The Process of Making Handmade Cowboy Spurs

There are many steps that go into making a pair of handmade cowboy spurs. There are at least three different spur making processes; welded shank spurs, one piece hand forged spurs, and riveted shank spurs. This article covers the process of making a welded shank spur.

Since this is a working cowboy spur, I will start off with the specifications. Heel band width 1 1/8 inches, shank length 2 ¼ inches, and 2 inch 20 point rowels. The best material for the heel bands is 4130 aircraft alloy. It is steel that wears well and has enough toughness to withstand hard daily use. This material has just the right hardness and spring to maintain its shape around the heel band of the cowboy boot.

Next is the spur shank, this material needs to be ½ inch thick hot rolled or cold rolled steel is fine. I then make a trip to the pattern cabinet to find a tin pattern from the archives. I will be using a 2½ inch shank pattern with a chap guard. The chap guard is a raised up portion on top of the shank to keep the cowboys chaps from getting caught in the spur rowel.

The material for the spur rowel can be anything from plow disc steel, 1018 mild steel, 4130, or oil hardening 01 like knife makers use to make handmade knives.

Now that we have the materials covered we can start the spur making process.

1. Form the heel bands by using a heel band fixture the size of the cowboy boot heel.

2. The spur shanks need to be torched out of the ½ inch thick metal and profiled to the shape of the tin pattern.

3. Make the spur rowels by grinding 2 inch circles. In this case, use 1/8 inch mild steel cold rolled. Cold rolled steel doesn’t have a crust on it like hot rolled steel but either one will work for this. Next, lay out the spokes by drawing the teeth or spokes on to a thick piece of poster board. Use a leather craft knife to cut the spokes out in the most precise manner you possibly can. After your pattern suits you it would be a good idea to transfer the design to a piece of 22 gauge tin and hand file the tin pattern. Then you will have a permanent pattern for many years of use.

4. With heel bands and shanks prepared and ready, it is time to weld the shanks on to the heel bands. Put one heel band in the jig and using a shank tree to set the spur shanks in place. Now it is time to tack the shanks on the top side by using a tig or mig welder – but acetylene welding can also be done successfully.

5. Blend the welds where the shanks are welded on by using a grinding rock (or hand file) and then go to a belt sander to finish up the blending of the welds.

6. Cut the spur rowel slot with an abrasive wheel much like a cutoff saw uses. My slot cutting tool is a ¼ horse Baldor motor with a platform to set the spur on while the shank slot is being cut. Drill a 3/16 inch hole in the tip of the shank for the spur rowel pins. Bevel it slightly with a 5/16 inch drill bit so that the rowel pin will stay in place after it has been pinned.

7. Now it is time to put the rowels in the shanks. Use a blacksmith anvil and take the round end of a ball peen hammer and with a very light touch tap the pins so that they flare enough to hold the rowels in place. Do not over rivet the rowel pins to the point that it restricts the rowels from spinning freely.

8. It is now time to put a final polish on the outside of the spur and clean up any hammer marks. It can be done by hand with sandpaper or on a belt grinder using the slack belt method. (not a platen) The inside of the heel band also needs to clean and finished. You don’t want any sharp edges on the inside of the heel band. Using this process you will have a pair of handmade cowboy spurs that will last for years to come.

9. Stamp a makers mark on each spur. It is important to brand the spurs with the maker’s name and a style number or spur sequence number. This is helpful for identification and recordkeeping.

Always use protective glasses, ear plugs, breathing mask for safety.

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Why to Design a Black and White Fashion Designer Logo

Fashion designing is a game of colours. Whether creating apparel or jewellery or handbags, blending appealing shades in contrasting way is the knack of creative designing. I’ve often seen people rejecting a fine-looking dress just because “red is not in,” or “yellow doesn’t suit my looks”and other similar comments on colours. So, colour is one the definitive factors when one buys a style product. This has led designers to believe that their logos ought to be multihued and vibrant. This is often a misconception because one can create an excellent fashion designer logo using just two colours – black and white.

The questions, however, is, “why fashion designers’ logo should be black and white and not coloured?” Here are some answers you can’t easily ignore.

Easy and Cheap to Print

Coloured cartridges are expensive and people often avoid printing in colour when need several copies. They are also more flexible in use as you don’t have to take much care in using them on your flyers, business cards, and letter heads because they can fit well on paper.

Have a Classy Ever-Green Look

Colours go in and out but black and white remain. Black and white is a combination that has been in use since the advent of creative designing and there is no chance of their getting out of fashion. Having this ever-green combination on your logo ensures that your logo will never become out-of-date. You can use this logo forever.

Grab Attention through Excellent Contrast

Black and white colours are popular for their excellent contrast. They go perfectly well together. What more, their contrast is very much attractive and eye-catching, so you can easily grab the attention of the onlookers using this appealing combination.

Stand Out In the Crowd of Images

As I pointed out earlier, when creating a fashion logo, focus usually is on the use of colours. So there is pretty good chance that in any fashion designing competition or event, all other logos will be full of colour but yours will be unique. Besides, the designer has not relied on the colours for creating the appeal, so it will more artistic and creative. In the gallery of logos of all fashion designers, your logo will easily stand out.

Conveys clear message

Have you ever give it a thought that the all manuscripts and document requires black printing on white paper? This is simply because that it’s easiest to read black text with white background. Changing the font colour or background colour can make the message unclear and difficult to read. Black & White fashion designer logo is, therefore, better in communicating its message than a coloured one.

Combining them all, you come up with an attractive, more powerful and unique design with black and white colours which will give your fashion business an outstanding character.

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Helpful Online Shopping Tips for Buying Cheap Designer Clothes and Shoes for Women

The ability to find cheap designer clothes for women is essential to those who want to look fashionable when they get dressed, not just because prices on authentic, name brand clothing are always expensive, but that buying affordable clothing allows shoppers to easily build a large wardrobe. Smart shoppers can get a lot of nice, authentic, name brand outfits, and the footwear to match simply by knowing where to look. Looking good does not have to be considered a luxury.

