Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Wednesday, October 25, 2021

Office hallway chatter is lately becoming a source of blog raw material for me. Here’s a fresh one from mere moments ago:

A guy who usually sports a goatee came into the office today with all his whiskers shaved off. One of his colleagues saw this, blinked, and she said:

Your face is bald.

Interesting choice of descriptor. Technically, it’s correct — when you remove hair from skin, the result is baldness. It’s usually applied just to the top of the head, but why shouldn’t it be appropriate elsewhere?

That said, whenever I shave off my usually-ominpresent goatee — and it’s been a long while now — I’ve always been told my face looks “naked”. I’m guessing that, because my hair is thin on top, people avoid using the “b” word on me (even though I’m not at all sensitive about it; it’s not like I’m not in on the secret, folks).

Probably because of this semantic subtlety, I think I prefer “naked” over “bald”. Also probably because it sounds dirtier.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/25/2006 10:56:35 AM
Category: Fashion, Wordsmithing
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Tuesday, October 24, 2021

what a babeLet me tell you what I love about this cover of the October 2006 French Vogue:

The way the model, Natalia Vodianova, is so blatantly treating the baby she’s holding as a prop. She’s standing akimbo-ish, acting all come-hithery toward the camera, while baby’s presence in the photo is largely incidental. And it’s comically obvious how unlikely it is that Vodianova should be the kid’s real mother, despite (or because of?) how the scene is shot.

I’m sure photographer Mario Testino was going for this imagery. Somehow, the use of a miniature human being as fashion accessory neatly sums up everything you need to know about fashion.

And furthermore, if this shot doesn’t win something in next year’s Magazine Publishers of America cover competition, I’ll be, like, totally bummed out.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/24/2006 10:41:17 PM
Category: Fashion, Publishing, Women
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Saturday, October 14, 2021

I’m wearing a sweater that I recently got from The Gap’s collection. It looked good in the store. But now that I’m wearing it, it’s not working out for me. It’s got interlaced, uneven horizontal stripes of brown all over — giving me something of a juvenile look, I think.

I’ll have to straighten out my sense of sweater style soon, because winter tends to barge in suddenly. Just ask Buffalo, which got walloped by an early-year two feet of snow this week. No sign of the white stuff downstate, but it’s definitely chillier than it’s been. Only a matter of time.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/14/2006 02:09:52 PM
Category: Fashion, New Yorkin', Weather
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Friday, October 13, 2021

At The Art of Shaving, you can get all manner of shaving kits. And at select retail locations, you can even get barber spa services, for a reasonable price.

But no butter shave? How could they have missed that whisker-taming technique?

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 10/13/2006 08:46:42 PM
Category: Comedy, Fashion, TV
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Tuesday, October 10, 2021

Leave it to the New York Times to invoke Moe, Larry, and Curly when describing a Fall fashion line. From this week’s T: Style Magazine, Alix Browne’s “Cross Currents: Fashion Does Furniture” (which doesn’t appear to be online):

In the classic Three Stooges escapade “Slippery Silks” (1936), the bungling boys start out as carpenters and wind up couturiers; their Madame de France “dress-er” is part chest of drawers, part frock. But their nyuk-nyuk reasoning that furniture design is no different from fashion design may have been prescient. Hussein Chalayan’s fall line, for example, included coats and dresses with tufting and nailheads like a chesterfield sofa’s, while the Bertram Armchair, designed by David Grocott for Anthropologie, is upholstered in a patchwork of vintage men’s coats.

Incidentally, “Slippery Silks” is noteworthy for being the very first Stooges short to feature one of what would become their signature cream-pie-in-the-face fights. So by extension, we can look forward to future culinary reviews citing the old poke-in-the-eye routine.

UPDATE: Looks like someone unleashed a Three Stooges meme upon the Times’ fashion desk. In the very same issue of T: Style, S.S. Fair conjures up the trio in her “Samurai Sipper” column when describing the scourge of wine lifestyle labels.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/10/2021 10:46:53 PM
Category: Comedy, Fashion, Movies
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Thursday, September 21, 2021

Today, I was wearing a blue tie that has a blue-dotted pattern on it. I got a compliment on it, although the complimenter said that it gave her a slightly hypnotic sensation if she looked at it for more than a few seconds.

I was amused by this, not the least because I had been considering how little I cared for this tie, even though it was relatively new.

And then I thought: Hey, wouldn’t a hypnotism-inducing necktie be a most marketable product? Aside from the potential for malevolence, think of all those schmucks who’d buy up these ties in the belief that it would help them pick up chicks. It’d be like printing money!

