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July 14, 2004

Prophetable colors
Posted by Teresa at 11:56 AM *

We’re going through one of those periodic big shifts in fashionable colors. IMO, the last really big one of those was at the end of the 80s, when blues went more cyan, reds lost most of their blue undertones, and yellow came back into the palette. They all looked good against black.

This new one seems to be related to the big khaki push of a few years back. There are a lot of dusty off-shade pastels: pink, peach, sage, taupe, cornflower, and a bunch of light to medium browns. Blues have gone grayer, grays bluer, reds more orange, and yellow’s either gold or greeny-bronze. Dark red’s a major accent color. Dark gray and very dark brown are in; black is out. Scariest news: burnt orange, avocado green, and harvest gold are fashionable again. New official cliche: Gray is the new black.

I’ve known people who think official color reassignments are a conspiracy theory. The short answer is that they are a conspiracy, but they aren’t theoretical. I submit as evidence the assigned colors for 2004, 2003 and 2002. And here are some recent specimens of the new range, to give you a better idea of what they look like when in use.

Who does this to us? An outfit, founded in 1962, called the Color Marketing Group. These are the people who wished avocado green and harvest gold kitchen appliances on America, and put the 1980s into those mauve-pink shades that looked so peculiarly horrible on so many of us.

Basically, the CMG is a trade organization, with 1,500 members drawn from a bunch of different industries. Twice a year they get together in Alexandria, VA, to come up with long-term and short-term color predictions. The long-term prediction is a set of sixteen colors that will be profitably marketable two years hence. That is, the 2003 palette was distributed to manufacturers in 2001. The short-term prediction is a palette of colors declared to be currently the thing.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nobody’s obliged to follow CMG’s lead; but a manufacturer who ignores them is likely to find that all his competitors’ products are in fashionably compatible colors, while his own clash.

How do CMG members choose new colors? As someone explained in Slate back in 1998,
The official line is that they look at economic trends (pastels in bad times, saturated colors in good times) and also examine social trends. What this boils down to is six hundred people sitting around in small groups, trying to figure out the next big thing. Gray, for example, was chosen in part because of the craze for technology and space-age stuff as the millennium approaches: “People associate gray with futuristic things like silvery metallics and anodized aluminum,” a CMG spokeswoman said. And why blue? “Water is a big social issue, what with the current emphasis on designer water and water conservation.”
Makes no sense at all, right? But CMG’s official explanation of the colors we’re supposed to want this year makes even less:
According to the CMG, color is becoming clear, therapeutic and nurturing, driven by a need for more white, lights and translucents. Though the palette is divided by industry, there are similarities and overlap between industries. Active consumers will purchase items with unexpected sophistication, including optimistic and genderless colors. By 2004, consumers are expected to break away from a period of fear and satisfy a pent-up demand for durable home products with brighter, sophisticated colors. Home fashion will focus on innocence, freshness and elegance. Communications/graphics colors will emphasize confidence. Transportation colors will be visually soft, and will unify interior and exterior colors. Fashion will use mid-tone hues to reflect a desire for comfort, security, solidity and spirituality.

“The 2004 Consumer Directions Palette includes rich reds, innocent pinks, therapeutic blues, soft greens and a jolting neon yellow,” says Color Directions Committee chairman Barbara Lazarow, CMG, Blonder Wallcoverings. “Special-effects-enhanced hues such as Cu, Glassy, Hyper Green, Acier, Aloeminium and Tusk offer consumers luminous and metallic options,” commented committee co-chairman Carol Byrne, Transportex Design & Marketing Company. “These directional colors, when teamed with current hues, offer consumers a full palette of color and texture.”

The 2004 Consumer Color Directions by industry are:


Crystal Sky-The energy of a brilliant blue sky, clean and clear as a summer day.
Grenache-Full-bodied and sophisticated, a fine wine at midnight.
Taos-Vegas and saddles influence this sun-drenched, earthy, baked adobe. Translates as high-tech metallic or eroded finish.
Moondance-A rhythmic choreography of warm-tinted white, as beige moves whiter, warmer and more comfortable.
Red Rush-An exciting flush, an adrenaline rush, powerful and genderless.
Power Punch-Fun and fantasy for all ages.


Hockney Blue-Escape to the tropics with this soothing and tranquil blue-green.
Soho Green-A fusion of bronze and gold creates this 21st century neutral, elemental and enduring.
Coppertunity-An opportunity for copper fresh from the mine to move into the home. It is optimistic and happy, flattering to skin tones.
Knew Blue-Who knew this blue would be new? Familiar and calm, the tranquil effect of aquatic blue on environmental greens.
Good Earth-Freshly tilled, an enriched new brown with Victorian roots, Mission influences, and Lodge appeal.


Coral Bells-A relaxing stroll through the garden-can you smell the coral bells?
Cu-It’s elementary. A precious metal with healing powers, shiny new or corroded over time.
Naughty But Nice-Don’t blush if YOU know Victoria’s little secret. A traditional twist on innocence and peace.
Glassy-Glass tints this transparent green; reflective, fresh and innocent.
Hope Blue-Heaven-sent, our hope for the future.
Hyper Green-Technology puts this virtually real green into overdrive.


Swim-Jump into blue, a splashy reflection of cyber youth, clean and pure, yet with natural complexity.
See-Fresh with an inner glow. Ethereal becomes believable.
Tickle-A happy red-tickle makes the whole word giggle.
Jolt-Brace yourself for this neon citrus.
Grow-Sprouting with a fresh green confidence.
Touch-Feel the love … baby, with the warmth of skin and body contact.


Tusk-Ivory influences aluminum reflecting the global warming of silver.
Acier-Sounds like French, but this steely gray is really from Pittsburgh, and has universal appeal. It is an expansion of the cool metals.
Aloeminium-The healing power of aloe combines with aluminum.
Mystic Quartz-A purple whisper adds mystery to silver; mature, technical and genderless.
Broadway Bronze-This dark and murky complex neutral is pulled from the streets of the concrete jungle.
Peace-A unifying global blue represents peace on earth.


Vanilla-Create your own sundae with this go-with-everything color.
Hortensia-This casual blue dresses up and goes to work.
Phthalo Green-Good luck! This scarab green will protect you.
Bijou Red-Ooh la la! At the Moulin Rouge, rubies are a girl’s best friend.
Giraffe-Stick your neck out and go for this Serengeti brown, inspired by copper, arts & crafts, and African block prints.
Nougat-Sticky sweet and so delicious. It’s blush with undertones of copper.
What’s all this blather really about? It’s selling; nothing more. If CMG were trying to describe trends, or even just lay down the law for manufacturers’ colors two years hence, they’d be specifying the exact shades by Pantone number. (Or perhaps not; Pantone has been trying to horn in on the color racket.) At minimum, they’d describe the colors in recognizable terms: chartreuse, taupe, golden yellow, rust, fawn, pale sage green, et cetera. Instead, we get a list where the two most recognizable color names are “vanilla” and “phthalo green”, and are left wondering what color “power punch” might be, and whether “giraffe” is the color of the hide or the markings. It’s the kind of overhyped marketing language that gets used to drum up desire where little or none exists.

Are these newly fashionable shades soothing? You might think so, if you’re the sort of person who buys a new wardrobe every year, and has your house redecorated once or twice a decade. But if you’re the sort who budgets to buy new china one year, matching curtains the year after, and chair covers the year after that, or who invested in a costly but classic suit in what was at the time a very safe color, these arbitrary changeovers aren’t very damned soothing at all.

I knew what was up with the big khaki push. Remember that one? Ads everywhere saying “Hemingway wore khaki”? We’d all been wearing black for several years. We had black levis, good black skirts, black leather or denim jackets, little black dresses—a great installed user base of basic black clothing, plus the colored stuff we wore with it. I hadn’t heard anyone sighing for the return of khaki, and if I had, I’d have pointed them to one of the WASP mail-order catalogues. What’s the big deal with khaki? It gets dirty too easily, and for a lot of people it’s an unbecoming color. But there’s only so much new black clothing you can sell a happy consumer who already has a closet full of black-and-coordinates; so the clothing industry pushed khaki remorselessly.

Funny thing is, the last few years’ CMG colors go pretty well with khaki. Must be a trend or something.

Comments on Prophetable colors:
#1 ::: Christina Schulman ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 01:19 PM:

Well, that explains why all the summer plasticware at Target is in those revolting day-glo colors.

And here I'd been coordinating around po-mo pink and Cerenkov blue.

Acier-Sounds like French, but this steely gray is really from Pittsburgh, and has universal appeal. It is an expansion of the cool metals.

In your face, Cleveland!

#2 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 01:21 PM:

Personally, with the exception of the nightmare 70s colors that are definitely back in, the shift you describe sounds quite pleasant to me. My wardrobe is dominated by muted hues, with lots of grays and (quelle horreur) khakis. But that's always been the case...

Of course, I have plenty of black stuff, too. T-shirts, mostly...why can't more cool Tees come in colors other than black?

#3 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 01:29 PM:

Scariest news: burnt orange, avocado green, and harvest gold are fashionable again.

Confirming what I'd noticed in Eddie Bauer a month or two ago: it's a bad fashion year to be me.

(Those colors make me, and probably other light-skinned people of Asian descent, look like a corpse.)

#4 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 01:33 PM:

This is why those of us who buy clothes at thrift stores are always subtly out of step with the off-the-rack crowd: we're wearing last year's (or sometimes last decade's) colors. Perhaps that's part of the appeal: if you don't like this season's pthalo green and hockney blue, go back a couple of years and get something closer to your personal aesthetic. I can't wear the golds and soft pastels of this year's palate very well; from the samples provided, I seem to be stuck in 2002, colorwise.

Well, whatever they say, I still like black.

#5 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 01:34 PM:

Kate--I am not of Asian descent, but those colors make me look like I've died and come back as a lime. Vile.

#6 ::: blurker gone bad ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 01:36 PM:

Touch? Tickle? Jolt? Glow? Are these colors, or have I wandered into some sort of soft pr0n graphic design nightmare?

Ah, to be young again and wear nothing but blue jeans.

#7 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 01:44 PM:

Aha! So that's where all those revolting taupe sweaters in the knitting mags come from. Well, not taupe exactly--it's that peculiar pinky-brown that my mother calls "moosenose."

#8 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 01:50 PM:

I think that the important part of this is actually going to be the

“Special-effects-enhanced hues such as Cu, Glassy, Hyper Green, Acier, Aloeminium and Tusk offer consumers luminous and metallic options,”

That means things like metallics, translucents, opalescents, and subdued glitter - across all colors. Texture is also going to be big news, I think, with lots of things with little bits of other things in them.

I'm seeing a lot more of these sorts of things in papers offered to designers, and for that matter, paints offered to artists.

As for straight color -

I just designed new business cards for myself, and selected new stationery colors for my husband. It's no accident that the primary colors are a pastel gold, rust, olive and a warm ivory.

I always figure if you want to know what colors are going to last, watch for the new car colors. I'm seeing a few new cars in gold (it's not harvest gold - it's orangier) and rust (also orangier). I'd picked up on the return of avacado, gold & rust about 18 months ago.

As for grey being the new black- hah! They'll pull my black clothes out of my cold dead fingers.

#9 ::: Stef ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 01:56 PM:

So that's where all those bizarre color names come from. I always wondered who had the enviable job of sitting around and thinking them up. I have a paint chip book that I sometimes read for amusement. Who knew that "ancient eye" is a particular shade of pale blue?

#10 ::: Lucy Huntzinger ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 01:56 PM:

Vindication at last! I have been telling people about the CMG for years and most people didn't believe me. It's the reason I buy a lot of clothing in certain years and virtually none in others; I don't care if I'm unfashionable colorwise, I'm not wearing something that makes me look jaundiced.

My secret: Eddie Bauer and Land's End will continue to carry some small portion of those non-fashionable colors in their catalogs no matter what's hot. Not in their stores, in their catalogs.

#11 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 02:08 PM:

Bluh! Khaki, of all horrible things. No matter what shade it's in it's too close to my skin tone, so wearing something khaki coloured mades me look like I'm not wearing anything at all...

Well, at least I know who to shake my fist at when I can't find anything that doesn't make me look naked/like a corpse at the stores.

#12 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 02:20 PM:

The one new color that I had noticed recently is the metallic burnt orange that just about every car manufacturer has rolled out. Not as bad as the sudden appearance of "International Yellow" on pseudo-off-road vehicles a few years ago. Whoever decided to bring back avacado deserves extra time in purgatory.

I clearly have spent too many years around printers. The names are meaningless -- if it doesn't have a PMS number it isn't a color.

#13 ::: Jane Augusta ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 02:24 PM:

Hey. Khaki is white, for people who don't like to blind other people with their legs. Also, it's for when I want to wear a black shirt without being all-black-clothes-alla-time.

I don't wear khaki above my waist, because I am not in the Army.

#14 ::: Donna ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 02:28 PM:

Thanks for gathering all this information about the Trilateral Color Commission in one place; I had always known this was happening, but didn't really appreciate how art-directed my life really was. What's clear is that I need to hurry up and finish that lime green sweater I'm knitting; that color is so 2003!

#15 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 02:40 PM:

My wife and I will wear black until the day I die. We've decided this. And it's not (just) a lingering affection for Peter Murphey and Siouxsie Sioux. We just looks mashing in dark tones. screw all this tusk and metalic marketting.

#16 ::: Cassie Krahe ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 02:50 PM:

I wonder if the lightness of khaki is its appeal-- in so many movies and shows, the rich are meticulously white. If you have to wash your pants after every step, you must be able to wash your pants after every step.
Of course, my one pair of light-colored-khakish pants had their inaugural wash in a Costa Rican hotel sink with body soap (cucumber scented, I believe) and still have Costa Rican mud and Peruvian dirt ground into them. I like them that way.

#17 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 02:52 PM:

Reading those color names and descriptions kindle within me a deep desire to storm into this CMG's lair and scream "Is everyone here very stoned?"

#18 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 02:58 PM:

Jesus, it's like the Illuminati sprouted a Housewares Department.

#19 ::: Nicole Quinn ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 03:14 PM:

Interestingly, if you go into Hot Topic or Torrid, they're saying "Pink is the new black." Pardon me? Black is the old black, the current black, and the new black. Pink - much like every color on the 2004 palette - makes me look like I died sometime last week.

#20 ::: Catie Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 03:21 PM:

TexAnne said:

it's that peculiar pinky-brown that my mother calls "moosenose."

I just have to say that having been close to an awful lot of moose noses, they're pretty unequivocably brown. Although I suppose if you got inside the nostrils they'd probably be pinkish. I've never inspected one that closely...

