Newsbriefs

Best Bedding for Your Buck: Brooklinen vs Parachute + More

November 21, 2016

Best Bedding for Your Buck: Brooklinen vs Parachute + More

Our obsession with comfort doesn't stop with our apparel. A surprising number of people don’t think twice when shopping for sheets. They just buy whatever is cheapest, only slightly worrying about how comfortable they will be. It’s people like this that don’t bother learning about what makes sheets comfortable or uncomfortable. You spend a third of your life sleeping. You should invest in some really nice sheets that are perfect for you. You don’t have to be an expert, but there are some things you should look for when buying sheets.

There are a few factors that separate good or great sheets from average or low-quality sheets. For one, thread count isn’t always what you think it is. Companies will advertise an untrue thread count because they are using multi-ply thread. Multi-ply thread, in general, means a lower quality sheet. The quality of the fabric used is a big factor, as well. And, of course, price is taken into consideration. Are the better sheets really worth it if they are ridiculously priced?

After some careful research, here is a list of some of the best sheets you can get for your money’s worth, based on the quality of the fabric, the quality of the weave, the variety of weaves and quality offered, and their affordability. 

Brooklinen 

Brooklinen uses Egyptian cotton, which produces very long, very strong fibers. This allows them to avoid multi-ply threads, making their linen very soft, and very durable. Their sheets range from 270 to a whopping 480 thread count, and you can choose between their already pretty darn nice classic sheets and their luxury sheets. They also use both a traditional percale weave and a sateen weave, giving you yet more options in finding the right sheets for you. While their luxury sheets are definitely on the expensive side, their classic selection is very affordable.

These guys are great. They use long-staple Egyptian Cotton, and they have a wide-ranging thread count, giving you the option to spend more or less. They give you the choice between sateen and percale weaves, and even their luxury sheets are on the cheaper side. If you are looking for sheets, this should be your first stop. I give them a 5 out of 5.

Boll and Branch

Boll and Branch uses organic, eco-friendly, and non-toxic fabrics and dyes in their products. Their fitted sheets boast a thread count of 300, using a single-ply thread, so they are not lacking in softness. With sheet sets starting at $200, they are just a tad pricy, but not so much to rule them out if you are looking for quality. They use a sateen weave, which is heavier and a little less breathable than a percale weave, but much, much softer. If you prefer a breathable, light sheet, look elsewhere.  

Their eco-friendly approach is definitely a plus, but they are a little expensive, and they only use a sateen weave. I give them a 4 out of 5.

Parachute

Parachute also uses Egyptian Cotton, giving them a long staple, single-ply thread. Like the Brooklinen selection, Parachute offers you a choice between percale woven or sateen woven sheets. This is hugely important if you happen to prefer one or the other. They are very different. Parachute’s sheets are very affordable, with their sets starting at $89 for either percale or sateen sheets. 

These sheets are very affordable, they use long-staple Egyptian cotton, and you can choose between percale and sateen. I give these guys a 4.5 out of 5.

Hill House Home            

If you want fancy, Hill House Home has you covered. They offer several different collections of fine sheets, ranging from percale to sateen. They use Supima Cotton, which is insanely durable, very soft cotton. Supima cotton is basically American-grown Egyptian Cotton, so you are still getting that extra-long weave that allows for durable, high thread counts, while knowing that the raw materials are 100% American-grown (that’s important, right?). As far as pricing, Hill House Home is definitely not easy on the wallet. Their simple sets (sheets and pillowcases only) will run you about $375. Yikes. But if you can afford it, these sheets will not disappoint.

With a high quality of weave and fabric, and a choice between percale and sateen, there isn’t much to criticize based on quality, but the economics make these sheets an unrealistic choice for most families. Considering this, I give them a 3.5 out of 5.

By Dia Ascenzi

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Harry's vs. Dollar Shave Club

November 21, 2016

Harry's vs. Dollar Shave Club

Although we specialize in comfortable underwear & lounge apparel, you can correctly assume that we're absolutely obsessed with comfort, and when it comes to your shaving routine, we refuse to settle for less. We want nothing but the best in terms of quality, convenience, and comfort, because no guy wants to be the victim of a painful shave or wait forever to get shaving supplies.  

Several shaving companies have stepped up to combat this issue, and perhaps the two most famous are Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club (DSC). Both services send shaving supplies to your mailbox at low prices. You’ll receive shipments either monthly (DSC) or at a frequency you specify (Harry’s).