Before I filed for a patent, I found that I had been beaten to the punch. Not in stores yet, but you know it’s only a matter of time.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/21/2006 11:48:01 PM
Category: Comedy, Fashion
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Friday, September 08, 2021

There’s a near-animalistic buzz in the air as Fashion Week descends upon New York, starting today.

And how am I contributing? Well, aside from wearing a black/grey/blue Calvin Klein tie that I’m rather fond of, not much. At least not in a sartorial sense. Hey, I know my limitations, and color-coordinating my wardrobe is one of them.

But I’m doing my part the best way I know how: Chillin’ in Bryant Park, floating in and out of the big tent holding all the runway action, and watching plenty of people who know how to dress and move better than me do just that. (Don’t ask how I snagged an event pass — it’s the ends, not the means, that matter tonight.)

I’m getting a nice eyeful every few minutes. It’s not constant — the archetypical fashion model, and those who wanna be, often lack some of the feminine physical aspects that I happen to prize. (Take a wild guess.) But it’s all about volume here right now, and inevitably, one will strut by that cannot help but capture my attention, if even for a few seconds. I may not know fashion… But I know what I like.

Anyway, I’ve got to stick to my drink quota. And this free Park wi-fi, while much appreciated, is a little patchy during a semi-hectic event like this (”semi-” because it’s relatively easygoing outside the tent, where I am now; a weird dichotomy, like a partial oasis). And whoever I borrowed this computer from is probably looking for it right now. Back to the buzz.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 09/08/2021 08:23:16 PM
Category: Fashion, New Yorkin', Wi-Fi
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Wednesday, September 06, 2021

So how long have Target patrons jokingly been referring to their favorite big-box store as “tar-zhay”?

Don’t ask me. Hailing from the Northeast, I never even heard of Target until I got to college. But the first time I did, some little Minnesota-bred pixie readily conjured up that faux-French pronounciation when she described it to me. Must have something to do with that quirky Midwestern sense of humor.

So it’s only right that, in promoting its partnership with French designer Sophie Albou to create the Go International clothing line, the corporate parent of the bullseye shop has finally embraced that term of affection. Television spots featuring Albou sign off with her uttering “Parlez-vous Target”, with the “zhay” emphasized. It’s a cute and memorable way to acknowledge the love.

Since Target is extending its funky fashion cache throughout its inventory, I’m guessing we’ll be seeing more marketing-message expressions of Parisian-via-Minneapolis chic in their advertising.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/06/2021 11:27:10 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Fashion
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So why are blue jeans made of something called “denim”? Ita Aber illuminates in a letter to the NYT Sunday Book Review:

History tells us that Mr. and Mrs. Levi Strauss spent their summers in Provence, France — specifically at Nîmes, where the heavy blue fabric was made. Because the dye was famous and was found nowhere else, the French called it “bleu de Nîmes.” Strauss anglicized the name to “blue denim.” The rest is history.

And the dictionary confirms the Nîmes connection.

If this somehow becomes common knowledge, I guess the inevitable next round of French-bashing will result in some idiot marketing “freedom jeans”…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/06/2021 12:23:05 PM
Category: Fashion, Wordsmithing
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Tuesday, August 15, 2021

So, over the past couple of days, I managed to forget to zip up my pants zipper while roaming around in public. Hey, it happens.

But why does it happen? It’s not like the zipper is a complex mechanism — pull up, pull down. You wouldn’t think it’d be hard to remember it in your clothing sequence.

Yet I do. And so do countless others, every day. You’d think that by now, clothing technology would have trumped what’s been a persistent source of fashion faux-pas. If there’s no solution, then I propose abolishing the thing altogether; come up with some velcro fastener, or a different pant structure, or something. If they devoted so much effort toward tagless t-shirts, then this zipper scourge is deserving of outside-the-box study as well.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/15/2006 08:17:18 AM
Category: Fashion, Society
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Thursday, July 27, 2021

popstatted neckwearIt’s come to this.

A couple of days ago, I stopped by Brooks Brothers to pick up a couple of ties. In particular, I was in need of a green tie, as my wardrobe was lacking one. Since green’s my favorite color, it was a glaring omission for me.

I found the tie with the green pattern pictured here. As soon as I saw it, I liked it. Maybe it was the two-thirds shade of green to the one-third purple ratio; maybe it was the grid-like squares.

Anyway, I wore it today for the first time. And in an idle moment, I stared at the tie; then I stared up at my computer monitor, which happened to be displaying this very blog.

And it hit me: The tie pattern, with the green square-within-square motif, is very reminiscent of the header image on this very page.

So I guess I know why the tie grabbed me so suddenly in the store. Yes, without realizing it, my blog design informed my clothing purchase. I bought what was, in effect, a Population Statistic tie, the purple specks notwithstanding.