#21 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 03:34 PM:

Now I know who to hate for the fact that colors that look good on me are flat. out. unavailable about 5 years out of 6. Orangy reds, yuck.

And I agree with Nicole. Black is the new black. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum.

#22 ::: Yoon Ha Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 03:44 PM:

I am in fact of Asian descent, and during high school in Korea I was constantly appalled by the prevalence of pale sickly greens and bright oranges that I am convinced almost no native Korean looks good in.

Of course, I went around in 5-year-old t-shirts and just-as-old pants and a black thing vaguely of the trenchcoat genre (it was warm, what can I say?), so I shouldn't speak. But I never wore sickly green. Or bright orange.

I remember one of the Drama Club members, who was half-Caucasian, half-Chinese, also complaining that all the makeup the drama department had on hand went horribly on Asian skin-tones. At an international school where 90% of the students or thereabouts were Asian (and most of those, Korean), she thought this was extremely silly.

And one of these days, I will convince my mom that no, I really, truly hate beige on myself. She knows this. And keeps sending beige clothing. I suppose it's probably better than sickly green, or the other colors that Kate Nepveu mentioned above...

#23 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 03:44 PM:

Plus ca change, plus la meme.

There's very little new under the sun as far as fashion goes - it's just a question of which cycle they're going to resurect this time.

#24 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 03:47 PM:

Oh, I hate that, and I never knew why it was...

I never had too much of a problem with it - most people I know who don't do color correction can't really tell the difference between last year's black and this year's black, and by the time I've beat my clothes up a bit no-one at all can tell - but when I first went shopping for HM I realized very quickly that I had to buy at least a season ahead of the stores (size 6 when she was still a four, that kind of thing) because this year's red-tinged greens were going to look horrendous with next year's yellow-tinged blues and bluish pinks-with-a-dash-of-black and all of them are hideous next to the colonial colors of the year before.

The day I realized that I couldn't let my color-blind husband pick out her outfits was the day I showed up at school and she was in a blinding outfit of and acid blue and orange paisley shirt, colonial blue leggings with dusty rose, forest green and greyish mustard flowers and a pair of seersucker blue striped sneakers. I couldn't look directly at her in the sunshine.

Thank god for jeans and chinos and black,brown and white shoes. I am deeply, deeply grateful to be out of the business of color co-ordinating ensembles for a growing child.

#25 ::: Leigh ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 03:49 PM:

That is HILARIOUS. All these self-important fools sitting around making up color names like "Coppertunity", for God's sake. No wonder the world's going to hell in a handbasket.

Also, whichever of these sadists decided to bring back orangy-yellowy-reds, they are my personal nemesiseses. I HATE YOU. Give me back my burgundys and brick reds, dammit. Also, my forest greens and midnight blues.

#26 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 03:51 PM:

Grenache-Full-bodied and sophisticated, a fine wine at midnight.

For fun some time, make a pile of midrange women's clothing catalogs (over a few years is even better) and check out how many names there are for purpley maroon and maroony purple.

Personally I'm a little tired of the berries and the wines and I'm confidently awaiting the return of aubergine.

#27 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 03:57 PM:

Aha - a topic I know something about! It is certainly true that colors used in print design have been de-saturating towards grayish pastels and metallized for the past few years, and a lot of trendy print-work sets them against, over or under gray. In fact, they are sometimes printed as a screen over a gray.

Fashion palettes seem to follow the print palettes by a couple of years, so if you want to see what colors you'll be wearing (or at least seeing in the stores) check out magazines like "Print" or "Step."

The change is driven not so much by having saturated the market with last year's styles as by a natural desire to create something fresh and new, even if it's 20 year old colors in updated materials and cuts. Selling is all about cutting through the visual and messaging clutter with something different. Clothing of the mass-market kind has to be at least somewhat appealing.

(A good advertising example of cutting through the clutter is the dancing old man - a.k.a. Mr. Six - in the Six Flags commercials. Lots of people hate him, but everyone who sees the ads remembers them.)

And hey, at least this stuff is nicer than the hideous Who Wants to be a Millionaire stuff theat flooded stores a few years ago. I like my ties to contrast with my shirt, thank you. I also can't abide the retro snap-front print 70's western shirts. Thankfully, I'm too old for anyone to expect me to wear them!

Oh, and whatever is the new black, is never the new black.

#28 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:04 PM:

I don't wear khaki above my waist, because I am not in the Army.

Well said.

Julia, aubergine came back last year, in home decor. I was second-jobbing at the Pottery Barn and every bloody thing they carried came in aubergine. This is fine, but I prefer my eggplants grilled with olive oil.

Also, it seems to me that some colors stay in no matter what, but have to keep getting renamed to stay 'hip:' black, the 'purpley maroon,' navy, and slate gray/steel blue.

Orange (the bright, awful, oh-mine-eyes! kind) has a disgraceful hold on the DC male populace. Worse even than Capitol Hill Pink, as it's blinding. Give me good *blue* jeans and a burgundy chemise any day. As long as I've got good shoes.

#29 ::: Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:10 PM:

Trying to think about fashion forecasting is the one thing that truly fills me with horror about opening my yarn store. Will I have shelves full of yarn no one wants? Eeeek!

#30 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:18 PM:

I just hope they stop the low slung jeans. I'm really tired of looking at all these coin slots on my daily walk to work.

#31 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:22 PM:
Jesus, it's like the Illuminati sprouted a Housewares Department.

Indeed, Teresa merely missed the hidden section:


Bavarian Cream-A seemingly mild color, calling to mind coffee and pastry in a quiet cafe. The undertone of brutal strength is there for those subtle enough to see it.
Kallisti Gold-A warm hue with golds and oranges and just enough of something else to ensure it doesn't go with anything at all. Your discord with society is made excitingly visible.

#32 ::: Kylee Peterson ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:22 PM:

The orchestration is creepy, but I actually like the way different colors are available in different years. I generally have enough clothes, so finding a t-shirt in the new hip color that actually looks good is just a bonus. It'll probably look fine with black, and maybe even with some members of the medium-dark green family that's the other mainstay of my wardrobe.

If I want something in a particular color, there's always some kind of undyed cotton available as a base, and Procion dyes come in the same colors all the time.

#33 ::: Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:29 PM:

If only everyone were like me and still dressed like they were in seventh grade. Faded jean jackets. T-shirts with super-hero or heavy metal band logos on them. Large, white Nike cross-trainers. My GOD I was cool (and still am, by the way).

That and I like to dress like I'm from the thirties. They had some style back in the depression. I've officially decided that no one from the years 1930 to 1945 dressed poorly.

#34 ::: brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:31 PM:

Why grenache? Why not sangiovese? Cabernet franc? Trebbiano? And how do these colors differ from something passe like burgundy? I MUST KNOW THESE THINGS! THE FASHION ILLUMINATI MUST INFORM ME!!

I'm personally waiting for them to bring back beige again, though I think it would sell much better and be much more sophisticated if they called it viognier or riesling.

#35 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:39 PM:

I know this example is British, but do the "Transportation" colours explain horrors such as this?

#36 ::: Sara E. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:41 PM:

Now, I look good in pinks and reds, especially ones in the more wine/burgandy range, but I look like crap in the ones w/o the yellowy or orangy undertones, so for me it's always a chore finding the right hues. And when I do, my husband wonders how many shades of a color exist.

It's interesting how everything old becomes new again. Now at least I know how they come up with those awful names for colors that were in fashion 10, 20, or 30 years ago.

I agree about khaki, it was NEVER supposed to be worn above the waist, unless you're in the in millitary.

I have a ton of black in the wardrobe and some khaki pants too and thus I look things this way:

Strong colors w/ the black, pastels and black with the khaki, and both better look better look damn good with blue jeans.

I really think orange and bright yellow shouldn't be worn by most people. Or those pea soup greens.

#37 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:48 PM:

A good advertising example of cutting through the clutter is the dancing old man - a.k.a. Mr. Six - in the Six Flags commercials. Lots of people hate him, but everyone who sees the ads remembers them.

Having worked for NASDAQ for a large part of my career, I thought my dislike for the character was rooted in his resemblance to Dick Grasso.

As a strawberry-blonde, I want to kick and scream every time pastels are proclaimed to be "in." In fact, I just sort of suffer through spring and summer in a select few colors, only to relax into flattering colors in the fall.

#38 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:48 PM:

I just posted a small primal scream about the prevalence of pink this year in my journal and fidelio tipped me off about this.

I'm one of those people you love to hate because I can wear absolutely any color at all. However I have VERY strong emotional reactions to colors and there are a lot of them I won't wear. And pink heads the list. Of course, Jordin looks very good in pink so I buy it for him, but I don't wear it or have it in my house otherwise. And if it isn't pink, it's lime green or bright orange. What decade is this? I have nothing against bright orange, just bought a dress that color in fact, but lime green was ugly in 1970 and it's ugly now. Don't even talk to me about chartreuse (That doesn't look right no matter how I spell it but you know what I mean.)

I was doing some clothes shopping yesterday and a lot of the colors I saw for fall are greens and browns -- colors I like in shades I like so that should be ok. I wonder if I can find that Tusk color in a fancy fabric for a new dressy dress. Which is what I've been shopping for with no success. Seattle retailers appear to belive that those of us who wear above a size 14 have no need for dressy clothes. And if we do, we should be happy with pastel flowered fat girl dresses with long loose tunic tops and longer looser skirts. ICK.

ok ok. Honest compels me to admit that the above-mentioned orange dress has hot pink flowers on it. It was just so retro I couldn't resist. Ah youth...


#39 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:50 PM:

Hee - cross-post with Sara - pea-soup green is one of my colors....

#40 ::: Aiglet ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 04:58 PM:

You know, reading these comments, you'd think that there was an age at which blue jeans and t-shirts or button downs were no longer acceptable daily wear.

Fortunately, in my infinite wisdom, I have chosen to deny the existence of the blue-jean-event horizon.

I will admit to having dropped quite a bit of money in the Gap the other day buying tank tops in strange and bizarre colors because I was tired of wearing black band tshirt and blue summer camp tshirts all the time. (Well, they were on sale, so I figured it was a good way to try new colors. Unfortunately, the learning experience seems to be that I actually can wear melon and other orangey-pink colors without wanting to shoot myself.)

#41 ::: Tina Black ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 05:08 PM:

Heh. Just try to buy red shoes right now. There aren't any.

Putrid Pink seems to be the Color of the Moment, no matter what they say about Bijoux Red.

#42 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 05:23 PM:

My boss went to the CMG conference recently in an effort to lobby for her favoured colours (ie...lobby for colours we use in our current packaging to stay on the list of favoured colours or be added) and to come home with the predictions for 2005 and 2006. I have them on my desk somewhere. I also have a scan of her colour presentation--it's very bright, very primary.

I never end up really using most of them.

#43 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 05:25 PM:

Mary Kay, the only way chartreuse ever looks right is in a teensy little liqueur glass. It is intended for interior consumption only.

#44 ::: cyclopatra ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 05:30 PM:

Nicole, it might be that "Pink is the new black" is a Josie and the Pussycats reference. If they start saying "Orange is the new pink", you'll know it for sure ;)

#45 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 05:33 PM:

It reminds me of the invocation from the "Weird Sisters" episode of "All My Avatars," the Pagan soap opera:

Beige spirits and puce!
Teal and chartreuse!
Only benign ones we here introduce!
Magenta and green!
Ecru, aubergine!
You who support us arrive on the scene!
I played the witch of the Past, who had a thick Scots accent that I'm told I did perfectly. I did get to say "the crystals will nae hold the energy when we gae ta warp speed!"

Um, sorry. OT. As you were.

#46 ::: Trinker ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 05:36 PM:

Kate, after all these years, I had no idea that we shared a fashion grouse!

Yoon Ha, yeah, I know about the ridiculous palette of makeup for Asians, too. My high school had one color marked "Oriental" which I now realize was originally designed to create yellowface on Western European complexions. Yikes!

#47 ::: .sara ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 05:40 PM:

Scariest news: burnt orange, avocado green, and harvest gold are fashionable again.

I have 3 Tupperware bowls (that Mom bought at some point prior to my arrival) in precisely those colours; I love them. My aunt still has the Butterfly Gold Corelle set, too (which she won't let me have). Heh.

#48 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 05:41 PM:

Tim Hall - Bleh! So much for Cool Britannia. Until now, I thought that New Jersey Transit had the worst colors. At least NJ has the sense to contain the colors to a small area.

Randall P - I hope to NEVER have to dress the way I did when I was in 7th Grade. Part of the reason I find the retro-western shirts so very scary...

#49 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 05:46 PM:

Xopher - your little rhyme made me think of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. IIRC, one of the advertising slogans for Grot was:

Grot sells things that haven't any use
Some of them are green and some of them are puce

#50 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 05:56 PM:

YHL: beige is not so good on me either. Off-whites and cream are fine, but beige is too close but not close enough to my skin.

I've only bought actual makeup once, and I happened to get a young Asian salesperson at the counter I'd already planned to go, so I felt slightly more secure about the skin tone thing. Then again it was for my wedding so if I looked off people probably would just have thought I was nervous. =>

Aiglet: my office voted on dress code sometime before I came and jeans were voted out in favor of "business casual, with a backup suit in case of unexpected court appearances." I look upon this as a good thing only because when I'm wearing jeans and a T-shirt, people have this distressing tendency to think I'm under 18. This is not the stuff a reputation for competent and respected lawyering is made of . . .

(TNH mentioned suits in her post, and made me feel better that I own so many black ones. They--and the bright red one that practically screams "power suit"--will never go out and I will always look professional in them. Right?

(I've been toying with the idea of wearing the red one to watch the Masquerade at Noreascon. I can't decide if it would be amusing or precious. I do really like the suit as clothing, though.)

Serious question: does *anyone* look good in orange? Very dark-skinned people, perhaps? (There aren't any around at the moment I could buttonhole and ask.)

#51 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 05:59 PM:

My new favorite color is "Coppertunity."

#52 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 05:59 PM:

See, I like the green that undyed limes just barely are or even the green they dye the skins to, but the green that's called lime looks like irradiated underripe avocado to me and I've never seen anyone less pale than olive look good in it.

Which, come to think of it, also goes for orange, rust and any yellow with blue or black in it.

#53 ::: Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 06:02 PM:

Larry - You don't wear retro-western shirts...retro-western shirts wear you. Really, would you have it any other way? It is a person of high moral fiber who can wear a retro-western shirt in this day and age (and I know, because I'm a Canadian-Oklahoman...a rare breed).