Both of these companies offer a great deal for shavers, but we wanted to know which one was the absolute best. So we pitted Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club together in an all-out match to declare the winner once and for all.

Plans

Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club (DSC) offer similar plans in terms of gear, but they’re much different in terms of frequency. Harry’s asks you how many times per week you shave and sends out supplies based on that information. On the other hand, Dollar Shave Club sends a set amount per month (for example, 4 blades a month). So with DSC, you have to do the math.

Both companies offer similar shaving supplies as add-on items. They also both provide razor handles. But when it comes down to it, we prefer Harry’s for the straightforward shipping times and ease of ordering.

WINNER: Harry’s

Customization

When we ordered the equipment, we looked out for options we could personalize. We liked that Harry’s uses the frequency of your shaves per week as a guide. It was a no-brainer to calculate, and it meant that we’d get exactly what we need when we need it. Harry’s also provides a selection of razor handles for you to choose from.

Dollar Shave Club was less flexible due to their structure. They offer less personalized options, and while their pricing model is simple (see below), it also made us stop and think. How many shaves would 4 blades a month give us? How often do we go through blades? This made Dollar Shave Club much less intuitive, and Harry’s won for maximum customization.

WINNER: Harry’s

Price

In terms of pricing, it’s somewhat tricky to declare a winner because of the way each service calculates how many supplies you’ll need. If you shave once per week or less and choose only blades, Harry’s will cost $3 a month for you. If you shave 5 to 7 days a week and choose to add on blades, gel, and an aftershave, that price catapults to $38.  (Harry’s also has free shipping!)

DSC provides less flexibility in terms of price, but their prices are dead simple. They have plans that cost $3, $6, and $9 per month. Depending on whether or not you order extras, you could spend anywhere from $3 to $19 a month.

This is a tougher match because the payment models serve different needs. If you buy other shaving supplies at your local stores, then DSC will give you cheap blades. However, if you want a super convenient, all-in-one solution, it’s Harry’s all the way. In the end, we settled on a tie in the price category.

WINNER: Tie

Aesthetics

Harry’s:

Harry’s impressed us with their sleek design and packaging. It’s clear that a lot of effort went into producing all of the products. There’s no obnoxious branding here, only the subtle H’ logo.


The razor itself is a simple, minimal piece with a smooth handle and elegant appearance.

We’re also big fans of the razor stand.

Heck, even the razor stand packaging is superb.

Need to keep your razor dry? Enter the clamp-on razor head cover. It doesn’t add any bulk and helps your razors last longer.

The extras are top-notch, too. It’s a remarkable set that definitely deserves a place in your bathroom.

Dollar Shave Club:

From the first glance, you can tell that Harry’s and DSC have quite different design tastes. The DSC set looks like a collection of run-of-the-mill drugstore items. That doesn’t mean they’re badly designed--they’re not. It’s simply a difference of style. Harry’s is the classy gent while DSC is the blue-collar everyman.

The razor’s ribs and wide head attachment make it about 50% larger than it needs to be.

To us, the razor looks identical to any random razor you’d find in any store. It’s a sturdy, effective piece, but in terms of aesthetics, it falls flat.

However, we’re fans of the witty lines that are featured on the packaging.

The extras have more countertop appeal, but they also resemble standard drugstore supplies.

The DSC set is great, but it didn’t blow us out of the water like Harry’s did.

WINNER: Harry’s

Comfort

Comfort is the number one priority in shaving. If you have a stylish razor that gives you horrible razor burn, there’s no point in using it! So when we tested Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club, we looked at comfort first and foremost. It was one of the big deciding factors for us in declaring an overall winner.

Harry’s:

Harry’s gear not only looked amazing, but also gave spectacular results. The razor performs like a good razor should: it slides smoothly across the face and doesn’t irritate. It produces a noticeably clean feel that’s a hallmark of a nice shave.

On a functional level, Harry’s also stands out. It was a cinch to wash out the shaving cream in between strokes. The cream itself creates a nice lather on the face that makes shaving even more easy. When it comes to shaving with cartridge razors, Harry’s is one of the best we’ve tried.

Dollar Shave Club:

From the beginning of the shave, DSC’s workhorse gear was quite different from Harry’s. The DSC razor didn’t tug or irritate, and it did the job. It didn’t glide as smoothly as the Harry’s razor did, but it was by no means a bad or uncomfortableshave. It was a good middle-of-the-road shave. However, since Harry’s had spoiled us, we found it hard to go back.

