Friday, October 30, 2009

Senior Styles With Sylvia!

Do you have an affair coming up? An event you need to look special for? Let Grandma Sylvia show you how to put together an outfit with a little pizazz on Episode 2 of Senior Styles With Sylvia:

Waka waka waka! Happy Halloween from I Want To Wear It.!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

You Can't Make This Stuff Up.

Click the map above for a visual guide to the circus that is Union Square.

There is nothing like New York City. Nothing at all. The mere cavalcade of people, cars, and things rushing by you at any second on any corner of any block provides enough visual/mental stimulation to last the average person a few lifetimes. One of the things I love most dearly about this behemoth of a city is the people watching it provides. As a fashion-o-phile I quite enjoy the endless stream of stylish trendsetters on display. But, as a sociology geek I much prefer sighting the strange, wonderful, and often slightly disturbing not-so-normal people among us. You know what I'm talking about, right? The guy who walks by every lunch time with a cat on his head? The woman who has one giant dreadlock (shudder, shudder, gag, gag) and pushes a shopping cart through the Herald Square area every morning? The couple who dresses in head-to-toe white for daily afternoon strolls around the West Village? They are the extra spice of life in this already feisty concoction of a city. They are the wacko (I say that with complete and utter affection) regulars who you are at first scared of, but then find somewhat comforting and endearing in their predictable strangeness. To a guy known as Normal Bob Smith, they are the subjects of his taxonomy of Union Square. They are his Amazing Strangers.

That's Wendel the Garbage Man. He collects bags, paper, and well, garbage and makes outfits out of it. He also wants you to pay to take his photo and will get mad if you don't.

This is the sassiest diva of a Park folk I have ever witnessed. He is all stomp and sashay. Do not get between him and his coffee as I once did. There are no words.

The endless subcultures on display include ravers, club kids, goths, pimps, and "gravers" (goth ravers).

Just watching the tourists take it all in is entertainment enough!

? Just watch.

Normal Bob Smith has quirks of his own, he can be a bit scathing in his captions on his site, but I forgive him because his goal is to make the fascinating Union Square regulars into known characters. He's come up with a fair amount of categories in his catalog of the folks. He's got the scenesters, the junkies, the fundies, the peepers (beware ladies sitting on the steps!!!! These creeps are checking out your undies!!!), the conspiracy nuts, the free huggers, the skaters, and even a dog molester who he's caught in the act. He's documented this carnival of characters in photos and videos. I was astounded to find this site and see just how many regulars I recognized from my time spent in Union Square Park. He's got the rrrrrrripped guy who looks like a plastic heman doll, the guy who makes hats out of toilet paper and plastic bags, the Quater Guy who aggressively panhandles only quarters, and on and on. It's amazing.

Holy Moses. When I first saw this guy, dubbed "Junky the Barbarian" by Normal Bob, my jaw had no gravity for like three whole minutes.

Do NOT hug the Free Hugs people! According to Normal Bob they are responsible for the spread of an outbreak of bed bugs!!!! Ew.

Just your average pimped out lowrider cycle. Amazing.

I really want to know what these two do for a living.

What? You don't wear your cat on your head?

There is a level of pure awe that I have for these people, especially the ones who construct and rock elaborate get-ups. I had a bit of a moral dilemma when composing this post, wondering if I was contributing to intolerance, or making fun of people who may be even more "special" than I find them, but in the end, I'm impressed. I'm impressed with the dedication to an aesthetic that they have with their quite possibly limited resources. I'm impressed with their freedom of expression, with thier dance moves, their hairstyles, their performances (except you, you peepers and dog molester!!! For shame!). What would NYC be without its population of Amazing Strangers? Certainly not the place I know and love.

These girls have moves! All I really have to say is:

All photos and videos from Amazing Strangers by Normal Bob Smith.


I was waiting for a friend near Wall Street the other day and I saw a guy (hip, late twenties, skinny) with a double C Chanel logo tattooed on his hand. Now, I'm gearing up to start a photography project where I take more photos of people, and I thought you guys might like to see his fashion devotee perma-stamp, so I politely asked him if I could take a pic of his couture ink. He looked at me and said, "No. I can't do that. It's private." Now, I'm all good when it comes to respecting the wishes of possible subjects for my photographs (I've learned my lesson), but I couldn't for the life of me understand how an inch x inch Chanel logo tattooed and on clear display on the upside of this guy's hand was "private". I walked away determined to investigate the matter. Is a Chanel tattoo the mark of some kind of underground cult? A political statement so radical that it could get this man deported if his hand were ever identified by a peruser of my blog? So far I haven't found any good evidence for a Chanel cult, outside of the cult of advertising. But, if the guy is in some radical underground fashion logo movement, then he's got company. I cannot believe how many CC tattoos there are on the Internets.

