It is only fair to share…FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinkedinPinterest From our very early beginnings we have clothed and adorned ourselves. Across cultures, countries and climates we use clothing to protect ourselves, communicate our culture and identity, and evolve who we are, reflecting our innate selves. At Clothe we believe in a world that celebrates diversity, authenticity and, Read More
Do you know your Derby’s from your Oxfords? Or you Boater from your Breton? Or in fact your plaid from your tartan? There is so much fashion terminology that we hear bandied about and it can get quite befuddling.
In the interest of…………….. well… interest, and clarity in moments of discourse regarding costume, I hereby officially pledge to share with you on Terminology Tuesday, each week a quick explanation of a quirky or curious costume term.
First up is:
The Mortar board
You know the one. This is the funny looking head wear of university and college graduates. It consists of a large square black brim attached horizontally to a cap.
Commonly worn with an academic robe featuring the colours representative of the faculty of study, this academic dress, has been in use since the 14th century.
Over time and in different cultures the rules and customs governing its use have diversified. However in many customs the large centrally attached tassel is positioned to the right before graduation and switched to the left afterwards. (So yep he has graduated.)
Other names used to refer to this item include: cater cap, corner cap, cornet, Oxford Cap, trencher cap, and square cap.
Go here to read the Wikipedia and a more comprehensive lowdown.
It all comes together in the long run. Nature, Biology, Costume, pop culture…. love it.
The Muppet’s have stood the test of time. Even my technology savvy children love the Muppet’s. The daggy jokes, on the money characterizations and ridiculous sketches. They, of course, get the added bonus of laughing at the out of date fashion. We do have to explain who the stars are, Leo Sayer is their favourite, and why wouldn’t he be? For the uninitiated, here is a classic episode of The Muppet’s featuring Leo Sayer and some spectacular Miss Piggy tantrums. It’s a full episode so only click if you have time. If not here is a quick bit of nostalgia to get you in the mood.
Now for the Lessons (In no particular order):
Species: American Bald Headed Eagle.
Personal Colour Profile and Personality: Cool Winter (I’d rather say Ice Winter but there’s no such thing.)
Physical characteristics: Ice blue grey fur and feathers, balding on top of course. Bushy black knitted brow, prominent frowning beak, and saggy, eye bags.
What Sam’s style tells us about him: Given that he wears no clothing this is a bit of a challenge. However he does like on occasion to drape the American flag over his shoulders or at least use it as a backdrop. Sam sees himself as the upholder of America’s values of “goodness and wholesomeness” on the show. When you combine his patriotism with his cold, conservative, old age associated colour with that frowning, grumpy expression and you know immediately he’s going to be an inflexible, uptight, conservative pedant.
Here is one of my favourite Muppet scenes where Sam concedes to assisting Rowlf with a song. Something Sam considers well beneath him.
Lesson: No matter what you’re wearing if your body language says you’re a grumpy, stuck up, pain in the posterior, no amount of sunshine yellow and smiley faces will save you.
click for original image source.
Technically a member of Electric Mayhem but he’s kinda special so he gets a spot of his own.
Species: um pass… Neanderthal? Ok, human but behaving in an animalistic (sic) manner, hence the name.
Personal Colour Profile and Personality: Clear Spring / Warm, Clear and Bright
Physical characteristics: Wild, orange and red feathery hair with purple highlights. Bushy black eye brows, bulbous red nose, crooked white teeth and an enormous mouth.
What Animal’s style tells us about him: Well, for a start if its necessary for you to be restrained with a neck collar and chain then the message is pretty loud and clear.
Watch out! We have a LIVE one here!
Wild, uninhibited, feral and quite possibly mad, Animal is the delightful embodiment of the primal urges in all of us. One of the Muppet’s most popular characters and certainly one of mine. Animal’s look is seriously feral rock and roll of the 70’s kind. Tight leather, stomach revealing rope tied top, and rope belt, he’s like an out of control rock and roll pirate. Reminds me of a certain legendary wild man of music’s recent foray into film!
Lesson: All that crazy hair, revealing clothing, and use of leather and rope, Animal’s look is sexual, on the edge and easy to recognize. I think the greater lesson however is more in Animal’s immense popularity rather than his look. So many people can relate to the completely puerile, instinct driven, pleasure-seeking life view of Animal. In other words whilst we might not all dress like Animal, we’d like to be that free.
Reportedly, Frank Oz, who originally brought Animal to life, once said he had his character down to five words: sex, sleep, food, drums and pain.
He also said, “You don’t mess with Animal. He eats glass, man.”
The lesson….. embrace your inner Animal, its liberating. And don’t mess with a man who eats glass.
Perhaps we should all get ourselves a piece of rope for a belt and a neck chain?
P.S. I love Animal.
Culture: Stories of dress and cultural context
Ah… the Bohemian, a romantic image that conjures ideas of art, creativity, free thinking, adventure and excitement. The notion of a kind of life that is lived fully, to the hearts desire, no matter the consequences. I adore the idea of this life, yet my innate practicality and sense of responsibility does not quite allow to me to follow such a path. Perhaps this explains my penchant for clothing with a decidedly Bohemian feel thoroughly mixed with a good dose of practicality.
So, when a dear friend called upon us recently to help her celebrate her birthday in “Bohemian style” I was understandably keen. Frida Kahlo it turns out is a long-term love of hers and she was beautifully adorned on the night as Frida complete with authentic Mexican bodice. It fascinates me how we identify with people, styles, periods or even football teams that strike a chord with us. I hadn’t known of my friends appreciation for Frida before, but once I learnt of it struck me as wholly appropriate to my knowledge of her. Of course you would love Frida, my dear, of course!
Always curious to learn more of the history behind the social conventions of dress, I have put together a partial history to share this learning. Read More