Fort Lonesome

Before settling in Texas, in 1997, designer (and California native) Kathie Sever worked on a cattle ranch in Montana, where she was taken with the style of the local cowboys. “These rugged, macho guys cared about the crisp, starched edges on their jeans. I loved that dichotomy,” she says. “They would dandy it up a little.” That attitude influences Sever today as she produces Fort Lonesome, her line of custom-embroidered Western wear.

Lucchese Like a Fox

The thing we have to overcome is that people think of Lucchese in a one-dimensional way,” says William Zeitz, the creative director and executive vice president of marketing for the El Paso–based company. “The challenge is to shift perception beyond ‘We just do Western boots’ to ‘We craft beautiful leather goods.’ ”

Leather

Abundant and sturdy, leather has long been associated with the style vocabulary of cattle country: think of all those hand-tooled saddles, chaps, and gun holsters used by cowboys past. Now a new generation of Texas designers is taking the material off the range and giving it a modern spin, applying a low-tech, hands-on approach to produce sophisticated accessories that still bear a hint of rusticity. Of course, one thing will always remain the same: the more worn-in the leather gets, the better it looks.

Please Be Careful Before You Get Cosmetic Injections

If you’re in the market for cosmetic enhancement in Texas—especially injections—be really, really careful, okay? Twice in the past weeknews has broken about someone offering injections that contain fatal substances.

The first case, down in the Rio Grande Valley, involves a woman offering bovine-based collagen implants and Botox, who is accused of actually injecting her clients with liquid rubber. The second, in Dallas, involves a woman offering illegal sillicone injections to people looking to “pump” their breasts and butts. 

How J.C. Penney Is Distancing Itself From The Ron Johnson Era

 

J.C. Penney is back in the snow globes business. It’s just the latest in the Plano-based retailer’s moves to return to a more traditional focus for its stores after the tenure of CEO Ron Johnson, which often gets tagged with adjectives like “disastrous.”

Johnson’s vision for the company was certainly bold, but disastrous is as disastrous does, and the results of his time at the company speak for themselves: after sixteen months, the company’s stock fell by almost fifty percent, 19,000 employees had lost their jobs, and sales fell more than 25 percent. Budget department stores like J.C. Penney face a tough road in the current environment—fellow mall occupant Sears is a mess, too—but the unconventional thinking that Johnson brought to the company helped things slip further faster, and they gave people some strong talking points about exactly how he was screwing things up. Let’s look at some of the moves that Johnson made that J.C. Penney is currently trying to distance itself from.

Jeans

There’s no article of clothing more American than blue jeans. Initially an inexpensive garment created for factory workers (and soon embraced by cowboys), the “waist overall” is now a universal wardrobe staple that can easily cost two or three hundred bucks.

The Dallas Mavericks Crowd-Sourced Their Alternate Jersey Design

We’re just over a month away from the start of basketball season, and if you need a diversion that isn’t the better-than-expected Cowboys, the about-as-good-as-expected Texans, the pitiful Astros, or the in-the-hunt Rangers, you might consider casting a vote in the Dallas Mavericks’ alternate jersey contest

To engage fans, owner Mark Cuban—who once offered the same opportunity to rapper/mogul Diddysolicited uniform designs back in May. Last week, he selected his ten favorites and put ‘em up to a vote via Facebook. 

Some of the uniforms are, um, interesting looking, but if you’ve got a favorite, now is the time to cast your vote: At the moment, fewer than 2,000 votes have been cast in the contest, so if you’ve got your heart set on one, a savvy social media effort from someone with even a modest number of Twitter followers could well swing the contest. 

Before you do, though, let’s take a look at some of the options.

Here Is A Whole Bunch Of Unsanctioned “Don’t Mess With Texas” Merchandise

At the top of the list of things they’re not supposed to mess with when people are cautioned with the words “Don’t Mess With Texas” is the slogan itself. As Manny Fernandez reports in the New York Times TXDOT, which holds the trademark on the phrase, has filed over 100 cease-and-desist letters since 2000 to companies making unauthorized use of “Don’t Mess With Texas.” 

The history of the phrase—which was coined in 1985 as part of an antilittering campaign—has been well-documented, but TXDOT’s determination to protect it (“to prevent ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ from losing its original antilittering message,” according to state officials cited in Fernandez’s story) is a bit surprising. The phrase has been widely used in other contexts by people from George W. Bush (who included it in his speech accepting to the Republican Presidential nomination in 2000) to Greg Abbott (who dropped it on Twitter earlier this month to congratulate two Dallas-area teenagers on helping stop a kidnapping), which presumably makes the stated goal of retaining the antilittering message a difficult task. Over at UrbanDictionary.com, a skirmish appears to have been waged surrounding that confusing context. 

On Sartorial Matters

Q: I was born and raised in Texas and have resided in New York City for the past couple of years. On a recent trip back home, I visited a friend on his ranch in West Texas and was mocked unmercifully for wearing skinny jeans. I will admit that the jeans were pretty skinny. But from the reaction  I got, you would have thought I was wearing a tutu and a pair of elf boots.

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