It’s probably a bad sign when your blog’s graphic design influences what you wear. On the bright side, I guess I have the beginnings of a CafePress inventory for this blog.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 07/27/2006 11:29:01 PM
Category: Bloggin', Fashion
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Monday, June 19, 2021

hot and now
Maybe I’m simply reading too much into these things.

But when I saw this window display for a West 57th Street Gap, boldly displaying that “White Hot. White Now.” tagline, the first thing I thought was, “None of the mannequins are wearing white.” Weird.

After that, I was instantly reminded of last month’s Kenneth Cole “Change Is Good As Long As It’s Going In The White Direction” curiosity:
kenny's direction
So, that crackpot musing about a white supremacist meme running through New York fashion outlets, brazenly being relayed through store windows? I ain’t saying it’s true. I ain’t saying it ain’t, either.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/19/2006 11:32:46 PM
Category: Comedy, Fashion, New Yorkin'
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Saturday, June 10, 2021

nothing left to chanceThere he was, walking directly in front of me. Giving me — and the world — a clear sartorial view of his ultra-risk-averse psyche.

But that’s just one of the many fashion/utilitarian assessments you can make about pairing a belt with suspenders.

The gentleman in this photo was a white-haired old geezer. I can only guess at how long he’s been sporting his look, with or without the plaid shirt.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/10/2021 05:31:26 PM
Category: Fashion
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Wednesday, May 10, 2021

hey whitey
There are two ways to interpret this window display from the Kenneth Cole store on 5th Avenue, which I couldn’t help but photograph today:

- Mr. Cole is puckishly using his notable-quotable marketing gimmick (which has been liberally applied in the company’s advertising for years now) as a way to push the new line of just-for-summer white wardrobe.

- The “Change Is Good As Long As It’s Going In The White Direction” slogan is a veiled message meant to encourage a white supremacist agenda.

Racist conspiracy via fashion? Hey, it’s worthy of a Gawker-like gossip nugget.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/10/2021 10:17:57 PM
Category: Business, Fashion, New Yorkin'
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Sunday, May 07, 2021

clay bouquetI spent the better part of yesterday afternoon with a 4-year-old girl attached to my leg.

Calm down. The frenetic little twerp in question was my god-niece (if such a term applies to the offspring of one’s god-sister), Jamie. Since I relocated back to New York, she’s taken a shine to me, perhaps picking up on my innately juvenile nature. So whenever she spots me at some family gathering or visit — in yesterday’s case, a birthday party for a couple of nephews — she figures it’s playtime, and starts climbing all over me.

Even though I make like she’s being a pain (because she mostly is), I actually don’t mind at all. Jamie’s a fun little ball of energy, and perfectly enjoyable in small doses. It’s always a breeze when it’s not your kid.

As irresistible as I am to the female pre-K set, just think how much more appealing I’d be if I doused myself with the limited-edition Play-Doh fragrance, devised as part of the celebration of the product’s 50th anniversary. That haunting scent of play-clay compound… Layer that with a paste-scented deodorant, and little kids will glom onto you like you were the the second coming of Barney!

I can’t decide if this inspiration for a fragrance is more or less ludicrous than, say, a Hummer-derived cologne. Or, for that matter, perfumes named after Antonio Banderas and Donald Trump.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 05/07/2021 10:15:20 PM
Category: Creative, Fashion, Pop Culture
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Sunday, April 30, 2021

Zube Girl’s got a theory about female hair length corresponding to cup size:

Hoot: Well, it seems like girls who can pull off having short hair mostly have big boobs. You know? Like, they can get away with it.

Z-Girl: Huh. Interesting.

Note - Hoot? Has pretty short hair. Mine? Is really long. And she SO obviously inherited her chestal genes from our, uh, Dad’s Mom. While I? So obviously inherited mine? From my, uh, Dad.

This theory definitely doesn’t hold up to observation: You’ll see plenty of women with coiffures that obviously have little or nothing to do with their bra sizes. But for the sake of pondering, it’s an interesting consideration.

Do women use their hair styles as surrogates for their top-heaviness (or lack thereof)? It’s like fashion camouflage: Divert attention to whichever area is more fully-formed.

I guess it’s easier, and cheaper, to grow out the folicles than it is to get implants. And it’s certainly preferable to going the J.Lo route and pumping up the ass.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/30/2006 10:34:11 AM
Category: Fashion, Women
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Thursday, April 13, 2021

target practice
I’ve already made note of this, but I still can’t get over it: Everywhere I look in the Big Apple, I keep seeing people dressed in The North Face duds.

With winter finally departing, I’m guessing I won’t see quite as much of this mostly-winterwear in the months to come. But at this point, even an occasional sighting will be enough to rivet my attention, and there’s always someone on the street who’ll wear a snowcap year-round.

