DIY hammock

My #HDhack was number 2. in the article! check it out!

Teaches of Peaches- farmers market

Summers are for road trips- the weather gets hot and I get the urge to explore. Unfortunately, I cannot spend weeks traveling across the US, but the sense of adventure that comes with road trips does not have to be lost. This summer I am going to be a local tourist and take mini road trips to explore my neighborhood. Do things I don’t normally do and experience my city in a new way.
My first local adventure is biking to the local farmers market. Two of my friend and I wake up around 8 on Saturday, unsure of what to expect on our first trip to the market. Canvas bags in hand we “take a lap” to scout out the produce. I hear that the farmer’s market crowd can get quit rowdy when it comes to fresh veggies. My only goal is to snag some delicious fresh summer peaches. On our quick trip we instantly spot two coffee stands, a crepe stand, breakfast burrito cart, artisan breads, olive oil, and local honey stands. After we find the produce we came for (I got my Peaches!) we bee lined it to the coffee stands. After we each have our coveted latte and scone we sit on a nearby stoop to enjoy the morning air before the summer heat sets in. We each soaked up the morning sun listening to a local musician strumming his folky tunes on his guitar. After hanging out for a while we loaded up our bike baskets and agreed this should become a regular occurrence for us.
By breaking my routine and purposefully exploring my city I get to rediscover what made me initially attracted to the city. It also creates opportunities for new adventures. On this trip my friends and I discovered a local vineyard that holds wine tasting tours. This one adventure opened the doors to hundreds more, just like a traditional road trip.

Local Tourist

take a weekend to explore where you live

The term Haute Couture is often thrown around in conversation, but unless you have taken a fashion class ( where the teacher practically engraves the terms true meaning into your brain) you probably don’t realize how elite and specific the term is.  In honor of the recent Couture showing for fall 2013 in Paris earlier in July, I attached a wiki link to give all sorts of details. Basically the term is very selective: items must be made for specific people, a certain percentage must be hand made, and a special governing board is in charge of deciding who can be listed as Haute Couture. Every season the number of designers/houses changes but usually it is between 8 and 16. All this to say, your Juicy Couture track suit from middle school probably doesn’t technically qualify as Couture.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haute_couture

Loose shirt, Cynthia rowley, Shirt top, H M short sleeve shirt, Topshop lightweight jacket, Rag & Bone mid-rise jeans, A Wear long chiffon maxi skirt, Sam Edelman leather sandals, Ipanema, Yves saint laurent purse, Tory burch, Kendra scott jewelry, Kendra scott earrings

ImageThe cotton oxford button-down is one of the most versatile items in your closet and consequently one of the most replicated items in the marketplace. Named after the Oxford weave (which was named after the university), these shirts traditionally are made of 100% cotton. Cotton is perfect for this item because the fiber properties coupled with the weave allows for breathability. This was especially important in the athletic origin of this clothing item. Since it is cotton it is also easily laundered, a necessity for anyone that is lazy like myself. 

ImageIn the 1800’s the cotton oxford button-down could only be found on polo players in England as a portion of their uniform. Lucky for us, in 1896 Brooks Brothers launched the first line of cotton oxford button-downs catapulting this popular item into the American marketplace. By the middle of the 20th century button downs were a staple for both men and women. What started as a uniform for athletes soon turned into the “WASPY” uniform of east coast Ivy leaguers.

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1930’s film star Marlene Dietrich is credited with “androgynous style” of oxford button downs and suites. She was once the highest paid actress in Hollywood and by many considered one of the sexiest. She shows a different way to wear the ever versatile oxford button-down. It was once considered a male only item, but through women like Marlene Dietrich it soon became a staple for men and women alike.

ImageIn the 1960’s JFK brought the Ivy-league style of oxford button-downs to center stage. As America’s president and a style icon through the years, he forever preserved the relaxed preppy style of a white oxford. I would like to take a second to thank Brooks Brothers for making all the handsome oxford clad pictures of JFK possible.

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In the 1980’s Tom Cruise placed the oxford button-down on the silver screen in a very big way. His dance scene in Risky Business, wearing only oxford button-down, underwear, and tall white socks forever immortalized this shirt. During the mid-80’s the “preppy” look was in and that meant oxford button-downs and boat shoes. This look has staying power, as we still see it across college campuses 30 years later.

ImageToday we see oxford button-downs every day. The item has been transformed, restored, and transformed again. Children and adults of both genders wear oxfords daily. This item seems to never go out of style even if it goes through styling changes. Today you can find college girls wearing oversize or “boyfriend” oxfords with leggings or shorts. J-crew inspired families’ wear them paired with kakis and sweaters for family portraits.  Women of all ages wear oxfords with skirts and pants of all silhouettes and shapes. Men wear them at the beach and to the office in traditional and non-traditional fabric patterns. No other item can be worn so many ways and by so many people; it has become a ”uniform” of sorts for Americans across the country.

Fashion like any other discipline has its own theories of consumption, adaption, and circulation. Three of these theories that relate to fashion are conspicuous consumption, conspicuous leisure and conspicuous waste. These theories work together to explain the state of the current and historical fashion industry.

 “Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure” says economist Thorstein Veblen who coined the term. He is basically saying that the motivation for owning something can come from a desire to have something that others want with disregard to need or intended use. A current example of this theory is found in the Hip Hop community and the obsession with owning sneakers. Prior to passing away, DJ AM otherwise known as Adam Goldstein, owned over 800 pairs of sneakers. It is nearly impossible to wear 800 pairs of sneakers. Adam’s house overflowed with shoe boxes taking over his guest room that eventually turned into another closet for his shoes. Many in this community will wear shoes once, or until they get dirty. Some pairs have never been worn. This is a great example of conspicuous consumption because the reason to buy a new pair of Nikes when you already own 799 pairs is to symbolize your status.

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Conspicuous Waste is basically consuming goods that one does not need and wasting resources. It shows you have enough money to buy something that you have no real use for. An excellent example of this can be seen in the $91,500 Hermes t-shirt made of chiffon and crocodile skin. The shirt would cost another $8000 in taxes.  Think about it for a minute, $8000 just to take the t-shirt home with you. That makes the shirt total come closer to the price of a modest house than any article of clothing needs to. This is not an item you could just put on a credit card in an effort to seem affluent; you actually have to have a large bank account to afford this item. It is wasteful, because even if you wear this item every day for the next 5 years the price-per-wear is still about $55.

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Conspicuous leisure is a theory to explain the desire to prove you do not need to work by the way you dress. Like the pale skin of the elites 300 years ago, the yoga wear as street wear shows a socio-economic divide. Dressed in head-to-toe ensembles, these “lululemon moms” wear yoga outfits throughout the day proving they could not possibly be working. Even if the only running they do is errands instead of running at the gym, these yoga outfits are a status symbol of sorts.

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These three examples show theories in real life examples. They help us understand the way consumers act and the reason behind owning something. Although I still cannot fully wrap my head around owning a shirt that cost more than most people’s cars, these theories help me get as close as I ever will to comprehending.