene – so horrific - if you’re not Japanese you shouldn’t…

Adidas - Do I have to tell you that shiny trackies are not acceptable outerwear?…some drug dealers still think it’s o.k, but unless you’re Sue Sylvester you shouldn’t:

Todays evils are so horrendous I'm covering my eyes as I post this – someone sold their soul for this fad – JEGGINGS ARE A NO NO! (not to be confused with super fitting denim jeans, these babies are lycra and foul)

We could take gagas advice and just go pantsless..but she has seriously good legs so unless you're a super star or bat-shit crazy, or both, you shouldn't: 

Our pants guidelines aren't restricted to the lower echelons of social demographic, it also applies to high fashion: for example Chanel's winter collection was clearly for those who have too much cash and not enough sense, fur pants are a NO NO:

Someone once told me when it comes to fashion - Just because you can, doesn't mean you should! 

I am currently illustrating a tea-towel inspired by this post, so that'll be up shortly. 


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Fringe vs Bangs – aka ‘the big bang theory’

There are a few hilarious terminology differences between America and England that us Aussies are exposed to. We usually default to the mother country version of things but as we are well travelled and are a destination for our American cousins we are often exposed to all sorts of fun word variations. 

One example of this is when you hit a ‘petrol station’ in England you are asked to open your bonnet to check the oil and the boot to check the spare tyre…in America you would pull up to a ‘Gas Station’ and be asked to lift your ‘hood or trunk’…these ‘lost in translation’ moments are part of what makes travelling fun, except when you are left completely stumped when someone compliments you on your ‘Bangs’ in New York…this happened to my dear friend and has since been a topic of interest for us.

‘Bangs’ are of course the Americanised hairstyle term for what we know as the ‘Fringe’. 
Being a Melbourne girl where Fringes are VERY prominent I decided that the term ‘Fringe’ is quite practical, as hair cut this way is rather ‘fringey’ like a rug or those dangly leather fringey bits on a country singers jacket. But to be sure, I looked up some etymology sites and found that the American term for ‘Bangs’ comes from hair cut bang-off (straight across at the front). I’ve also read that it is probably related to a bang-tail, a term still used for cutting horses' tails straight across. 
So I can now make an educated decision on what term to use and as I don't want my forehead to be compared to a horses arse, I’ll stick with ‘Fringe’.

The Fringe has been a staple hair favourite over the decades and gone through many face-lifts, a true Melbourne girl is often spotted with her blunt fringe, tattoos and confident attitude, mostly raven haired but sometimes dyed red. The Melbourne ‘look’ loves the diversity of the ‘Fringe’ and the pop-cultural references it conjures…here are some types of fringes that define the style into sub-categories:
Straight fringe: A fringe combed straight down with no interference - See Lily Allen

Blunt fringe: A fringe cut straight across the forehead in a blunt manner. See popular
Melbourne girls – Chelsea Wheatley and classic fixed gear riding, tattoo and specs donning
Melby gal: 

Side swept fringe: Hair cut longer than a normal fringe and swept across one side of the face - 

Pin-up bangs: The bangs are cut in a short "U" shape above the brows, which was made
famous by Bettie Page and is now worn by many pin-up girls. My favourite is Traci Lords in
John Waters film Cry Baby totally rocking this look: 

Messy fringe: A tossled fringe like Michelle Pfeiffers in Grease 2 - 

Power-fringe: Sometimes referred to as power bangs in the U.S. The fringe is unusually large
and protrudes from the top of the scalp near the forehead to up to great lengths is a bit of a
FAIL - See Fergie

Shaved fringe: The hair that frames a fringe is shaved so the fringe is very prominent – see
adorable Ri-Ri

Forehead covering fringe  - Tyra rocks it: 

Fringe Fail = Donald trump

Some gals bond over their love for Fringes – here is a pic of me and my best gal, with our Fringes! We both had this style before we met some years ago and since then when we’re out, we’re often mistaken as sisters…

Another pair of Dopple-fringies are Zooey and Katie - who can tell them apart?

Fringe’s have a fantastic style history and would make an excellent coffee table book *hint for anyone who has any contacts at Taschen… Here are my favourites:

Silent movie actress Louise Brooks – who is a constant source of inspiration with her 20’s look and strong attitude:

1950s actress Elizabeth Taylor in the role of Cleopatra.
This look inspired generations of gals to chop their locks and rock the Fringe!

In the 1980s and early 1990s, poofy, curly, teased fringes. EWWW….

In 1990 we had John Waters movie Cry Baby rock some hottie boy fringe action: 
See - Johnny Deep 

In 2007 – Current day, the fringe saw another massive revival as a hair trend. See - Kate Moss

My fringe bestie and I so adore the fringey attitude of Melbourne culture and also love how the term 'Fringe' has a dual meaning, so we developed an adorable accessories line which we named ‘Fringe Club’ due to our devotion to the concept…however just to make things easy for me, the label has it’s own blog (coming soon) and I will keep all that label talk there…but as a sneak preview here is some mock-ups of our logo I’ve been working on:

If this has inspired you to Fringe up I would love an email of a before and after pic!