Know What It Really Means to Buy Discount Designer Clothes

It is not always easy to buy cheap designer clothes online because many shops sell cheap knockoffs instead of designer originals. Sales of low quality clothing should not be considered real discounts at all. This is because those who buy these cheaper items do not get the same benefit or enjoyment as they would from the real thing. Customers need to beware of online shops offering trendy women’s clothes for less. The real savings is when the prices of real brand name items are brought into a price range that is more affordable. That is what designer clothing liquidators are all about. Customers get to find cheap designer clothes for sale that are truly authentic and on the leading edge of fashion trends.

How to Find Cheap Designer Clothes Online That are Authentic

Many consumers do not have time to get out to a store and shop around for discount brand name clothing, which would make it easier for them to know the quality of the items before purchasing. Moreover, some local outlet stores lack the selection needed for customers to find those trendy, affordable dresses, jeans, shoes, or that perfect top they had in mind. It can be hard to catch sales at department stores, but having a trusted online resource for trendy women’s clothes can make staying in fashion an easy task. Shoppers are able to get clothing from all the best brands, including Coach, Michael Kors, BCBG, Armani, and several others at a steep discount. Best of all, placing an order is easy because of the ability to use PayPal.

Why Shop at Those Expensive Trendy Women’s Clothes Shops?

It is not always easy to find cheap designer clothes for juniors, or affordable maternity wear that is high quality. Many stores that specialize in selling trendy women’s clothing and shoes do not care about how burdensome their prices are, but there are some that do. Shoppers can learn how to always find low prices on new and like-new authentic brand name women’s clothes and shoes. All they need to do is find the right website. The best sites for buying designer clothing at a low price have a selection is updated on a regular basis, so there is always some great new clothing item to discover. Plus, these reliable stores offer lightning fast shipping and excellent customer service.

It is possible for those looking for a place where they can get discount shoes online to find a place where there is an enjoyable selection of quality merchandise available. Thanks to online stores that offer cheap designer shoes and clothes, shoppers can easily build a very nice wardrobe. Many of those who love to shop for discount designer clothes find such sites addictive, because getting cheap trendy clothes from real brand names is a thrill.

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Benefits Of A Lamb Skin Leather Purse

A Lamb skin leather purse is a purse that not only looks great but is very fashionable. Many people find leather in general to be more of a high class material from purses to even furniture. Leather is a timeless material because of its wonderful benefits.

The benefit of a lamb skin leather purse comes down to three things. They are style, comfort and longevity. Lambskin leather is similar to other animal leather, but not the exact same qualities.

1.) The first benefit is style because as all leather it has a very sophisticated prominent look and can be recognized immediately. It displays the expensive taste and elegant high class status which only a lambskin leather purse handbag can demonstrate. Lamb skin leather comes in two varieties, smooth and shearling.

2.) The second benefit is comfort. Since we’re talking about a lamb skin leather purse we know that it’s soft and supple. This provides comfort since it takes the shape of your body as you carry it. A more rigid type of material actual causes more wear to your clothing and the purse itself.

3.) The last benefit is longevity. Leather is made for long term use. Some maintenance is needed to leather in great shape, such as a leather conditioner. Lambskin leather being a soft material tends to hold up better in various weather conditions, especially the dry winter months. As long as you keep it clean and treat it with care it will keep looking great.

A lamb skin leather purse is a great way to show off your style and fashion side. It complements any outfit and has some great benefits to keep in mind. If you haven’t looked at one before, take another look as you’d be pleasantly surprised.

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Why Retail Businesses Fail Part 3: Do You Make This Mistake In Retail?

Lack of Understanding of Target Market

I visited Harrods for research for my books on store design and visual merchandise display. Harrods, for anyone reading this White Paper who might not know this, is the Mecca of retailing. Royalties, A-list celebrities and the ‘who-is-who’ from around the world fly into London just to shop at Harrods.

You can now imagine my anticipation when I visited Harrods. In my mind everything in Harrods was made of gold. I was disappointed, when I noticed a toy bus I had purchased for my son from ASDA, was also being sold in Harrods. It was exactly the same toy bus, in exactly the same packaging that it is sold in ASDA.

A question popped into my mind, why is it that exactly the same bus, probably manufactured in exactly the same factory in China, is sold in Harrods for twice the price that it is sold for in ASDA?

The answer is decisively simple – ASDA sells a ‘toy bus’, however, Harrods sells a ‘classy toy bus’. There is a difference. This is marketing 101: people buy emotionally but justify their decision logically.

Customers who shop at Harrods do not shop there to buy Harrods’ products; they shop at Harrods to buy ‘elegance and class’. Harrods sells them class even if it is ‘Made in China’.

How does Harrods pull this off? They achieve it with the combination of elegant store design and attractive visual merchandising displays. When you move from one department to the next in Harrods it is like moving from one store to another. Their ability to use their store design to create the illusion of differentiation is one of the keys to Harrods’ success. Harrods understand their customers; they know what their customers desire so they design their store and display their products to satisfy the desire of their customers.

Marcus Buckingham, in his book “The First Thing You Need to Know”, said when he interviewed Sir Terry Leahy, who transformed Tesco into a global brand, he asked him what was the key to Tesco’s successful transformation. Sir Terry Leahy replied that it was asking and answering the simple question: Whom do we serve?

When Tesco figured out whom they were going to serve, they changed their store layout and products to serve their target market. As a result of this change; Tesco increased the number of checkout counters which reduced the amount of time customers spent queuing at the checkouts ultimately resulting in a dramatic increase in Tesco’s footfall.

Wal-Mart serves the person who lives: pay check to pay check.

Body Shop serves the ethical consumer.

Waitrose and Holland & Barrett serve the consumer who wants to live longer.

