Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Monday, August 01, 2021

poppin' fresh
We’ve all seen it: Women walking around in hip-hugger pants, determined to show off that midriff… But exposing generous amounts of flabby gut and love-handle flesh instead.

There is a name for this unsightliness: Muffin top. And the problem is on display everywhere, even on the entertainment beat:

Christina Aguilera is a reformed muffin topper, often spotted onstage during her wild-child period in a pair of badly fitting pants accessorized with an ample tummy roll. Kelly Clarkson is also a repeat offender. “Especially when Kelly first won ‘American Idol,’ the muffin top was the one thing that was common in everything she wore - nothing fit right.” And her tummy can still be seen rising over the pants she’s poured herself into on tour this month…

But those who follow every fashion rule and still suffer from a little tummy crust needn’t worry - it does have one tasty benefit, according to [Shop Etc’s fashion editor Kate] Dimmock. “Men seem to like it,” she says. “My husband likes to grab my muffin top and give it a little squeeze.”

Well, not all men like it… A little over-the-top is okay, especially if it really is solely the result of too-tight low-riders or tops. But when it’s obviously rolls of fat, it’s time to pull the plug

And personally, I’ve seen extreme cases where so much overhang occurs that “muffin top” doesn’t do it justice. It’s more like “kangaroo pouch”…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/01/2021 09:21:48 PM
Category: Fashion, Women
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If everyone’s so hell-bent on advancing podcasting — in spite of my objections — then they should at least do it right. “Voice styling” lessons can turn the mumbliest mofo into a vocalizing powerhouse.

Vanity plays a big part in vocal-sculpting, but it’s got practical applications, too:

With so much of our lives these days conducted on the phone, vocal quality is gaining attention as a factor in making friends and influencing people. “More and more of my work is done in conference calls,” said Grace Vandecruze, 37, an investment banker in New York who has worked with Lucille S. Rubin, a veteran voice coach. “The depth of your knowledge and the impact of your voice - the two are equally important.”

Voice quality matters in face-to-face meetings, too. “Studies show that in hiring situations, two things play a big role in who gets hired: what someone looks like and the sound of their voice,” Dr. Murry said.

If it’s valuable in business, it’s valuable everywhere. Like I’ve said, the worst thing about podcasting is the incomprehensibility of the average person’s speech patterns. If they’re serious about spewing their stuff in audio form, they should counteract the inherent laziness in the approach by ensuring that their voice is as clear and distinct as possible.

I wouldn’t mind getting a consultation from a vocal coach. I know I can improve my everyday speech usage, particularly for personal interaction. And I encounter people every day who certainly can use the tune-up.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/01/2021 08:30:21 PM
Category: Bloggin', Fashion
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Monday, July 25, 2021

It took until the mid-point of this decade, but it seems like ’80s nostalgia is making its predicted onset. Well in advance of Smurfs and Transformers movies, kewpie-doll Brittany Murphy is going to help bring back Jordache jeans.

Shot by photographer Patrick Demarchelier, the print ad features a brunette Murphy wearing a cream knit top and a pair of the dark Jordache Vintage jeans while lying bareback on horse, the label’s iconic symbol. The ad will begin running in national publications in September, running through the holiday season.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: You can’t believe fashion refugee Jordache is actually still around, a quarter-century after its apex.

I think I may have owned a pair or two of Jordaches, back in the day; peer pressure was a bitch in junior high. I think I delighted in calling them “Jord-ass”, the look you don’t want to know better.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 07/25/2005 08:52:13 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Fashion, Movies
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Monday, July 11, 2021

Some casual surfing today brought me to Blue Hair Dye. It’s as mundane as a blog can get: One girl’s attempt at tinging her hair blue. (Don’t let the dog’s narrative throw you.)

The subject brought to mind my own long-ago haircoloring exploits, back in high school. I’ll more-or-less repeat what I commented on the aforementioned blog:

I’ve never actually dyed my hair. However, in high school (edging onto 20 years ago), I occasionally would color my hair punk-style red with some sort of spray-on stuff, so it wouldn’t be unusual for people to see me with some funky coloration on my head.

The thing was, my natural color was deep, deep black. So black that, if the light was hitting me just right (usually from behind), my hair would get this bluish tinge to it. Some, like The Jades, might even call it “Blue Black Hair”. People would see that, and assume I was coloring my hair again — only this time, blue!

