Clothing From Around The World: Germany

When you think about German clothing, you probably think about lederhosen (those traditional German dark green or black shorts that are held up by shoulder straps and worn with a white embroidered shirt) or dirndl, (the female version of the lederhosen but with a skirt instead of shorts). But in modern day Germany, things have changed a lot. No longer will you see traditional German clothing or German military uniforms, instead you’ll see German high fashion in fashion shows all over Europe and beautifully cut casual sportswear worn by most Germans in everyday life. Used to a history that was militarized and restrictive, Germans have now escaped from this prison and want to feel relaxed and comfortable, while still looking elegant and beautifully put together.

Top German designers like Toni Dress, Hagro and Jobis are famous for their casual, yet elegant clothes. For winter 2008, Jobis is showcasing cream, figure-hugging stretch pants, lots of tight turtleneck sweaters, down coats in muted colors and superbly tailored short jackets. Hagro is offering floral skirts and long-flowing dresses with a country feel in navy blues and beiges. Toni Dress, known for its impeccably cut trousers and matching jackets, has yet another fabulous collection of designer jackets and pants. All beautiful quality, but all able to be worn comfortably.

Of course, Germany is also known for its most famous designer, Karl Lagerfeld. Lagerfeld’s career has been in the spotlight for more than 50 years. Originally, he was famous for the coats he designed, but more frequently now, he’s known for his various “little black dress” designs. Lagerfeld also designs jeans and t-shirts (perfectly cut, of course), and his fitted t-shirts are now some of the most popular German fashion items.

Finally, I can’t talk about German fashion without mentioning the German avant-garde designers. Known for their flamboyant, unusual designs with wild colors and a crazy, almost costume-like look, they are also often the muse for more conservative designs that are considered more wearable.

When it comes to fashion, Germany pretty much has it all. From the catwalks of Berlin and Munich to the normal everyday German on the street, German fashion has come a long way since the days of lederhosen and dirndl.


Quilted leather handbags have been a style staple amongst the fashion cognoscenti since its 1955 creation by the House of Chanel. They have come a long way since then, with many luxury designers from Marc Jacobs to Furla, throwing their quilted variations in the ring. What is Couture craving? Furla Shopper Grande Quilted, Costume National Patent Leather Tote with quilted-esque bottom, L.A.M.B. Music Rocksteady Tote with Accent Strip, and Furla Viktoria Shopper Grande Quilted.

Dev. Uses The Force, or Somthing like that.

Our very own Techie extraordinaire, Pawel S., discovered a strange reaction between his beloved plasma ball that sits on his desk and keeps him company throughout the day (for those who can, see his SM picture) and his Apple computer – more specifically the Mighty Mouse. You see, Pawel discovered how to transfer the energy that the plasma ball emits in order to control the mighty mouse functions.

See for yourself! And, unlike most things that we do in this office and post on the blogs, this trick is safe to try at home.

See, I Told You Those Cats in Dev Were Magic!


Slouch boots are hardly shapeless. These Marc by Marc Jacobs boots are slouched on top but structured on the bottom, the perfect style to tuck your jeans into or pair with your above the knee sweater dress.

Best Snowboarding on the Planet: Go On, Be a Cheese Head!

In the land of cheese, bratwursts and beer – Wisconsin – there is more than heavy food and drink. Snowboarding enthusiasts will be delighted with a less-publicized product of Wisconsin that is light and fluffy.

So-called “lake-effect” snow constantly falls near Wisconsin’s coastlines along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. This is different than the lake nearest you, because you need a really big lake to get lake-effect snow. Such as a Great Lake.

Skies can be clear in other places, but lake-effect snow still will be falling in these areas. Don’t worry, snowboarders, this doesn’t mean that you’re going daffy. This happens because the water quantity is so great on the Great Lakes that the water stays warmer compared to inland lakes, ponds and rivers, which freeze over. The frigid winter air hits this warmer Great Lakes’ water, and there you have it: lake-effect snow.

Buffalo, Syracuse and New York’s entire northwest, upstate areas get socked for a similar reason, but Wisconsin gets less attention for its prodigious snowfalls. For example, Crystal Ridge Ski Area and Wilmot Mountain are located just a few miles from downtown Milwaukee, and Milwaukee = lake effect (as well as beer). If you head 35 north of Milwaukee, you will encounter Sunburst Ski Area, where the lake effect is in full effect. Then there’s Hidden Valley Ski Area near Green Bay, but don’t try to get Packers’ football tickets, because there is something like a 20-year waiting list, and Packers fans generally aren’t into scalping.

You can find great Wisconsin inland locations as well for a day of snowboarding, a weekend, a full vacation or even a reasonably priced season pass for just a few hundred bucks. Wisconsin is by no means a mountainous state, but the glaciers left behind some really neat gorges and long sloping hills. For example, there’s Granite Peak, which is smack dab in the center of the state. You can get a 700-foot vertical at Granite Peak, which is virtually unheard of in the Midwest.

The snowboarding culture is fully alive in Wisconsin, sparked in part by the presence of the University of Wisconsin’s main campus at Madison and other campuses that dot the state. UW is known both as a liberal school and a party school. Hey, what can you say about a school that had its marching band suspended this fall for hazing?

Also recommended: Tyrol Basin, Alpine Valley and Mt. La Crosse.