Ann Summers took merchandise that were hidden in secret ‘adult’ shops; made them trendy and brought them to the High Street. They made a taboo subject acceptable to the mainstream.

If I was to take my significant other clothes shopping at John Lewis she would probably phone my mother to inform her that I was having a nervous breakdown. She would not want to be caught dead in John Lewis’ outfit. She describes John Lewis’ clothing department as a Bridget Jones museum where they store a collection of Bridget Jones costumes.

However, John Lewis continues to increase profit year after year because John Lewis understands their target market. Someone like my significant other might not want to be caught dead in John Lewis’ outfit, but there are people in the UK, who love Bridget Jones’ memorabilia, these people are John Lewis’ target market, so John Lewis cater for them.

The most successful retailers understand their target market and show their understanding of their target market through their store design and visual merchandising displays.

The retailers that go bust fail to understand this basic marketing concept.

Most book retailers are struggling because they are still using the 1960’s business model in the Amazon era. Borders failed because it did not develop its internet business properly and it invested heavily in compact discs when music was going digital. WH Smith only makes money from its airport and train station sales. The rest of its stores are struggling. Waterstone’s is also on a downward trend. Sales are down and customer footfall is in steep decline.

Why are bookshops under threat? Amazon! They will all shout. Of course Amazon is the cause because Amazon understands their market better than them. Since it seems Amazon is not going away anytime soon, are all book stores going to close down?

Will WH Smith and Waterstone’s close down? Or will they rise to the challenge and modernise their stores? Instead of complaining about Amazon, they need to redefine their target market and redesign their stores to attract their target customers.

On Christmas Eve, I had not done my grocery shopping and was dreading the prospect of entering a supermarket, knowing how packed they were going to be. But as I drove passed my local Lidl store, I noticed it was empty. I rushed in and completed my shopping. As I drove back home a question came to mind; why is it, that even on this day when most supermarkets are typically jam packed to capacity, was Lidl empty?

The answer, in my opinion, is that Lidl does not have a target market. One of their biggest sins was making the decision to force customers to pay for carrier bags. Marks & Spencer can afford to do that because they appeal to a different class of customer.

In Tesco and ASDA, customers who are environmentally conscious have the option of paying for shopping bags. However, those who do not want to pay for carrier bags also have the option of getting free ones.

This is because Tesco and ASDA understand their customers. Lidl’s senior management, on the other hand, believed that having implemented a similar strategy in Europe, can introduce the same in the UK. If the Brits do not like it, tough! Well, the Brits are showing their displeasure with their feet.

I have tried to demonstrate with the above examples, that success or failure in retail is the result of the strategies every retailer adopts. Those retailers who understand their target market and cater to them will continue to move from success to greater success, while those who roll the dice and hope that customers show up are the ones who will struggle or go into administration.

I hate to be the one breaking this type of news to the retail industry I guess someone will have to do it: the internet is not going away. This means that retailers are not only competing with one another, they are also competing with factory owners in China whose name they have never heard. Shoppers are now ordering directly from warehouses and distributors, for example an individual can log on to eBay and order a pallet load of goods.

Here is the good news: the majority of people still prefer to shop from physical retail outlets. The question is how does an individual retailer ensure that shoppers are attracted to their store? It can be done by adopting the concept of the “Blue Ocean” strategy.

Adopting the “Blue Ocean” strategy is the only salvation for book, DVD, music and furniture retailers. What is “Blue Ocean” strategy? “Blue Ocean” strategy “is the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost” which results in the creation of a new market space making the competition irrelevant.

The concept of “Blue Ocean” is practiced by the most successful business organisations whilst struggling businesses pursue what is described as the “Red Ocean” strategy. “Red Ocean” strategy is fighting to compete in the existing market place.

The “Red Ocean” strategy is adopted by many of the book, DVD, music and furniture retailers. They are trying to compete against the internet and it is just not possible. A brick and mortar store can never go head to head with the internet and win. It can never be cheaper that the internet.

However what they need to do in order to drive customer traffic to their stores is become innovative and creative. For example a book store could arrange periodic book signings; of course authors want to sell their books so it is a win-win situation for all parties concerned.

In order for the book signings to be a successful marketing platform for the book stores it would be advisable for retailers to work in collaboration with the publishers from the onset in order for the book signings to be better promoted.

Promotion of the book signings could take various formats such as making effective use of social media sites, local press and captivating signage in and outside the store.

Another idea could be to arrange book clubs for various genres of books this would entice a variety of customers in to the store, these book clubs would also need promoting in a similar way as described for the book signings promotion.

The trick is to be innovative.

Richer Sounds is a classic case of a retailer that has adopted the “Blue Ocean” strategy. They understand that people still prefer to interact with other people. So whilst other electronic retailers focus on price, they focus on excellent customer service and staff product knowledge. Their “Blue Ocean” is excellent customer service and superior product knowledge.

For book, DVD or music retailers to compete in Amazon country, they need a “Blue Ocean” strategy that goes beyond price discount. They need soul. They need understanding of the perception of their target market.

• What do they want?

• What are their hopes and fears?

• What is their perception?

I can order a book or DVD from Amazon and receive it the following day. I can download music instantaneously from iTunes. There are millions of me in the world. What kind of “Blue Ocean” strategy can WH Smith or HMV devise to get me away from my laptop? It takes me half an hour to drive to the town centre, pay for parking, spend another half an hour in WH Smith or HMV and another half an hour to drive back home.

The 64 million dollar question is: What can WH Smith or HMV do to make it worth my while?

Let me give them a clue, I could order my groceries online, however, I choose to go to the supermarket. What is the difference? That is for book, DVD, electronic and furniture retailers to find out. They probably need to visit Starbucks it might just hold the keys to unlocking their creativity.

The only point of differentiation that most retailers know is price reduction. Price reduction is not a business strategy, it is a death wish.

