Posted by: apopalyptic | 05/20/2011

Party at Ground Zero!

According to some, tomorrow is going to be the Rapture.

If this is true, then it might be important to think about what to wear. Because the Rapture is going to bring on the Apocalypse for those of us who get left behind. If the Apocalypse is anything like this… well: sign me up!

This also means that what I plan to wear tomorrow is going to be crucial, because it can happen at any time, and I’ll want to be prepared. Since I have to run ten miles before 11am, the outfit I wear into pending doom  may look something like this:

me and Mr. Pickle at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler! Taken by Elizabeth

What’s good about this outfit is: layers! I’m wearing tights under the shorts (not as pants, people! not as pants!), a long-sleeved wiking shirt, and my New Order t-shirt from 1989 (which, during this race, actually got a complement around the 5th mile). Notice the shorts are bright orange. This will be useful– in all that muck and darkness, I’ll be able to be seen from afar. It was too cold to wear my running sleeves, but I think that these might be a little more appropriate for any kind of end of days moment that might be happening tomorrow:

My running sleeves have a pocket on each side, which is useful for holding a Goo packet. Goo is like pudding for runners… but it’s in a thing that looks like a ketchup packet. You’re supposed to take one at the beginning of vigorous exercise, and then every fifteen minutes after your first hour.  If I do a two hour run tomorrow, that’s five packets! And, if all of a sudden this Rapture thing happens, then it could be days before I can get back to my apartment; a zero calorie energy source will be imperative.

I’ll also be sporting my running pouch. It is important to note that a running pouch is NOT a fanny pack. It is a flat, zippered pouch which holds my iPhone (great for Hipstamatic photos of the Rock Creek when it’s boiling over with the hot fires of hell), keys, emergency Albuterol inhaler (I suspect there will be a lot of dust), and Goo packets.

I’ve been watching a lot of Battlestar Galactica lately. Not the Lorne Green version from the 70s, but the SyFy Channel’s reimagined version. According to that series, only hott people survived the Cylon Attack on the Colonies. Which means we can only hope that the Rapture might include some kind of fraked up battle of man versus toaster. For the record: I’d be totally willing to live for years in a space fleet. I mean…

Posted by: apopalyptic | 02/02/2011

In other news….

a) These boots are totally apocalyptic.

b) I want them.

Posted by: apopalyptic | 02/02/2011

Etsy Schmetzy

I saw this on Etsy just now, and while I think it’s totally impractical, I also kind of love it:

I think this photo is a good example of a practical application of this cowl. It’s also a perfect example of Apocalyptic fashion. The model’s outfit is black, or perhaps it’s brown. It’s a neutral color that might blend in with a dark landscape of an undone world, and the bright orange let’s you know not to drive your big robot over the human being.

As I told Elizabeth… this is the kind of outfit you might wear for walking about. You might wear it as you trudge along, thinking about your pre-Apocalyptic world where you might wear an outfit like this as you walked along the avenue, shopping. Or sitting outside at a cafe or a park drinking coffee.

(also, an aside: we can so totally make this!)

Posted by: apopalyptic | 11/10/2010


I think the punkest item of clothing I own may also be the most apocalyptic. It’s my Eisenhower Jacket:

photo by Abigail

Perhaps sometimes referred to as a Gas Station Attendant Jacket. Technically, that’s not what it’s called. The Eisenhower Jacket is named after the 34th President of the United States, and has had various incarnations as the M-41 Field Jacket. The most popular version was designed for Ike when he was General Eisenhower and had requested a design upgrade of the standard issue. Post War, the jacket was manufactured by civilian companies (like Dickies), which probably led to it’s popularity among working class uniform types (i.e. delivery people, mechanics, and the aforementioned gas station attendant). Also, it was probably easy for 80s punks to pick one up at the same Army Navy Store where they got their combat boots or at the thrift store where they got the rest of their wardrobe.

I got this jacket at the Mexican Flea Market in Dallas, Texas in January, 1996. Somebody was selling a bunch of them, and I picked this one because of the name patch: “David.” The rest were plain and I figured there would be some kind of irony to wearing a jacket bearing a name not mine (and let me tell you how funny it is when I wear this jacket and someone says “Hi, David.”) There may have been some brown Eisenhowers, or maybe green in the lot, but mine is a Work Wear brand navy blue on the outside with a red lining.

