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15 Oversized Facts About Snuggies

At one point or another in the last two decades, you’ve probably purchased a Snuggie. Whether as a gag gift or as a genuine device for keeping you warm (hey, it works), more than 30 million of the once-ubiquitous sleeved blankets have been sold since their debut in 2008. You probably know that a cheesy infomercial was a key to the product’s success; here are 15 things you might not have known about the Snuggie.

1. SNUGGIE WASN'T THE FIRST BLANKET WITH SLEEVES.

Though there are several other oversized, body-length blankets out there, which sell under brand names like Toasty Wrap and Hoodie-Footie, there is only one Snuggie. And while it may be the most famous of the bunch, it’s not the first blanket with sleeves. That honor belongs to the equally fun-to-say Slanket, which was invented by Gary Clegg in a University of Maine dorm room in 1998, then brought to market in the mid-2000s (more than two years before the Snuggie’s debut). In an interview with The New York Times, Clegg called the Snuggie a “cheap knockoff” of the Slanket and said that it “undermines the integrity” of his product.

For his part, Scott Boilen—president and chief executive of the Allstar Marketing Group, which produces the Snuggie—doesn't pretend that they invented the concept. “We had seen products like these in catalogs for a while—even before the Slanket came out, I think,” Boilen told The New York Times. “And we thought if we could put a clever commercial behind it and offer it at a better value price, then people would buy it … We would all be in not-great shape if there was still just one car company.”

2. EVEN ITS INVENTOR WASN’T CONVINCED IT WOULD BE SUCCESSFUL.

Even Boilen couldn’t have predicted the enormous, and immediate, success of the Snuggie. The fact that it was made at all was kind of a numbers game, as the company tested a total of 80 products that year. “If you told me we could only test 50 products, the Snuggie might not have made the cut," Boilen told Yahoo! Finance.

3. THE SNUGGIE’S SUCCESS BOOSTED SALES OF THE SLANKET.

While the Snuggie may have nabbed the bigger headlines (and more than one parody), its brisk business was a boon to its competitors as well. Between 2008 and 2009, the makers of the Slanket more than doubled their profits—from $4.2 million in 2008 to an estimated $9 million in 2009. “Their infomercial is raising general awareness about the product,” Clegg said.

4. RIDICULOUSNESS WAS PART OF THE BUSINESS PLAN.

Like the Clapper and so many other As Seen on TV products before it, the utter ridiculousness of the original Snuggie commercial is what brought awareness to the product—which quickly translated into sales. In a way, it was all part of the business strategy. “There is a bit of the ridiculous to it,” Boilen said of the commercial. “So that catches people’s attention.”

5. THE COMMERCIAL WAS INTENDED TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THE PRODUCT, NOT PROMPT SALES.

A dirty little secret of the As Seen on TV business is that those over-the-top commercials aren’t really meant to sell product—they’re created to raise awareness about a product, so that major retailers like Wal-Mart will place an order, which is where about 95 percent of a product’s sales come from.

“We can do 1000 focus groups for people to tell us what they’ll do, but when you actually air a TV commercial and somebody gets off the couch to go on a website or call a number and actually place an order with their credit card from a company they never heard of and wait a while to get it, that person’s definitely going to buy it at retail,” Boilen explained to BuzzFeed. “If we build awareness to a certain level, we’ll sell through retail.”

6. THE SNUGGIE WAS PROFITABLE BEFORE IT BECAME AVAILABLE IN RETAIL STORES.

While retail is the ultimate goal of any As Seen on TV product, the Snuggie actually made money before it hit the shelves at brick-and-mortar stores. In February of 2009, warmth-minded customers could already purchase a Snuggie at Walgreens and Bed, Bath & Beyond. In an interview with The New York Times at that time, Boilen predicted that “every major retailer” would be carrying it by the fall.

7. THE SNUGGIE PUT THE KIBOSH ON SLANKET’S RUN ON THE BIG BOX STORES.

While the general marketplace may be large enough to withstand a lot of sleeved blanket competition, the retail store industry doesn't quite work that way. Though Slanket’s Clegg was on track to see his invention make its way into retail stores, all that came to a halt when Snuggie arrived on the scene. “In 2008 things were going great for us and we were preparing to approach big box stores in the summer of that year,” Clegg told American Express OPEN Forum. “All of that ended, though, in August. That is when we saw the first test commercials for Snuggie … I was down at first, but I knew there was nothing I could do.” When asked whether he considered legal action, Clegg said no: “I never thought about that. We also didn’t have a patent because textile patents are really hard to protect. It is like having a patent on socks or T-shirts."

8. IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN INSPIRED BY DR. SEUSS.

Dr. Seuss Wiki

The Snuggie has been compared to many things; in discussing its popularity, Jay Leno wondered, “Why don’t you just put your robe on backwards?” and Ellen DeGeneres suggested that the company “Should throw in a pointed hat so you can look like a wizard.” But many see a literary influence in the amorphous garment: the Thneed, a catch-all textile seen in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, which can act as a shirt, sock, hat, toothbrush holder, hammock, or dozens of other things.

9. IT WAS ONE OF THE EARLIEST PRODUCTS TO BENEFIT FROM SOCIAL MEDIA.

The introduction of the Snuggie occurred at the same time that social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook were becoming more important to businesses. “It certainly put us on the public’s radar,” Boilen said of the role social media played in increasing public awareness of the product. “It was the first product that really went viral, that really went mainstream like that. It was probably the first product that had the advantage of social media really peaking.”

10. THEY GO GREAT WITH BEER.

While the Snuggie commercial promoted how great the product could be at home on the couch, and even at a football game, barflies were quick to adopt the uniform. In 2009, a group of Snuggie-loving beer drinkers organized the first Snuggie Pub Crawl in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over the next few years, more than 100 other Snuggie crawls happened.

11. CONSERVATIVES LOVED THEM.

In 2009, Americans for Tax Reform’s Derek Hunter—who admitted that he bought his own Snuggie in a not-so-sober state—managed to convince a few of his fellow conservatives, including Andrew Breitbart and Tucker Carlson, to don his blue blanket and posted their photos to his Facebook group, The Snuggie Cult. He even convinced his boss, ATR president Grover Norquist, to do it. "From there, it blew up," Hunter told Politico. "Within the next hour I was inundated with messages from people who wanted to see it, try it on, and have their picture taken in it. I figured it could be fun, so what the hell?”

12. OPRAH WAS A FAN, TOO.

When it comes to celebrity endorsements, there are few people more powerful than Oprah Winfrey. In March 2009, Snuggie’s “designer” line of products—which came in all sorts of colors and prints—got Oprah’s seal of approval on The Oprah Winfrey Show (while Tyler Perry sat awkwardly by her side in a zebra print blanket). And in true Oprah fashion, every audience member brought one home. (You get a Snuggie, you get a Snuggie, everybody gets a Snuggie!)

13. SPORTS FANS WERE COMPETITIVE ABOUT THEIR SNUGGIES.

On March 5, 2010, approximately 20,000 Snuggie-clad Cleveland Cavaliers fans showed up to watch their team beat the Detroit Pistons by seven points. It was a large enough gathering to earn the crowd a Guinness World Record, but it didn’t last long. Just one month later, 43,510 Los Angeles Angels fans donned similar attire, crushing Cleveland’s record.

14. THAT “BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE” DEAL WASN’T SUCH A DEAL AFTER ALL.

In 2015, Snuggie’s parent company, Allstar Products Group, agreed to pay out approximately $8 million to customers to settle a complaint that the company duped many customers into purchasing a buy one, get one free deal—which really wasn’t such a deal after all. “This agreement returns money to thousands of consumers in New York and across the nation who believed they were buying items at the price advertised on television, but ended up with extra merchandise and hidden fees they didn’t bargain for,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. The customers signed up for two Snuggies for $19.95, but ended up paying almost twice that when all was said and done.

15. NO ONE KNOWS WHY THE SNUGGIE CAUGHT ON.

No one really knows why the Snuggie became such a pop culture phenomenon—not even its creator. "If I knew how the Snuggie became so successful, we’d have 15 more products like that,” Boilen said. “It just struck a chord at the right time."

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Learn to Tie a Tie in Less Than 2 Minutes
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For most men—and Avril Lavigne-imitators—learning to tie a tie is an essential sartorial skill. Digg spotted this video showing how you can tie one the simple way, with a tabletop method that works just as well if you’re going to wear the tie yourself or if you're tying it together for someone else who doesn't share your skills.

The whole technique is definitely easier to master while watching the video below, but here's a short rundown: As laid out by the lifehack YouTube channel DaveHax, the method requires you to lay the tie out on a table, folded in half as if you're about to loop it around your neck.

With the back of the tie facing up, you loop over each end, then twist the thinner of the two loops around itself so it ends up looking like a mini-tie knot itself. You'll end up nestling the two loops together and snaking the thin tail of the tie through the whole thing. Then, essentially all you have to do is pull, and you can adjust the tie as you otherwise would to put it over your head.