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The Married Man’s Top 10 Image Killers

Ever wonder why it takes your wife so long to get ready? Does it blow your mind how she tries on six different outfits before she decides on the one she will wear? Well gentlemen, the answer to these age old questions is because she is paying attention to minor details that she knows make a difference. Before she leaves the house she makes sure that all pieces of the image puzzle are in order so she looks her best. Now I’m not saying that you need to spend hours in your closet or the mirror primping but I am saying that you need to understand and correct some of the basic image mistakes that we all are guilty of from time to time.

Let me now take the time to outline the top 10 biggest issues that I see on a daily basis. We will identify the problems and also give you easy to follow and apply solutions in an attempt to prevent you from committing these all too common fashion faux pas.

Image Killer #1

Dressing Your Age

One of the biggest mistakes a man can make in attempt to be fashionable and cool is dressing younger than they are. Nothing is more obvious or embarrassing than a man in his 40’s or 50’s who dresses like he is 20. It may be true that the clothes are indeed cool and extremely stylish, however if they are not age appropriate you will just end up looking like a big cheese ball.

The Solution:

While shopping in a particular store or shop, look around. Are the other patrons dramatically younger than you? Are the associates still in high school? If the answer to these questions are yes, then more than likely the clothes in that store are not for you. Paying attention to these two simple rules will surely point you in the right direction.

Image Killer #2

Ill Fitting Clothing

When I tell you that your clothes should fit you, most of you may be thinking “Duh”. But, give me a chance to explain. A lot of men are wearing clothing that is too large for them or too small for them. A common misconception is that if you are a larger man you should buy larger shirts to minimize your weight. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What happens is that in an attempt to camouflage your weight you only make yourself look heavier and larger than you are. On the flip side, some of you buy clothes that are smaller than you actually are. Just because you can get the pants buttoned doesn’t mean that they fit. You will only look like a sausage if you go out of the house.

The Solution:

If you currently buy shirts that are very loose fitting, go down a size. You will be amazed at the amount of compliments you receive and inquiries asking if you have lost weight. With pants, make sure that you can get your fingers comfortably in between you and your waist band. This may require you to go up a size or even two. Have no fear, you aren’t getting larger, you are now wearing pants that fit.

Image Killer #3

Pleated/Cuffed Pants

Many men are guilty of these fashion no no’s. Most men have a desire to look their best. If your best means you want to look heavier than you are then wear the pleats. But, if you want to appear slimmer and taller then it may be time to ditch the pleats. The goal is to create a nice straight line from the waist down to your shoes. Anything that breaks the visual line will detract from you looking your best. Cuffs on your pants are nothing but extra fabric that breaks the crisp clean line and ultimately giving you the appearance of being shorter than you are.

The Solution

Go and try on a nice pair of flat front non cuffed pants. You will be amazed at how much thinner and taller you will look. This simple change will dramatically enhance your look and image.

Image Killer #4

Wrong Pant Length

Many men are wearing pants that are either too short or too long. Both of these are detrimental to your image. Pants that are too short make you look like you are wearing high waters and quite frankly make you look like a big dork. On the flip side, pants that are too long will only cause them to bunch up at the shoe creating an illusion of being shorter and heavier than you are.

The Solution

Pants should be long enough that they have a break in them. The back of your pant leg should come down to the middle or top of your heal. Remember that depending on the shoe that you are wearing, some pants may be fine with some shoes and not with others. If you wear boots, you may need a slightly longer pant then you wear with dress shoes.

Image Killer #5

Tapered/Out Dated Jeans

Tapered jeans are not just out dated, but hurting your image and style. A tapered leg doesn’t allow for your jean to fit over the top of your shoe. Instead you have a gathering of fabric at the top of you foot, creating a sloppy appearance.

The Solution

If you aren’t sure if your jeans are tapered or not, here is an easy test. Take your jeans and lay them on your bed face up. Take the bottom of the jean and fold the pant leg so that the bottom is lined up with where your knee would be. If the bottom is less wide than the knee then indeed they are tapered and new jeans should be on your to do list. When looking for new jeans, you will notice that there are a few different cuts or styles to choose from. Look for straight leg or even boot cut jeans. The goal is to allow the jean to fall over the top of your shoe creating a nice clean line from your waist to your feet. Bunching of fabric will only make you look short and sloppy. Neither of these are good looks for anyone

Image Killer #6

Floral Print Shirts

Unless you are in the tropics or on a cruise, these shirts are dorky. If you are in the tropics or on a cruise….good for you and wear the shirts.

The Solution

Choose shirts that are a solid color or a small pattern. Don’t buy something that you think is “cute” or “funny”. You won’t look cute but you will look funny.

Image Killer #7

Bad Shoes

Shoes are in my opinion the most important aspect of an outfit. By choosing chunky or bulky shoes, you will only look like a clown. Overly square toes (pilgrim) are also a think of the style past. They were cool a few years ago, but they are now taking a back seat to a sleeker and more stream lined shape and trend. We should also include shoes that are overly worn or scuffed.

The Solution

Take care of your shoes. Once a month take the time to polish your shoes and make sure not to forget about the heal. Spend the money on good quality shoes. If taken care of they will last you for years. Choose shoes that are simple yet stylish. Stay away from overly ornate stitching or overly drastic shapes (square or pointed). Remember, shoes should not draw attention to them selves, but rather tie the package together. Stay away from shoes that are ultra trendy due to the fact that they will be out of style quickly.

Image Killer #8

Sneakers With Everything

Athletic shoes should be worn when exercising. They are not your go to pair of shoes suitable for every activity and occasion.

The Solution

Most of the time men choose to wear sneakers due to a lack of variety or depth of current foot wear. Spend the time and money buying a variety of shoes that are appropriate for a variety of occasions. You need a pair to be worn with shorts (non athletic), casual and professional.

Image Killer #9

Belt and Shoe Mismatch

Black shoes and brown belt is the most obvious, however you need to also consider the style of shoes and belt as well.