We found that the DSC razor had a tendency to hide shaving cream in its nooks and crannies. We’d later find the cream dried and hardened, and it took some trial and error to get it out. The design of the razor makes it difficult to get all of the cream out effectively, so if you’re pressed for time, you’ll likely find some dried cream the next day.

WINNER: Harry’s

And the winner is…

Harry’s! From the moment we laid eyes on the packaging to the last stroke of the razor, Harry’s was the clear-cut (pun intended) winner. The razor is effortless to use, and the products yield wonderful results. We liked Dollar Shave Club, but we loved Harry’s.

If you’re not ready to use a safety razor and want to automate the process of getting shaving supplies, Harry’s is the best option.

Do you love Harry’s as much as we do? Or do you prefer Dollar Shave Club? Tell us in the comments! Also, feel free to check out our round of amazing underwear and lounge apparel here.

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August 13, 2016

Mobile Shopping Is Finally Easy; Now Accepting Apple Pay

Comfortable Club is happy to announce that our mobile shopping experience has been revamped from the ground up. Easy, express checkout is available with one-click using Paypal or Amazon Payments, which means you won't be stuck entering payment information. Even more-so, Apple Pay is coming this fall.

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Comfortable Club Celebrates 1 Year Anniversary with Goodwill Donation

July 27, 2016

Comfortable Club Celebrates 1 Year Anniversary with Goodwill Donation

It's been 1 year since Comfortable Club launched it's first Kickstarter campaign, marking the way to a more comfortable world. To celebrate this great milestone, we've taken the morning to organize 300 boxer briefs in different sizes and colors and drove to our nearest Goodwill center for quick drop off. 

We're happy to contribute in any way we can, and we encourage everyone else to find the time to donate a few things every once in a while.

Cheers,

Miguel
Founder

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Comfortable Club awarded Google Trusted Stores badge

July 07, 2016

Comfortable Club awarded Google Trusted Stores badge

Comfortable Club, which offers a line of ridiculously cozy underwear and lounge apparel, including boxer briefs, trunks, shirts, and lounge pants, was recently selected to join the Google Trusted Stores program. To help shoppers identify online merchants that offer a great shopping experience, the Google Trusted Store badge is awarded to e-commerce sites that demonstrate a track record of on-time shipping and excellent customer service. When visiting the Comfortable Club website, shoppers will see a Google Trusted Store badge and can click on it for more information.

"We're delighted to form a part of the e-commerce community, but even more excited that we've been able to surpass the level of customer service expected from an online store" - Mike / Founder

As an added benefit, when a shopper makes a purchase at a Google Trusted Store, they have the option to select free purchase protection from Google. Then in the unlikely event of an issue with their purchase, they can request Google’s help, and Google will work with Comfortable Club and the customer to address the issue. As part of this, Google offers up to $1,000 lifetime purchase protection for eligible purchases.

Google Trusted Stores is entirely free, both for shoppers and for online stores. The program helps online stores like Comfortable Club attract new customers, increase sales and differentiate themselves by showing off their excellent service via the badge on their websites.

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We’re obsessed with comfort – especially when it comes to what we wear underneath. And on that score, we were consistently disappointed by the options we saw in the market. We exist for two purposes: to make insanely-comfortable underwear & lounge apparel, and to provide them at an affordable price.

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Doc Martens vs. Red Wings: Where Each Wins

June 07, 2016

Doc Martens vs. Red Wings: Where Each Wins

By Kayla Robbins

Doc Martens have long been a powerful name in footwear, but with recent outsourcing, some say that they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. Red Wings are another iconic brand, but will they stand up to the Docs or be crushed beneath their rugged soles? Find out as these two boots go toe to toe, being compared on construction quality, selection, durability, and of course, comfort. See who comes out the other side as victor! Your sole may depend on it!

Construction

Construction refers to how a boot is put together. Needless to say, it’s a major component of any high-quality boot. You can have the best materials available, but if they’re only connected with chewing gum and wishes, they’re not going to last very long, now are they? In order to withstand the paces of their owners, good boots must have a top-tier construction from tip to tongue.

There are many different types of construction in the industry, with more innovations being added each year, but among the best is the Goodyear Welt. This type of construction keeps everything firmly together while also allowing the boot to be re-soled when the time comes, thereby extending its useful life. The majority of Red Wing boots are made using this construction method, but the Doc Martens frequently feature a proprietary air cushion feature that makes them impossible to re-sole.