Ah, what a cheeky little monkey I was… Fact is, my hair is still pretty damned black, even with more and more grey starting to emerge. Maybe I should start looking into that blue dye…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 07/11/2021 10:12:04 PM
Category: Fashion
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Monday, June 06, 2021

How did the once-lowly flip-flop sandal ascend the fashion ladder? On a faulty premise:

The evolution of flip-flops from geek to chic can be traced to open-toed shoes that prodded women to abandon pantyhose, coinciding with a surge in nail salons and toe rings. Who wants to hide pretty feet? Sections of shoe began disappearing on designers’ drafting boards. Runway models paired the plebian flip-flop with bohemian smocks, then left on the footwear when they donned taffeta for evening. (emphasis mine)

Therein lies the problem: There are really not that many pretty feet out there. In fact, there are far too many downright ugly ones on display, thanks to this open-toed madness. No matter how many $75 pedicures or toerings administered, ugly feet remain ugly feet. The biggest shame of it is, most women are kidding themselves to the contrary (although I suspect that, deep down, they know they’re not pulling it off).

For the record, I eschew sandals of all types myself (not that there’s any other type of exposed men’s footwear, really). And yeah, my feet are pretty butt-ugly too. That’s why I keep them under wraps.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 06/06/2021 06:05:18 PM
Category: Fashion, Women
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Wednesday, May 11, 2021

you wear it well
Pining for the days of NFL coaches who actually look like head coaches, patrolling the sidelines in their no-nonsense business suits and fedoras, ala Tom Landry?

Well, it ain’t gonna happen, and not just because of the predictable league-wide copycat effect from having, arguably, the two worst-dressed coaches of all reaching the Super Bowl this year. Rather, athletic-wear maker Reebok has a multi-million dollar deal to outfit the NFL’s skippers — and since Reebok doesn’t make suits, that means it’s t-shrts and sweats all the way.

How did the shift from three-piece suit to loungewear start in the first place?

According to lore, the tipping point came in 1986, when then-Jets coach Joe Walton came out for a Monday night game against the Dolphins wearing an ugly green sweater with the team’s name emblazoned on the chest. Callers flooded the Jets’ switchboard the next day asking where they could buy one. Now that supply has caught up with demand, both the coaches and the fans in the stands look as though they came to the stadium right after mowing the lawn.

So blame the Jets for the sloppy look. It’s bad enough they inflicted a season of Lou Holtz on the NFL…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/11/2021 03:33:49 PM
Category: Fashion, Football
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Monday, January 24, 2021

As I mentioned earlier today, it’s freakin’ cold around here.

When it gets cold in the Tampa Bay area, Floridians pull out the leather. Everywhere I looked today, people were wearing leather jackets, leather gloves, leather caps, leather boots… Fashionable cowhide seems to be the cold insulator of choice in the Sunshine State.

I’m not sure why leather wins out over heavy fleeces and other traditional winterwear from colder climates. I guess leather is more versatile: You can wear it in just about any kind of weather, whereas wool and such gets pretty unbearable during the usual humid atmosphere around here. But then, since there are so many Northern and Midwestern transplants hereabouts, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t closetfuls of heavy fabrics around, and if they’d ever get pulled out, a day like this would be it.

Aside from shoes and belts, I don’t own any leather clothing anymore. I’ve never thought it was a compatible look for me; I always felt a leather jacket made me look like I was trying too hard.

But if I were to invest in some leather finery, I’d definitely go for the riding jeans.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 01/24/2005 08:17:53 PM
Category: Fashion, Florida Livin', Weather
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Saturday, January 15, 2021

… Apparently. In this land of ever-fattening individuals, which condition necessitated the advent of plus-sized mannequins, I can’t easily find a belt small enough to fit around my rather modest waist.

A little background: I’ve lost a few pounds over the last couple of months. More than a few, actually — at last check, it’s about 25 pounds (and still slowly dropping, although I think I’ve pretty much stabilized). And yes, I did it during the time of year when most people manage to gain ungodly amounts of weight. Hey, I zig while you zag — deal with it.

I don’t feel like going into detail about the “how” right now. In a nutshell, it’s involved a little more exercise and a little less junk food; nothing complicated.

Anyway, as a result, I’ve needed to refresh my wardrobe with clothes that fit better (and I’m overdue for some new threads anyway). Among the first items: A couple of new belts for a 34-inch waist.

Frankly, I don’t consider 34 to be that skinny. Skinny is 31 and under (a territory I once inhabited, several years back). In fact, in my mind, 34 is edging toward chubby-ville, although still average.

But it seems my bar is set far too low for such things. The couple of stores I hit today had belt sizes that pretty much began with 36 as the low end — the low end. That means 34 is now considered skinny in this newly-skewed view. The 31 and under zone? Anorexia, I guess.

There were literally 3 or 4 belts in each place that were 34; I bought one, simply because it was so rare, and it was dirt cheap and actually decent-looking.

