Monday, July 27, 2015

From Castle Craze to Mattress Money, Consumer Behavior Is Fairly Predictable Depending on the Stage of an Economic Cycle

Dan Geller is a behavioral financial scientist. Photo from Money Anxiety Web site.


soon as the economy improves and starts to expand, consumers return to their favorite "sport" – bigger and better homes.

The Castle Craze is a strain of financial behavior that describes our fascination with status symbols associated with success. It is one of six financial habits consumers repeat each time the economy goes through a cycle, says behavioral finance scientist Dan Geller.

The craze goes beyond the practical consideration of having a place to live and making smart investments, it also as a statement of status and achievement. In good economic times, consumers will over extend their finances just to win in the bigger, better and nicer national competition, DG says.

The second financial habit is the Durable Diet. It comes into play when the economy is in a recession and there is a desire to save money by prolonging the life of the most expensive possessions – automobiles and appliances.

During the Durable Diet spending phase, consumers tend to maintain the lifespan of their more expensive possessions such as automobiles. Pictured is the Land Rover LR2 SUV. Photo from Land Rover Web site.

Typically, consumers will hold off on replacing such durable items until the economy improves, or until the item breaks down and must be replaced. The reason car sales have increased dramatically in the last couple of years, DG says, is exactly because during the recession many postponed replacing their cars as they would normally do.

DG discovered these patterns of consumer financial behavior – or Behavioralogy – during high, normal and low levels of money anxiety after some study. The results of his recent findings are published in the book, “Money Anxiety.” The study found that consumers repeated these six behaviors in each of the economic cycles during the last 50 years.

Tiny Treats is the third of the financial habits. Like Cattle Craze and Durable Diet, it is related to spending. Consumers, DG found, turn to Tiny Treats when they can't afford the expensive items they really want. When the economy is transitioning, many are unsure if they should buy a new big-screen TV or put the money aside in case things don't get better economically. Tiny Treats make up for the big things they are not buying.

"Money Anxiety" explores consumer spending over the last 50 years.

According to DG, during the last recession the only category that exhibited a high growth in sales was personal care products and services. These are items such as beauty and body treatments that are relatively inexpensive but make people feel good.

One of the three behaviors related to savings and the fourth of the financial habits is Power Play. When the economy is in transition, consumers are not sure what to do with their money – spend it or save it for a rainy day. Consequently, there is a power play between the urge to spend and the instinct to save. Once the economy improves and expands, spending wins. When the economy transitions to a recession, savings wins.

Each financial behavior pattern corresponds to a stage in the economic cycle e.g., recession, recovery, expansion and decline. For instance, Power Play occurs during both recovery and decline.
Rate Race, however – the second of the savings behaviors – begins as soon as the economy starts expanding and consumers start to chase after the highest interest rate, or return on their money, they can find.

Six consumer financial habits have recurred during economic cycles of the last half century.

In this fifth financial habit, since financial confidence increases during economic expansion, consumers are willing to take greater financial risks. Thus, diverting more of their money from bank savings to the equity market where rates of return are much higher in return for higher risk.

Our most basic behavioral orientation in response to economic downturn and looming recession, DG asserts, is Mattress Money. It is the third of the savings behaviors and the sixth financial habit. It stems from our instinct for self-preservation.

When people feel financial danger, owing to an economic downturn, they start hoarding money by shifting their bank deposits to liquid accounts that can be immediately withdrawn. Today, says DG, $8 of every $10 in bank savings is in Mattress Money compared with only $6 before the last recession.

"If you want to know what people will do with their money when the economy improves, just look back at what they have always done – Rate Race and Castle Craze," DG says.

Burt's Bees Hand Salve is in the personal care products category, the only sector of the economy that experienced growth in the last recession, according to financial behavioral scientist Dan Geller. Photo from Burt's Bees Web site.

"Similarly, when the economy will slow down in the future, people will go back to Mattress Money and Durable Diet."

Visit to learn more about “Money Anxiety” Behavioral Finance Scientist Dan Geller.