Winner: Red Wings!

Selection

Let’s not discount the importance of style when buying a boot. After all, if these things are going to last you the next several years, you’ll want them to keep looking good. Of course, “looking good” is subjective, so the more styles available, the better.

Red Wing certainly has some snazzy numbers with luscious leather and snazzy stitching. I’m also impressed with the variety of styles they have to choose from. They have everything from ranger boots to chukkas to oxfords! Red Wing has a ton of different styles suitable for both men and women that anyone would feel good wearing.

Doc Martens, on the other hand, consist mostly of same-looking, drab styles that would get tiring within the first year of wear. There is little color variation outside brown and black. Doc Martens seem to have more boots overall, but they all look more or less the same. The outliers of this are all extremely flashy designs that would not age well. But, if you’re the type that’s still wearing shoulder pads and leg warmers, you may just go for it.

Winner: Red Wings again!

Durability

A good boot needs to be able to take a beating and keep coming back for more. If it can’t do that, you might as well be buying sneakers. Durability comes from just the right combination of good construction and high-quality materials.

In the good old days, it wasn’t uncommon for Doc Martens to outlast you. Fathers would have a faithful pair of Docs for 20 years before passing them on to their children. That rarely happens anymore, though. Now, Doc Martens have become more of a fashion statement than a serious work shoe, with eye-catching designs taking precedence over quality. There is a noticeable difference in longevity between Doc Martens made in China or Thailand and those that are still made in England. The Made in England line may last you a few years, but for the other varieties it’s more often a matter of months.

Red Wings have not been immune to outsourcing woes, and many of their boots that are not part of the Heritage line are made overseas, as well. Still, they’re a better bet that will give you a few good years before giving out. Additionally, Red Wings are a lot easier to have repaired or re-soled when necessary, which can extend their life even longer.

Winner: Red Wings once more!

Comfort

Comfort is the most important factor, from your underwear to your outerwear. Even if you had the best, most durable, well constructed, stylish boot available, you’d never want to wear it if it wasn’t comfortable! For our final comparison, let’s see which boot is the most comfortable for everyday wear.

As it turns out, the air cushion in Doc Martens’ signature sole may make it a pain to repair, but it also makes it a dream to walk in. They are also quite comfortable right out of the box, without the need for the blisters and soreness that come from a long period of breaking in new boots.

Red Wings need this break-in period to provide a custom fit molded around your foot. Regardless of the long-term benefits of this, the immediate discomfort involved means that Doc Martens take this category.

Winner: Doc Martens!

Other Options

In a contest between Doc Martens and Red Wings, Red Wings is the clear winner. However, there are many other options out there that could give them a run for their money, such as Chippewa, Caterpillar, Wesco, and Timberland. Picking the perfect boot for you may seem like an impossible task, but remember that you get what you pay for. With a little trial and error, you may stumble upon a boot that lasts the rest of your life.

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Umano’s Business Model; an Experiment in Social Entrepreneurialism

May 23, 2016

Umano’s Business Model; an Experiment in Social Entrepreneurialism

Umano’s Business Model an Experiment in Social Entrepreneurialism

By Kayla Robbins 

Umano is an innovative clothing company, founded by brothers Jonathan and Alex Torrey, but it’s not just a new fashion line. The brothers have made it their mission to empower children and inspire their creativity, both at home and abroad.

 

You see, all of Umano’s products feature artwork created by child artists. When you buy from Umano, you not only receive a lovingly crafted piece of clothing, complete with unique artwork, you also receive a photo and brief background of the child who helped create it for you. The Umano team believes that art education is one of the most important and tragically undervalued pillars of a child’s development. As more and more art programs across the United States are being defunded and dropped from the curriculum, Umano’s staff tirelessly works to reverse the trend. They give young artists the tools and platform to express their creativity because they believe that art education improves a child’s ability to collaborate with others, find creative solutions to problems, and express their ideas clearly. These are all skills we could use more of in future generations.

But they don’t just feature children’s artwork on their products. Umano puts their money where their mouth is and takes it one step further. Every time a product is purchased, Umano donates a backpack full of art supplies to a child in need. These backpacks include things like crayons, pencils, rulers, erasers, and notebooks, to give kids everything they need to express themselves artistically. They are distributed to children all over the world, from New York to Uganda. To date, the company has given away more than 10,000 of these backpacks.

