Return of men’s short shorts possible

Seth and Josh 1986
Seth and Josh 1986

Personally, I’m ok with shorter shorts for myself. My stomach may have grown larger than in the photo above, but I walk and bike enough that my legs are still in good enough shape that I wouldn’t be ashamed if my shorts came up higher than my knee…

It wasn’t that long ago that the American male was totally cool with his legs. From Larry Bird to “Magnum P.I.”, men of the ’70s and ’80s showed more thigh than a bucket of KFC, wearing shorts whose inseams were about the length of a pinkie.

Seems weird these days, right? Maybe even a little horrifying? Well then, I suggest you move to the fainting couch before continuing to the next paragraph:

Short shorts for men are coming back.

So says the Wall Street Journal, which surveyed men’s apparel companies and found that shorts, at least among the fashionable, are headed north, having gone from a saggy 15-inch inseam to a high and tight 5 inches in just a few years.

(click here to continue reading Return of men’s short shorts reveals body hang-ups –

Cops in Shorts
Cops in Shorts

…since the Tribune, in its wisdom, didn’t link to the WSJ article:

For most of the past two decades, men’s shorts have barely merited the name, dropping so far down the calf that Linnaeus would have stuck them in the pants family. Call them what you want—knickerbockers, breeches, clam diggers—the one thing they haven’t been is particularly short.

Finally that’s changed. And given how change in the menswear world is measured—think millimeters per decade rather than centimeters per season for women’s wear—shorts are shortening quickly. In the past few years, the low-water-mark length of a 15-inch-or-so inseam receded to knee-length (11 inches), then a knee-baring 9 inches, then to a quadriceps-exposing 7 inches and on to the newly fashionable thigh-flaunting 5 inches. If men’s shorts were a glacier in Greenland, scientists would be freaking out.

(click here to continue reading A New Length for Men’s Shorts –

We’re not talking about Speedo-style here, just mid thigh.

Maria Pinto liquidating boutique

Local high profile designed Maria Pinto (we’ve discussed her store before) is closing down her boutique, located at 135 N. Jefferson St in the West Loop.

Maria Pinto

All of the praise for Michelle Obama’s grape- and tomato-colored sheaths couldn’t bear enough fruit to spare their Chicago-based designer — Maria Pinto — from the recession’s blight.

Pinto, whose work has been worn by not only the country’s first lady but also queen-of-talk Oprah Winfrey, will open her West Loop boutique for five final days starting Tuesday. Her daywear, eveningwear, wraps and one-of-a-kind accessories will be liquidated at 50 percent to 70 percent off their original prices.

In January, Pinto arrived at the decision to close her shop and cease wholesale operations, she said. A fashion designer for 20 years who previously worked for Geoffrey Beene, Pinto launched her own line in 1991. Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Takashimaya in New York, as well as high-end boutiques across the country, carried her pieces.

[Click to continue reading Maria Pinto: Chicago designer Maria Pinto liquidating boutique –]

I’ve glanced at her store window a few times, and I didn’t see any item that entranced me. Perhaps her best work was customized to particular customers, and not for display on a clothing rack.

And this statement mostly sounds true:

“In the general scheme of things, our store was doing very well. But our other retailers are paring down their open-to-buys (merchandise purchases) and looking to build sales through trunk shows,” she said. “It’s difficult because it makes your forecasted cash flow challenging. You’re waiting for the show to happen, waiting for things to happen. Before, the stores were committed to larger inventories.”

Any avid shopper can see the shift, she said.

“Walk through the stores and see how the stores are buying very differently. Saks had blast-out sales going in November 2008. November this year, there was very little in stores that was on sale. What was left was bottom-of-the-barrel. Everyone is having to reposition themselves.”

For 2009, total U.S. apparel sales fell 5.2 percent to $188.5 billion, market research firm NPD Group reported last month.

Mrs O Has No Regrets

Interesting write-up of the Mrs. O blog

Michelle Obama-at Blackbird

ON the blog Mrs. O, fans of Michelle Obama’s style can view photos of the outfit she wore on a recent date with the president-elect and find out where to buy the same purple designer coat.

The advertising agency behind the blog, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, does not work for Mrs. Obama or for the fashion designers the site features. In fact, is not for a client at all. It is an entirely new business created by the Zag division of Bartle Bogle, which the agency started to invent new brands.

Mrs. O and Zag are part of a business model transformation in the advertising industry. Agencies are parlaying their expertise in marketing the brands of other companies into creating and marketing their own.

Zag got into the fashion blogging business in September, after Mary Tomer, a 27-year-old account planner at Bartle Bogle in New York, hatched the idea for the blog. She noticed Mrs. Obama’s style during the Democratic convention, yet could not find information on what she wore.

She decided to create a Web site, which she described as “a central resource for tracking her style and providing as much designer information and commentary as possible.”

Instead of writing the blog in her spare time after work, like most bloggers with day jobs, she approached her employers to see if they would bankroll her new hobby. They readily agreed.

“Mary was very sure about what she wanted, and when you read about the best brands, they are unrelenting,” Mr. Jenkins said. “That’s what I preached to my clients for the last 10 years, and now we have the chance to do that ourselves.”[Click to read more Advertising – Ad Agencies Create and Market Their Own Brands –]

and this is how my photo ended up there:

Ms. Tomer and the site’s other writers find pictures of Mrs. Obama in newspapers or on the photo Web site Flickr and get permission from the photographers to post the photos free. They research her outfits by calling designers, searching on sites like and, when stumped, turning to the blog’s readers.

At first, Bartle Bogle thought of the site as an experiment in new media. Quickly, though, “there was a realization that there was a bigger idea here that was a very viable business opportunity,” Ms. Tomer said.

Ms. Tomer was very polite, professional, and of course I was pleased to be affiliated, even tangentially, with her website. I hope she’s able to parlay Mrs. O into a great success, for at least eight years…