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Every Last Detail: How the Fashion-minded Describe Their Clothes

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.

How would you describe them (assuming they were the burgundy ones, and not these meh suede ones)? Via Zappos.

Dear Regular People,

Sometimes you just have to excuse us—we of bulging closets, fashion obsessions, rag trade jobs and general sartorial flair. Because when people like us describe a new acquisition to people like you, we tend towards flowery.

Recently, excited over a new pair of Marc Jacobs Collection shoes at an insane-fire-sale discount, I mentioned the Frank Gargione Collection's latest addition to a stylish if not style-obsessed friend.

"What are they like?"

"Well, they're like a classic lace-up oxford but in a sort of medium/high shine claret/oxblood leather. The soles are just shy of chunky, black on the sides and electric-blinding white on the top—but broken up with contrast top-stitching. They're like an elevated basic—not quite a statement shoe."


The very next day I found myself describing a Tommy Hilfiger Collection coat I'd bought for myself as a Christmas gift from my parents.

"Well, it's like a three-quarter length Paddington-style toggle coat in the loveliest burgundy wool. The toggles are attached by red-brown leather lacing, gently branded on the ends and actual horn—sort of a gradiating gray tortoiseshell. There's a hood—thank god; and it's detachable—thank god. Oh, and best part. It's banded near the bottom with two just-slightly-deeper printed stripes—so après-ski! And, I mean, it's Collection, so it's obviously Italian-made."

Again, the response: "Oh."

But you know what? We shouldn't have to apologize for it—for describing new wearables like we write for the J. Peterman catalog; like some people might describe their new couch, their new car, their cat, their kid. We get a free pass; we get to be a little off-our-rockers in terms of the clothes we wear and the ways we wax poetic over their every detail.

Recently, over Calvin Klein Collection suiting at the brand's Manhattan flagship, a good friend of mine assured me of those free passes. That, yes, of course the knubby, slubby gray suit woven into a sort of TV static pattern could be the basic gray suit I've been looking out for for ages—you know, for weddings, funerals, interviews. Because we work in fashion; and we’re passionate about what we wear. We get to be a little nuts. And we're going talk all about it, whether you ask us or not.

So, try your best not to totally glaze over while we describe the very weave of our shiny new something. Even when all you maybe asked after is that something’s color.

You do that and we’ll try super hard not to keep our eyes from rolling back in our heads while you gush about little so-and-so's (I can’t remember his/her name (or gender)) latest pre-school achievements.

Do we have a deal?

· Love, Frank [Racked]