Freddies!

I feel a bit guilty about this: I re-used a costume party costume.

See, I was invited to an 80s Movie/Music/Pop-Culture party, and then a Dead Celebrities a couple of weeks later. Given time constraints and the likelihood of few party guests overlapping, I reasoned that I could knock off both with one costume. Someone who had been big in the 80s, but had since passed on.

I settled for Freddie Mercury.

After the 80s party, I felt a little guilty about it, particularly as I had since thought up another, almost-no-effort great 80s movie costume (which I won’t reveal now, lest that option become useful later).

Oh well, in any event, the 80s party was great, with birthday boy Andrew managing to get hold of a Back To The Future Delorean for the night. Wow.

And the Dead Celebrities party was great too… and very funny, since upon walking in I found co-host Tony was also dressed as Freddie.

He was late-80s Freddie. I was 1984ish Live Aid Freddie.

Fake Freddie Mercuries

And just so you can tell us apart from the real one:

The real Freddie Mercury

Pic sources: 1 / 2 / And my sister took the fake Freddies pic.

No more tie

This week I stopped wearing a tie to work.

I’ve moved to a new office, where the norm is no ties. I could wear one, but would stick out. So effectively it’s the new uniform.

As I noted last year, when I started working in 1993, pretty much every male white-collar worker wore a tie. Not any more — particularly not in IT.

In some ways I’ll miss them. And it might be time to buy some more coloured shirts… I think white shirts (worn without a jacket during the summer) look odd without a tie.

And I’ll probably miss it when doing TV media. Would it be cheating to keep one in the drawer at work for that?

Ties

I have a love-hate relationship with ties.

When I started my working life in 1993, almost all white-collar male workers wore ties. Over the years this has dropped somewhat, and I’d hazard a guess that perhaps around 30% now do so.

I still wear a tie. I switched a few years ago to a Windsor Knot, and this is what I’ve taught my kids to use now they wear ties in high school. Apparently some of the other boys don’t know how to tie them at all, and just leave them tied up all the time. (The girls wear them only in winter.)

Ties can add some colour to an otherwise dull shirt and suit. And when chosen and presented well, can look really good. I think they can give one an air of authority. Such as on TV!

On the other hand they are fiddly, and I don’t find them particularly comfortable to wear.

Ties apparently originated in the 1600s. I wonder if they’ll eventually disappear from common use.

The number became a brand

Back when I worked at Hattams (mid 80s to early 90s), we stocked Levi’s jeans, primarily the 555 “red tabs”, but also the 517 “boot cut”.

The numbers were Levi’s product codes. The first digit 5 signified they were for adult men’s — my recollection is that the “student” (kids/young men up to a size 81 cm/32″) sizes in red tabs were 855.

We didn’t stock women’s jeans, but they seemed to be all numbered in the 700s.

And while the sizing was multiples of inches, like most things in the trouser-world (in Australia at least), it was measured in centimetres.

Levi's jeans

At some stage in the last couple of decades, the product codes have become marketing tools. 501s in particular have been catapulted into a fully-fledged brand of their own. They used to be a specific type of button-fly men’s jeans; now they seem to be a catch-all for anything Levi’s feels like calling “501s” for marketing purposes, not to mention thrown onto promotional T-shirts and hoodies.

I think the women’s equivalent used to be 701s, but now they too go by the 501 branding, as I noted recently when Marita was out jeans-shopping.

They’ve also reverted the measurements from centimetres to those archaic inches, to give themselves some genuine American-ness. At least, I assume that’s the reason, as everybody else has switched to metric — well, apart from Burma and Liberia.

This page doesn’t claim to be authoritative, but talks about the numbering of Levi’s jeans — in particular it seems to be a list from after some of the numbers got mixed up a bit. I know I have two pairs of 504s (bought at Hattams in the last couple of years) which that list reckons are “slouch straight for women”, which I’d dispute.

Presumably internally Levi’s now have a completely different numbering system, so they can tell all the myriad of “501″ products apart.