The Solution

Dress shoes require a dress belt. This means that if your shoes have a shine, the belt should also have a similar finish. Black is an easy color to match, there is only one black. Brown however is a bit trickier; there are 20 different shades of brown. When trying to pick a belt to match your shoes, wear the shoes into the store. If you try to just wing it from memory, you are bound to be disappointed once you get home.

Image Killer #10

Inappropriate Dress

Have you ever had the feeling that you are underdressed for a specific event or occasion? We have all had this happen to us at one time or another. This is one of the most common blunders one can make.

The Solution

Prior to attending any gathering or event, know what is expected. One good way is to look at your wife and what she is wearing. Is she in jeans and a T-shirt? If not, then this is a good indication that you shouldn’t be either. Remember, it is always better to be over dress as opposed to underdressed.

Remember to pay attention to those minor details, and you will have a killer image… rather than killing your image! alpha m. Image Consulting was launched back in 2006 by founder Aaron Marino. Aaron realized that there was a lack of resources and options for men to receive real world help and advice regarding their image, style and grooming. Our goal is to help the modern man look and feel the best that he can… every day of his life.

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Scarf Color Matching Tips for Men – Mens Italian Scarves

Once it was assumed that scarves are for women only but as time passed it become a necessary embellishment for men as well. As demand increases different types of scarves selection came into existence. Italian scarves give a new dimension to the scarf market. In addition to this nowadays you may find from luxury scarf to normal scarves are available in the market. Therefore to choose a men’s scarf is no more an issue.Its difficult task is to match Scarves for men. Take a look on the following tips which will help you a lot.

The basic question is how to match scarves for mens. Here we will discuss and see the different ways how one can match the color between scarves and his outfits. There is no standard rule for matching up color similarities but some important points are there.

Suppose, if someone is wearing red outfits, and also he wants to use a scarf then a yellow scarf can be wonderful choice than any other color. Another example, camel scarves looking fine with attires and with black dresses grey would be outstanding match. White clothes demand white mens scarves, while orange mens scarf for red attires, either yellow or blue mens scarves would be matching with deep green. These are the general suggestions for men’s scarf. If you are going for Italian scarves, they have varieties of different color collections; one can choose for himself easily. In fact they have different ranges, from luxury mens scarf to designer mens scarves normal one.

It’s very important to match the color style with mens scarf color because the choice of color reflects our personality. Therefore once you understand the different color scheme, you will be able to create your own style.

A part from this, we can achieve a casual style easily with designer scarves. Case in point, if you are wearing a long scarf with a long coat and jeans which touches your knees will look cool and stylish for sure. We can randomly put the scarf on the shoulder which will look like dancing in the wind.

Besides, as we all know scarf is the recent trends in men’s fashion accessories, so we should be very careful when we are choosing it, it is suggested that if you are wearing first time, you must take some guidelines from an expert or otherwise you can also take help from online to get to know how to tie a scarf.

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Morel Mushrooms – How to Store and Preserve For Future Use

Morels, like all fungi and mushrooms, have an extremely short shelf life once picked. However, there are a variety of ways to store morels for future use.

Once picked, morels should be washed, cleaned and refrigerated quickly if they are to be eaten or frozen for storage. Morels (particularly those later in the picking season) are attractive to ants and other insects, both for the interior spores, and for the rough shelter they offer.

Morels, like many wild fungi and mushrooms, go soggy very quickly if not properly handled or stored, due to the spore content within them. Morels are largely water, anyway, so they do not hold up well, particularly in heat. Do not pack them too tightly when picking or storing, as morels compact easily.

Since salt bothers (and even kills) many insects, one of the easiest ways to clean morels is to dissolve 2 tbsp of salt into each quart of warm water used, and immerse the morels in the solution, washing them for several minutes, letting them stand for one-half hour, then draining. If you prefer a more thorough wash, either slit the morels in half lengthways before immersing, or puncture the narrow end to allow easier drainage after washing in the salty solution. Be sure to cut off the fibrous root-like tendrils, before washing, that are likely to be attached to the base of the morel when picking. This root-like mass, and the valleys of the morel honeycomb, tend to pick up small particles of dirt, sand and humus, contributing to a gritty, unpleasant texture with poorly cleaned morels.

Morels can be dehydrated, using a standard fruit dehydrator (available at Wal-Mart). Be sure that the morels are completely dehydrated, then store in a paper bag in a dry, dark pantry. To rehydrate morels, simply soak them for 1-2 hours in warm water or thin sauce.

Dried morels are great for taking on a backpacking or camping trip, because of their light weight, durability and ease of rehydrating. They are perfect complements to almost any meat or eggs, and work well with true wildcraft harvests of boiled cattail root or fried dandelion greens! Many campers use dried morels like chewing tobacco, letting the morels rehydrate between gums and cheek for a real time-delayed taste explosion.

To freeze morels, wash & drain them, then in a deep fry pan, melt butter, add pepper (or garlic, if desired) and the morels, and cook over medium low heat for up to 5-8 minutes. With the liquid, store the mushrooms in an airtight container or freezer bag in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

If using morels within 2-3 days of picking, wash thoroughly and drain until dry. Place loosely in a paper bag and store in the refrigerator, as you would with white button mushrooms.

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Bubble-Up Effects of Subculture Fashion

The notion that trends in fashion take part in a phenomenon known as the trickle down effect has long been recognised by fashion pundits. A process of social emulation of society’s upper echelons by the subordinates provides myriad incentives for perpetual and incessant changes in fashion through a sequence of novelty and imitation. Dior’s ‘New Look’ of 1947 consisted of creations that were only affordable to a minority of affluent women of the time. Fashion was governed by haute-couture designers and presented to the masses to aspire toward. However, this traditional prospective has been vigorously challenged by many throughout the fashion world. Revisionist observations have introduced a paradoxical argument that fashion trends have, on numerous occasions, inadvertently emerged from the more obscure spheres of society onto the glamorous catwalks of high-fashion designers.