I say pull out all those old shirts and wear 'em with pride. Better yet, don't upgrade the size. Keep them the same size that you wore in seventh grade. I'll bet you nobody will mess with you, even if you were walking down a dark alley at night. And I, for one, will have the utmost respect for you as I brood in the corner with my faded jean jacket, Van Halen t-shirt, and ripped blue jeans, wishing with all of my heart that I was as cool as you.

#54 ::: Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 06:03 PM:

Harry - "Coppertunity" rules! Can I put that on a t-shirt?

#55 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 06:06 PM:

I feel better about my all-monochrome wardrobe now.

I just have to say that having been close to an awful lot of moose noses

That sounds like a really interesting backstory.

Just try to buy red shoes right now. There aren't any.

What kind of red shoes? Fuck-me pumps are always available in red. Need links?

#56 ::: Ab_Normal ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 06:08 PM:

Ahh, the sweet freedom of not giving a fsck... I'm a nerd. I don't have to have the latest look. Shoot, I wouldn't know it if it ran me over in a Hummer.

#57 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 06:11 PM:

Kate - Yes, very dark-skinned people DO look good in orange. Some years ago I saw a party of people in African dress in Manhattan. They had that shiny-black skin that some Africans (and very few African-Americans IME) have. One of the women was wearing a day-glo orange dress (or robes, or some fancier name) with a matching headcloth. She was also about six feet tall, which helped make the whole effect more impressive.

The orange made her skin appear to glow with its own light; she was radiantly beautiful. I don't remember whether I managed not to stare, but it left an impression on me that lingers to this day.

#58 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 06:19 PM:

I really, really can't wait 'til my Jim reads this.... he's into dressing, urm, loud. Color? To him paisley is a color!

#59 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 06:23 PM:

"Coppertunity" cops but once? "Coppertunity" Knopfs but once? It's hard to get a grip on this speculative pseudo-spectrum.

I often keep my pinstriped black suit-coat, a necktie, and a gold tieclip in the back of my car, and when going somehwere at least semi-formal, wear the matching pinstriped black suit-coat (and a shirt and shoes) from the home to the car, and put on the coat when I exit the car, thus completing the suit piecemeal.

Yesterday was over 95 Farenheit in the greater Pasadena, California, area, and the weatherfolks predicted in excess of 98 today, so this morning I wore khaki shorts instead.

Then the car broke down on the freeway, and there was no place within the AAA default 7-mile radius to which I wanted a tow. So I took a tow to a supermarket near the university where I needed to turn in final grades for all my students today, left the car in the parking lot (with operations manager permission), took my coat and the crucial papers, and walked 2 miles holding the coat on a hanger.

Several people politely remarked that black and khaki are not a formal match. This is, after all, a university that gives a Fashion Design degree.

Now, if only I was wearing Hyper Green hyperlinked to CU-cMe. Or, at lunchtime, a nice Vanilla Nougat blend.

Would you like Grenache or Power Punch with that?

And is it okay to Tickle someone who wears Naughty But Nice to a first date?

Today's High-Low Literature quote:

"Virgil also liked to indulge here and there a heightened language of spooky gothic melodrama closer to Poe, Dickens, and Conan Doyle than to the clipped, self-controlled idiom of, say, modern science fiction thrillers."
[THE AENEID OF VIRGIL, a Verse Translation by Rolfe Humphries, edited and with notes by Brian Wilkie, Introduction, p.xxv, Macmillan, 1987]

#60 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 06:57 PM:

I was home sick yesterday, watching the Today Show. Their decorator had even worse news:

Loud floral prints for furniture and throw
pillows are IN


#61 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 07:06 PM:

One needs no more conspiracy theory than Oscar Wilde's "Fashion: a form of ugliness so intolerable that it must be changed every six months."

#62 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 07:14 PM:

These color names remind me of Chrysler's "High Impact" colors of 1969-1971. They had two names for each color, one for Chrysler and one for Plymouth; here's the list:

 Chrysler:       Plymouth:
 Plum Crazy      In-Violet
 Sublime         Lime Light
 Green Go        Sassy Grass
 Go Mango        Vitamin C
 Panther Pink    Moulin Rouge
 Hemi Orange     Tor Red
 Top Banana      Lemon Twist
 Citron Yella    Curious Yellow

Our estimable host will, I'm sure, be happy to know that Tor Red is a very orangey red, and thus currently "in".

There is also a story that when the Chrysler design team heard about the color names that had come from the marketing team, they submitted their own list of colors:

 Catch-Me Copper 
 Unforseeable Fuschia 
 Statutory Grape 
 Gang Green 
 Well Red 
 Cost Of Living Rose 
 Fisher Body Rust 
 Hi-Ho Silver 
 Frank Lloyd White

One is left wondering whether the difference between Catch-Me Copper and Coppertunity is merely a difference of perspective, and whether the Fuschia is, indeed, Unforseeable.

#63 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 07:19 PM:

Heh. Very nice, Dan. But the Illuminated Masters have one more colorful concoction to add to your "must-wear" list in 2004...

Weishaupurtunity: Replace your current shade of titanium white with this near-perfect duplicate shade. People will spend years wondering whether you really made a switch at all.

#64 ::: Sal ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 07:31 PM:

Colors affect more than just clothes, alas. We just acquired a loft area which was painted in 2000. (We assume, That's the year the loft was built.) Most of the loft area is painted in white tones, but the walls along the north side of both floors are set off in colors of the time, several shades of a sickly green-taupe-yellow color.

Blecch. Those colors may be someone's "comfortable and cozy," but they don't suit me. I'm planning to paint over before we move anything in. I know too well that if I don't do something now, I'll learn to live with the colors. Maybe I'll go with a mellow off-white next to the windows and colors from a Bhutanese color schema for the fireplace angles.

Trust me. I'll not be choosing colors from CMG's new color palette.

#65 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 07:45 PM:

I ought not, considering how many slips of tongue, pen, and keyboard I have committed in my life, but then, you might think we were ignoring you if no one said anything:

JVP wrote:
I often keep my pinstriped black suit-coat, a necktie, and a gold tieclip in the back of my car, and when going somehwere at least semi-formal, wear the matching pinstriped black suit-coat (and a shirt and shoes) from the home to the car, and put on the coat when I exit the car, thus completing the suit piecemeal.

Either this is an attack of absent-minded professorism, in one form or another, or standards of dress are even more different in California than I had supposed.

#66 ::: Douglas ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 07:53 PM:

'khaki' = dust-coloured. I guess it's a reflection of society that we don't get dust-coloured dirt anymore.. Works great in the African bush, elsewhere a bit pretentious. Like those starched white shirts worn by sahibs in India, a statement of wealth and privilege.

My army clothes were not khaki, but a colour known as 'nutria', a large brown rodent kind of shade. Still gives me the shivers to see it.

fidelio observed "the only way chartreuse ever looks right is in a teensy little liqueur glass". That, and in a fly for smallmouth bass.. the fish often show a distinct preference for this colour, despite its being found nowhere in their natural environment. Chartreuse, it never goes out of fashion underwater.

Personally, I wear those earth tones that Al Gore made so fashionable.

#67 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 08:00 PM:

Mary Kay, a good friend of mine wears a size 16 and has been known to lament that the only clothing she can find in upstate New York stores implies that designers think 'plus sized' women truly love to wear bright orange tarps. Sadly, it's not just the Seattle area.

As a deathly pale blonde--not really an exaggeration--I could wear certain pastels, if I didn't mind looking like cotton candy. Beige makes me look yellow. Orange... Let's not even go there. Black it is, and black it always will be. Functional, attractive, and easy to match. Amen.

#68 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 08:03 PM:

Fidelio - Standards of dress in California are what you make them. I've worked and socialized with people in rumpled shorts and polo shirts to hipsters to just-mugged-by-the-Brooks Brothers - often all at the same time.

Still, there are always occasions when you've gotta be dressed to fit. Last Friday, a friend had a food-themed art exhibition/happening. While there were all sorts of styles represented, everyone in the room was dressed.

I live in the Bay Area. SoCal, in my experience, has even more circumstances in which you need to dress to fit.

With apologies in advance, I think JVP's portable formalwear works only if you're the client, or in the world of academia.

#69 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 08:12 PM:

Sean commented:

I just hope they stop the low slung jeans. I'm really tired of looking at all these coin slots on my daily walk to work.

Heh. I'm actually glad that low slung jeans are in style. Being a person of no great stature, that's the only way I can end up with jeans that stop at my waist, instead of stopping halfway to my armpits.

I do agree that there are entirly too many fashions which seem to be designed to make the fashion rather than the person wearing it the center of attention. I'm totally blank on who wrote about this, but the general gist was that people should remember that you looked stunning - not what clothes you were wearing.

I hope at some point to find a good old-fashioned tailor, and have properly bespoke clothes made - but until then, it's cut the legs off, shorten the arms, and try not to look like a fireplug.

OTOH, I -can- wear orange, and I'm more to the pale side of skintone than anything else.

#70 ::: Stephen ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 08:46 PM:

I haven't lived in a city in several years. Whenever I return, I'm always struck by how much black is worn. Khaki pretentious and prone to showing dirt? and black isn't? Black is truly an urban fashion choice - outside of temperature-controlled buildings and a paved environment, it's usually a horrible choice.

That said, I've become fond of dyeing my own clothing. Doesn't work out well for poly-fabrics, but with naturals, it's not too difficult to get shades that I like and that don't match the canned 'hip' colors of the year...

#71 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 08:48 PM:

As I resemble the Hindenburg with a gray beard, I tend to choose more subdued tones, and have a preference for earth tones, when I can get them. The main exception is the occasional aloha shirt, my favorite having a pattern of red, orange and green hawaian shirts on a powder blue background. Now if only those shirts had a pattern of even smaller shirts . . .

I wore it to my final job interview for my current job. I guess it left the impression that I was confident about my technical skills.

Here in the San Joaquin Valley, a basic black wardrobe is an express route to heatstroke during the summer. The problem is that black is the perfect color for wearing in prisons. Every prison restricts visitors and non-uniform staff from wearing certain colors inside, as they are used for CO or inmate uniforms. Denim and chambray is prohibited by everyone, while other banned colors vary by system. For example, khaki/tan is just fine in most California prisons, but prohibited in Federal prisons, as it is the inmate uniform color there. The Feds have no problem with green, but that is the California CO uniform color. Black, gray and white work everywhere.

#72 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 08:56 PM:

Kate: I look good in most shades of orange, and I'm day-glo pale. I look good in most colours, really (especially bright ones), except for my afore-mentioned problem with khaki and anything strongly yellow-hued (which makes me look like I died of some horrible illness). This makes this year's colour palette rather bothersome for me. I just know I'll have nightmares of trying to find clothes but everything in the stores is avacado... *shudder*

#73 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 09:02 PM:

I have not a color but a fashion-related question: who decided that men should button their top buttons even on polo shirts?

#74 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 09:34 PM:

I -miss- the rose-mauve axis and the "1001 words for aqua" years. I am of Western European Mutt ancestry (some Anglo-Saxon, some Mediterranean; brown hair, blue-hazel eyes, sallow to light-olive complexion) and pink, violet and aqua are the colors that don't make me look ill. Khaki is out, as is anything resembling citrus fruit, and while I love to look at the avocado-mustard-rust-chocolate earth tones they too leave me resembling something best buried last week.

Looks like this year is going to be another blue-green year. I might get lucky with the grays, too, if they don't go too yellow / orange - the sage-ey greenish and yellowish grays of the last couple of years have been DEATH. Who looks good in that?!?!

Thank $DEITY I learned to sew a long time ago. Now the challenge is to find fabric in suitable colors... and to finish sewing projects before the trends change again....

#75 ::: M@ ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 09:59 PM:

Is Martha Stewart behind this?

#76 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 10:26 PM:

Years with colors like this, I just don't buy new clothes. My home decor has been out, in, out, in, and now out again. I don't care, I like it.

#77 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 11:22 PM:


You caught me Red-Rush-handed in absent-minded professorism.

What I MEANT to write, of course, had I not been red-faced from walking 2 miles in heat, and rushed, was:

"I often keep my pinstriped black suit-coat, a necktie, and a gold tieclip in the back of my car, and when going somehwere at least semi-formal, wear the matching pinstriped black suit-PANTS (and a shirt and shoes) from the home to the car, and put on the coat when I exit the car, thus completing the suit piecemeal."

Sigh. I guess I was more rattled by car-loss than I knew.

I could tell the tale of how I formed a conspiracy that broke the back of Caltech's dress code in 1968, but that's too off subject for this thread. Funny story, though...

#78 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 11:24 PM:

Kate: I'll try to remember to wear orange at worldcon and we can see what you think.

For those who haven't met me, I'm a very very pale white person with pure pink skin. No undertones. Blondish hair and pale blue eyes. Small pic on my blog.

I mostly wear purples and greens because I love those colors. But not lime green and I prefer the cool purples though I'll take the warm ones as long as they aren't too red. I look really nice in most shades of blue but only really like sapphire and royal blue -- which are not currently available. Bright clear yellows are one of my all time favorite colors and I can wear those too. It is an interesting fact that my favorite colors, purple, green, and yellow all go quite nicely together (in the proper shades) and are the colors of New Orelans and Mardi Gras.

As for dressing like you did in 7th grade. Well, we have a generation gap here. I was in 7th grade 1964-65. My favorite outfit was an empire style dress (we weren't allowed to wear pants and forget blue jeans). The top was electric blue with lime green polka dots (big ones) and the bottom was alternating stripes of electric blue and lime green. I wore electric blue and lime green checked knee socks with it. Do you really want me looking like that again? (Though I happily wear empire dresses when I can get them.)

#79 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 11:25 PM:

Interesting that the "in" crowd, the so-called "movers and shakers", are the ones lining up to look the same as everyone else.

As for me, screw what's in fashion. I wear dead black, soft white, a range of greys (favoring charcoal) and the occasional blue shirt or pair of faded jeans. Every other color can bite my shiny metal ass. In five, ten, twenty years' time I will still look good in the same color scheme, and will still be laughing at the stuff people have in the back (or front!) of their wardrobes.

#80 ::: Ter Matthies ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 11:47 PM:

Hockney Blue-Escape to the tropics with this soothing and tranquil blue-green.

The name just makes me wonder if it's losing it's hearing and busy designing opera sets.

#81 ::: Mjit ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 11:55 PM:

somebody up there said:
I HATE YOU. Give me back my burgundys and brick reds, dammit. Also, my forest greens and midnight blues.

Hear, hear. Now I know why I can't find another hunter green slipdress/negligee. And it's not just because I look good in it.

#82 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 12:50 AM:

I used to wear only black and gray with a couple pairs of blue jeans. My wife drew me out of that habit. She likes color, and I now have a number of brightly colored shirts.