After the flea market, a friend I was staying with (who happened to be a vintage car mechanic to the rockabilly stars of Dallas, TX) gave me a Peterbuilt patch, to commemorate our drive (we passed the Peterbuilt factory somewhere in Arkansas). I also went to some tourist trap and got a Texas flag patch which, back in 1996, carried much less baggage than it did four years later. Jason gave me a Trans Am patch he found somewhere, since I was pretty obsessed with that band at the time.

The next couple winters, I wore the crap out of this jacket. It went well with the image I was attempting to portray, with my vintage dresses and skunked hair. One time, I was at Urban Outfitters and some kid offered to pay me 250 bucks for it because he thought it was the coolest coat he ever saw. Sorry, I said, it’s not for sale, but you can probably go to any freaking thrift store in this town and get your own for 10% of what you just offered to pay me, and then maybe figure out your own patch schema without co-opting mine.

The Eisenhower Jacket is certainly punk. But, it’s also Apocalyptic because it’s transcended it’s original use– an army jacket– and has basically become symbolic of a subculture that has nothing to do with that. I could come up with a reason as to why the jacket is popular among punks, and maybe part of it is to portray some kind of anti-bougie quality. It’s most Apocalyptic feature is that it’s quite utilitarian, with two flap pockets on the front of the coat. I’ve gone to shows wearing this coat, putting my keys, phone (well, we didn’t really have cell phones in 1996, so that’s a bit more recent usage) and money in the front, not having to worry about a purse or anything that might hinder my mobility (though I have to say, the two breast-front pockets are not always the best place for a girl to store all that stuff… just saying). That’s pretty punk if you ask me.

We have already established that pockets are going to be important in the Apocalypse, to hold our natural world talismans, and these are big enough and secure enough to ensure that we can clutch at whatever aspect of our past of which we are unwilling to let go.

Posted by: apopalyptic | 09/26/2010

These are not pants

They are tights. Well, leggings actually. Under a dress.

photo by Chris

Originally, I was going to title this entry “But I’m wearing a dress!” Specifically, the dress I purchased at Muji in London last May. Which we’ve already established as being apocalyptic because a) it’s gray; and b) it was purchased in London, which is perhaps the most apocalyptic city in the world. At the time, Pam pointed out I could stylishly get away with wearing this dress over jeans. It’s not cool enough for that yet, so I wore it with leggings instead. Leggings which also happened to be a part of my yoga costume, and since I was attending a yoga class later that day, it was a whole heck of a lot easier getting changed at the studio because I was already wearing half of my outfit (and that’s super helpful when you happen to be running a little bit late). That’s definitely an apocalyptic quality of an outfit: utilitarian layers!

We haven’t seen a whole lot of tights-as-pants yet this fall. Which makes me wonder if the fad is over, or if it’s just been too hot for pants, period. This look will most likely make a come back this week, but I hope anyone considering leaving the house decked out in this look might take a moment to rethink their outfit. Sure, it’s easy to get dressed once and just wear your workout outfit as your whole day outfit; but, it makes you look like an idiot.

Posted by: apopalyptic | 09/24/2010

It ain’t over till the Apopcalypse

This is obviously something Lenny Kravitz knows quite well. Exhibit A:

It’s been quiet around here lately, but there will be updates to this blog soon, and a “what I did on my summer vacation” post in a few days.

Posted by: apopalyptic | 07/30/2010

Apocalyptic Mainstream

The JCrew catalog came the other day… in the mail. The snail mail! As you can see, it features two Beautiful People in the middle of a desert. The male is wearing what I might traditionally associate with the type of clothing one might wear in this sort of environment. The female, not so much. It’s like they got different memos or something. They told him “you’re going to Burning Man” and they told her “you’re going to Brunch.”

Posted by: apopalyptic | 07/01/2010

Gonna Dress You Up in my Clothes from Before All That

So Madonna is creating a new clothing line with her daughter, Lourdes, for Macy’s.