Now, we actually may be able to blame the house of Chanel and Kaiser Karl himself for this trend taking off. A recent ad campaign for the brand's eyeglass collection prominently featured a model decked in nothing but specs and a CC tat. And, this season's runway show saw models sporting logo and chain tattoos. The difference? Those are FAKE! Probably a good idea.

The eyewear ads.

Models at the SS2010 Chanel show sported RUB ON logo tattoos. Probably a smarter idea than those permanent ones...

Karl, your power over the masses is quite something.

All photos found in a Google Image search for Chanel tattoos.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Smarter Than Your Average Shirt.

Here's a look at what people with really high IQs are coming up with for you to wear. Somehow this man has pioneered a process where you can seamlessly weave electrical wires and sensors into articles of clothing to read peoples' vital signs, a technology that will literally save future lives.

And what did you do this fall? Knit a sweater? Good for you. Really, good for you. :)

Cheap Thrill: Plane Earrings

This is the time of year that I get that itch to travel. I have no current plans to do so, and would need corporate sponsorship per mile to go anywhere outside of the five boroughs or Jersey. So, instead of hopping on a plane, I'm gonna let my ears take flight and pick 'em up a pair of jet earrings from Fabuluster's Etsy Shop. It's the little things sometimes.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Make Noise.

The Native American culture is a wealth of gorgeous clothing, costumes, and traditions. I aspire to know more and more about it and pass whatever I find on to you, dear readers. Your first taste is an introduction to the Jingle Dress.

Traditional Jingle Dresses were made of solid fabrics in "healthy colors" like red, green, yellow, black, and blue, and were adorned with jingles--metal cones fabricated of the tops of tin containers. According to legend the dresses were dreamed up by a medicine man who's granddaughter was ill. After a recurring dream in which he envisioned four women dancing in a snake like pattern in dresses that made noise, he instructed his wife to make four dresses and teach three other women to do the dance he had seen while asleep. Upon witnessing the jingle performance, the man's daughter regained her strength and soon began to dance as well. Thus the dresses are worn in dances of healing. The musicality of the dresses, and the stomping rhythms of the dances are soothing, energizing, and hypnotic.

Here, watch this and be healed:

The audio of the jingles is a bit better in this clip:

I don't know about you, but I feel better already.

Colored Water And Cut Paper.

Stina Persson is a Swedish fashion illustrator who makes images of clothing, makeup, and accessories with sloshy blotches of watercolor, skinny strips of cut paper, and tissue thin sheets of transparent gift wrap.

Her work is available to buy here, and can be seen in the Fashion Illustration Now volumes.

All I Want For Christmas Is This.

Is it too early to start asking Santa Claus for gifts? I've been naughty and nice this year, so I think I deserve a little sumptin' sumptin. I want to give him enough time to save up his pennies to splurge on this Solve Sundsbo bag for me, or at least to get the elves to knock it off properly.

How hot is that big hunk of photo-realist love in the shape of a bag? I love it.

Click the image to get more information.

Twkinkle, Twinkle Litte Stars.

When I was a kid my parents set jewelry in our apartment. My dad's uncle is a jeweler and my parents were kind of like his worker elves. They had work benches in their bedroom outfitted with high powered lights, drills that were operated by foot pedals and sounded like a dentist's office, and little wooden trays that held what looked like millions of sparkling diamonds. They would lick the top of a metal hand tool and get a diamond to stick to its edge. Then, they would force it into the tiny, tiny golden prongs of earring posts and drill and hammer them into place until they were secure and matched their pair. I would often sit in their room as they worked and look in awe at their tools, their little piles of diamonds, their magnifying glasses that had flip lenses like Dwayne Wayne's. The whole process fascinated me. They did the side work less and less as I got older, and sometimes I forget how much a part of my childhood the jewelry drills were, but when my friend Rahul passed along this slide show from The Wall Street Journal of the Tiffany & Co. Laurelton Diamonds facility in Antwerp, Belgium so many memories came rushing back.

My parents had the same magnifying glasses as this man has hanging around his neck.

Rough cut stones ready to be drilled.

A stone being examined under a high powered microscope.

So many workers, so much light.

Examining a diamond for flaws.

A backlit stone.

This is almost exactly what my parents' benches looked like.

Granted, no high powered electric microscopes were involved in my parents' home operation, but the fascination of watching diamonds go from rough stone to twinkling manifestations of love and devotion is still something to see. I think I have a more realistic attitude towards diamond jewelry and an even more nostalgic attachment to it than most. It's so amazing to me that a stone, mined from the earth could universally captivate so many. It must be something in the reflection of the light, right? Something like that.

To see the whole slide show, with captions and all, follow this link.