It's nice. I like color.

However, I was once criticized for wearing my yellow shorts to an HWA event, and I'm pretty sure the criticizer was PNH.

#83 ::: Crystal Sky ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 01:58 AM:

You are so mean, Teresa! Some of us can't help being named after colors, would you say nasty things about a Red or a Ginger? I should write the NAACP. Mum, she's like this decorator manque I don't know what manque means but that's what Dad says, she colored our living room all shimmery? When people see it lots of people say why not a nice gray gray is the new black? And Mum says not next year next year aloeminium is the new black? But aloeminum is a little like gray, so we have our bases covered that's what mum says. My boyfriend Red you can guess his last name *giggle* he says he likes it? But maybe it should be a more tusky aloeminium? I don't know Mum says I shouldn't take the word of the guy who fed me the power punch at the moondance. She's very smart so maybe she's right.

#84 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 01:59 AM:

Mark me down as another one who isn't going to be buying much this year. Or next year. Or probably the year after that. I figure that one of the great priveleges of having passed 30 and officially walked out of the fashion marketers target group is that I'm allowed to just wear whatever the heck I want, rather than whatever they're going to sell me. Of course, being in plus-sizes guarantees that too.

My own guess is that a lot of this is like most fashion merchandising - it's not aimed to suit most people, indeed, it's designed to suit the bare minimum of people, thus leaving the maximum number of people discontented with their "new look". Problem is, there's a limited amount of times this can be pulled on the one consumer before they make a decision along the lines of "screw you, anyway".

Me? I suit blue-based reds and greens, jewel tones (not pastels) and straight black and white. I'm not the type who can wear hipsters and get away with it (who is?), and I know that a baby-doll dress makes me look six months pregnant while dropped waists just emphasise the fact that I'm in the plus-sizes. While clothes are designed for thirteen year old flat-chested male impersonators, I'm not likely to find anything "trendy" that suits me. Fortunately, being eccentric *does* suit me.

#85 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 02:29 AM:

"If CMG were trying to describe trends, or even just lay down the law for manufacturers’ colors two years hence, they’d be specifying the exact shades by Pantone number"

They do actually provide swatchbooks--non-members can buy a set for $7,000.

#86 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 03:12 AM:

From the end of 1999 I was in mourning for my father for a year, and came out of two years mourning for my partner at Easter this year. So I'm a bit over black for a while, and have been dragging my winter clothes from 2001 out of the back of the cupboard.

It is <irony>interesting</irony> how colours & fashion styles do seem to cycle around things that are incompatible with each other (eg lots of 'ice-cream' pastels, then bright primaries, then very minimalist elegant, then earthy 'organics', etc. combined with a shape variable involving loose/tight, long/short, etc.), with a changeover period usually involving black & white. Over several decades I've built up enough of a wardrobe to keep me going most of the time, and just wait for the cycle to swing past something that suits me to pounce on it.

#87 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 03:12 AM:

Meg: Dressing eccentrically doesn't necessarily help against the vagaries of fashion, I've found. I ceased caring about being trendy long ago, but since I'm extremely hard on clothing and need to replace this and that every year, I despair when the fashion dictates are to colours and cuts I despise.

And while looking rather ragged can fit with looking eccentric, it isn't a look I particularly want to cultivate again (having done that when I was only wearing black, and black was out of style for a few years...).

I can sew; but even replacing a few bits of my wardrobe through sewing is an immense time-sink as I'm not particularly good at it and lack a sewing machine. I'd rather go to a store, buy something, and be done with it, for the most part.

And like xeger, I find the hipster pants a boon, although not because I'm short, but because I'm short waisted; usually I have to buy pants a size or two too large to get them to fit comfortably, and then the crotch is around my mid-thigh. Ick. However, I will be overjoyed when the ultra-low-riding pants, worn a size too small, goes out of style.

(Chatty clotheshorse up later than is probably good for her. I hope the ramblings are entertaining, if nothing else.)

#88 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 05:00 AM:

Bad year for me to exist, apparently. Red and orange on sallow skin = way to make me look jaundiced, save in very particular shades, most of which don't seem too popular. I'm a little more hopeful about the blue-to-grey range.

The one good thing about being fat is that plus-size clothes almost always come in black regardless of the popularity of other colours. I shall take comfort in knowing that I should have no trouble finding black, which looks good on nearly anyone.

When I was !fat, I could wear hip-huggers, because I have actual hips. Most of the girls I see wearing these now do not have discernible hips, so they look all wrong in them. Therefore, please add me to the chorus of "I'll be glad when they're out". My sympathies to the people who have trouble finding good cut to their height, though. I've had that trouble, too. I am just tall enough that regular sizes are sometimes too short, but not quite tall enough that 'tall' is always a good idea, lest I trip on my pants.

Pink is not the new anything. Pink is just pink. It is a great colour if you are a flower; not so great if you are a person.

#89 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 07:25 AM:

Renatus -

A mild cheer from another short-waisted one. I spent the 80's (when horrifically high-waisted pants were all the rage and all you could find) feeling as if my floating ribs were imprisoned in a corset. Made voice lessons less than easy.

#90 ::: hitler wore khakis ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 07:50 AM:

Who cares? this stuff is only for the stupider ones out there, and it seems there are plenty.


#91 ::: esperluette ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 08:16 AM:

This is why I sew 90% of what I wear. That, and because I only want to wear 1950s styles, since that was the last time that fashion catered to women, and not girls.

When I get older I'm going to be like Vreeland and have twenty-five Balenciaga (okay, Balenciaga knock-off) sack dresses, all black, in different fabrics and weights, and monstrous jewelry. I can't wait!

#92 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 08:55 AM:

hwk: Who cares? Er, I do. When I go to buy a couple new pairs of pants and a new sweater this fall, I'd sort of like it to be in colours that I don't hate and that don't make me look terminally ill.

You can feel free to not care, though. I'll just be over there with the rest of the idiots who don't want to look like 1970s appliances.

#93 ::: Mris ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 09:49 AM:

A good friend of mine wears a size 16 and has been known to lament that the only clothing she can find in upstate New York stores implies that designers think 'plus sized' women truly love to wear bright orange tarps. Sadly, it's not just the Seattle area.

Also sadly, it's not just for women. I do clothing shopping for a couple of large male family members, and the large men's shops really, really want to sell them Construction Site Orange. We lived in an apartment complex with a man who was at least 6'5", 400#, possibly more in both dimensions, and he had a Construction Orange T-shirt reading, "I'm the big daddy." I was disinclined to argue with him.

I'm of the ghost-pale Scandinavian type, and I look good in orange. Some of it is ugly, and I refuse to wear it, but ugly tones can still be flattering to one's coloration. I can wear pastels if I want to convey the impression that I am someone's daughter or girlfriend and worthy of no attention whatsoever. Pastels on someone my shade of pale say, "Never mind me." I refuse.

I keep telling people I'm going to wake up an accidental Goth, because I just keep buying black. I like other colors. They're just not making dresses that fit me and look decent. Not in colors other than black.

You know how the fashion industry seems to be geared for skinny women with breasts? That's only the models. In the stores, you can find clothing that's meant to make skinny women look like they have breasts, or clothing that's meant to make medium-sized women look skinnier. But actually constructed for skinny women with breasts? No. We are just as out-of-luck as larger or flatter-chested women for finding actual clothes to put on our actual bodies.

#94 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 10:14 AM:

I don't pay any attention to fashion colors, as should be obvious to anyone who's met me. Still and all, sociologically fascinating.

Crystal Sky -- definite laughter, thank you.

#95 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 10:16 AM:

Mark me down as another short-waisted discontent who spent the 80s trying to find pants that didn't have an empire waist. And since I had dark-blonde hair and olive skin, the colors were likewise dreadful on me. I've known people to literally cry out in horror when I take something in that 80s pinky-mauve range and hold it up next to my face. Bah!

What you wouldn't know from looking at the current style of hip-huggers is that the 1960s/1970s versions were worn by normal people of all weights and sizes. There's nothing about the concept that requires that they ride down well below your hipbones. Neither do you have to wear them with a shirt that ends two inches short of your waistband. No clothing style suits everyone, but they came closer than most. If the waist length reached high enough to catch the incurve of your hips, and the circumference matched yours, they'd be wearable. High-waisted pants are a much tougher fit.

I'm wondering whether online retail is going to undermine arbitrary fashion changes. Mail-order catalogues do that to some extent. Online shopping is already the best way to find large-size clothing, which has always been an irrationally underserved market segment.

Thing is, what the current in-person retail model gives you is the appearance of a broad range of choices within what is actually a curtailed set. I discovered this the first time I took my own money -- fifty whole dollars! -- and went to the mall to shop for a winter coat. I wanted a good plain wool coat in black or navy. No dice. My only choices were cheap knockoffs of the YSL "rich peasant" look. In every store, the young women's coats were light blue, dusty pink, retriever gold, caramel, or some other unsuitable color, in heavyweight but synthetic fabric, trimmed with matching fake fur, bands of bad machine embroidery, multiple fake or nearly-fake pockets, and lots of buckled belts and straps whose shiny gold hardware was either plastic or hollow-cast base metal. They were trash waiting to happen.

If I hadn't been shopping on my own nickel, I'd have gotten the standard "that's what there is, pick one and let's go home" line; but I was, and I refused to spend my money on those coats. A week or two later, unusually, we happened to be going to Goldwater's -- at that time, the best department store in the Valley of the Sun -- so I had a look at the coats there. In a back corner of Ladies' Better Coats, marked down from ninety dollars to fifty, I found my plain black wool pea coat. It looked great on me, and lasted for years and years.

I was much struck by the whole experience. I knew that the coat I wanted had been the basic model for about a century and a half, and yet the only place that had one was the rich people's store. Our local mall, which when it first opened had seemed like such a dazzling trove of retail offerings (and it was, compared to what preceded it), had many stores but not much actual choice; and even if fashion didn't change, which of course it would, the cheap flashy coats they had for sale there wouldn't make it through the next winter. (My own coat, which cost twice as much, saw me through four or five winters before the lining wore out, and would still be in style if I wore it today.)

Getting sold something, I concluded, was not the same thing as buying what you want. Later on, I added: the less choice you have, the more likely they are to sell you cheap trash that's a bad buy at any price.

#96 ::: Andy "Crystal" Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 10:47 AM:

Tom, glad you liked it. After HwK popped up, I was afraid I'd created a monster. I believe that people should take credit or blame for their comments under their own name, or a screen name that can be readily associated with their own. (Exceptions: Forums that are intended to be anonymous, or political situations that would make speech impossible otherwise.) I left my usual email address in the Crystal post as a clue.

#97 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 10:49 AM:

TNH recalls:

I was much struck by the whole experience. I knew that the coat I wanted had been the basic model for about a century and a half, and yet the only place that had one was the rich people's store.Our local mall, which when it first opened had seemed like such a dazzling trove of retail offerings (and it was, compared to what preceded it), had many stores but not much actual choice; and even if fashion didn't change, which of course it would, the cheap flashy coats they had for sale there wouldn't make it through the next winter. (My own coat, which cost twice as much, saw me through four or five winters before the lining wore out, and would still be in style if I wore it today.)

I am reminded [and yet I forget in which of Practhett's books this happens] of Sam Vimes' contemplation of the differing economies of the rich and poor--the rich man buys boots at $50, which last forever, and can be resoled again and again, while the poor man pays $10 for a pair, and can't resole them because the uppers give out as soon as the soles do. He follows this up by considering that Lady Sibyl [except of course, for her hobby of breeding dragons] need soend very little--the furniture, which belonged to her ancestors, is still holding up, the wine cellar is well-stocked, her non-dragontending clothing is [like Teresa's pea coat] of sufficient quality and non-style that it will last forever...and so on. It's both a great piece of socio-political observation and a good shopping guide. I had a professor in college who simply had his Harris tweed jackets relined as the need arose--they were never fashionable or unfashionable. I think one was drawing near its silver anniversary, and at least one of the others were old enough to vote, had it been human. They didn't look aged and distressed, either--just "not new". Of course, I shudder to think what they had cost new, compared to a standard "sports coat" as sold to middle America. He certainly didn't buy one every year, or even every other year. But then, he didn't have to. They were there to stay.

#98 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 11:17 AM:

> Gray is the new black.

Thank god for that, because that's the colour all my black clothes have been slowly turning over the last few years.

("I'm more kind of... charcoal")

#99 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 11:17 AM:

Teresa --

Vimes' Boots!

Terry Pratchett had a considerable discussion of this in one book, courtesy of Sir Samuel Vimes. A poor man buys cheap boots, and, over the ten year life time of the good boots the rich man buys, spends much more money in total replacing the one year lifespan cheap boots than the rich man spends.

And, quoth the character, at the end of this, the rich man has spent less and has had dry feet all along.

I can wear almost anything, colour wise; heck, I can wear a pretty pure cyan. The problem I have is with fit -- the expected ratio between thigh and waist circumferences seems to have been set for very skinny people in typical men's pants -- and with sturdiness. (well, and with bringing myself to care what I look like, beyond 'neat', 'clean', and 'not memorably awful'.)

As a result, pretty much everything I've bought for the last six, seven years has come from the Mountain Equipment Co-op -- they do sturdy, I have some hope that they source clothing from well-conducted suppliers, and they nearly always have a tolerable blue, grey, or black version of the item available -- or a local not-quite-bespoke speciality shop for the large and tall. (I don't get to shop many places where I'm decidedly on the small side of the clientele.)

I find it's a pretty good way of ignoring fashion; then again, I can ignore fashion. I'd be much grumpier if I had to work at a bank.

#100 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 11:19 AM:

Ode to Quality: For years, my favorite garments were two bespoke, cotton, button-down shirts, inherited from a wealthy, distant relative. I wore them all through my high school (and some of my college) years. Their original owner was a rather large man, so the shoulders drooped and the tails hung halfway to my knees. Two turns of the cuff took the sleeves to perfect wrist-length. Together with jeans and an Indian scarf (sparkly threads woven at wide intervals into light, patterned cotton. Fringe. You know the kind - all the rage in the 80's), they were my "uniform." They finally gave up the ghost in late college, having served their original owner and me for I don't know how many years. I wish I still had them. sigh

#101 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 11:29 AM:

I have one color I really like which only comes into fashion for about a month every three years or so. I call it "Last Unicorn Purple" because I can immediately describe it to members of my generation as "the color of the Last Unicorn's eyes." It's a very-deep-but-not-easily-mistakable-for-blue purple. The thing is, I can never tell which color spectrum it will show up in. Last time it was "purple is the new pink." Before that it was "jewel tones for everyone... but only in Autumn!"