Granted, I didn’t do much of a hard-target search. I’ll probably take another stab at it tomorrow, and hit some higher-end shops that are bound to have a wider selection. But still, going through the loads of wide-load belts with the numbers 38, 40, 42 and 44 on them really made me wince. I’m crossing my fingers on finding something tomorrow.

Since this shopping experience demonstrates just how much heftier most Americans are getting, I’m sure this post isn’t eliciting much sympathy. Who wants to hear some schmuck bitch about the problems associated with losing weight, when the average person probably would kill to be in this situation?

But that’s the way I shake, baby. As long as I can keep my pants from falling down, I’ll deal with it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/15/2005 06:49:06 PM
Category: Fashion
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Wednesday, January 05, 2021

the die is cast -- iron
What you see above is a shiny metal shirt button. I’ve got four of them. The question is, what do I do with them?

The buttons come off a Casino Wear pimp-o-tronic club shirt, sort of a guyabera-style piece. I wore it exactly once, for a “pimp and ho” costume party at a friend’s house a couple of years ago. It was a big hit, matching well with my purple-and-leopard-print widebrim hat and walking cane; one guy raved about how he’d wear it for a clubbing night, and a couple of the ladies cozied up to it too. But I never did find another occasion for it, so it’s been mouldering in my closet ever since. (I’ve still got the hat and cane — not ready to ditch those just yet.)

Today, I finally decided to chuck it, just to get it out of my sight. The only thing that kept me from doing so sooner was the buttons. They’re unique. I usually don’t consider such things on a piece of outmoded clothing, but I really liked these little numbers.

But the shirt had to go. So I cut off the buttons and trashed the shirt.

This isn’t normal behavior for me. I’ve got absolutely no sewing/tailoring skills. So I’m wondering what the use is for me to keep these four buttons. Basically, it’s just more junk for me to accumulate.

But what the heck, you never know. And they do look cool. Plus, I’ve found I can spin them for short durations, like mini-tops — now you’re talking fun!

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 01/05/2021 07:40:11 PM
Category: Fashion
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Thursday, December 16, 2021

Last week’s post about the passing of the pantyhose elicited more response than my typical scribbling.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to be so blessed. The St. Pete Times got enough feedback to run a few reader comments, raw and in the buff.

I generally like the “Word For Word” feature the Times occasionally runs. However, I much prefer it when the object of skewering is a corporate press release or some absurd marketing copy — something generally produced by a faceless drone. Using it to showcase reader response strikes me as being a tad mean-spirited (even if the readers likely wouldn’t object). In this particular instance, it also feels like editorial laziness to mask the non-editing of the letters by claiming to want to show them “unblemished” (hopefully, the noticable laxness at tbt* isn’t creeping into the mothership).

That said, some of the items are quite a hoot:

I am a man who pays attention to fashion and will tell you that there is not a single garment that beats the sensual look that pantyhose (or stockings) give. None. Conversely, a cheap, trashy… slut like look is guaranteed with bare legs or spray-on hose. For me, it’s simply repugnant.

“Snorri Gudmundsson”

Bare-legged or spray-on is slutty? News to me.

And “Snorri Gudmundsson”… I’ll have to add that one to my new-name candidates. It’s already taken, but I’m sure there’s room in the world for one more.

You poor soul to think pantyhose should be a thing of the past… Goodluck with your bare legs honey, but I will not take a second look if you stroll by me.

NdnOutlaw

* * *

It’s been a sad time for me having to live with this stupid era of women embracing the “bareleg look.” Do you have any idea how ugly it is to see a women who is superbly dressed in a skirt suit with stilettos and those ugly bare legs? I make it known to the women I date that bare legs are ugly and that they wear nylons when dating me.

“Al Trainer”

Somehow, I feel that the womenfolk in the vicinity of NdnOutlaw and Al Trainer aren’t much sweatin’ what either of them think.

Women’s fashion, is controlled more by the approval of OTHER women then of other men. So women who look down on hosiery disapprovingly are only suppressing other women from wearing something that will INVARIABLEY attract OTHER MEN.

Women who wear hosiery because THEY KNOW that it attracts men, have a competitive evolutionary advantage over women who don’t. So by continuing to engage in a suppressive behavior when it comes to supporting something that CLEARLY attracts other men, those women are only working against themselves.

Those who adapt, survive and move on. Those who don’t… don’t. It’s really all about the Darwin.

Eddie

Wow, I’ve never seen a more succinct illustration of Darwin’s theory of evolution in my life.

Obviously, this is a hot-button topic with both the guys and the gals. I’ll reiterate my original points:

- The word on whether pantyhose are in or out comes from the alleged experts. Neither I nor the Times is declaring it one way or the other; we’re just relaying the info.

