Archive for the ‘ Fashion Fridays ’ Category

Shallow Hal

While hurricane Harvey was pounding Texas, the state was flooding, and people were dying, the world was talking about high heels.

I’ll admit, I was caught UP in the fray.

I was annoyed of course, and repentant; but the situation did get me wondering:  “Why heels, not just on her, but on anyone? And where did they come from?”

I mean, really, why?

And, we’ve not had a Fashion Friday in a while…so

Hi heels are nothing new, most historians tell us that the high heel was created by the Egyptians.

Some say it was designed to make a woman’s leg be more desirable. Some would say that’s not necessary legs are a good thing anyway.

That may not have been the reason, as Egyptian men and women wore high heels.

Egyptian butchers wore them to be elevated on the floor allowing them to stay out of the blood.

Who wants bloody feet?  Right?

During European Renaissance the high heel became a status symbol; worn by men and women as well.

The higher social classes wanted to tower above the peons and serfs that did their bidding.

Catherine de Medici wore them to inform the French court she was in charge when she wed the duc de Orleans!

We get the term well heeled from this fashion design. Back then, the higher the heels the richer the wearer.

Of course there’s a theory that has nothing to do with class at all, they say high heels were designed to help riders keep their feet in the stirrups of their horses.

That may be so, but unlikely; a rider’s heel is only about an inch and a half and didn’t show UP until around 1,600 in Europe.

Some heels, then and now can be five and six inches high!!

Since World War II high heels have come and gone as far as fashion goes. They always come back!

In the 90s lower heels were all the rage and flats were even bigger.

During the late 60s flats were Hot, but high heels stayed for dressy occasions, and returned full-bore in the 80s along with big hair and shoulder pads.

In the 70s, men wore heels for a while, just like they did during the renaissance.

Platform shoes were huge, I’ll admit, I had several pair!

Hey, it was disco time!

High heels today vary from 1/2 an inch to a stiletto heel of 5 inches. There are some extremes; 6 inch heels or even 6 inch platforms and a 12 inch heel.

And there are all kinds of high heels. The cone, the kitten, the puppy, the Louis, stiletto, and the wedge, just to name a few!

High heels, flats sneakers or flip-flops, it’s all a fashion choice.

It’s UP to you.

But, be careful, high heels can cause foot pain, increase the likelihood of sprains and fractures, and they can actually create foot deformities!!

Not to mention making you walk unsteadily, shorten your stride, and make you unable to run.

And then of course there’s back pain.

Hey, high heels do make your legs look good!

As I write this shallow post, the waters in Texas are deep, people are losing the things they hold dear, are suffering, frightened, worried about their futures: some are dying.

Shoes may matter later, but not right now.

Ain’t No Such Thing…

…as too much coffee and chocolate…

I made this over the holiday weekend…

It’s an Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa recipe called Frozen Mocha Mousse.

A little time consuming but really easy to make, it’s worth the time and effort.

Here’s a side view…

Here’s the link to the recipe.

G’head, indulge, treat yourself!

To Ken or Not To Ken…

There are new Ken dolls out there.

They are supposed to make Ken more realistic and help children to be more accepting.

They look like this…

It’s bad enough that we’re living in a world where kids will never know what a real three month summer vacation is like, feel free to drink from a faucet, play a record player, or run barefoot through the grass, now they’ll have to grow UP not knowing what it’s like to judge themselves against unrealistic body standards.



Ambrose’s Claim to Fame!

I posted last week about Levi P. Morton, and frankly, no one cared.

But there was one question I feel I must address!

Levi had some serious sideburns, and one of my faithful readers queried, “So should we credit him as a stylista for the mutton chop look?”

And though Levi’s were epic, he was not the first, and as to nomenclature, the term mutton chops goes way back, so far back that most folks aren’t sure.

Men have had facial hair since the beginning of time and until about 4,000 BC, most guys just went with the bearded look.

Most historians suppose shaving started in the Stone Age since there are cave paintings showing Neanderthals using seashells and make-shift tweezers to remove unwanted hair.

Some say flint blades found in archaeological digs date back to 30,000 BC, and flint would provide an edge sharp enough to shave, but alas, would dull rapidly.

Egyptians shaved for religious reasons at first, but are credited with introducing shaving as a daily routine for hygienic reasons.

They also invented make-UP and high heels.

In Egyptian culture, facial hair was indicative of neglect in the hygiene area, and the really rich kept a servant whose whole job was to shave the males of the family!

Alexander the Great some say, brought shaving to Europe.  Some also say, that Al didn’t need to shave, and insisted everyone else do so to keep him from looking like a teenager when he was the king and all.  Some dispute this as there is a mosaic in Pompeii supposedly depicting Alexander with side burns.

But, who knows? I wasn’t there, so I can’t unequivocally say yea or nay.

Another theory is that in battle, beards were easily grabbed and held on to, so Al had them shave to make the battle go better.

So when did it stop?

Well, in most European cultures it never did.

It just got fancier and more complicated.

Beards were passé in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, but facial hair was not.

Mustaches and side burns were the style de jour.

Prince Albert had sideburns as did most of the royals of 19th Century Europe.  And as royals are known to do, it got out of hand.

In some cases, way out of hand.

Kaiser Wilhelm I had side-whiskers to go along with his mustache.

Once the 19th Century rolled around, most European men were clean shaven, especially in Poland and Eastern Europe – it had to do with that battle thing.

But, nonetheless, military men brought facial hair back.  The Hussars all had sideburns, and as the European nations became Imperial nations, the fashion flowed to the Western Hemisphere.

Vice President and duelist Aaron Burr had sideburns…

…as did President Martin Van Buren. They were buds, BTW.

Young Van Buren

Old Van Buren

Robert E. Lee, US Grant and all the young Turks at West Point had them.

And when the Civil War broke out, those who didn’t have beards had side burns.

But they weren’t called that until Ambrose Burside, a not so great Union general, gained more celebrity for his over the top mutton chops than for his prowess in battle.

Burnside was a popular guy well liked in the army and later in politics.  He made friends easily, was known to smile most of the time, and had an uncanny ability to remember names

Professionally – not so much!  He was referred to as “unimaginative”, “obstinate” – he was a General after all – and Grant called him “unfitted” for command.

Nevertheless, he was popular enough to leave his mark on American Culture when his name was reversed and used to christen the side whiskers that made him stand out in a crowd.

Burn Sides became Side Burns, and voila!  we have a style, a fashion, a trend, and nomenclature.

They’ve come and gone over the years; the 1950s brought the greaser look as Brando was the Wild One and Elvis Presley was all the rage.

In the 1960s they were part of the counter-culture.  Beards were popular too, but side burns, while making a statement didn’t terrify the establishment so much!

I gradually let mine sneak down the side of my face all through high school, and by the time I graduated, they were long enough to make a statement, annoy the powers that be, and tell the world I was a grown UP.

Or so I thought!