I've somehow managed to acquire a good amount of this in my short life, as well as some "Lavender, like the actual flower." I didn't realize this until I moved to Japan for a year, packing only my favorite outfits. At one point at a party a classmate commented,

"You seem to wear a lot of purple, is that your signature color?"

Ye gods! I was secretly fashionable. That's a great way to put it... signature color.

If you are a fairly short person looking for pants, I strongly recommend a store called "New York and Company"

At one point I was walking to dinner with a friend when she started staring at me. After a few moments she grabbed my arm.

"Do what?"
"The cuffs of your pants!"

My cuffs were actually an appropriate length and didn't drag in the dirt when I wore thin-soled flats. My friends who are 4'11 to 5'2 find that the petites at that store actually fit us. The sizes are also reasonable... I'm a 5'2 size 12, and they actually understand this! I'm not sure if they carry many sizes above 18, though.

I've also found that I can tell what year a home decorating show was filmed by what color they paint the walls. There was a year when sickly deep aqua rooms were in, then red, and last year it was ugly-mustard. Then there's the one decorator on Trading Spaces, Frank, who does whatever the heck he thinks is cool. I like Frank because he listens to what the people want, not to the color conspiracy.

As my friends and I say "Ah. It looks like Ugly is in again this year."

#102 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 12:25 PM:

Fascinating discussion! Great to see comments from people of such varied sizes, skin tones, and genders, as opposed to the "girl talk" of some hideous past decade. I'm another of those size 12 petites, able to wear most colors but doomed to roll up my pants cuffs or double up the waist more often than I'd like -- so I'll have to check out that NY Co. and see if I can afford it.

Way up-thread, the picture of Bhutan colors gave me a somewhat unpleasant jolt. My faves are on my "Tibetan dragon rug" mousepad: various shades of green-blue, light to dark coral, and a bit of tan. Being past 50 and self-employed, I have no need to appear fashionable, but in summer I can always rely on my vast collection of old short-sleeve shirts, T's, and bizarrely patterned socks. (The result looks better than it sounds.)

Thanks for a fun morning's reading!

#103 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 12:47 PM:

I buy pants that fit my waist, and have them altered. It's pretty fruitless looking for pants that actually fit.

It was worse when I was looking for 40 X 29s. Next time I go shopping for pants, I'll be looking for 32 X 29s. And not finding them, but the altered 32 X 32s I'll probably get instead will look better than the altered 40 X 34s did. I hope.

I was in a sporting goods store recently, and they had about 10 racks of cargo pants. NOT ONE of those pants had a length below 34. What, if you're below 5'10" you can't have cargo pants? (I'm hoping it was the overstock from a real store, and that I'll be able to get my size if I go to Ban a Republican.

#104 ::: Brian Ledford ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 12:58 PM:

re: pants, I depend on the gap online as I'm also outside the norm (29W, 34L). Although given the wide range of complaints, I'm beginning to wonder for whom they do make clothes. It sounds like skinny and short doesn't work, skinny and tall doesn't work; larger and short, and larger and tall are also badly served. Maybe they just leave the shelves stocked with what doesn't sell?


#105 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 01:00 PM:

Xopher wrote:
I was in a sporting goods store recently, and they had about 10 racks of cargo pants. NOT ONE of those pants had a length below 34. What, if you're below 5'10" you can't have cargo pants?

Sorry, that statement just struck me as odd, seeing as I'm 6'1" and I have a 32" inseam. I have to find "big and tall" shirts, just to have enough material left to tuck into pants....

#106 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 01:06 PM:

I wonder if the fashion colors are chosen to make particular people look good or bad. Oh, gods, imagine a fashion-conscious president! Like a royal court--colors chosen to make the king look good, and the rest be damned; one's chances for social advancement would be influenced by the precise relation of one's skin color to the king's.

The CMG's 2003 samples don't seem to provide anything for east Asians or most blacks. There is also a second list of "contract colors" that seems to be intended for buildings and interiors. The 2004 "directions" include such colors as "phosphorous", "depth", and "myth". Myth?

#107 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 01:07 PM:

Xopher -

It's some sort of conspiracy! I get so tired of never being able to find pants shorter than a 34 - and with the cargo pants, they often have some sort of detail at the ankles that makes it harder to have them shortened. I'm also not at all interested in the MC Hammer look.

Thinking about the length, I've seen a lot of kids wandering around with their hems dragging on the pavement - and I still can't decide if it's a fashion statement, inability to hem pants [or use an iron and iron-on tape], or inability to find pants of a reasonable length combined with the above.

Mountain Hardware do make a wonderful hiking pant that's the right length, amazingly comfortable and amazingly durable. They aren't particularly cheap - hovering around $80 USD - but thus far the first issue that I've had in 4 years of heavy wear is the snap at the waist popping off [and it's done so in a repairable fashion, at that!]. When they're fairly new, they even come close to passing for business casual [mine are now at an age where it's clear that they've been abused for a number of years]

#108 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 01:25 PM:

During my emaciated period, when I was first being medicated for narcolepsy, I got down to something around a size 4 (or less, or more, depending on the style), and discovered that very small sizes are just as unreliable as large ones. I think my favorite moment came when I tried on a long-sleeved dress that was supposed to be belted, and realized that the bottom inch and a half of the underarm seam infracted the dress's designated waistline. I still wonder whether any of those sold.

#109 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 01:36 PM:

Another interesting economic detail of the clothing world I've discovered is that a $25 size 16 is a different size from a $100 size 16, which is even altogether different from a $400 size 16. The higher the prices go, the larger the garment actually is, in contrast to its stated size. By the time you're paying Really Big Bucks, what might have been size 16 becomes, in fact, a size 12 or so. This applies all through the spectrum of female clothing sizes. Since men's clothing [very sensibly] goes by actual measurements [or is supposed to, anyway] I guess the economic flattery for the big spenders doesn't carry across genders--or am I mistaken?

#110 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 01:58 PM:

It's some sort of conspiracy! I get so tired of never being able to find pants shorter than a 34 - and with the cargo pants, they often have some sort of detail at the ankles that makes it harder to have them shortened. I'm also not at all interested in the MC Hammer look.

You're right that it's a conspiracy, but wrong about the means. They're not short-stocking particular sizes, they've just got special Fashion Illuminati elves who remvoe whatever size you're looking for just as you walk into the store. I'm always looking for 34's, and can never seem to find them (at least, not with a 40 waist).

I can usually find something that I wouldn't object to wearing, but I can never find shirts that actually fit in stores any more. Eddie Bauer stores in the DC area used to stock a few XXL-Tall items, but the introduction of their "in-store catalog order" kiosks has put an end to that. It's annoying, because they make some nice stuff, but the in-store order process is just irritating enough to be a real barrier to purchase.

(What I want is to be able to take a shirt to the counter, and say "I want this in XXL-Tall," and have the clerk say "OK, that will ship within the week." Instead, I have to find the item in the catalog and place the order over the phone, just as if I was doing it from home, only at the mall. If I wanted to discuss the idiot names they give to colors with phone bank staff in Bangalore, I could do that from the comfort of home, and save the aggravation of finding a parking space.)

#111 ::: David ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 01:59 PM:
Acier-Sounds like French, but this steely gray is really from Pittsburgh, and has universal appeal. It is an expansion of the cool metals.

Acier is French for steel.

#112 ::: Mris ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 02:02 PM:

I have a pair of cotton twill shorts that turn 14 this month: I got them for my twelfth birthday. My godfathers had a habit of shopping at expensive clothing stores for me even when I was still growing (it turns out I wasn't). They used to be a slightly darker color of sage than they are now. They are quite wearable still, and comfortable, and I love them. I'd write a testimonial letter to the shop, except I'm afraid they'd think, "Ack, and she hasn't bought another pair in 14 years! Better make things shoddier!"

One women's clothing store had what I thought was a brilliant idea this fall: they were going to name the cuts of their pants. You could go in, try on the different names, and figure out what you were. They had different degrees of curvature, and all styles were available in Petite, Regular, and Tall. I was an Avery 2-Regular. Brilliant! I would be able to come in, the salespeople assured me, and buy Avery 2-Rs in whatever fabric and color they had for the season. If I didn't change, the pants wouldn't, either. They fit. They were comfortable and fit.

They still have this gimmick, but they discontinued my pants. The Averys. So other people can still come in and buy what fit in the fall, but people my general shape in a range of sizes get told, "well, the Allergists are very similar to the Averys...." But they're not. I tried them on in the fall, and they didn't fit then. (They aren't actually called Allergists, but as they don't fit me, I didn't bother to remember what they are called. Something with an a.)

I've gotten used to clothing from a given store fitting entirely differently from garment to garment, but not when their selling point was continuity. It just seems unfair and silly.

#113 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 02:30 PM:

julia: check out how many names there are for purpley maroon and maroony purple.

When you draw three-dimensional objects in Mathematica, the color model it uses makes them mostly come out in shades of purple. Hence the maxim, "You can have any color of graph you like, as long as it's mauve."

Randall P.: They had some style back in the depression. I've officially decided that no one from the years 1930 to 1945 dressed poorly.

Yes, but the style was ecologically unsustainable. Consider the extinction of the zoots, eh, pachuco?

Randall P.: "Coppertunity" rules! Can I put that on a t-shirt?

Probably, for a modest royalty, or an ambush lawsuit.

#114 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 02:44 PM:

Hah. I KNEW there was a reason for my urge to buy every blue-undertoned dark red shirt and ball of yarn I see. Since now I know they'll have to last a few years, I'll feel much less guilty about it.

And to the men looking for shorter, smaller sizes fo pants, I have to let you in on a secret: women are getting to them first. At least, my friends and I are. Stores just haven't taken that into account yet. In the men's department, both colors and fit seem a little more consistent (no I don't want aqua capris), the quality is two notches higher, and they're cheaper. Plus they fit waistless hipless wonders such as myself.

Sorry 'bout that. I'll remember to leave the last pair for you, next time.

#115 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 03:33 PM:

Chad --

That is precisely why I like that big and tall speciality shop -- they have this wall of shirts, and they measure your neck and your arms and your collar-waist distance, and the salesbeing (who understands how the wall is indexed) can just hand you shirts which fit.

They tend to cost between 100 and 140 CDN, is the only real down side of this. (These are dress shirts, of the 'good for a decade or more' quality level, so I don't mind, it just make accumulating more kinda slow.)

So, if you're going to be in Toronto, let me know, and I'll send you the address; once they've got you on file I believe that they do indeed to mail order.

#116 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 03:57 PM:

That is precisely why I like that big and tall speciality shop -- they have this wall of shirts, and they measure your neck and your arms and your collar-waist distance, and the salesbeing (who understands how the wall is indexed) can just hand you shirts which fit.

It turns out that despite being both big and tall, I'm actually kind of borderline for the "Big and Tall" specialty shops. I can find jeans and kakhis in regular stores with no problem, and XXL T-shirts fit just fine. It's only in dress shirts that I need unavailable sizes (plain XXL shirts won't stay tucked in), and what I need is on the small side of what the specialty stores stock.

I mostly don't bother with the specialty stores, because at least in DC, what they had in stock was usually pretty shoddy. And most good quality stores can special-order XXLT items, which works fine.

It also keeps me from buying more clothes than I really need (I've already got more stuff than Kate has, I think...).

#117 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 04:15 PM:

Chad --

If memory serves, you're larger than I am, and their range of stuff covers my size pretty well.

These guys don't do shoddy; they're the kind of place where, when they hem the pants you just bought to length, summon an Italian tailor slightly older than God out of the back room to make chalk marks and mutter about your taste in shoes.

You're lucky that standard XXLT fits you; I still have a choice between being choked and looking like I stole the shirt from an orangutan with standard shirt proportions.

#118 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 04:33 PM:

Shopping was a lot easier when it was harder.

Time was Brooks Brothers' sold shirts that would last until the next time through New York and had the stock to sell everything I wanted on the one afternoon in a year or three I might be there.

With a Brooks Brothers' in half the factory outlet malls in the United States the shirts didn't last and they are not in stock.

Still wearing a tie (only locally of course) patterned after the Guards tie Edward VIII (Duke of Windsor) paraded through the U.S of A. in the 1930's though.

I wonder where Bob Forward bought his vests, without the Harris Tweed sportcoats I miss the coat pockets more than anything.

#119 ::: jeffy ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 04:57 PM:

I have a friend from Bangalore who worked here in Seattle with me for a while. Every time he went home for a visit he'd come back with a set of new clothes hand made by his tailor at absurdly low cost. Might be worth the trip!

I keep threatening to find someone in my area to make me clothes that fit, look good on me, and will last. I think fear of the price tag has kept me from embarking on this mission, that and not really knowing where to start looking.

Has anybody here done this? How'd you go about it? How did it work out?

#120 ::: Kim Wallmark ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 04:58 PM:

Also, it seems to me that some colors stay in no matter what, but have to keep getting renamed to stay 'hip:' black, the 'purpley maroon,' navy, and slate gray/steel blue.

What are some of the names for slate/steel? I love and look good in grays and blues, but I have trouble finding them, especially blues that are neither navy, aqua, nor pastel. It would help if I could communicate with salesclerks in their native tongue.

On oranges: the Multnomah County Library has a T-shirt in a burnt orange that seems to look fine on everyone I've seen in it. It doesn't truly flatter anyone, but it doesn't look bad either.

#121 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 05:35 PM:

Chad mused:

(What I want is to be able to take a shirt to the counter, and say "I want this in XXL-Tall," and have the clerk say "OK, that will ship within the week." Instead, I have to find the item in the catalog and place the order over the phone, just as if I was doing it from home, only at the mall. If I wanted to discuss the idiot names they give to colors with phone bank staff in Bangalore, I could do that from the comfort of home, and save the aggravation of finding a parking space.)

Heh. Before my sweetie lost weight, he wore an 19" neck and 36" sleeve shirt. Those were a right pain to find in anything interesting [not that he'd actually -wear- anything interesting... but that's another story].

Then there was the time that I ordered a burgandy velvet coat, which turned out to be pinky-purple [emphasis on the -pink-] when it appeared. Ugh.

#122 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 05:38 PM:

Graydon -

What store are you talking about?!? I'd love to be able to get my sweetie some things that fit properly!

Neiman-Marcus also seem to stock european tailors from the renaissance in all of their stores - but their size range doesn't quite work.

#123 ::: Castiron ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 05:46 PM:

I'm profoundly grateful for good local thrift shops, because otherwise I'd never have found jeans that remotely fit. Even if I looked good in low-cut jeans, I'd always feel like they were fixing to fall off.