While that’s all well and good, let’s discuss this for a second. It’s called Material Girl. Haha okay we get it. And it is basically a cheaper, watered down rehash of Madonna’s 80s look, which was a combo of New York City street fashion and Cindy Lauper, as Randi has pointed out. It was 80s thrift store chic, which is to say not the first iteration of thrift store chic, but it was taking what people dumped into the SalArm of their 50s and 60s clothes, before vintage was Vintage with a capital V.

What’s happening now, I surmise, is that Madonna may have muttered under her breath: “So now all these kids are wearing what I co-opted in 1985? Shit, I want in on that, too!” And because Madonna is surrounded by marketing fairies and cultural sprites, a little birdie flew over to Macy’s window and said: we’ll make millions with this one! The issue, though, is that Madonna can’t wear that stuff now, and why would she want to anyway, when she’s got Marc Jacobs on speed dial? But, she does have an almost 14y.o. daughter who can and probably does (and holy crap– as any 14y.o. girl with a fashion-centered mother can attest– Lourdes kind of hit pay dirt), so there’s her in.

Or, her fake in. Lourdes allegedly wrote this blog entry, but I’m not buying that. Word to the marketing wise: if the kid whose style you’re aping goes to school in the UK, it’s “colour,” not “color.” Got that? Though I do buy into the fact that Madonna and Child do spend time thinking and talking about fashion, and shopping together, and discussing how one cultivates their own Original Style, my disbelief is not suspended so much here, especially since Madonna has kind of made it a point for Lourdes to stay away from public outbursts a la the Hilton Sisters. I’m kind of surprised that she would pimp out her kid like that.

See, this is what happens, though… Madonna took all that good  back in the day, turned it into a Thing which young teenage girls adopted as their own; and everybody knows that once any trope goes to the teenage girls, it’s pretty much over as far as being something interesting and controversial (I mean, I could buy mesh headbands at the Maryanne Shoppe on Bustleton Avenue in 1985, and Northeast Philadelphia is not Paris, I’ll tell you what). That’s how it always works, right? All fashion is a cycle. The high end gets co-opted by the low end eventually and becomes gauche, and then the cycle makes it’s way back to the top again where the style gets re-upped. And that’s what’s happening here. I predict, though, that the Material Girl Collection is going to be a failure (you don’t say) because it’s manufacturing cutesy nostalgia. It might work as a novelty for about five minutes, when Women of A Certain Age think it’s cute for their daughters to want to dress like they did. But, any of these ladies worth their salt will have saved their outfits and be able to upcycle them to their kids (including boys!). And these kids will make it their own (like we did) by learning to sew or to dye fabrics or what happens when you soak black jeans in bleach. The Apocalypse is not about making anew, it’s about reusing the old. Sorry, Madonna.

Posted by: apopalyptic | 06/24/2010

La La La Tshirt Tshirt

In celebration of Peggy getting her fellowship, I ordered a t-shirt from Mike’s bike company, FBM. It is red, with a Sriracha hot sauce rooster on it. The only size left was a medium, but I figured I would get it anyway because a) I liked it the best; b) it was only 9 bucks;  c) I wanted to support my friends! and d) I could cut it.

It is important to know: I have never been able to successfully cut a t-shirt so it looks cool. It always looks like a fourth grader did it. Actually, a fourth grader could probably cut it better. But that was pre-Internet. Now, I figured there should be like fifteen thousand different blogs with directions on how I could cut a t-shirt and have it look pretty good. So, I found this blog with a video and followed the directions. Voila:

It is a good thing I found this website, which also mentions this book (which I totally want!), which I can see coming in handy for fashioning the Apocalyptic style. T-shirts, made of cotton, will be plentiful, mostly the ones that end up in the thrift store, or overpressings of t-shirts nobody wanted, or ones that couldn’t be sold because they said something like “Philadelphia Phillies, 2009 and 2010 back-to-back World Series Champs!” (which, if one of those exists, please send one to me!). Re-purposing them will be key, not just for fashion sake, but I would say that those of us who can develop this skill might also be on to a little cottage industry. Well, maybe we don’t need to wait for the Apocalypse for that to happen…

Posted by: apopalyptic | 06/14/2010

Hott like Mexico

This post is not about fashion. Though it kind of is.