These styles can originate from a range of unorthodox sources, from leather-jacketed punks and dramatic Goths, the teddy boys of the 1950s, to ethnic minority cultures from all edges of the globe. Styles that emerge from the bottom of the social hierarchy are increasingly bubbling up to become the status of high fashion. There has been significant concern over the implications of this so-called bubble-up effect, such as the ambiguity between the notions of flattering imitation and outright exploitation of subcultures and minority groups. Democratization and globalisation of fashion has contributed to the abrasion of the authenticity and original identity of street-style culture. The inadvertent massification of maverick ideas undermines the ‘street value’ of the fashions for the very people who originally created them.

The underlying definition of subculture, with regards to anthropology and sociology, is a group of people who differentiates from the larger prevailing culture surrounding them. Members of a subculture have their own shared values and conventions, tending to oppose mainstream culture, for example in fashion and music tastes. Gelder proposed several principal characteristics that subcultures portrayed in general: negative relations to work and class, association with their own territory, living in non-domestic habitats, profligate sense of stylistic exaggeration, and stubborn refusal of massification. Hebdige emphasised that the opposition by subcultures to conform to standard societal values has been slated as a negative trait, where in fact the misunderstood groups are only attempting to find their own identity and meaning. The divergence away from social normalcy has unsurprisingly proliferated new ideas and styles, and this can be distinctly observed through the existence of fashion diversity. Ethnicity, race, class and gender can be physical distinctions of subcultures. Furthermore, qualities which determine a subculture may be aesthetic, linguistic, sexual, political, religious, or a mixture of these factors.

Sigmund Freud and his nephew Edward Bernays investigated the drivers of social control and the engineering of consent. Their psychological theories provide insight into the causes of deviation, by members of a subculture, from social norms. They highlighted the irrationality of human beings and discovered that by tapping into their deepest desires, it is possible to manipulate unconscious minds in order to manage society. Freud believed that stimulating the unconscious was crucial to creating desire, and therefore is conducive to economic progress and mass democracy. Bernays argued that individual freedom was unattainable because it would be “too dangerous to allow human beings to truly express themselves”. Through various methods of advertising, a distinctive ‘majority’ can be created in society, where a person belonging to this group is perceived to be normal, conventional and conformist. By using techniques to satisfy people’s inner desires, the rise of widespread consumerism plays a part in the organized manipulation of the masses. However, through the unleashing of certain uncontrolled aggressive instincts, occasional irrationality emerged in groups, and this repudiation of the banalities of ordinary life is believed to be a key factor in the generation of subcultures.

The expansion of youth styles from subcultures into the fashion market is a real network or infrastructure of new kinds of commercial and economic institutions. The creation of new and startling styles will be inextricably linked to a process of production and publicity inevitably leading to the diffusion and spread of the subversive subculture trends. For example, both mod and punk innovations have become incorporated into high and mainstream fashion after the initial low-key emergence of such styles. The complexities of society perpetuate continuous change in style and taste, with different classes or groups prevailing during certain periods of time. To deal with the question of which is the most influential source of fashion, it is necessary to consider distribution of power. It is not the same for all classes to have access to the means by which ideas are disseminated in our society, principally the mass media. In history, the elites have had greater power to prescribe meaning and dictate what is to be defined as normality.

Trickling down to shape the views of the substantial passive parts of the population, designers from high places were able to set trends that diffused from the upper to lower spectrum of society. Subcultures, it was suggested, go against nature and are subject to abhorrence and disapproval by followers of mainstream trends. Regrettably, criminal gangs, homeless subcultures and reckless skateboarders, among other ‘negative’ portrayals of subcultures have been accused of dragging down the image of other ‘positive’ subcultures which demonstrate creativity and inspiration. There is an unstable relationship between socialising and de-socialising forces. Nevertheless, German philosopher Kant observed that actual social life should and always will consist of in some way its own opposite asocial life, which he described as “unsociable sociality”.

Without doubt, fashion exhibits a dichotomy of conformity and differentiation, with contradictory groups aspiring to fit in and stand out from a crowd. Previously, the pace of change that fashion went through has spawned social emulation, a phenomenon whereby subordinate groups follow a process of imitation of the fashion tastes adopted by the upper echelons of society. Veblen, a Norwegian-American sociologist and economist, criticized in detail the rise of consumerism, especially the notion of conspicuous consumption, initiated by people of high status. Another influential sociologist Georg Simmel, classified two basic human instincts – the impetus to imitate one’s neighbours, and conversely, the individualistic behaviour of distinguishing oneself.

Simmel indicated the tendency towards social equalization with the desire for individual differentiation and change. Indeed, to elucidate Simmel’s theory of distinction versus imitation, the distinctiveness of subcultures in the early stages of a set fashion assures for its destruction as the fashion spreads. An idea or a custom has its optimal innovative intensity when it is constrained to a small clandestine group. After the original symbolic value of the idea has been exploited by commercialisation and accepted as a part of mass culture, the balance will have a tendency to tip towards imitation over distinction. An example of the imitation of a distinctive subculture is the evolution of blue jeans, which originating from humble American cowboys and gold-miners, demonstrate a bubble-up effect of a subculture. On a larger scale, it can be said that Western style dressing ‘bubbled-up’ from 19th Century Quaker’s attire, rather than ‘trickling down’ from the styles of Court aristocracy.

Simmel describes fashion as a process by which the society consolidates itself by reintegrating what disrupts it. The existence of fashion requires that some members of society must be perceived as superior or inferior. From economist Harvey Leibenstein’s perspective, fashion is a market constituted of ‘snobs’. The phenomenon of ‘snob-demand’ depicts consumers as snobs who will stop buying a product when the price drops too much. The trickle down effect has been related to a ‘band-wagon effect’ where the turnovers of a product are particularly high as a result of imitation. Every economic choice is bound not only to the pure computational rationality of individuals, but is influenced by irrational factors, such social imitation, contrary to what Simmel calls the ‘need for distinction’. However, a ‘reverse bandwagon effect’ acts as an opposing force when a snobbish consumer stops buying a product because too many others are buying it as well. The resultant force depends on the relative intensity of the two forces.