Tamika Cody is an NYC-based multimedia journalist with a niche in finance. She currently writes about topics trending in arts and culture at; visit to learn more about her ventures.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

International Woolmark Prize USA Award: Can Tanya Taylor and Siki Im Pull Out Another Win for the Americas on the World Stage?

Tanya Taylor and model (right) with Michelle A. Lee and Francisco Costa after the 2015 International Woolmark (IWP) Prize Regional USA womenswear winner is announced. Photos by Yours Truly.

SHE'S going to make it after all – both Tanya Taylor and the women wearing such a winning getup.

The Toronto-born, New York-based designer walked away Tuesday night with the 2015 International Woolmark (IWP) Prize Regional USA award for best womenswear, presented by one of the judges of the competition, Calvin Klein designer Francisco Costa.

The 62-year-old award, refurbished in 2012, is given annually to the (creator[s] of the) best womenswear design and for the second time in its inception, best menswear design, of an outfit done exclusively in Australian merino wool.

TT's entry, which harkens to Mary Richards of The Mary Tyler Moore Show fame, is a ribbed two-toned, A-line turtleneck dress. The top portion is white; the skirt portion is a wide plaid of black, Kelly green and red. On the sleeves are stripes in red, Kelly green and olive green stripes on the sleeve. (See video above).

It is overlaid with a sleeveless, collared black maxi vest with pockets that have a ribbed olive green flap. It is accented with a red, white and Kelly green pin at the breast. For the head, a turban in a matching print.

The ensemble wouldn't be wasted during a Minnesota winter. And it fits the utterly feminine, but not necessarily flirty template for which the designer is becoming known since she struck out on her own in 2011.

TT earned a finance degree before she would continue her education at Parsons School of Design. She possesses the type of professional DNA of a designer/design team Australia-based The Woolmark Company would select to compete for its regional and international prize.

Regional winners in Asia, Australia, Europe, India/Middle East and the US receive the equivalent of $50,000 Australian dollars. Like a typical IWP nominee and winner, TT is emerging, though she is blazing trails in a very short period of time. Her line is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Holt Renfrew and Nordstrom, for instance. She has also received good notices during New York Fashion Week.

Likewise has Siki Im. The designer also comported himself well at the inaugural New York Fashion Week: Men’s last week. He took the IWP for best menswear during the ceremony at Milk Studios.

SI worked for Helmut Lang and former IWP winner Karl Lagerfeld before striking out on his own in 2009. He presents a subtly tailored matching jacket and slacks with v-neck sweater, shawl and cap (beret, perhaps) with a gangster lean.

A former architect and an Asian who grew up in Germany, SI has admitted to embracing dichotomy in his work. To that end, the effect of his ensemble is one of relaxed elegance and a little bit of the rebel.

Both designers move on to compete in the international finals. No doubt, they are hoping for a repeat. At stake is $100,000 Australian dollars, as well as possible placement in shops such as Saks,, Harvey Nichols, Isetan Mitsukoshi and David Jones.

The look that won Siki Im the 2015 International Woolmark (IWP) Prize Regional USA award for menswear.

International finals winners for menswear will be named in Florence in January 2016; for women, in New York in February 2016. Last year's USA regional womenswear victor Marica Patmos (M. Patmos) also took the international prize. (See video above;

Meanwhile, observing the scene on stage before the winners are announced is Maxwell Osborne, one half of both last year's USA regional menswear winner and the 2015 international menswear winner, Public School. (See video above). And what difference does a year make?

"I was nervous," returns the laconic MO.

Visit the following Web sites to learn more:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Treating Injuries The Way They Deserve: When It's Best to Use Heat, When It's Best to Use Ice

A new injury sustained in Zumba class, for instance, should get the ice treatment. Archive photo.

#$%@&!!!!!!!!!!! You've just twisted your ankle trying to perfect the Side Salsa in Zumba class or threw your shoulder out during that tennis match in pursuit of a 99-mph serve.

Quick, what to do? Should you add heat or ice?

In this scenario, Scott Lynch would probably recommend icing. “Elevation is probably the most important thing because it limits the amount of blood flow to the area and the amount of swelling,” he says.

The good doctor, director of sports medicine at Pennsylvania’s Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, recommends that cocktail popularly known RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevation) after an injury.

Serena Williams, who tweeted this photo, iced her swollen ankle after her loss to Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January 2013. However, the 21-time Grand Slam singles titles winner probably added some heat after the swelling went down and before she returned to the practice court, likely followed by more icing. Photo by Serena Williams.

Cold temperatures applied to an injury help narrow blood vessels. This prevents bottlenecking (accumulation) of blood and the swelling that results, delaying healing.

SL and a colleague, Cayce Onks, family and sports medicine physician at Penn State Hershey, both recommend using ice for 20 minutes, once an hour only to prevent other problems such as frostbite or damage to the skin.

Both are contributors to the center's The Medical Minute. It is a weekly digest of helpful health news that draws on the expertise of Penn State Hershey’s faculty, physicians and staff. (

Icy Hot and other similar heat products do provide temporary relief from chronic pains. Archive photo.

Icing an injury for the first 48 to 72 hours after it occurs, CO adds, can also reduce the amount of secondary tissue damage, as well as help decrease pain.

As to the form that ice should take, CO suggests special freezer packs or that old go-to, a homemade ice bag. “You can mold it around the injury and get more coverage,” he says.

“You also have to keep in mind that because of the chemicals in freezer packs, they can get much colder than ice and you could cause temperature-related skin problems.”

Meanwhile, athletes may be good role models for when to apply heat. Those with chronic pain and/or old injuries tend to opt for heat before they engage in physical activity and ice afterward.

“Heat typically brings blood flow to the area, which provides nutrients that the tissues need for healing,” asserts CO. “It can also increase the flexibility of tendons and muscles.”

Good heat sources are moist heat, ultrasound, heating pads and corn packs. Though CO says heating pads and the Icy Hots of the world don’t provide the depth of heat of the humidity-rich, deeply penetrating moist heat and the ultrasound, they do provide some temporary relief.

A simple ice bag can do the job of reducing swelling. Archive photo.

“A lot of it just depends on what feels good with chronic injuries,” CO admits. “It’s one of those things where some people get relief from heat and some from ice.”

He admonishes, however: “Though with acute injuries, you would want to stick with ice.”

Friday, July 17, 2015

NYFW: Men's Day 4 (Last Day): Extending a Welcome to Capsule Is So Right, Such a Good Fit

REAL FAKE: Select enesembles from the CMMN SWDN S/S16 collection at New York Fashion Week Men's. Photo by Yours Truly.

Players of Day 4 (Last Day): Aquatalia, Coach, Capsule, Craft Atlantic, deTroit, Edmund Ooi, Franco Lacosta, Hickey Freeman, J. Lindeberg, John Varvatos, Lucio Castro, Orley, Park & Ronen, Perry Ellis, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ricardo Seco, Sergio Davila, Siki Im

SAYS CMMN SWDN co-designer Saif Bakir of the label’s S/S collection called “Genuine Fake”: The inspiration starts out as focal point and an idea, thinking of the perception of fashion, the image that fashion portrays. Is it genuine? Is it fake?”

One is pleased to be having this conversation at New York Fashion Week: Men’s. Whether it was an afterthought or the stakeholders could not reach an agreement before the schedule was set, it is a good thing. A natural cross-pollination. Witness the example of Billy Reid, Perry Ellis, Rochambeau and Timo Weiland.

The “it” is the presence yesterday, the last day of the new men’s fashion week in the United States, of several designers, including CMMN SWDN, who will also be displaying their work at Capsule New York Men’s S/S16 (20-21 July; The seven labels invited presented a truncated version of what will be on show at Capsule.

The jacket from the CMMN SWDN S/S16 collection is not what it seems. Photo by Yours Truly.

One manifestation of genuine fake at the four-year-old of London-based CMMN SWDN is the real leather jacket gussied up to look like snake skin.

For those not in the know, Capsule is a showcase of men’s and women’s fashion and accessories from emerging and independent designers around the world. There are shows in New York, Las Vegas and Paris. Importantly, Capsule – which launched in 2007 – is timed to the so-called market week when buyers are buying. It returns to New York for the women’s edition in September.

CMMN SWDN design co-chief is Emma Hedlund. In thinking about her craft, she likens designers to con artists. Really? “It is the idea that we create something that is fake but at first glance it looks … it comes off as an original.”

Case in point is another jacket. It looks like pleather but it is actually latex. The design duo furthers the genuine /fake dynamic with proportion.

Another aspect of CMMN SWDN S/S16 is its androgyny, and that is by design, EH discloses, buttressing the notion that many men's wear designers are now blurring the lines. (

“Today, you can almost design a collection that is unisex without thinking so much about it … It feels a bit dated with masculine and feminine and women’s collection and menswear. I think it is more interesting to see it all as … adjustable … Gender is irrelevant.”
Elsewhere on the last day of New York Fashion Week Men’s:


ALWAYS GOOD TO GO: Craft Atlantic S/S16. Photo from Craft Atlantic Facebook page.


MIDNIGHT COWBOY: J. Lindeberg S/S Collection. Photo by YOURS TRULY.


GYMS: Perry Ellis S/S16 Collection. Photos courtesy of CFDA.


LUCKY DEVIL: Ricardo Seco S/S16 Collection. Photos by Yours Truly

Visit to learn more about New York Fashion Week: Men’s, including shows and show times.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

NYFW: Men's Day 3: At Gypsy Sport, It's All in There — Possibly, the Kitchen Sink, Too

Gyspy Sport S/S16. Photos by Yours Truly.

Players of Day 3: Alexander Plokhov, Asaf Ganot, Billy Reid, Coach, Greg Lauren, Gypsy Sport, Jeffrey Rudes, John Elliott + Co., Loris Diran, Michael Bastian, Michael Kors, Nautica, Richard Chai, Theory, Thorsun, Tim Coppens, Tommy Hilfiger¸ Zachary Prell

RUMMAGE through the pile of clothes that the family is donating to Goodwill. Grab a handful. Tear them apart. Sew them back together in a stream of consciousness sort of way. Now, stand back and observe your handywork.

Because you have just created a Gypsy Sport collection.

It is day three of the maiden voyage of New York Fashion Week: Men’s, and U.S. menswear designers continue to emphasize that far more can be done for men than erecting a suit or essentially T-shirts and jeans. (

In the case of streetwear label Gypsy Sport, designers Los Angeleno Rio Uribe and New Yorker Jerome Williams, for S/S16 have created tunics, dresses, pants, shirts blouses and so forth from found objects, including basketball wear, ropes, netting, curtains, old jeans and whatnots …

Let’s break it down a bit. A “skirt” made of netting with a yellow waistband constructed of an indeterminate material has interesting possibilities. Not feeling the Happy Face tanks and that sky blue dress tank poured over a blue-hooded shirt ensemble. All are baring a logo that could look like a hat.

The wide-legged patchwork pants with huge crème front pockets have verve. The cowrie shell mouthpiece is … cheeky. It can be repurposed.

The hats seem a bit ordinary when judging by the standards of those that have come before from this emerging label, which has been aided colossally by a collaboration with DKNY and work on a “Hunger Games” movie.

The most accessible ensemble, at least for those outside of Gypsy Sports club-kid/underground culture demographic, is the white T-shirt (baring that hat logo thing-ey), with tassels of cowrie shell and rope, black shorts with white stripe at hem, necklace of an indeterminate material and cowrie shells and brown cap. It looks quite cool. In general at Gypsy Sport, the parts are greater than the whole.

Speaking of cool and of more “normal,” Nautica. Simply put, on the run of show, “Our 2016 men’s swim collection is inspired by the sea, designed in the city.” The city is New York.

The New York connection is most easily discerned. Some of the trunks feature New York scenes or scenes that suggest New York. A navy and white shawl-neck cardigan, for example, seems to evoke both the streets of New York and its tall buildings, snaking along the ground and toward the sky.