Unfortunately, this won't teach you how to master the art of more complicated neckwear styles like the fancier Balthus knot or even a bow tie, but it's a pretty good start for those who have yet to figure out even the simplest tie fashions.

[h/t Digg]

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20 Old Hat Styles Due for a Comeback
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John Firth, BIPs/Getty Images

One thing that illustrated and photographic archives have taught us is that people have always known how to rock a stylish piece of headwear. From squat caps to towering toppers, history has produced a hat for every occasion. Here are 20 old styles that, with a healthy dose of fashion and confidence, could still look just as fabulous today.

1. THE CLOCHE

A woman wearing a cloche hat decorated with flowers.
Sasha, Getty Images

The sleek, head-hugging cloche was the perfect companion to the bobbed hairstyle worn by flappers in the 1920s. The hats were typically left plain to emphasize their bell-shaped silhouette, though they also offered a blank canvas for embellishment. The cloche was most popular during the Jazz Age but it’s occasionally incorporated into retro fashion styles today.

2. THE OTTOMAN HEADDRESS

A drawing of a man wearing an Ottoman headdress.

In Ottoman ceremonial costumes, hats played a starring role. The headgear often featured bright colors, feathery ornamentations, and elaborate designs that signified status. The wearer’s class, religion, gender, and clan could all be gleaned from the way the fabric in their headdress was layered.

3. THE BOWLER HAT

Oscar Wilde wearing a bowler hat in 1885.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The top hat was popular in the 19th century but it wasn't always the most practical choice for outdoor activities. When looking for a way to protect the heads of horseback riders from branches, brothers Thomas and William Bowler came up with their namesake cap. The bowler hat was sturdy, compact, and appropriate for most any occasion. Though the bowler hat largely fizzled out by the 1980s, the item's original London manufacturers Lock & Co. still sell thousands each year.

4. THE PILLBOX HAT

Woman wearing a pillbox hat in the 1960s.
Chaloner Woods, Getty Images

Unlike some hats from history, this one was prized for its simplicity. It could be easily identified by its brimless, round shape evoking that of a pillbox. It began gaining steam in the 1930s before reaching peak popularity with First Lady Jackie Kennedy in the 1960s.

5. THE FASCINATOR

Victoria Beckham wearing a fascinator in 2007.
Mark Mainz, Getty Images

Depending on the look you’re going for, a fascinator can be worn as a subtle accent item or a show-stealing statement piece. The hat is defined as an ornamental headpiece that’s secured to the crown using a headband or comb. Once they fit that criteria, fascinators can take the form of flowers, feathers, fabric, or whatever else the wearer can engineer to stay on their head. And though they're still popular in the U.K., Americans don't tend to utilize fascinators outside of Derby Day attire.

6. THE TRI-CORNER HAT

A tri-cornered hat from Spain, circa 1780.
Gabriel Bouys, AFP/Getty Images

In 17th century Europe and America, tri-cornered hats, or tricornes, gave men the opportunity to show off their lustrous wigs poking out from beneath the upturned brim. It's no surprise then that the hat style died out with the powdered wig fad, but that doesn't mean it isn't fit for a comeback. Even if wearers don't have wigs to flaunt, they could take a page from our forefathers' book and upgrade the hat itself with feathers, brocades, and fabrics—or maybe just sports insignias.

7. THE DEERSTALKER HAT

British actor Peter Cushing wearing a deerstalker hat circa 1960.
Keystone/Getty Images

If you’ve seen this hat anywhere, it was most likely on the head of someone portraying Sherlock Holmes. The headpiece has been tied to the character since the books were published in the 19th century (it was the illustrations—not the story—that did it, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle never mentions the cap in the text). It’s peculiar that an urban detective would be wearing a deerstalker hat in the first place, considering they were designed for hunting game and not tracking clues, but the smartly styled hat's comeback should be ... elementary.

8. THE HENNIN

Illustration of a French woman wearing a hennin in the 15th century.
plaisanter, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

These striking hats were a clear sign of royalty in the medieval era. Reinforced with wire or padding and draped in fine fabric, the cone-shaped hennin is still synonymous with the stereotypical princess today. English hennins were fairly modest in height, but the French version reached up to to three feet and the hat's Mongolian predecessor towered five to seven feet high.

9. THE NEWSBOY CAP

Newsboys in St. Louis in 1910.
Lewis Hine, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

This hat goes by many names (the big apple, the eight panel, the Gatsby), but its strongest association is with newsboys at the turn of the 20th century. The floppy, brimmed cap wasn't just popular with the younger working class. It was worn by men across the social ladder and was a common sight on the golf course.