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Shopping Tips for New Parents: Getting Organized

After the excitement of bringing the newborn home subsides, and you’re preparing for a life with your new addition, getting organized can help you get back into your daily routine. Your days are now filled with lugging diapers, stocking up on baby formula and building a new wardrobe for your little one, so you’ll need some tools and supplies to keep everything in order. From diaper bags to organizer totes, there are plenty of ways to keep track of all the essentials as you embrace and enjoy this new change in your life.

First, tap into your fashionable ways with a trendy child carrier . The MetroMamma child carriers are a stylish way to tote your little one along on that next errand run, giving you a chance to carry your newborn with flair. Take your pick of camo, dragon or crown designs with rhinestone embellishments or glitter for an extra touch of glam. These versatile child carriers are a must for any mod mommy who wants to show off her little one in style!

Next, pick out your favorite color and style of diaper bag. You can spread the word of peace with the DanteBeatrix Diaper Stroller Tote, a trendy messenger-style bag with plenty of compartment space, or just share your love for metallic with this eye-catching silver bag from Diaper Dude . These diaper bags are made with comfort and versatility in mind to help you carry around all those baby essentials with ease.

When it’s time to hit the road for a weekend of traveling, don’t forget to pack your own must-haves and accessories in a chic tote. Mom needs her own travel tote to carry books, magazines, snacks and perhaps a fresh set of clothing on those overnight stays. Pick up the spacious Hurley Ace of Spades to show off your trendy side or go for a laid back and casual look with a sherpani tote in bold colors.

Staying organized in the midst of chaos is one of the best ways to overcome the challenges of change and get into your regular routine. Pick up any of these essential accessories when baby comes home so you can adjust to your new lifestyle with ease!

Fiji Fashion Week!

If you really need to get away from it all in December and appliquéd Santa or reindeer sweaters don’t satisfy your sense of style, why not plan a trip to a fashion show in Fiji? The first annual Fiji Fashion Week will be held at the fabulous Renaissance Fiji Beach Resort and Spa on Denarau Island in Nadi, Fiji, December 3-7. It will showcase Autumn/Winter 2009 fashions for the southern hemisphere — yeah, there’s a whole half of the world that’s not on the same schedule as Paris — through a two-day workshop for emerging designers, two nights of fashion shows and an exhibition day showcasing designs from both emerging and established Fiji brands and designers.

Designers featured at Fiji Fashion Week Winter ’09 include Manafidji, Robert Kennedy, Wai Tui, Uprising Beach Resortwear, Value City, Hupfield Hoerder, Samu Cabe, Tali by Rajan Sami, Courtney Nicole & Arieta Tora, Ellie Nusbaum, Brittany Byrne, Craig Marlow, Carlos Semisi & William Sanday and Lisa Lee. The local fashion sensibility is definitely tropical, but surprisingly chic — no Hawaiian shirts or Bermuda shorts in sight. And lest you be in doubt about whether Fiji is really a hotbed of fashion or not, celebrities that have visited there recently include Britney Spears, Tori Spelling, Nicole Kidman, Madonna, Demi Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Russell Crowe, John Travolta and Mel Gibson.

The really interesting part of Fiji Fashion Week, though, is the attention given to further development of fashion talent through the workshops. Designers will be on hand to discuss all aspects of putting together a line, from designing a collection to marketing it to maximizing press coverage and sales from the perspective of fashion editors and stylists. Fashion weeks aren’t usually as upfront about the commercial side of the business — I like to call them the world’s most glamorous tradeshows — but in Fiji there’s even a meet-and-greet exhibition between designers and buyers. Think about it, fashion designer wannabes. You could stand out there as a big fish in a small pond and live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. It sure beats Fashion Week Rochester, anyway!

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Baby Boomers: Beef Up Your Winter Athletic Wardrobe

Baby boomers who have taken on new athletic ventures during the spring and summer season need only to beef up their athletic gear to stay warm for the fall and winter season. There is no need to discontinue a fitness program that has grown strong during the mild months or revert to training inside. The combination of crisp fresh air, nature and enjoying the outdoors is imperative to excellent physical health and overall wellbeing.

Selecting warm athletic clothing provides added warmth and comfort to the workout process. There are a couple of excellent lines of winter athletic gear from which to select including PUMA, Kuhl, Nike, Moving Comfort and others. A great choice for men’s athletic gear for the upper body is the PUMA Winter Top, which is available in Vaporous Grey. Made from 100 percent polyester the PUMA Winter Top has a front zip, reflective logo on the front, reflective seam tape on the back and cuff and thumbhole grips. This is a great piece that can be layered over other pieces without feeling restricted from activity. The retail price for the PUMA Winter Top the PUMA Winter Top is $69.95.

Winter weight leggings are also important to have, especially for runners. An excellent choice of winter leggings for baby boomer women is the Nike Winter Leggings, which are made from 95 percent cotton and 5 percent spandex for comfortable fit. Features of the Nike Winter Leggings include soft-rib fabrication, pieced-on waistband for comfort and the Nike logo on the left hip. Designed for comfort and warmth and also ideal for layering in extremely cold weather, the Nike Winter Leggings help to ensure warmth and keep baby boomers active during the winter season. The retail price for the Nike Winter Leggings is $46.

There is a variety of great winter active wear pieces baby boomers can add to their fitness wardrobe, which are all designed to ensure warmth and comfort and to promote the incentive to maintain one’s fitness goals. Don’t let a little bit of chilly weather get in the way of a great fitness routine.