CLOSE
Original image

On Beards and Their Circumstances

Original image

A recent New Yorker article on Strike Beards suggests a broad spectrum of circumstantial beardification -- the article is primarily about beards grown in response to the writers' strike, but it also touches on thesis beards, neck beards, Wimbledon beards (Bjorn Borg, anyone?), and the unforgettable Unabomber beard (I shall call this facial adornment a "lone gunman beard"). During the writers' strike, Conan O'Brien and David Letterman are growing strike beards -- and the trend extends to writers on the picket lines:

The strikers themselves were looking a little hairy on the picket lines in midtown. Colin Jost, a writer for "Saturday Night Live," estimated that ninety per cent of his friends were now barbati.

All this beard talk reminds me of the "Holiday Neck Beard" (warning: a little coarse language), an annual celebration of neck-only beards. If you want to participate next year, just begin growing your neck beard at Thanksgiving. Be sure to document its progress with photos, which you can share with your horrified family at the holidays. After growing a luxurious one-month neck beard, shave it off at Christmas (or whatever date you feel is most impactful) as a gift to your mother. Thus far I've been too pusillanimous to attempt a holiday neck beard, but I must say it's tempting.

There's also the "thesis beard," which is just what it sounds like -- the gentleman in question grows a beard while writing his college thesis. Then there's the age-old question -- to shave the beard prior to thesis defense, or after? Only you can decide. (For what it's worth, a search for "thesis beard" on Flickr turns up only fourteen beards! Let's get those beards on, academics!!)

I'm considering growing a "book beard" this year -- the idea is that I'll start growing the beard when I start writing the book, and only shave it when the first draft is complete. But I'm worried that this will stray dangerously close to the aforementioned "lone gunman beard" (based on previous personal beard experience), and in the event of failure to finish a first draft, may render me permanently bearded. So...maybe not.

So here's the inevitable question: have you ever grown a beard for some special circumstance? I'm particularly interested in social bearding, where men grow beards together (ahem, in solidarity -- anybody grow a "nuclear submarine beard" or a "playoff beard?"). Also, ladies: what's your take on this business?

Original image
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
Why Do Shorts Cost as Much as Pants?
Original image
iStock

Shorts may feel nice and breezy on your legs on a warm summer’s day, but they’re not so gentle on your wallet. In general, a pair of shorts isn’t any cheaper than a pair of pants, despite one obviously using less fabric than the other. So what gives?

It turns out clothing retailers aren’t trying to rip you off; they’re just pricing shorts according to what it costs to produce them. Extra material does go into a full pair of pants but not as much as you may think. As Esquire explains, shorts that don’t fall past your knees may contain just a fifth less fabric than ankle-length trousers. This is because most of the cloth in these items is sewn into the top half.

Those same details that end up accounting for most of the material—flies, pockets, belt loops, waist bands—also require the most human labor to make. This is where the true cost of a garment is determined. The physical cotton in blue jeans accounts for just a small fraction of its price tag. Most of that money goes to pay the people stitching it together, and they put in roughly the same amount of time whether they’re working on a pair of boot cut jeans or some Daisy Dukes.

This price trend crops up across the fashion spectrum, but it’s most apparent in pants and shorts. For example, short-sleeved shirts cost roughly the same as long-sleeved shirts, but complicated stitching in shirt cuffs that you don’t see in pant legs can throw this dynamic off. There are also numerous invisible factors that make some shorts more expensive than nearly identical pairs, like where they were made, marketing costs, and the brand on the label. If that doesn’t make spending $40 on something that covers just a sliver of leg any easier to swallow, maybe check to see what you have in your closet before going on your next shopping spree.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
Musee YSL Marrakech
arrow
Design
A Pair of New Museums Will Honor Fashion Icon Yves Saint Laurent
Original image
Musee YSL Marrakech

In 2008, the legendary Yves Saint Laurent—the 20th century fashion luminary whose designs were inspired by fine art, menswear, Moroccan caftans, and peasant garb, among other influences—passed away at the age of 71. Now, nearly a decade after his death, fashion fans can pay homage to the iconic designer by visiting two new museums dedicated to his life and work, according to ARTnews.

Morocco's Musée Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech pays homage to the designer in a place he famously loved. (He first bought a house in the city in 1966, and his ashes were scattered there after his death.) In 1980, he and his partner Pierre Bergé bought Marrakech's Jardin Majorelle to prevent its destruction by developers, turning it into an immensely popular public garden. Located near the garden—along a street that is named after him—the new museum's permanent and temporary exhibits alike will feature clothing items like the designer's influential safari jackets and smoking suits along with sketches, accessories, and other archival items.

The Moroccan museum will serve as a sister institution to the new Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, which is located at the site of Saint Laurent’s historic atelier and office in France. Following an extensive renovation of the building, the Paris institution will house thousands of sketches, photos, and fashion items related to the designer. The first exhibition will be a themed retrospective, “Yves Saint Laurent’s Imaginary Asia."

Both museums are scheduled to open in October. We’re already donning our smoking jackets.

[h/t ARTnews]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios