FA2L is for anyone who cares about beautiful things–clothing, shoes, accessories, home furnishings–and the interconnected tribes of those who make, sell, market and desire them. If something speaks to you, buy it now or hold your peace: there are links in each story, so the item you want is just a click away. I'd like to hear from you, too: please view my profile, use the email button and send me your comments.MG

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fashion and Finance 101: Undressed For Success

Forget the rise and fall of hemlines: Alan Greenspan's theory of "briefonomics" tracks sales of men's undergarments as a leading economic indicator. Typically, these numbers are relatively stable: everyone needs new underwear, right? Only in periods of extreme crisis do they drop, as they did steadily for most of 2008. By extension, increased sales suggest burgeoning consumer confidence.

Well, hold onto your shorts, gentlemen, because WWD reported Monday that underwear sales were up 4.5% for the first half of 2009 (according to NPD Group's market research analysts). And they continue to climb, which could mean America's economic recovery is poised to happen sooner rather than later.

This optimistic news inspired us to shop for skivvies, and Go Softwear's "English-Cut" cotton-and-bamboo
boxer brief quickly became a new favorite. The basic shape suggests vintage athletic togs (think Chariots of Fire) but its low rise, slim fit, and snappy, red-striped waistband are very up-to-date. Go ahead: invest some money in yourself and the economy. You'll end up looking good while doing some good.