Greg Lauren goes exploring for S/S2016, possibly near a desert town. Hence, the eye-catching patchwork poncho made from tenting and Moroccan blanket, for instance. At night, the poncho can go over a simple, white T-shirt. GL’s man may also be attending a white party during his travels, and there is much from which to choose. (See video above)

Nautica S/S16.

The same can be said of the collection of tunics, parkas, shirts and various strata of lounge pants with both minimal and sundry details and accents. Wherever he goes, whatever he does, the GL man will be wearing comfortable (especially pants) stylish pieces in linen, cotton, fleece, etc. The colors will be simple: mostly b&w, abetted by gray, taupe and occasions of striped navy.

On deck today, Last Day, Day 4: Aquatalia, Coach, Capsule, Craft Atlantic, deTroit, Edmund Ooi, Franco Lacosta, Hickey Freeman, J. Lindeberg, John Varvatos, Lucio Castro, Orley, Park & Ronen, Perry Ellis, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ricardo Seco, Sergio Davila, Siki Im

Visit to learn more about New York Fashion Week: Men’s, including shows and show times.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

NYFW: Men's Day 2: Exploring the Vast Divide b/w Buttoned-Up and Letting It All Hang Out

Public School S/S2016. Photo courtesy of Public School.

Players of Day 2: Anzevino Getty, Calvin Klein Collection, Coach, Duckie Brown, Engineered for Motion, Malan Breton, N. Hoolywood, Nick Graham, Ovadia & Sons, Public School, Rag & Bone, Rochambeau, Robert Geller, Shinola Detroit, Thaddeus O’Neil, Thom Browne,
Timo Weiland, Todd Snyder

WHILE the world has been going about its business, U.S. menswear has quietly come a long way, baby. From the poles of the heavily tailored suit and the extremely relaxed weekend warrior uniform of polo-type shirt, capri shorts and jeans.

On Day 2 of New York Fashion Week: Men's S/S16, this is abundantly apparent. There is a large swath and it is being claimed by at least two camps – both breaking out of the aforesaid claustrophobic box: those revising the traditional mode and those blurring lines.

Both alt-aesthetics are relaxed, not either too-buttoned up or too sloppy. The silhouette is a balance of slightly tapered and slightly deconstructed. Polished. Accessible. Credible. Achievable Aspiration.

Those revisionists present a post-metrosexual, digital-age male who may turn up in Public School’s elongated blazer and over-the-knee shorts in white. He could live in Peoria. Or Chicago.

Thaddeus O'Neil S/S16. Photo by Monet Lucki.

The point is, he is comfortable in his skin. Consequently, he can bear (and bare) Rochambeau’s silver sleeveless jacket over black shirt and black tapered pants. Similarly, he will boldly go to a black tie gala in Nick Graham’s gray metallic tuxedo …

RuPaul, in defense of drag queens, cross-dressing and perhaps marriage equality, once quipped that the U.S. constitution was signed by men who wore wigs. True that.

One was reminded of this, too, yesterday. Judging by the wares of some, men – straight men – will soon be wearing tights again. This is mostly metaphor but a bit literal, as well.

These designers are producing mashups of masculine and feminine. Can it be called mascunine or femiline? Incidentally, this is not a Boyfriend Jacket moment. The garments under discussion are androgynous.

Sometimes, blazers and light jackets are sufficiently laidback to pass for oversized blouses and tunics (Robert Geller). Shorts may be prettied up with girly prints; colors and fabrics take a page from women’s wear (see Thaddeus O’Neil). Shirts have characteristics that are feminine-forward (chiffon and organza at Duckie Brown).

Duckie Brown S/S2016. Photo courtesy of Duckie Brown.

Men, particularly straight men, have an opportunity here to dress with some flava without generating whispers about their sexuality if that is a concern.

One hopes that they can see the possibilities at, say, Anzevino Getty.

On deck today, Day 3: Alexander Plokhov, Asaf Ganot, Billy Reid, Coach, Greg Lauren, Gypsy Sport, Jeffrey Rudes, John Elliott + Co., Loris Diran, Michael Bastian, Michael Kors, Nautica, Richard Chai, Theory, Thorsun, Tim Coppens, Tommy Hilfiger¸ Zachary Prell

Visit to learn more about New York Fashion Week: Men’s, including shows and show times.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New York Fashion Week: Men's Day 1: If Everything in Life Could Go As Smoothly ...