This post is about Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga, of course, is Apocalyptic. With a capital A. She is dimensional in her Apocalypticity, too. It’s not just about what she wears, or how she presents the physical representation of Gaga. I mean, you can ask Joan Rivers about how fashion forward she is. I think Lady Gaga is actually the most technically-minded Apocalpytician in pop culture at the moment.

One day, I overheard a conversation between two PhD candidates. After pretending to be interested in each others’ dissertations, one says: “you know, I’m fascinated by Lady Gaga. I don’t know what she’s doing, but she’s doing something. And I want to write about it.”

Um… actually, you know what? No, don’t. Do not write about it. Resist the urge to try to “figure out” what she is doing via a 15 page article for an academic journal. You are going to try– feebly at best– to apply theory to interpret the genius that is  the Telephone video but it’s not going to work. Not because you don’t understand the theory, but because you don’t understand Gaga. Yes, she is doing SOME-thing…  she’s doing THE thing.

Oh, and, my dear PhD candidates: the whole world sees the obvious Madonna link. Maybe you see the Michael Jackson link. But the Brian Eno link? And can you hear her incredibly classical background in her tangy, catchy operatic riffs?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

But it’s okay… some of that stuff is buried under layers and layers of pop culture references, and if you haven’t spent a lot of time watching bad television or obscure Italian cinema, or listening to 80s bands that did not get radio airplay, you might not know. I mean, it seems pretty clear to me that the prison scenes in the Telephone video might have been more of a reference to Prisoner: Cell Block H than to maybe Oz or Chicago, but whatever. Though I’m sure you got the channeling of John Landis’ pacing and Michael Peters’ fabulous choreography.

As everything Apocalyptic is a palimpsest, Gaga herself *is* a palimpsest. Her whole being is a collaborative effort of stylists and producers and directors and ideas and influences and riffs and fashion, all of which she produces and directs. She is the name above the title, but gives credit where credit is due. She becomes the star by trading all those people and thoughts like baseball cards, whether it’s a co-credit on her videos (Jonas Åkerlund and Stephen Klein) or an outfit (in the middle of one performance a few months ago, she stopped to pay tribute to Alexander McQueen). She is quick to recognize that while she is the representation of Gaga, there’s a whole lot of Madonna and Liza and Fosse and Prince and Michael Jackson and Annie Lennox and ABBA and  Debbie Gibson and Steampunk and Thelma and Louise and Larry King going on behind the curtain that actually makes all that Gaga possible.

But what I really wanted to talk about is what seems to me to be her most genius (and most apocalyptic moment), and that’s the fact that she has technically made it impossible for anyone to be a Gaga clone (I’m lookin’ at you,  Miss Katy Perry and Miss Ke$ha and all the rest of you ladies and men who will inevitably be coming down the pike in 3…2…1…). Gaga can sing AND play AND write AND be so confident in all of her abilities that she can work with other people. This has nothing to do with autotune, at all, and anybody who thinks that’s all she is should just watch this live version of Paparazzi and then step the eff off. Though effects do play a role in her sound, they are the kind of effects that you have to be able to sing your ass off in the first place for them to work. For example… go listen to the chorus of Alejandro and try to count how many Gagas you hear… it’s like, HUNDREDS OF GAGAS! Doubling isn’t a new production technique, at all. And it’s not even innovative how she’s doing it. Doubling can be hard because you have to basically sing the same thing over and over again in the same exact way so that the producer can melt all of the tracks together into one, the effect of which is a strong, solid vocal track. If you are some two-bit, fly-by-nite pop singer who can’t even basically nail it once the first time, this is a painful studio moment for you (an aside: I actually think doubling is kind of fun, but whatever). In the moment where Gaga sings that one word– Alejandro– she is harmonizing in triplicate with herself. A dimensional, faceted chorus of Gagas. Can Katy Perry do that?

I’m pretty sure the answer is no, and that brings us back to our PhD candidates. Sure, some academics will dissertate and dissect Gaga brilliantly, and I look forward to reading that criticism. But, a lot of academics will not, and that’s because they will be focusing solely on the visual, which is only part of the story. The rest of the story has to do with how it all actually sounds.

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