Good News, Ladies! Now You Can Wear Pants In Paris

Paris
Are you a woman planning a trip to Paris? Well, now you can pack a pair of pants without fear of running afoul of the law. The BBC reports that it is now legal for women to wear pants in the City of Love.

The city government has finally struck a law off the books dating back to 1800 that required women to get police permission before “dressing like a man.” Around the turn of the past century, concessions were made to ladies riding horses or bicycles but in general, fairer sex had to stick to skirts.

The law, of course, has not been enforced in many years. It isn’t the only odd law on the books. Every state and city has a few antiquated regulations that the local government doesn’t remember existing, let alone trying to enforce. There are a bazillion websites on the Internet listing weird laws.

Many of these are apocryphal, however. One I heard while living in Arizona stated that it’s illegal to wear suspenders in Nogales. The law supposedly dates back to Prohibition. Nogales, being a border town, was full of gringos heading south of the border to get drunk. It still is. Back in Prohibition days, the story goes, some tried to smuggle bottles back over the border into the U.S. and wore suspenders to keep their pants from falling down from the extra weight. The bullshit-cleaning website Snopes actually checked and found that no such law ever existed.

For every old weird law that gets eliminated, a new one crops up. Live Science has a great list of weird state laws that took effect at the beginning of 2013. In Oregon, for example, it’s now illegal for employers to post job openings if they won’t consider hiring someone who is unemployed. Perverts will be disappointed to learn that it is now illegal to have sex with a corpse in Illinois. It used to be that if you got caught with a cadaver the worst you could be charged with was criminal damage to property.

Um… since when are corpses considered property? Whose property?

[Photo courtesy Procsilas Moscas]

Video Of The Day: Men Embrace Pointy Boots in Mexico

The Origins of the Mexican Pointy Boots

If you plan to travel to Mexico soon, look out for the latest fashion craze young men are embracing: pointy boots. Said to have originated in Matehuala in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí, the fashion trend has men elongating the toes of their boots as much as five feet, curling the tips upwards toward the knees. Men who can’t afford to have their boots extended by a shoemaker will stretch out their boots themselves, using pliable PVC, garden hoses and tires as extensions. The boots are then painted, sequined and otherwise embellished, sometimes going so far as to incorporate blinking lights and disco balls.

To further accentuate the boots, skinny jeans and cowboy shirts are also in vogue. The easiest way to spot the shoes is in nightclubs, where troupes of men in matching outfits show off their boots (and dance moves) to the sounds of tribal guarachero music, a mixture of pre-Columbian and African sounds mixed with electronic beats. However, the boots are becoming so widely worn that the dancers are being asked to perform at weddings and other events. The above video gives a more detailed primer into the trend, which is now making its way up into the United States and farther south into Central America.

Kiwi Cool: Shopping For New Zealand-Made Souvenirs

When you go to the other side of the world, you want to bring back a few things to show for your trouble. Visiting New Zealand with my 1-year-old daughter, and with nephews at home in America, I became obsessed with finding them something actually made in the country. A stuffed kiwi bird or lamb toy, a merino wool baby blanket, or a fun T-shirt would do nicely, and I wouldn’t mind some jewelry or something small for our apartment either. In all of the cities I visited in New Zealand, I was impressed to find stylish, playful and innovative boutiques and vendors creating beautiful and unique home design, fashion and other Kiwiana. There’s enough Kiwi cool shopping that you might end up wishing you had a bigger suitcase.

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Flotsam & Jetsam (Auckland) – A cross between an antique store and a hipster Restoration Hardware, this collection of colorful and covetable home items will make you contemplate a move to Auckland. Visitors from farther away might find interesting vintage, repurposed and retro home wares from New Zealand and all over the world. Check their Facebook page for details on the latest stock.Nelson Saturday market (Nelson, South Island) – New York City has street fairs and markets pretty much every day of the year if you look hard enough, but all too often, you find the same cheap tube socks, fried cheese and dough concoctions, and hodgepodge of junk. My expectations weren’t high for the weekly market in the arty town of Nelson on the top of the South Island, but after a quick walk through, I was glad I didn’t have too much cash to spend, as there was so much to buy. On a given weekend, you might find model airplanes crafted from soda cans, gourmet gluten-free tacos, and more knitwear than you can shake a sheep at. Local band performances, cooking demonstrations, or even a flash mob add to the festive atmosphere.