Kenneth Ning S/S2016. Photos by Yours Truly.

The players of Day 1: Boyswear, Cadet, Carlos Campos, Chapter, CWST, David Hart, Eponymovs by Hvrminn, Fingers Crossed, Garciavelez, Kenneth Ning, Matiere, Plac

IF this is the norm, we like it.

Intimate is a word that can describe Day 1 of the inaugural New York Fashion Week: Men’s. One is almost tempted to say, easy, too.

The day was broken up into two sessions: the morning session and the evening session. In the cavernous confines of Industria Studios, the presentations were shown simultaneously in six spaces, including an annex across the street.

Viewers go from room to room, getting their fill of the looks, forming opinions, taking photos and so on. It is all so civilized! At VEVLYN’S PEN, this is our maiden voyage with a major men’s showcase. Our only references are the women’s showcases. (

What a difference! Here, there is reverence for the clothes. But not the demented worship and the dreadful behavior it spawns in women’s wear. As if fashion is a matter of life or death.

Of course, much more fuss is made over what women wear. Look no further than red carpet shows before any awards show and the Monday morning quarterbacking shows.

A female in Chapter S/S2016 – shocking!

Perhaps if the common man on and off the red carpet were drawn to say, a Kenneth Ning design, that would cause far more tongues to wag.

The Academy of Art grad owns the day. He seems to be perfecting a simple formula since he launched his eponymous line in Fall-Winter 2014. As a base, simple tailoring whether it be a shirt, jacket or pants. Could he have picked some of this up during his time at Michael Kors and Calvin Klein? Then, overlay or emboss it with another element such as a geometric or graphic shape, horizontal and vertical panel, pinstripes, bands, color blocking and so on.

The effect, as it is for S/S 16, is arresting e.g., the b&w graphic/floral motif on a matching jacket and shorts as well as matching sleeveless coat and pants. Self-same graphic/floral motif on the pocket and front of horizontal white pinstripe on black slacks.

Another arresting sight is the black shirt emblazoned with a huge yellow floral treatment on the front from shoulder to waist. A slightly tailored pinstripe suit in charcoal gray over a graphic-print shirt and white scarf with black print. The strip of white – is that chalk? – down the front of the leg is a conversation-starter.

Meanwhile, David Hart, a nominee for the 2016 International Woolmark Prize ( along with Cadet and Thaddeus O'Neil, is not channeling New York for S/S16. Instead, the Maryland native is channeling various other notions, including art movements, radical photography and geometric prints from a certain era. One cottons to the marsupial pouch on the front of a couple of pair of shorts and the colors scheme in general.

Elsewhere, Chapter is considering “Displacement” for S/S16. In other words, ruminations on the past and present, visual refraction and mirroring; shadows. As it regards the clothes, that means boxier tops and tailored bottoms, resulting in an inverted whole.

However, the most interesting thing going on here is the one where the mind is doing all kinds of mental gymnastics trying to determine the gender of a couple of models. After what could have been an impertinent question is answered, the mind settles down in the confidence – yes, these are females – that no tricks are being played.

David Hart S/S16.

Indeed, Day 1 was easy. The rest of the week, not so sure, for it features a mix of shows and presentations at various venues, including the hub, Skylight Clarkson Square. No doubt the construction going on yesterday at said hub will be complete in time for the Shinola Detroit Leather presentation this a.m. at 10.

On deck today, Day 2: Anzevino Getty, Calvin Klein Collection, Coach, Duckie Brown, Engineered for Motion, Malan Breton, N. Hoolywood, Nick Graham, Ovadia & Sons, Public School, Rag & Bone, Rochambeau, Robert Geller, Shinola Detroit, Thaddeus O’Neil, Thom Browne,
Timo Weiland, Todd Snyder

Visit to learn more about New York Fashion Week: Men’s, including shows and show times.
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