Subcultures have often endured a less than agreeable relationship with the mainstream as a result of exploitation and cultural appropriation. This often leads to the demise or evolution of a particular subculture once the originally novel ideas have been commercially popularised to an extent where the ideologies of the subculture have lost their fundamental connotations. The insatiable commercial hunger for new trends instigated the counterfeiting of subculture fashion, unjustifiably used on the sophisticated catwalks in fashion dictatorships of Paris, Milan and New York. It is not purely sartorial fashion but also music subcultures that are particularly vulnerable to the massification process. Certain types of music like jazz, punk, hip hop and rave were only listened to by minority groups at the initial stages of its history.

Events in history have had substantial impacts on the rise, development and evolution of subcultures. The First World War had an impact on men’s hairstyles as lice and fleas were ubiquitous in wartime trenches. Those with shaved heads were presumed to have served at the Front while those with long hair were branded cowards, deserters, and pacifists. During the 1920s, standard social etiquettes were discarded by certain youth subcultures, as drink, drugs and jazz infiltrated America, intensified by the alcohol prohibition of the time. A crime subculture emerged as smugglers discovered profit opportunities with Mexican and Cuban drug plantations. The Great Depression of the late 20s in North America caused pervasive poverty and unemployment. Consequently, a significant number of adolescents discovered identity and expression through urban youth gangs, such as the ‘dead end kids’.

Existentialists like Camus and Sartre also played a significant part in influencing the subcultures of the 1950s and 60s. Emphasis on freedom of the individual created a version of existential bohemianism resembling the beat generation. This subculture represented a version of bohemian hedonism; McClure declares that “non-conformity and spontaneous creativity were crucial”. In literature, Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” depicted the economic hardship of these times. Initially burned and banned to American citizens, condemned as communist propaganda, this book was given the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962. It only took a few decades for the previously socially unacceptable book to diffuse into mainstream culture.

The popularisation of folk and cowboy songs led to their unique underlying patterns being mixed with elements of jazz, blues and soul, creating a new subculture of western swing. Technological progress facilitated “instantaneous mass media creating large subcultures from the ideas of a range of smaller subcultures”. Accordingly, a bubble-up effect can be seen where, through a process of innovation and diffusion, original ideas can spread into mass culture.

The process of integration has a potential to lead to the polarisation of warring subcultures, contributing to social disorganization. Shaw and Mckay assessed that although their data is not sufficient to determine “the extent to which membership in delinquent gangs produces delinquency”, membership is probably a contributing factor. They use the term ‘differential social organisation’ to depict how subculture formation is a result of broader economic and demographic forces that undermine conventional local institutions of control.

The institution of the family is weakened by these forces, and as a result, alternatives to the traditional family have arisen as various subcultures. Ethan Watters elucidated this social trend in his book defining urban tribes as “groups of never-married’s between the ages of 25 and 45 who gather in common-interest groups and enjoy an urban lifestyle”. Analysis of the long term perspective of street trends reveal that youth trends bubble-up every five to ten years, and that individualism, anarchy and self-realization, are universal in these trends.

In the process of bubbling up, there are two important concepts to consider, that of ‘diffusion’ and ‘defusion’. Fashion diffusion focuses on the individual and the crowd, particularly in this case the spreading of fashion in a systematic way from small scale to large scale institutions. It highlights the idea that fashion innovation and creativity drawn from subcultures are integrated into mass culture. In the process, non-conformist fashion may be subject to defusion, a diluting of the fundamental intrinsic meaning of the original subculture. The commercialisation of fashion is especially central to the danger of decontextualisation of trend origins. For example, the wearing of ripped jeans, an accepted form of attire nowadays, does not necessarily relate to the image of ‘hippies’ in modern times. The concept of identity and its modifications and transformations after a period of time should be carefully considered.

Analysis of street style is another fundamental aspect in determining the extent of a bubble-up effect in fashion. It is an idea that opposes the view that high fashion has given way to popular culture. Polhemus proposed that “styles which start life on the street corner have a way of ending up on the backs of top models on the world’s most prestigious fashion catwalks”. Prior to this new train of thought, the predominant view was that new looks began with couture and ‘trickle down’ to the mass market mainline fashion industry. Polhemus suggested that the evidence he found gave insight to a chain of events; initially genuine street innovation appears, followed by the featuring in mass media, such as magazines or television programmes, of street kids. In time, the ritzy version of the original idea makes an appearance, as a part of a top designer’s collection.

Polhemus identified two basic street-styles involving dressing up or dressing down. Those from a relatively affluent sector of society, such as the Beatniks and Hippies developed a penchant for the latter, preferring to descend down the socio-economic ladder in the interest of authenticity. Nowadays, the variety of attire seen on streets and nightclubs show that culture is no longer only a prerogative of the upper class. Although, the creatively democratic society that we progress towards optimizes fashion innovation, cynics of the bubble-up effect, such as Johnny Stuart, condemned in his book on rockers, “the fancy fashionable versions of the Perfecto which you see all over the place, dilute the significance, taking away its original magic, castrating it”.

Social crises of the 1950s and 1970s brought about new ideological constructions in response to the worsening economy, scarcity of jobs, loss of community, and the failure of consumerism to satisfy real needs. Racism became a solution to the problems of working-class life. Such periods of social turmoil resulted in fashion defusion, with many subcultures becoming increasingly detached from their foundation symbolisms. The connotations of the attire of the teddy boys during the 1970s bore little resemblance to the style of 1956. The original narcissistic upper-class style was somewhat irrevocably lost in a wave of ‘second generation teds’ that preferred fidelity to the classic ‘bad-boy’ stereotypes. The concept of specificity, subcultures responding to circumstances at distinctive moments in history, is depicted as vital to the study of subcultures.