Rather than puzzle over this further, I’m considering making a sport of all my North Face sightings. Whenever I spot someone displaying the label, I’ll walk right up to them, point out their garb, and then hand them one of my blog business cards as a sort of prize. The catch: I’ll jot down a link to my previous North Face post, in the hopes that these folks will log in and leave a comment or two about the subject.

Hey, it’s as good a way as any to burn off the few remaining cards I’ve got. I’d have to devise a way to shorten that post permalink to something managable; I’m sure there’s a plugin or script that would allow me to redirect from something like “populationstatistic.com/northface” (useful for promotional purposes).

I’ll have to noodle with this.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 04/13/2006 11:35:43 PM
Category: Fashion, New Yorkin'
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Sunday, April 09, 2021

Being a breast man seems to be getting harder and harder. After having weathered the J.Lo ass-tastic phenomenon, I now have to endure the latest feminine bodwatch fetish: The exposed hipbone.

Normally I’d discount this as an isolated Fashion Avenue fad, but consider: Both Esquire Magazine and the Daily News have weighed in on hips as the chic erogenous zone. Plus, Shakira contributes from the pop musical end with her “Hips Don’t Lie” single. This meme is catching fire.

I’ll refrain from pointing out the lack of top-heaviness among the sexy-hip archetypes. It makes perfect sense, obviously.

Maybe I can cultivate a visual interest in the sub-waist region. But, since my gaze usually starts at the eyes and ends at the chest…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 04/09/2021 11:12:20 PM
Category: Fashion, Women
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Saturday, March 25, 2021

face up
Okay, New York, tell me: What’s the deal with everyone wearing The North Face winterwear?

I’m seeing people with these jackets, hoods, etc. on just about every Manhattan corner. The picture here of someone’s back was taken on the subway yesterday, and it was probably the 20th time that day I’d come across the logo. And it’s not just in the city — I see North Face gear all over upstate too.

There’s nothing particularly distinguishable about the clothes that I can see, aside from the logo/label and its typical placement on the shoulder. That’s not necessarily a good thing. I wasn’t terribly familiar with the company and its origin story, even though I’m sure I’d seen it in the past. To me, the typeface and 70s-ish pattern suggests to me the logo of a bank; and with so many people donning the clothes, I wondered if they weren’t all corporate giveaway items.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 03/25/2006 07:02:32 PM
Category: Fashion, New Yorkin'
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Sunday, February 26, 2021

Well, since it’s the New York Times asking, in that verbatim headline, I’ll tell it:

Banana Republic boxer shorts. Yes, without exception. I settled upon them years ago. When you find boxers that have just the right fit in every which way, you don’t stray.

I am, of course, conveniently ignoring that the NYT was referring to Calvin Klein creative chief Francisco Costa and his three-year reign at the design house. I so seldomly my name in a newspaper hed, I’ll take any excuse to riff on it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/26/2006 10:37:05 PM
Category: Fashion
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Sunday, January 15, 2021

Catherine Durkin Robinson is aghast after a professional bra-fitting upgrades her from her familiar 34C to a pornstar-ish 32DD.

Cheer up, Catherine! Budding actor/model Diora Baird also happens to be a 32DD, and she’s embraced her natural assets:

“It wasn’t until in the last year and a half that I started making fun of myself and the fact that I have big boobs,” she confided. “I never really was comfortable with my large breasts. And I went to the plastic surgeon, and almost got a breast reduction. I didn’t do it, thankfully.”

By the way, she stressed, they’re 100% real.

Yes, I am writing this while watching Wedding Crashers, in which Baird had a brief but career-boosting appearance (thanks in no small part to the prominent displaying of her breasts). And yes, I did mentally file away Baird’s bra size long ago, and was reminded of it while reading Catherine’s essay.

I guess I have cup sizes on the brain. I was with a girl last night who showed off a blue-and-purple Victoria’s Secret bra she was snagging on eBay. Size: 36B.

UPDATE, 1/17/2006: Y’know, I knew there was something familiar about that name. Turns out Catherine is a contributor to Sticks of Fire, where she has a laugh about being featured on the front page of the Times’ Floridian section. She also points to her own teaser, as well as her original blog version of the essay.

I neglected to emphasize how this story reveals the power of labels. Consider: Kate had peace of mind assuming she was a “normal” 34C. When she found out her real size, images of pornstars and streetwalkers sprung to mind, despite her physical shape not changing at all. That double-D might as well have been a scarlet letter — a pair (ahem) of them.

Clothes have that power over most of us. It’s the same reason people cling to their teenage-era jean size several years after quarter- and mid-life spread sets in. It’s the fashion-meets-numerology dynamic; I guess it applies to cup sizes too.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/15/2006 10:30:37 PM
Category: Celebrity, Fashion, Women
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