Archive for the ‘ Fashion Fridays ’ Category

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.

#notmykendoll!

 

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!

Crime Of Fashion

This has been beaten to death this week on the interwebz, but I felt I had to weigh in…

Rompers for him are being peddled to unsuspecting consumers as the latest fashion must.

NO, just NO.

No, no, no, no, no, no!

Never.

Don’t even think about it.

No.

Cuchi-Cuchi

DTWS started back UP Monday night.

Yeah, I know, that was four whole days ago.

They actually have people on the show this time around who can dance.

Really, Simone, Nancy, a couple of the guys, they’re pretty good.

But today, I’d like to focus on Charo, the original Cuchi-Cuchi girl.

She’s paired with Keo Motsepe. Charo is a comedienne, singer, dancer, flamenco musician of Spanish descent.  As in Spain, Spanish.

In reality, she’s a very talented musician and isn’t above poking a little fun at her self.

I remember watching her on Carol Burnett’s show in the 1970s and it was funny.

Carol played Charo’s mom…funny stuff.

She’s pretty good for an old gal!

Regarding Charo’s date of birth, well, there is some question about her age.

As in it’s all over the map.

She asserted in a 1977 court hearing that her true year of birth was 1951.  That means A. she’s got me by a year, and B. she was 15 when she married Xavier Cugat, who BTW, was 66 at the time.

The year of her birth on official documents in Murcia, Spain and her original Spanish passport and her naturalization papers state her birth date as March 13, 1941, which makes her 75.

I’m guessin’ that’s closer to the truth.

She said in an interview that her parents allowed her to “falsify her age” to appear older when marrying Cugat.

Some reported it as 1945, 1946. And in 1964, she was referred to as Cugat’s “18 year old protégée,” which puts it at 1946.

Forty years ago, in 1977, when she divorced Cuggie, the judge in Vegas upheld her 1951 birth year as official.

She swore it was the truth, but said, “If people believe I’m older, that’s fine.”

Well, that’s a good thing, ‘cause we do.