Pauanesia (Auckland) – This small shop is loaded to the gills with all things antipodean (a Brit term for a place on the other side of the world), with an emphasis on home textiles such as Polynesian-print tablecloths. If you have a little one to shop for (or just enjoy stuffed animals), consider one of the charming Kiwi “chaps” made from vintage and salvaged fabrics and send them a photo of your bird out in the world. You can also find a nice assortment of Paua shell jewelry, key chains, and other odds and ends much more thoughtfully and well-made than your average gift shop.

Iko Iko (Auckland and Wellington) – What drew me into the Wellington store was a window display of Dear Colleen‘s cheeky “Dishes I’d rather be doing” tea towels with “dishes” like Ryan Gosling and Mr. Darcy-era Colin Firth (get it?). I could have easily spent hours inside poring over the whimsical items, like a kiwi bird cookie cutter, Buzzy Bee cufflinks, or a CD from the Wellington Ukulele Orchestra. It’s full of things you don’t really need but really want, plus fun takes on everyday items.

Abstract Designs (Wellington) – You might call these artisanal cardboard cutouts. Abstract Designs makes creative sculptures and jewelry with a very local flavor. Perhaps you’ll pick up a 747 plane kit for the airplane nerd in your life, a pop-up building replica to remind you of your stay in Wellington, or a cruelty-free moose trophy head for your wall. Their designs are sold in many museum gift shops as well, but there’s a full selection at their Wellington studio and online.

Hapa (Christchurch) – Pop-up businesses have become the foundation for the new Christchurch after the 2011 earthquake. The Re:START mall is the best example, built out of shipping containers and housing a mix of “old” Christchurch shops in temporary digs and new shops. There are several stores in the mall selling New Zealand goods, but Hapa stands out for their many beautiful and clever items, like a bear bean bag chair or a knitted “fox stole” scarf. Best of all, many goods are made or designed in Christchurch, so you can feel good about supporting the local economy.

Texan Art Schools (multiple stores in Auckland) – Don’t be confused by the name, it’s a play on the fact that it carries work from graduates of “tech(nical)s” and art schools. Texan Art Schools acts as one-stop shopping for dozens of Kiwi artists and designers, with an eclectic mix of home items, fashion and jewelry. You’re sure to find something unusual and authentic here like a set of Maori nesting dolls or a retro camper wall clock.

Photo from Auckland’s Queen Street shopping arcade. More “Kiwi Cool: New Zealand for the Unadventurous” to come.

China’s Popular Beach Trend: The Facekini


facekini


If you’re traveling to China this summer and want to fit in at the beach, you may be less than thrilled to learn the popular fashion trend will not allow you to get a tan. Dubbed the “facekini,” these masks cover the person’s entire face, head and neck, with holes cut out for the eyes, nose and mouth.

In northeast China’s seaside town of Qingdao, women especially find these masks appealing for beachwear. Unlike most Westerners who enjoy getting bronze in the summer, Chinese women view white skin as a sign of beauty. In fact, the Chinese have an expression that roughly translates to “white skin covers up a hundred uglinesses.” Because of this, these women will do whatever it takes to stay fair.

“[I wear this because] I fear getting tanned,” said Wang Xiuzhi (王秀芝), a “facekini woman” on Qingdao’s No. 1 Bathing Beach, as reported by Xinhua. “I come here to swim often and [the mask] does work.”

According to CNNGo, the facekini has other benefits, like preventing jellyfish stings, repelling mosquitoes and warding off sharks.

While many people from outside China are just finding out about the facekini, the truth is it has been popular in Qingdao for the last five years.

Would you wear a facekini to the beach?

[Image via AFP / Getty Images]

Video Of The Day: Fashion For The Weather

No matter how many times I manage to put together a surprisingly weather-appropriate outfit, I can’t seem to keep tabs on what those outfits are after the day has passed. This affects my travel packing. Warm-weather climates are easy enough to deal with – a bikini, shorts, tanks, sandals and a sundress or two. Simple. Destinations with cooler weather, however, elude me. Do I need my coat or just my sweater? I should have figured this kind of basic life skill out in elementary school, but since I didn’t, there’s an app for that. Cloth is a fashion app enabling users to photograph and upload pictures of their outfits. But now Cloth is tagging outfits with the current weather and archiving them. So the next time you’re traveling to a place with weather you can’t seem to remember how to dress for, Cloth will show you your own fashion for the weather options.

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