Therefore the resultant mass-consumed item may draw distance from the emblem of the original subculture, attainable to all who can afford it. The loss of identity may prove to be a serious problem as subcultures may feel exploited, estranged and meaningless without a sense of belonging. Subcultures established a sense of community to certain individuals during a new post-war age that witnessed the deterioration of traditional social groupings. Polhemus claims that subcultures like Teddy Boys, Mods, Rockers, Skinheads, Rockabillies, Hipsters, Surfers, Hippies, Rastafarians, Headbangers, Goths, etc, as “social phenomenon style tribes cannot be dismissed as something transitory”. Known as the Kogal phenomenon, a subculture emerged where groups of young girls between the ages of 15 and 18 appeared on the streets of Tokyo with long dyed-brown or bleached-blond hair, tanned skin, heavy makeup, brightly coloured miniskirts or short pants that flare out at the bottom, and high platform boots.

‘Field’ has become more appropriate in the analysis of fashion changes. People engaged in similar lifestyles with intrinsically similar cultural capital, i.e. nationality, profession, family and friends form group identities interacting with others in the same ‘field’. This has been an important contributing factor to the birth of subcultures.The anachronistic belief that class was a determinant of fashion has reduced significantly, as confirmed by Bauman, who proposed the idea of ‘liquid society’, where fashion exists in a more flexible and malleable state.

A particular phenomenon of recent times, subject to both a trickle-down and a bubble-up effect of varying degrees, is the democratization and globalization of fashion. There has been an emergence of ‘prêt-a-porter’ invented by John Claude Weill in 1949. This development has increased the speed and diffusion of fashion trends across the world, which amplified the culture of fast fashion, massification and global standardisation. Standardised factory-made prêt-a-porter clothes, of which ‘wearability’ is crucial, sometimes descend from places of high fashion, for example inspired from couture. Designers such as Poiret, Dior and Lacroix produce a ready-to-wear line alongside their haute couture collection to take advantage of a wider market. Nevertheless, its mass-produced industrial nature detracts away from the exclusivity of traditional couture.

By 1930, couturiers like Schiaparelli, Delauney, and Patou began to design their own ready-to-wear boutiques, understanding the new emerging system of fashion whereby the moment that people stop copying you, it means that you are no longer any good. The democratization of couture disallowed it to sustain its elitist nature and therefore haute couture was beginning to accept that fashion was about emulation. Nevertheless, attire was not entirely uniform and equalised. Subtle nuances continued to mark social distinctions but mitigated the upper class penchant for conspicuous consumption.

Democratising fashion came hand in hand with a ‘disunification’ of feminine attire, which varied more in form and became less homogeneous. The fundamental attraction of making profit inspired innovation in styles and a perpetual search for lower costs through efficient industrial manufacturing. Institutions were evolving to an extent that the pretentious elitist sectors diminished in favour of universal mass production. The end of the Second World War brought about increased demand for fashion, encouraged by films and magazines of the time and the take off of global advertising campaigns, i.e. Levi’s, Rodier, Benetton, Naf-Naf, etc, highlighting the need for high standards of living, well-being and hedonistic mass culture. It is the globalisation and rapidity of fashion movements, as Kawamura amply discussed, that underline the fact that “fast-changing tastes of consumers are matched only by the cleverness of the department store that identifies trendsetters among young consumers and feeds their knowledge into the production cycle”.

It is impossible to conduct discourse in fashion without associating it with change, unpredictability and a high degree of uncertainty. It is very difficult to distinguish which goods will be adorned by the mass population and which trends will be instantaneously rejected. In general, industries need economic capital and political solidarity to function but these institutions are particularly difficult to uphold in the aesthetic industry. A paradox exists in that while on a superficial level everyone associates fashion with change, the underlying forces value stability. They argue that it is not possible to speak of one single fashion, but rather of different fashions existing at the same time. This is especially the case for an intrinsically fast-paced, competitive and fragmented industry. A bubble-up effect is inherent to a globalised fashion world, and the upward flow of fashion stemming from various subcultures contributes abundantly to this process.

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3 Types of Artificial Leather

Artificial leather is available in several types and a popular choice for furniture products and clothing. It has seen significant growth in popularity because of its high flexibility and stylish appearance. Here are three of the most popular types:

Pleather

Pleather is the term used for a low-cost material that is popular in the process of making items in artificial leather. It is a relatively light material compared to real leather and is made up using a variety of plastic materials. The most common materials to create pleather are PVC and polyurethane. The products in PVC are easily marked and the material can start to harden after cleaning, especially if a dry cleaning service is used. Clothing or furniture based on polyurethane is a lot easier to clean and maintain. This type of artificial leather is easy to dye, which means products can come in virtually any color.

Naugahyde

Naugahyde is a type of vinyl-coated material with characteristics that appears much-like real leather. This artificial leather is mostly used to cover furniture, but can also be seen as a popular choice for a wide range of toys, clothes and waterproof seat covers. It has a finish that appears much like real leather and feels quite soft to the touch.

Vegan Leather

Vegan leather is a quite common type of artificial leather that is popular in the production of shoes, garments and accessories. There is a varied range of products that can be used to make the vegan leather. The most popular choices include polyurethane, PVC, paper, waxed cotton, glazed cotton, barkcloth and cork. While this fabric is animal-friendly, the actual manufacturing process used for several of the materials is not seen as the most eco-friendly.

Benefits of artificial leather

There are a variety of reasons to consider using artificial leather in place of the real thing. For one, the items manufactured in this type of leather are significantly more affordable. Plus, there are many people who prefer to avoid buying real leather items because it is friendlier to animals. However, this type of leather can still be made to appear quite real and realistic. During the manufacturing process it is possible to make variations to the texture, color and grain. This helps to create a look that is quite similar to the genuine leather. Also, it is very hard-wearing and more able to stand up to abuse from children and pets.

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