- It all comes down to whether or not a woman has the legs to pull off the bare look. If you can see spots, veins and other less-than-appealing markings, then keep those limbs covered. If you’ve got a nice pair, then show them off however you like.

Last note: Since I’m not really a leg man, for me the point is moot. Do what you wanna do.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 12/16/2004 02:36:16 PM
Category: Fashion, Women
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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Who’s olfactory essence would draw more chicks: Donald Trump’s or Antonio Banderas‘?

Thanks to capitalism, I now have a choice.

Spirit Antonio Banderas promises to take “seduction to a whole new level” by exuding the actor’s personality: excitement, passion and strength. The scent features a variety of notes, from citrus and cinnamon bark to amber and vanilla…

For the sweet smell of success, Donald Trump, the Fragrance, is touted as “power in a bottle.” It doesn’t smell like money, but instead blends notes of citrus, mint, cucumber and black basil, supposedly an extraction of The Donald’s personal assets: confidence, success and character. In its soaring, skyscraper-emblazoned bottle, it may be something to, um, get fired up about.

Both stirring. But I’m actually leaning more toward the new John Varvatos.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 12/14/2004 07:50:50 PM
Category: Celebrity, Fashion
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Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Ladies, are you still clinging to those hose? Then you’re officially a fashion casualty, because pantyhose, stockings and the like are out of style, according to those who concern themselves with such matters.

I guess I’ve noticed of late the prevalence of bare legs among the womenfolk. But being in Florida, where the climate makes regular outfitting in hosiery uncomfortable, I figured it was strictly a regional matter. I was unaware that it was so widespread.

As long as you’ve got the leggage to pull it off, rock on. If not, consider sticking to pants and creative cover-ups.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 12/07/2021 07:27:29 PM
Category: Fashion, Women
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Friday, November 19, 2021

support the planet
Behold the Eco-Bra, from women’s clothing maker Triumph International. It’s meant to promote a big lingerie trade show next year in Japan.

So… many… jokes…

- If face-to-face with someone wearing this bra, would it be appropriate to start pointing to all the places in the world I’ve visited (gently, of course)?

- Those leafy straps would be a bitch to conceal, and probably chafe like crazy.

- To keep this astronomically correct, I think different planets should represent different cup sizes: Jupiter for D-cups, Mars for A-cups, etc. (hey, other planets probably need saving too!).

- Matching panties? A Moon motif, maybe?

(Via LinkDump)

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/19/2004 06:58:46 PM
Category: Fashion
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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

the way and the light
What fine, upstanding Christian gal wouldn’t love getting The “What Would Jesus Do?” Thong for a Christmas gift?

Brought to you by Landover Baptist Church, God’s most favoritest church.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 11/17/2004 11:37:10 PM
Category: Comedy, Fashion
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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Over a year ago, I had fun spouting off a bit about women’s obsession with designer shoes.

Sometime after that, I kicked around a comedy concept which put men in the position of being ga-ga over the latest “Manolo Blahniks For Him”. I imagined it as a farce, hopefully insightful. I never spent enough time on it to really develop it.

It might be for the best, because I’m not sure anything I’d have come up with would be funnier than Manolo’s Shoe Blog, where, of course, “Manolo Loves The Shoes!”.

Sure it’s fake. But it’s got to be a better read than Manolo’s real blog.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 11/14/2004 06:58:30 PM
Category: Bloggin', Comedy, Fashion
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Friday, November 12, 2021

an oakland booty
If dumpy mannequins could find acceptance, it was only a matter of time before J.Lo-inspired big-assed dummies became the retailing rage.

Yet this transcends fashion, says the mannequin designer:

“It is a serious sociological trend that is positive for retailers and customers in that the tyranny of the undernourished perfect model is over,” said Rich Rollison of Lifestyle Forms and Display, which designed the pants form mannequin.

Hey, if Sir Mix-A-Lot can “pull up quick to retrieve it” when it comes to the bodacious butt, I can pick up the skinny-ass scraps that are left behind in the wake of this new trend (assuming it’s really the prevailing trend, of which I’m skeptical). I’ve already made my feelings in this area known.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/12/2021 07:49:13 PM
Category: Fashion, Women
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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

cheeky
I’ve never been much of an ass man. I appreciate a nice derriere, but given the choice, it’s boobs ahoy!

Ahem.

However, I am persuadable. And these two selections from the Victoria’s Secret thong arsenal have, if nothing else, the power of persuasion.

Not that everyone agrees.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/26/2004 08:05:07 PM
Category: Fashion, Women
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Monday, October 25, 2021

Toerings on older women. Older as in late 40s and up.

Sorry, it just doesn’t sit right with me.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 10/25/2004 09:12:36 PM
Category: Fashion, Women
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