Magazine of the Week

Hi, everyone!  Welcome back to our magazine pick for this week’s browsing.

newyorkdesignThis is one of New York Magazine‘s annual issues, like The Best of New York and the Cheap Eats issues.  This one is focused on interior design.  After real estate, this may be one of NYC’s most popular cocktail party issues once one has moved past the concerns of finals and affording one’s apartment.

There is a general website for the magazine, but it offers more advertising than content.  The magazine itself prides itself on being a guide to the best things for it’s sophisticated urban customer.

We have a range of magazine with an interior-design focus, which you can find here:

Come take a look!

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Tell me what you are wearing…

human being tshirt
T-shirt for sale by, a company which specializes in printed quotes.

Here we are, back in the swing of the semester!  I’ve been trying to post new things for you every-other Wednesday (and once a month in the summer).  This is subject to the frenzy of other library responsibilities, of course, but one has to have goals, right?  We will alternate a longer, feature post, like “Needles in the Stacks” , with shorter, tidbit posts like this one.  And soon we will debut our series on new designers at established fashion houses*.  We hope you’ll like the new features.

Words are important.  Words give us tools to communicate ideas.  One huge area of fashion-related confusion concerns the words used for different fabrics and styles.  That’s why I thought these posts on the Oxford English Dictionary’s blog might be on interest:


It’s interesting how many fabrics took their name from the city or area where they were first made.  And now, every time you throw on a sweater, you can remember the 7th Earl of Cardigan and his leadership at the Charge of the Light Brigade.


This post by the OED demonstrates a few cases where items of clothing have assumed an abbreviation of their functions or origin-parts.  One such word is “jeggings”, the combination of jeans made in a stretchy enough fabric to be leggings.

This is a woman’s “combination” from an 1892 Harper’s Bazar magazine.


Another is “combs” for combinations, a type of underwear that incorporates both long john leggings with an underwear top, such as a camisole.

As this next post points out, each decade of fashion brings new words for that fashion.  Many of those words (i.e. bob haircut, go-go boots, zoot suit) become synonymous with the period where they were first introduced (i.e. 20’s, 60’s, 40’s Harlem).

Cab Call onstage
The legendary bandleader Cab Calloway, in his heyday, wearing his signature white zoot suit.



Speaking of words, Mr. Calloway made very interesting use of them in his biggest number:

Cab Calloway performing his signature number

Some things are so special they need a word all their own!



*Points to you if you can come up with a witty name for this feature.  Email me at with suggestions.

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What Color Was That?

pantone fan

Ever had trouble describing a color to someone?

There are tools designed to help you convey that information to another designer;  or dyer, or graphic artist, or painter, or weaver, and on and on and on.  They’re a lot like paint chips that you can bring home to try out in your living room.  In fact, they are formatted pretty similarly.

Color services make what are called “color standards”.  These are chips of color that are reproducible (providing *exactly* the same shade every time) and that are easy to get.  This allows a designer to hand out a standard set of colors to every factory or jobber or printer she deals with.  That way each of these factories has the exact same color to refer to.  (Imagine if a print is made in India and the coordinating pants in Hong Kong, or napkins having to match wedding invitations.) There’s more to it than that, but you get the idea.  This is the new “Pastels & Neons” book, as you can see:

pantone neon

We’re pretty excited here in PERS because we got a new Fashion, Home & Interiors color fan from Pantone this summer.  (At the top of the page)


In recent years, Pantone has tried to publicize their brand and sell directly to the consumer.  Remember all that hype about last fall’s “Color of the Year”?  That was Pantone:

Pantone chips can be put to all kinds of uses, including some playful ones:

There are four main color sources in the NYC fashion area.  We happen to also have the main color catalog of another one, Color Solutions International:

Ours is slightly older and looks like this:

color wall books

This color system seems to be popular with large chain stores.  We received ours in a gift from Walmart when they closed their NYC office.

Possibly the oldest color source is the Munsell Color System.  We have a recent copy of this in the library, too.  It’s called:

The New Munsell Student Color Set, by Jim Long

5th floor on Reserve at the Circulation Desk  ND1493.M8 L85 2011

And here is the Munsell website:

Munsell was the brainchild of Albert H. Munsell, who first published his theories of color as “A Color Notation” in 1905.  He also was the inventor of the first crayons in 1906 (then sold to Binney & Smith Co. in 1926), which were known as Munsell Crayola crayons.  You can read more about the man here:

The fourth international color service is ScotDic, which has a less-inviting web presence, but still has good color.

I found a brief company history on their LinkedIn page:

“SCOTDIC is a leading provider of color for fashion. The company has been in the textile color business for over 100 years. Starting as a kimono factory in Kyoto, Japan – the company, known for its expertise in color, built a reputation for its enormous library of color, accurate ability to identify trends and to reproduce color on textile with a high degree of accuracy. SCOTDIC introduced the first color system exclusively for textile in 1982.”

Color is such a huge part of design that our library has many color-related tools to help you work.  One of our librarians, Helen Lane, has given some additional pointers to color services and tools online in her blog:

For those of you reading in depth, this post is designed to get me caught up with the regular posting schedule of once every two weeks.  We got behind here in the flurry at the beginning of the new semester.  We’ve a lot of cool material to show you, though, and will do our best to publish every other Wednesday from here through January break.  Till next time, then…!

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