I'm also grateful for having such a huge pile of shirts that they'll last until the colors I like come back in. And for having a sewing machine and a decent basic shirt pattern.

#124 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 05:55 PM:

Xeger --

The store is called Kingsport; it's on Eglington between Young and Avenue Road.

#125 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 06:08 PM:

Clark E Myers:

You ask:

"I wonder where Bob Forward bought his vests?"

The late Dr. Robert Forward, one of my favorite co-authors, told me that his wife made most of them for him, custom, when ever she could but really outrageous material (usually silk) in eye-croggling colors and patterns. (By the way, do you know about the 17 Wallpaper Groups, all of which were discovered by Islamic artisans, and one having been missed in Japan, China, Korea?)

Both Hughes Research, Malibu, and the Pentagon got used to people saying: "I'm trying to track down this guy who made a presentation; I don't remember his name, but he wore these vests which..."

They would cut off the inquiry with "You are thinking of Bob Forward!"

There's some terrible message from the Cold Equations universe that both he and Charles Sheffield died of brain cancer within weeks of each other. They were two of the greatest gentlemen in the Science and Science Fiction fields, and gave new meaning to "HARD Science Fiction" -- their fiction had patentable ideas (and Bob did often file for and get the patents).

#126 ::: epistole ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 06:19 PM:
Christina Schulman ::: July 14, 2004, 01:19 PM:
And here I'd been coordinating around po-mo pink and Cerenkov blue.
At least we're not wearing duct-taped 'i''s on our foreheads yet.

.epistole, sitting on the launchpad, itching.

#127 ::: hweaver ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 06:44 PM:

Seems like a shame to talk colors without this photo of Pat Boone at the Sanctity of Marriage press conference:

#128 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 07:19 PM:

When did Pat go to work for Caltrans?

#129 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 08:01 PM:

I stopped by my friend Mark's furniture store today and all the living room furniture in the front windows were rusty orange, avocado, brown, or cream. He says the avocados are selling like crazy. Back in the recliner furniture area, there's a bright orange recliner of which he figures he's personally sold more than a hundred.

I buy clothes from here:

and they mean it when they say "large and supersize women."

I do think some of their silk/rayon/linen fancy dresses and outfits would look nice on Mary Kay, but they've already sold out of them for the summer. Maybe she should sign up for the fall/winter catalog.

#130 ::: Rachel Brown ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 08:05 PM:

I'm waiting for puke and dying Spaniard to come back in.

#131 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 08:50 PM:

Once upon a time, not so long ago, mens clothes were measured in inches, and they were repeatable. Some still are: buying Levi's Dockers I can just say 32 inches here, 34 inches there, pleated front. Pick a colour, buy, no need to try them on: they fit.

As the psycho on the telly over here puts it: "Does exactly what it says on the tin".

Increasingly however, men's shirts are not labelled 17 1/2" collar, tailored fit, regular arms, but "L".


I am not a letter, I am a whole series of Imperial measurements!

#132 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 09:42 PM:

Before my sweetie lost weight, he wore an 19" neck and 36" sleeve shirt. Those were a right pain to find in anything interesting [not that he'd actually -wear- anything interesting... but that's another story].

I know exactly what you mean. The dress shirt that goes with my suit (singular, though I occasionally think I ought to own a second) is a 19-37-Tall. That was a special order, but as the salesman pointed out, it didn't take any longer for the shirt to arrive than it was taking them to tailor the suit anyway. It was worth it, too-- I can get away with an 18-3/4 neck (which they had in stock), new, but after a couple of washes, it's chokingly small.

Standard XXLT shirts fit all right, though I never wear them with the top button done up, and usually roll the sleeves up as well. It's good to be an academic.

#133 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2004, 10:39 PM:

Kim, slate and steel are cool grays--steel is slightly bluish; slate is slightly blue-green. These are considered "mild winter" colors.

Definition of color "seasons". The usual system of matching colors to skin tones divides colors along two axes: warm/cool and saturated/un. This gives a four-quadrant chart.

warm cool
sat. | fall winter |
un- | spring summer |

#134 ::: Stefanie Murray ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 12:54 AM:

Broadway Bronze-This dark and murky complex neutral is pulled from the streets of the concrete jungle.

Not the most felicitous choice of phrasing, if you consider the origins of dark and murky stuff that's really pulled from the streets of the urban jungle. Generally hoses are involved.

#135 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 01:35 AM:

Indeed, just this morning the 'quirky' Column 8 retailed a story that on the footpath in one of the swankier Sydney precincts was a spectacularly large & impressive dog dropping. Not uncommon, but it was attracting extra attention because someone had made a small sign on a stick and stuck it into the doo-doo. It said: "Believe It Or Not! Amazing natural replica of dog-owner's brain!"

(Or words to that effect - Column 8 - couldn't resist the connexion)

#136 ::: Sara E. ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 03:46 AM:

Went shopping the other day, after reading this thread and I found that I looked at everything with a new, more critical eye toward color.

At one end of the story were the "late summer/early fall" clothes which were all in the pastel range or grayed down enough to go with khaki or grayed down denim.

On the other side were more "late fall/early winter" which were VERY royal blues, vivid pinks and lime/avocado greens. With some strong red thrown in for good measure. Then there were some terra-cotta like oranges thrown into the mix.

Interestingly enough, a TON of yellow and orange shirts from the summer were sitting on the sales rack, while the more subdued colors were well picked over. Black and white were well represented, but then again, how many black shirt does one actually need?

#137 ::: Sara E. ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 03:48 AM:

Errghh, I meant "how many black shirts" not "shirt".

Feh. Hate it when I miss something.

#138 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 07:17 AM:

With a Brooks Brothers' in half the factory outlet malls in the United States the shirts didn't last and they are not in stock.

Aha - Clark, you have stumbled upon the great BB fraud. I has suspected the following was true, but it was confirmed to me by the CEO of Jos. A. Bank (who unfortunately does not make women's clothes, but there you go). He told me he thinks the following may be BB's downfall as the business model is so stupid:

When you go into those factory outlet stores, you may note that all of those labels read "365" rather than "Brooks Brothers." That's because BB has a whole separate line o' crap that they pump out just to keep those outlet stores in seasonal attire. Everything there (unless the label is an original BB label, which means it was in an original store and didn't sell) is of vastly poorer quality than BB merch you'd get in a regular BB store. Fabric, fit, even the stitching is poorer. Buyer beware.

(Sidenote on business model: divert company resources to lower-margin stores, damage company brand by putting garbage in the hands of consumers, many of whom are used to higher quality. Dumb, dumb, dumb.)

Even worse, the quality at BB's regular stores has fallen off dramatically in the last five years as well (can somebody tell me WHY you can't find lined women's wool trousers any more?). But it's not as bad as those infernal outlets.

#139 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 07:35 AM:

Jill Smith wrote:
But it's not as bad as those infernal outlets.

No kidding!

My mother-in-law works at a store in a Very Large Outlet Mall, and thinks that All Good Purchases are made therein....

The *only* thing I've ever bought there successfully are shoes (because, well, you have to try them on by default) and cookware (because I don't care about the color, just the weight and construction of my skillets).

There's always going to be different 'quality' levels for any type of merchandise--- my wife wanted to kill me for suggesting that I purchase a bicycle for my son at, of all places, the bike shop. He's going to be 8 this fall, he's got the inseam to fit on a bike with 20" wheels, and I'd like to get a frame that'll last him a long while....

My daughter (turns 5 in september), on the other hand-- I have little or no objections to buying a small bike from $random_bigbox_dept_store, since I know she's going to grow out of it in two years anyways.... go figure.

#140 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 08:21 AM:

You know, the knowledge that there's a quasi-shadowy cabal behind the shapeshifting abomination that is Fashion actually makes me feel better about it. The idea that it's just something that arises organically from the Zeitgeist is too horrible to contemplate.

I spent enough of my formative years at the pointy end of fashion snark that I can't sit through five minutes of What Not to Wear without being inspired to give both hosts a beating-to-death, but now I understand that they're only an arm of the monster. Obviously it's too vast and bloated and evil to ever truly destroy, but nihilistic despair in the face of that is something I can cope with.

So I sigh, and accumulate black XXL Polo t-shirts (which are comfy and last forever), and assure myself that Drab and Brooding are always in style again eventually.

(On which note, damn your eyes, Hitler Wore Khaki, for my never being able to hear this the same again.)

Hitler comes in khakis
Khakis come on Hitler
Taupe. Taupe. Taupe. Taupe.

#141 ::: Jen ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 10:05 AM:

Re: Brooks Brothers

I wonder if that's how the manufacturers came up with the Armani Jeans line? Although the one shirt I found at Goodwill does seem of good quality and has lasted for a while.

The color discussion has been fascinating. It does make sense that there's a group of people behind the next season's colors... not that I care.

I buy 80% of my clothes at Goodwill anyway. And since I'm such a cheapskate, it's probably good that I do that since I end up with a higher quality of clothing than I would buy in the stores. I can't turn down cashmere sweaters from Harrods for $1.50. :)

#142 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 11:16 AM:

I'm rather abashed to admit that I've found Calvin Klien jeans are my best fit to date. I'm used to people wearing designer jeans for the label, not for the fit, so I'm left feeling revoltingly pretentious.

#143 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 12:46 PM:

"...pulled from the streets of the concrete jungle...."

Block that metaphor!

#144 ::: Ken ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 12:50 PM:

Of course as Private Eye recently pointed out, in Roman times XL was smaller than L, XXXL was tiny, but M was absolutely gigantic.

#145 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 12:52 PM:

Now I understand why I've taken a liking to black in the last two years -- it's now "out".

#146 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 12:54 PM:

D'oh. Shoulda read the comments first. "Po-mo pink and Cerenkov blue", yeah, and I've been thinking hard about duct tape accessorizing. (Just reread that this week, actually...)

#147 ::: Jonquil ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 01:25 PM:

The thing that makes in-person shopping a living hell is inventory management. Because clothing has a limited shelf-life and Macy's don't want to get stuck with Archangel's Pee blouses when Devil's Dung replaces them, the buyers order a limited range of sizes and don't restock. So I drag the one simple white blouse, size 12, into the fitting room, only to find that I'm actually a 14 in that line. When I carry the blouse back to the rack, they're out of all other sizes.

This is why I love online shopping. I may have to guess at the fit and the becomingness, but at least I don't have to walk back and forth and back again to determine whether it's available in my size.

#148 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 01:43 PM:

And they order flat distributions, too. T-shirts come in S, M, L, XL, XXL. They order 10 of each, the morons. People, of course, are mostly M and L. So you go to the store, see the color you want, and it's suitable for a ballgown or a loincloth, but nothing in between.

#149 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 02:33 PM:

Don't knock Coppertunity! Coppertunity has Joementum!

#150 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 02:57 PM:

I hear loincloths are coming back, actually.

#151 ::: Tracina ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 03:07 PM:

Andrew informed us:
I hear loincloths are coming back, actually.

There is a group that has, for many years, been lobbying to bring back the codpiece, as it's far more sensible and useful than a necktie.

#152 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 03:26 PM:

I hear there's a new Illuminati color: Bohemian Mauve.

#153 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 04:01 PM:

Our local mall, which when it first opened had seemed like such a dazzling trove of retail offerings (and it was, compared to what preceded it), had many stores but not much actual choice;

This is the kind of thing I mean when I start bloviating about the diminishing lack of choice for the American consumer. You can have shoes in any color you like, if you wear medium. Now that Bon/Macy's has quite carrying narrow widths in stock (they'll special order narrows in a small limited range -- but hell I can do tht myself online) the only place in Seattle where I know I can buy shoes is Nordstroms.

If you drink coffee the amazing range of flavors and styles and combinations is dazzling. If you drink iced tea, you may be out of luck, especially if you don't want it presweetened.

My favorite pre-made pasta sauce used to come in 16oz and 32 oz jars. Not any more, 32 oz only.

I can on like this for days, so I'd better shut up now.


#154 ::: Yoon Ha Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 04:27 PM:

Not that I have it nearly as bad, but my mom used to complain that clothes-shopping for me in Korea was obnoxious because everything my size had sleeves too short. I also apparently have more-than-usually-narrow shoulders, which is also a pain.

I am reminded of all the reasons I loathe clothes shopping and avoid doing so whenever possible. Unfortunately, I don't have the compensation of knowing how to sew anything but felt pseudo-ki-rin and horses.

#155 ::: Deborah Green ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 05:01 PM:

I'm way behind in the comments...

fidelio wrote:

"Another interesting economic detail of the clothing world I've discovered is that a $25 size 16 is a different size from a $100 size 16, which is even altogether different from a $400 size 16. "

There are no standards in the garment industry. Every designer picks out his or her ideal figure (size 6 or 8) and grades up and down from there.

>The higher the prices go, the larger the garment actually is, in contrast to its stated size. By the time you're paying Really Big Bucks, what might have been size 16 becomes, in fact, a size 12 or so. This applies all through the spectrum of female clothing sizes.

This is very common. What used to be a size 10 in Donna Karen's line in the late 80's is now a size 2. Valentino is outrageous. A friend of mine who wears a size 6 in companies like Banana Republic couldn't fit into a size 16.

Many designers don't design for "plus size" markets, which is ridiculous. More than 50% of American women are 5'2" or shorter as well as size 12 and larger. If designers do have larger sizes, the assumption is that the larger sized woman is tall.

And for those wondering why colors have such outrageous names, fashion designers are always looking for some new way to market colors and styles. When I was working in the garment industry, I was always dragged into meetings about naming garments. The meetings were miserable. Outrageous names were the result of the legal department rejecting all the options my co-workers had put together.

#156 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 06:05 PM:

the quality at BB's regular stores has fallen off dramatically in the last five years as well

I used to see a salesman from Brooks occasionally in the Lion's Head, and he said that they were trying to get rid of the old-time sales guys so they could pay straight salary or a lower commission - I think the american corporate disease of trying to save money by selling crap has taken hold there.

My dad's Brooks Brothers is all thirty and forty years old.

#157 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 09:15 PM:

If you ever want an astonishing clothes shopping experience, stop by Louis Boston ("Looie's" to the locals). Perhaps this would be a good Worldcon activity. It makes Brooks Brothers look like K-Mart. The white t-shirts are $150. Last time I was in there, I tried on a $4200 sports jacket.

I must admit, it was a nice jacket.

#158 ::: Kylee Peterson ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2004, 10:24 PM:

Mary Kay,

It's always been Nordstrom for narrow shoes here. My feet will fit medium-width shoes now, but when I was a kid my family had to bring me to Seattle (from Poulsbo, a ferry trip plus half an hour) every time I needed shoes. This would have been fine had we been able to afford it.