10. THE PEACH BASKET HAT

Actress Marion Davies in a peach basket hat.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The origin of this hat name isn't too hard to figure out: It resembles a bulky, over-turned fruit basket. The peach basket hat first appeared at the start of the 20th century, but it was shunned by many for being an "unpatriotic" display of vanity during the first world war. It was revived in the 1930s and experienced a popularity streak until the 1950s.

11. THE PORK PIE HAT

Actor Buster Keaton wearing his signature pork pie hat in 1939.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

This hat is known for having a domed crown inside a pinched rim, creating a shape similar to that of a certain savory pastry. The style was originally worn by women in the 19th century and was later embraced by men’s fashion in the early 1900s (thanks in part to Buster Keaton). It’s not as popular as it was in the 1920s but it recently enjoyed a brief return to the spotlight by way of the Heisenberg character on Breaking Bad.

12. THE CARTWHEEL HAT

Actress Fanny Brice wearing a cartwheel hat circa 1910.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Out of context, a cartwheel hat could be mistaken for an hor d'oeuvres platter or a tiny landing pad. The hat was worn slightly askew for an eye-catching look and was often crafted from luxurious materials. But after catching on in the 1930s, the broad hats have since fallen out of fashion.

13. THE CHAPEAU BRAS

Bicorne hat.
Marie-Lan Nguyen, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.5

With the chapeau bras, gentlemen in the 18th century proved you don't need to compromise style for convenience. The bicorne shape of the hat was designed to both sit comfortably on a head and fold flat when tucked beneath an arm. The French name roughly translates to "hat arm." It was a popular hat style among military men in the 1800s, including U.S. admiral George Dewey.

14. THE BOUDOIR CAP

Hat on mannequin.

For a brief period at the turn of the 19th century, hair nets were fashionable. Women used boudoir caps to protect their hair while getting dressed in the morning or at night, though more stylish designs also worked as statement-making loungewear. Typically made from silk, muslin, or other lingerie fabric, the cap was the perfect companion to the kimono negligee, which was just beginning to gain popularity in the West at the time.

15. THE EUGÉNIE HAT

Illustration of Victorian woman.

The Eugénie hat is named after Empress Eugénie de Montijo, one half of France’s last reigning royal couple. It’s traditionally made from felt or velvet and worn tilted forward slightly to cover the wearer's eye. The hat saw an initial popularity spike in the mid-19th century, then a second after Greta Garbo worse a version of it in the 1930 film Romance.

16. THE GAINSBOROUGH HAT

Portrait of woman wearing hat.

Gainsborough hats, or picture hats, were popularized by 18th-century artist Thomas Gainsborough, who often depicted the society women in his portraits beneath massive headwear. The hats are known for their wide brims and over-the-top embellishments. It wasn't uncommon to see women walking around with stuffed birds perched on their hats during the style's peak.

17. THE PAMELA BONNET

Woman wearing bonnet.

Named for the protagonist of Samuel Richardson's 1740 novel, the Pamela bonnet was an elegant hat option for women in the 19th century. It's crafted from straw and tied with a ribbon in such a way that folds the wide brims against the wearer's cheeks. The sides of the hat slope down and away from the head, allowing the woman’s fashionable ringlets to peek out.

18. THE HALF HAT

The Queen wearing a half hat and waving from a car.

The sleek, close hat trend reached its peak in the 1950s with the half hat. Part-hat, part-hair accessory, the half hat cups the back of the skull and curves across the crown, stopping just short of the ears. Milliner Lilly Daché received an American Designer award for the hat in 1941.

19. THE WHOOPEE CAP

Actor wearing a hat.

The whoopee cap is best known as the crown hat Jughead wears in the Archie comics. Instead of buying a professionally-made version from a hat shop, wearers fashioned caps of their own by tattering the brims of old fedoras and turning them inside-out. The style appeared recently on Riverdale, the gritty Archie reboot, so a comeback may be on the way.

20. THE HOMBURG

British Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden (right) with Neville Chamberlain, Leader of the Conservative Party, wearing Homburg hats while walking in London in 1937.
Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Homburg isn't a household name like the top hat or the fedora, but the men’s hat is still a classic. The style is distinguished by a curled brim and a dent depressing the center of the crown. King Edward VII launched the trend in the late 19th century. When he brought a hat back with him following a visit to Bad Homburg, Germany, the rest of the world noticed his new look and started wearing Homburg hats of their own.

A shorter version of this story originally ran in 2017.

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