Have you tried Yazdi for dressy clothes in Seattle? The unfortunately named Yazdi Too, in Wallingford Center, is the plus-size specialty store of the chain, and usually has most of the same selection the main stores have. Yazdi's heyday, in my opinion, was when they had the soft, ankle-length knit circle skirts with pockets, but they had a lot of bright, interesting stuff last time I was in.

#159 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2004, 12:35 AM:

Kylee, when we were stationed overseas, my mother would draw around my feet and send the drawing along with a description of what I needed to Nordies. They'd send a selection and we sent back what didn't work and paid for what did.

When I got sick and gained all this weight, I was hoping my feet would get wider, but nooooo, they got a size longer.

This is not quite a circle skirt, but close:

You can have it as long as you like and with pockets. (I buy bras and panties here.)

#160 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2004, 12:50 AM:

I still own a classic black pinstripe suit from Brooks Brothers. I can't fit into the pants, but the coat still looks wonderful. My Dad bought it for me at the original New York store, when I was in High School (Stuyvesant) in 1967. It predates the first manned moon landing, and that was 35 years ago this week.

I quoted "pink is the new black" to my college son. He looked puzzled. "Josie and the Pussycats," I said. He looked more puzzled. "The cartoon or the movie?" he finally asked.

Fooey on fashion. Unless truth itself's gone out of fashion, then we're in big trouble.

#161 ::: Vera Nazarian ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2004, 07:25 AM:

This is a fun conversation!

I personally like the secondary and tertiary non-pure colors. They remind me of jewels and natural crystals, hues misted over....

Colors have been of particular importance to me for a while now, as an artist, and also as a philosophical basis for my novel LORDS OF RAINBOW. Some of you might have seen the "Lords of Rainbow meme" all over LiveJournal and elsewhere, so, here is a personality color quiz I've created, that you might enjoy:

Tilirr Color Quiz

This started out as a marketing promo tool for my novel, but sort of took on a life of its own as a personality profiler.

#162 ::: Laurie Sefton ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2004, 01:08 PM:

I just checked through the Talbots early fall (for me in SJ, clothes through to the end of Dec), and hey, I'm happy!

They're showing ivory, gold, rust, russset, and dk olive. As a green-eyed, pale-pink skinned, auburn haired type, I've suffered through the seasons of hot pink, watermelon red (or any of the blue-reds, thanks), red-reds, and other stuff that basically makes me look like an ad for fever.

#163 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2004, 02:05 PM:

Rejecting the colors of current "style" is a test of will against the forces of darkness. Remember Galadriel's great line in Peter Jackson's Tolkien, after she nearly takes the Ring offered her from Frodo, and transforms, concluding "All shall love me and despair!" She rejects the Ring, saying:

"I pass the test.
I will diminish and go into the West."

Reject the Colors of Power, and you will be diminished (i.e. not given the best table at trendy restaurants), but must flee to the West of California's uniquely take on style (related to "Googly Architecture" and Hollywood?), the Pacific Northwest's post-grunge look, Vancouver's Bill Gibsonian Techno-Punk, and the Arizona/New Mexico faux Cowboys & Indians turquoise/silver melange...

A Fairy Queen once passed the test;
diminished and went to the West.
She asked, with a moan,
"I wonder which tone
Goes with a mithril-chain vest?"

#164 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2004, 02:12 PM:

"I wonder which tone
Goes with a mithril-chain vest?"

Cool colors I should think; blues and violets would be lovely.


#165 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2004, 12:54 AM:

Lovely quiz, Vera! I found its results an astonishingly good "cold reading", and another online community I shared it with has had many folks who found it good. Thanks for posting it here.

#166 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2004, 01:49 AM:

Vera, mine also seemed accurate, although blue is not a favorite color.

I recently did a quiz on which DWJ character I was and I had to read _Archer's Goon_ to find that the quiz was fairly accurate. I *am* a lot like Catriona Sykes.

#167 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2004, 01:52 AM:

"...which tone/goes with a mithril-chain vest?"

"We're going to -try- and get you out of the green phase and into something a little less verdant, if you follow. West Country jeans in a pale shade of dried pipeweed, slightly distressed for that 'hustle up that latte,my horsie's double-parked' look, and a side-buttoned orcsblood silk shirt from Miss Shelob's Lair. And, since you obviously must have something to charm an Ent's taste, an acid-green hanky in the pocket. -Another- pocket, please. Good. As for the vest, we all understand you have troll issues, so it stays under protest. Just don't flap your arms; it'll make you look like a crocheted deLorean."

-- Lidless Eye for the Half Guy, Third Season

#168 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2004, 05:21 AM:

"We're going to -try- and get you out of the green phase and into something a little less verdant, if you follow. [...]"

Glork! Um, bloggy award, in acid green? What color *is* acid green, anyway?

#169 ::: antukin ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2004, 10:10 PM:

mwahahahaha! lidless eye for the half guy! miss shelob's lair! *wipes away tears of laughter and looks around for someone to share this peculiar humor with*

#170 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2004, 10:55 PM:

Well, I have to admit that I just bought a burnt orange suitcase. The choices (in the style I wanted) were purple (eggplant!), bright red, black, and burnt orange. I figured that the orange would stand out the most in the luggage pickup area....

#171 ::: james henry ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2004, 08:41 AM:

It's when 'The Colour out of Space' is the New Black that we really have to worry...

#172 ::: Adam Ek ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2004, 09:50 AM:

I'm not sure I'd recognize Patrick if he wasn't wearing black.

#173 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2004, 12:30 PM:

The Men in Coppertunity:
Red Rush Rap in the Key of Will Smith

Jonathan Vos Post
Copyright © 2004 by Magic Dragon Multimedia

So you think color's conspiracy?
Hold on to your hat and look at me:
We are the folks from CMG!
And the difference is,
It looks good on me!

That's C as in Color, we’re colory
From your eyes into your medullary,
To drive you out of your skullery.

M as in Marketing,
Lighting and darketing,
Anodized sparkleting
Raid the Lost Arketing.

G as in Group,
The Rainbow Troop,
We nut-brown your nuts,
Pea-green in your soup,
In a six-month loop,
Now here is the scoop.

You might think
that we're Science Fiction,
With our colorful diction,
And freedom from friction,
But whatever you see
Comes from our prediction.

Still holding on to your hat-able?
We coerce the world
To be color-compatible!

CMGs, what’s got in' 'o ya?
Let's all meet in Virginia.

In Alexandria,
Our flag's unfurled:
Today the palette,
Tomorrow the World!
Our secret mission,
Til death, from birth,
We'll tone and own
The whole Good Earth [1].

Since '62 we’ve been getting together,
Two thousand strong
No matter the weather,
It's the Crystal Sky [2]
Of a sunny day,
With a true Knew Blue [3],
In a Hope Blue [4] way.

Each conspiring compatriot
Brushing from Taos [5] to Camelot,
Polka-dot in each microdot,
Ties your optic nerves
In a granny-knot;
We are the plot
And the counterplot;
WE put the hot in Hottentot,
On the Hockney-blue [6] seas
With our Yellow Yacht,
With a caviar lunch
Gulping Power Punch [7],
By the Mystic Quartz [8],
And sweet Champagne,
So cool and gassy,
Sucking it down,
Til our eyes get Glassy [9]
Sipping Grenache [10]
Colored apricot;
It's time to swatch,
And to boldly blot.
What are you smoking?
The whole ink-pot!
The rest of the world,
They don’t know squat.

We give life spice,
We're Naughty But Nice [11]

Jeans Soho Green [12]
All Touch [13] long johns
With your zipper a hipper
Broadway Bronze [14],
In your condominium
Of Aloeminium [15].

It's a jazzy Jolt [16],
It's a taboo Tickle [17]
To Moondance [18] music
That's fashionably fickle,
It's sure to zap you
Like Zinfandels,
Til your brain is ringing
Like Coral Bells [19].

Wear what we tell you,
Don't be a dunce,
Coppertunity [20]
Knocks but once.

Your coat's chinchilla,
Your flavor's Vanilla [21].
Your perfume’s musk,
I've got to be brusque,
I feel as horny
As rhino Tusk [22].

Every style you’ve ever seen
Colors our money Hyper Green [23].

So you think color's conspiracy?
Hold on to your hat and look at me:
We are the folks from CMG!
And the difference is,
It looks good on me!

*** The End (of the Rainbow) ***

#174 ::: I. ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2004, 01:24 PM:

About horrible retro color schemes, Gene Gable of theorizes that "the popularity of certain colors (like avocado and harvest-gold appliances) was influenced by manufacturers' ability to reproduce those colors in advertising and brochures (which were almost always tested before a new color was introduced)."

See .

Thank god for advances in printing technology. But why did my landlord buy a _new_ stove in Harvest Gold? Yecch.

#175 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2004, 02:39 PM:

Someone was asking about custom-made stuff . . .

When my father was still working, he had his shirts custom-made, since off-the-rack never quite worked for him. He could generally get several years' of wear out of each shirt before it became just a little too tatty at cuffs and collars to be worn to work; after that, he'd wear them around the house or as overshirts on the weekends, or he'd pass them along to me (we wore much the same size at the time). I'd say that between the two of us, some of those shirts were worn for at least a decade. They got softer and more comfy with age, generally, and I wound up tossing them out only when the fabric became translucent . . . .

#176 ::: dave ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 05:40 AM:

What Exit? 13A in Elizabeth Gets Its Own Marketing Campaign

Dith Pran/The New York Times
An average of 59,645 vehicles a day leave the turnpike at Elizabeth.


Published: July 20, 2004


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Travel and Vacations

Jersey Gardens Mall


New Jersey

LIZABETH, N.J., July 19 - In the film "Being John Malkovich," a journey into the portal of Mr. Malkovich's brain ends with a fall from the sky onto an embankment of the New Jersey Turnpike.

It is a cinematic moment that can pull smiles from viewers who have never even been to New Jersey or zipped down its leading highway. To consider the turnpike as anything more than a conveyor from point A to point B seems laughable. A destination it is not.

Or is it? Yesterday, the struggling city of Elizabeth held a news conference to promote not its town square or even a new firehouse, but the turnpike - specifically, its exit 13A. "Someone asked, 'Are you going to try to make 13A a tourism opportunity?' " Mayor Chris Bollwage said at the news conference, which was held in the parking lot of the Jersey Gardens Mall, near the exit. "I said, absolutely."

That an exit should inspire a marketing campaign makes particular sense in New Jersey. After all, one of the oldest jokes here - and among its greatest pickup lines - remains the question, "What exit?"

But officials are also hoping it makes business sense. An average of 59,645 vehicles go through the tollbooths at the exit every day, and local officials want more of them to slow down, turn off and spend the day shopping or the night in one of the area's hotels.

Soon there will also be radio spots, a logo - "13A, Shop, Play, Stay" - and perhaps the first Web site ever created for a turnpike exit,, all to promote the mall, a movie theater, Ikea and seven hotels.

"This has probably never been done," Mayor Bollwage said.

The question of whether it should have been done is eagerly taken up by Gordon Haas, executive director of the Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce, who came up with the idea.

"It was basically us, the chamber, talking to members of the business community, learning that business could be better," Mr. Haas said.

"When we sat around we realized that when you are in Jersey, people ask you, 'What exit are you?' " Mr. Haas said. And so, voilŕ. "It's something way off the wall."

The state and local businesses put up the money for the campaign, Mr. Bollwage said. Part of the campaign will promote the fact that the area is an urban enterprise zone, which means shoppers pay just 3 percent - half the state's sales tax - on their purchases. Some of the tax money is reinvested in the community, one of the poorest in New Jersey.

Tasseen Afzul, a manager at Socks and More in the mall, said on Monday that he thought the campaign was a great idea.

Standing in front of piles of crew and ankle-length socks, without a customer in sight

Now, Go Back

#177 ::: Summer ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 05:17 PM:

In my area, the bellweather is all the little skate rats wearing tight, home-pegged blue jeans again...haven't seen this since '89. Add that to the opposite, pale Ambercrombie crowd, and what I see is a coming return to the 80s punk/preppy dichotomy. Afterall, we repeat our color and design schemes every 20 years anymore, don't we? Were you 60s mod in the 80s? Were you 70s bellbottom in the 90s? The 70s are out--80s are in.

What does this mean for my industry, graphic design? Well, what did "preppy" mean to you in '84? The country has swung far right again, and we'll be seeing "safe" conservative colors (with a touch of all that soft spiritual/green thrown in to appease our consciousnesses), and a corresponding anti-conservative youth-driven palette of the usual blacks. etc.

Let's hope those horrid boxy shoulderpads stay in the attic...

#178 ::: Jessica ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 06:15 PM:

". . . dusty, off-shade pastels . . ."

Ah yes, the colors that make me cringe and declare, once again, that I refuse to wear anything the color of medical scrubs. (Unless, of course, they actually are scrubs.)

#179 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2004, 07:56 PM:

Some Blend In, Others Dazzle: The Mysteries of Animal Colors

The New York Times

Published: July 20, 2004

When the Democrats gather in Boston later this month for their national convention, the topic of color will surely be on everybody's lips. Which states are going to go blue for John Kerry, which red for President Bush? How can the blue-blooded Mr. Kerry appeal to grape-jellied Americans? Should the candidate flaunt Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, or cede the limelight to the "Golden Boy" running by his side?

The impulse to colorize is normal. It is not partisan. It is not even particularly hominoid. From the neon sass of a "Finding Nemo" clownfish to the peridot flash of a golden poison-dart frog, the whole world is a pigsty of pigment. The feathers of an Eastern bluebird are saturated in such a fat, matte lapis blue, you wonder how the creature gets airborne, while the cardinal is that perfect, can-can shade of lipstick you can't even find in Paris. The face of a male mandrill looks practically patriotic, its brilliant blue and white cheek ridges bisected by a snout as red as the national debt....

[see hotlink for full story with nice color pictures]

Happy Apollo 11 Day!

#180 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 12:15 AM:

Well, one of my sets of scrubs is bright red, and another is dark (not quite navy) blue. Both are "real" scrub suits; the red ones are slightly used (and imprinted), the blue were acquired from a commercial uniform shop. In an episode of "Trauma," one of the ED attendings called attention to the fact that he was wearing black scrubs, which he thought of (not too seriously) as telling Death you had his number.

It may be that institutional laundry methods (or dyeing methods) have improved to the point where everything doesn't automatically end up as pale pastel.

#181 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 02:33 AM:

The institutional laundry methods that require Serious Bleach have a very practical aspect....

#182 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 04:09 AM:

I have been an ardent opponent of the fashion industry for as long as I can remember.... I -hate-, -hate-, -hate- retro-1950s. "feminine" lace that could be used for barbed wire and has that effect on my skin when I was a very small child. "Oh how cute the adults cooed at the blonde-haired blue-eyed child. "It HURTS" were my feelings [literally] and attitude. It was literally a pain in the neck.

I haven't seem much evidence for changing my views since then. Pastels and whatever the pumpkin-color-of-the-year make me look like something that ought to be mercifully closed up in a casket and interred. I noticed the cotton candy colorants' escape from the traveling carnivals some months back. As for the names applied.... {much eyeball rolling}

I think there is one color choice appropriate for CMG and its facilitators- monkeysh*t green, defecated drenching and indelibly upon them. Lock them up permanently in some decontamination facility obliterates Marketing Bzzz [strange, my yard has had dozens of honeybees and bumblees and other insects flying about amongs the marjoram or oregano whichever it it flowers of along with at last a half dozen different speciecs of butterflies -- looked like a painted lady today, along with whatever varieties of skippers were around, American coppers, and several types I couldn't identify from on-line pictures--small black butterflies, medium-sized white ones (cabbage, maybe), and others, and all those flying insects are MUCH quieter than all the noise about inane invented color names.] and let sanity reign.

#183 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2004, 09:07 AM:

While scrubs appear to be the clothing of choice for everyone with patient contact in the healthcare industry (even the students in the local VocTech healthcare classes wear them), hospital laundry scubs still seem to only come in a couple of faded colors (at least in the hospitals I've been in recently, giving CPR refresher courses). But for all the people who are responsible for their own scrubs, and non-hospital settings they come in magic dreamcoat colors.
Mike - red is a poor color choice for scrubs for the trauma, phlebotomy, and surgical depts in this day and age. Ideal for Maturin, though.
Paula - I don't think that you're CMG's target audience.

#184 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2004, 02:32 PM:

Paula: monkeysh*t green

As in "Monkey see, monkey doo". Or is that a corruption of "do"?

#185 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2004, 11:26 PM:

Reading this reminded me of a quote by the late Erma Bombeck. "I don't wear beige. I am beige."

#186 ::: Elise Matthesen ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2004, 05:02 AM:

Ah! This color update stuff explains why the things I put on eBay just sold for so much. (Three pieces of used clothing that went for about $150 total. I didn't pay that much for them in the first place, which is the funniest thing; I bought them on sale at Marshalls years ago because I was into Blue Fish clothing then, as it had pockets and came in a nice periwinkle color. A skirt, a dress, and a duster, all in that color, were the pieces I just found new homes for.)

Some of us have accidental color sense. Or maybe not accidental, but I'm not sure what the word should be. I pick out stuff that's not popular yet, but is going to be eventually -- but by then, either I'm tired of it or I've worn it to pieces. Fortunately, as numerous people here have pointed out, some of the good stuff lasts a long time. But I've often thought that if I could only figure out which of the things I'm craving are the ones that are going to hit in a while, and (more importantly) exactly when they're going to hit, it could come in handy.

When it comes to beads and other jewelry components, I long ago learned to give in to a particular sort of temptation if I felt it, because that meant the item in question was about to get popular in 18 months and then the price would triple. I haven't needed to buy labradorite for four years now. At the moment, I am craving pearls in unnatural shades (many of them dark and saturated), opalite glass (though that's been going on for a while), and a strange glossy red-copper metallic glass. And whispery ghosty grey with purple-iridescent overshimmers. And brightly colored niobium earwires. Hmm.

Getting those forecasts would be interesting, and possibly useful... except that it's disappointing to look at them and say, "Oh, but I just did a whole bunch of those last year. Now I want to do vivid peacock colors!"

Maybe some of the other bead people here would like to get together at Worldcon and talk jewelry component colors, yes? And we could figure out which Pantene number - no, wait, that's shampoo, right? Bother.

#187 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2004, 01:08 PM:

Elise: ...I pick out stuff that's not popular yet, but is going to be eventually -- but by then, either I'm tired of it or I've worn it to pieces. [...] if I could only figure out which of the things I'm craving are the ones that are going to hit in a while, and (more importantly) exactly when they're going to hit, it could come in handy.

If T. Pettys Shadwell, the most despicable of living men, should make you an offer, don't take it. Read Avram Davidson's "The Sources of the Nile".

#188 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2004, 01:37 AM:

I: If T. Pettys Shadwell, the most despicable of living men, should make you an offer, don't take it. Read Avram Davidson's "The Sources of the Nile".

which (I neglected to inform) you will find, a gem in a trove, in The Avram Davidson Treasury, edited by our own fair hostrix, for which and whom Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah! and, let us not stint, Huzzah!

#189 ::: Ailsa Ek ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 12:04 AM:

I love autumn colors. Granted, I can only wear them properly in the summer, when I have my garden tan. But ever since I was small, a shade of green that's darker than sage but not so yellow as olive has been known in the family as just My Green. And I can wear orange too if I want to, just mostly I don't. I let David pick his shirts when I was buying him new shirts for summer, though, and he chose everything orange.

I wear black sometimes, but after spending as much time as I have in the Orthodox community I'm just not as fond of it as I used to be. Seems like all the women wear is black and navy and deep maroon, and those colors don't really suit me. As accents, maybe, but not as a complete outfit. When I don't have a tan, and when I lived in the city mostly I didn't, I look best in what I think are supposed to be summer colors - clear not too bright but not dark and definitely not pastel colors. I can wear pink perfectly well if it's the right pink, and for a couple of years, the right pink was everywhere, and generally paired with a shade of tan that pretty much matched my hair. I'm as vain as the next person, and dressing all girly amused me immensely after years of butchness, so I have a rather of a collection of stuff in dust rose (unfortunately two sizes too small for me now, but one never knows).

It seems like wearing pink and floral patterns is the ultimate rebellion in a way. Back when I was a girl, I was supposed to like that stuff, so I detested it heartily as a snare. But now pink is evil and everyone hates it and girliness is Just Not Done. And I wonder, why not? If I feel like being girly, is my IQ going to automatically drop twenty points? Is painting my nails going to cause me to vote Republican and start reading Harlequins?

But I digress.

I find picking a favorite color difficult, because I have favorite color schemes, not colors by themselves.

#190 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 10:26 AM:

Ailsa: Thanks for keeping this thread alive! I love to see people's comments on colors almost as much as I love colors.

Does anyone else here like to fiddle with their basic screen hues as the program permits? (I've got a gold-shading-into-aqua at the top of the screen, telling me I'm on this "Making Light" thread, and when I turn the machine on the icons show on a different shade of blue-green.)

One further example of weirdness, and I'll shut up: my long-time ankle sock collection in almost every color and a lot of crazy patterns -- perhaps the best is turquoise (again) with astronauts, stars and planets floating around on it. But the abstracts can be pretty cool too....

#191 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 12:04 PM:

Someone I know, though this is too personal to explicate, owned well over 100 high-quality silk neckties. When he moved out of his house -- in an event leading towards divorce -- he left certain personal items behind, including the rainbow of silk ties. When he came to pick them up, they were scattered all over the garage floor, trampled on. The soon-to-be-ex-wife denied doing so. The person I know just left them there.

I often forgot my necktie while taking the subway (Lexington Avenue express to Union Station) from Brooklyn to Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. Fortunately, the vast underground bazaar included neckties for sale. I sometimes bought what I considered the ugliest tie, as a joke. When I started hauling those out of archival corners of my closet, and wearing those to University, my Fashion Design students seemed to particularly enjoy those. Doesn't even seem that they have my ironic color sense. Seems that my color taste is hopelessly square.

My favorite ties include the Harvard Club tie, in official Crimson; the Ducks in Flight; the Space Shuttle; the Carmichael Tartan (my inlaws have their own tartan, having been officially aristocracy for 30 generations); and the one with little Koalas, purchased at AussieCon.

My father's father detested FDR (a "traitor to Wall Street") but loved neckties. One gift he wore for months until someone showed him that the apparently abstract design was a pattern of extremely small-font "FDR."

The school colors for Public School #8, Robert Fulton Elementary School in Brooklyn Heights, were orange and black. For Junior High School #294, Simon F. Rothschild, in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, were blue and white. Someone once asked me what the school colors were for Caltech. Thinking fast, I said: infrared and ultraviolet.

#192 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 04:17 PM:

Aren't Caltech's colors orange and white? Generally a fairly ghastly combination for clothing; I much prefer Princeton's orange and black.

#193 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 05:39 PM:

Yuliya Gorlina at Caltech says on a message board 11/19/2001 12:18:03 AM

"orange being our school color, i don't think obligatory school colors are such a great idea."

Caltech writers don't like to mention this:

William Luther Pierce was associated with the American Nazi Party, formed in 1959 under the leadership of George Lincoln Rockwell, as an anti-Semitic organization (ANP). He became arguably the most prominent ideologues of the White Separatist movement. A Ph.D physicist, he rose to prominence in the movement following the assassination of George Lincoln Rockwell [August 25, 1967].

William Luther Pierce was born in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated with a B.S. in physics in 1951. He worked at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory before attending graduate school, first at Caltech and then the University of Colorado, at Boulder (where the school mascot is Ralphie the Buffalo and the school colors are Silver and Gold, but are usually represented by Black and Gold), where he earned his Ph.D in 1962. He soon lost interest in physics and joined various white separatist groups, forming his own group, the National Alliance. That group was founded in 1974 by the late Dr. William Pierce, a former physics professor, rocket scientist, cosmotheist, and author of a speculative novel about White separatist revolution. He also adopted the religion of Cosmotheism (a form of classical pantheism that identifies God with the cosmos, and asserts that "all is within God and God is within all").

William Luther Pierce came to public attention following the Oklahoma City bombing, having apparently been influenced by "The Turner Diaries." The Turner Diaries is a novel written in 1978 by William Pierce (under the pseudonym Andrew Macdonald), the late leader of the white separatist group National Alliance....

When Good Physicists Go Bad, eh?

#194 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2004, 06:01 PM:

Kim Nealis evaluates various school's websites, including Caltech's thus:

The California Institute of Technology

Nice greenery theme on the top levels of pages. Once you get deeper, all the pages are different.

Graphics don't necessarily go along with what they are representing.

Once you are in a section you are stuck. Have to go back home to get around.

Home page takes a while to load.

This is a nice page on the top level. It gets a little messy messy as you get in deeper. There is a lot of typed information on these pages.

Caltech also doesn't like to talk about [from a Press Release elsewhere]:

Iris Chang's first book, "Thread of the Silkworm," a critically acclaimed and engrossing study of how Cold-war hysteria influenced American foreign policy, tells the ironic story of Dr. Tsien Hsue-shen, a brilliant Caltech aeronautics professor who was branded a Communist and deported to China -- where he revolutionized the Chinese missile program and developed the Silkworm missile that later threatened American armed forces. Her latest, widely praised book, "The Chinese in America: A Narrative History," focuses on Chinese immigrants and their descendents in the United States -- their sacrifices, their achievements and their contributions to the fabric of American culture, an epic journey spanning more than 150 years. Chang's discussion will explore the themes of power, genocide, and ethnic scapegoating in her research, and their implications for the future of human rights.

Yay! The Dodgers just won against Colorado, splitting the series. The ex-Brooklyn Dodgers, whose color is Blue. Dodger Blue.

#195 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2004, 03:56 PM:

Speaking of Pantone, they've collaborated with an astrologer to give us Colorstrology:

Apparently every day in the year has its own color and yours is your birthdate, whether you like it or not. Mine is mellow green, which has yellow in it. Ick. They do give you some traits for that day, mine were Kind, Deep, Talented. And there's a horoscope-like listing that I can't copy. (March 10, in case anybody wants to look.)

#196 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2004, 01:43 PM:

WHAT is the "New Black?"

I've been following the debate in the New York Times, and couldn't resist posting this Letter to the Editor, 16 Sep 2004:

"Jessica Siegel ('Fade to Black', Op-Ed, Sept 14) asserts that black confers power on women who wear it, citing villians, dowagers and femmes fatales in their little black dresses as proof. These are not examples of powerful women. Wearing black, women look like wrens on a crumb -- a crowd of indistinguishable shadowy creatures. Female warriors, presidents, empresses, and popes favor white because they know that being seen is true power. On their most powerful day, brides wear white because they, too, are meant for the spotlight. It is possible that white, unlike black, is so powerful because, like the empty page and the blank canvas, it invites others to project their dreams upon you, making them putty in a woman's hands."

-- Harriet Rubin, Portland, OR [14 Sep 2004]

#197 ::: John Foster ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2005, 05:20 PM:

Speaking of color marketing hooplah --
Consider Resene Paint Company of New Zealand.

They don't take themselves too seriously and have an answer for all of this. One of their recent colors is "Bull Shot".

#198 ::: John Foster ::: (view all by) ::: February 24, 2005, 05:26 PM:


Christina Schulman ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2004, 01:19 PM:
Well, that explains why all the summer plasticware at Target is in those revolting day-glo colors.

And here I'd been coordinating around po-mo pink and Cerenkov blue.
Do you know what Cerenkov blue IS? It is the blue glow of water being blasted by high radioactivity, as in a research nuclear reactor or a cobalt-60 irradiation facility. It's eerily fun to stare at unless the radioactive substances are at least 20 feet deep.

#199 ::: Jon Meltzer sees comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2007, 07:52 AM:


#200 ::: Monica ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 03:49 PM:

It's Spelled "Profitable," Dear

#201 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 03:53 PM:

It's called a "pun", darling.

#202 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 04:04 PM:

No one is a profit in his own country.

#203 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 04:24 PM:

It's going on sail at a small prophet. But then it's only a small ship.

#204 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 04:32 PM:

Sail with a small prophet? But then you throw him overboard in a storm, right?

#205 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 04:54 PM:

How'd jonah that?

#206 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 05:34 PM:

When they get upset, don't profits rent their garments?

#207 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 09:58 PM:

Proper pastel green has returned to the market!

I've been looking for at least 5 years — I think it was not long before seeing this thread that I'd realized I couldn't find it anywhere: newsagents, sewing shops, supermarkets, anywhere there was either material or gift-wrapping ribbons or wrapping paper.  Hot greens, lime greens, darker shades; never pastel.

Admittedly, my sample is one local $2 shop, but it gives me hope.

#208 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2009, 10:59 PM:

They're not following the advice to rent their harps.

#209 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 08:25 AM:

This latest pun-cascade has me at a loss.

But that happens when you stop being prophetable...

#210 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2009, 08:28 AM:

Michael I, was that due to unforeseen circumstances?

#212 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2011, 08:59 AM:

Turkey Spam?

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