 

All of this is made possible through the power of social entrepreneurship, a business philosophy that forgoes making the maximum possible profit in favor of giving back. Social entrepreneurs harness the power of their position and the support of their communities in order to solve a particular societal, cultural, or environmental problem. In this case, Umano is using the continued support of their customer base to solve the problem of children’s limited access to art education. Other companies run by social entrepreneurs include Warby Parker, an online eyeglasses company that follows a similar business model to Umano by giving away a free pair of glasses for every pair bought, Uncommon Goods, a store made up entirely of sustainable products made by artists and small manufacturers, and Lush, a bath and body products store with a commitment to the environment and opposing animal cruelty.

But this isn’t just a charity case. We’ve all been in a position of having to buy low quality or unnecessary products in order to support a cause we believe in (how much Boy Scout popcorn can one person really consume?), but Umano actually offers incredible products that anyone would be happy to own. Their clothing is made from their own unique modal fabric blend (sound familiar?) that produces an incredibly soft, irresistibly comfortable final product. They call it omobono. Modal, as we already know, is an extremely soft and luxurious fabric that is not only blissful on the skin, but friendly to the environment. It’s what makes our underwear so comfortable, and it’s what made omobono the perfect choice for Umano.

With the details of the perfect fabric finally ironed out, the design was one of the final pieces of the puzzle. Umano designers opted for a sleek, simple look that makes their products an instant classic in any wardrobe. Because of their timeless lines and effortless fit, Umano clothes provide staples you can wear day in and day out, and once you try them on, believe me, you’ll never want to change out of them again.

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RVCA, Diesel, Speedo? 2016 Men’s Swimsuit Brands and Styles

May 03, 2016

RVCA, Diesel, Speedo? 2016 Men’s Swimsuit Brands and Styles

By Rae Avery

The days are getting longer and warmer, the sky seems a bit bluer. We walk a little slower, breath deeper, and shed clothing like the dickens. Summer is upon us, gentlemen. The beach is calling, and you want to be ready to respond - and look good doing it. Time to bite the bullet and shop for a new suit. No worries. No matter what body type you have, our handy guide has you covered. Because style matters when you’re struttin’ your stuff, but so does comfort. We'll help you navigate the best brands and new styles of the season to find one that makes you look great, and that you'll love to wear, so you can get back to enjoying that barbecue. Below are some summer options for swimwear you can feel confident won’t make you feel ridiculous. Before you commit to buying a type though, you should know what’s what.

Tall

If you're 6'2” or taller, you want a suit that ends just above your knee. An 8” inseam is perfect for you, and won't make your legs look too long. Don't get a pair that's too wide. If you want to go bold, try a fun print – there are way more options this season than the typical Hawaiian floral. Horizontal stripes are also good for tall guys, and will give your build some visual balance. For traditional swim trunks, you can’t go wrong with  RVCA. They’ve been doing this a while and are a fairly popular brand in the world of swimwear.

Short

Believe it or not, the new, shorter suits in a trunk or boxer style will make short guys seem taller. You want a suit with around a 4” inseam. These end mid-thigh and will give you the illusion of longer legs. Avoid long styles – boardshorts are not your look. They will only make your frame appear shorter. Try vertical stripes to create visual length. If you don’t like big, baggy swim trunks, this style will be much more comfortable for you. The style of short swimwear fits some men very well, and you can go a step further by looking into some really nice brands like Robinson Les Bains. They make a good-looking pair of swim shorts, if you’re willing to pay a little extra for ‘em.

Big

You may be tempted to hide behind baggy, super long boardshorts. Please don't – it won't work! They were never comfortable even back when they were in style, and nowadays they give off a vibe that looks and outdated, no matter your body type. The new board shorts have a straight fit to elongate your legs and look leaner, and they should never go below the knee. Vertical stripes will also make you seem more slim. You also want to go for darker, solid colors, or one of the fun micro-patterns that are everywhere this season. Avoid styles with an elastic waistband. These will make you appear larger than you really are. If a flat waistband cuts into your tummy, pick the next size up. Some good old-fashioned Dockers will do just nicely if you want some good-fitting boardshorts, but have never spent more than $50 on swimwear, and aren’t looking to start anytime soon.

Skinny

You want a bold print or bright solid colors to make you seem a bit heftier. For super thin guys, you have two really good options that will both work for you. The first choice is a tight-fit, low rise suit. The horizontal cut of this suit will uplift and enhance your caboose, and the tighter fit around your thighs will give the illusion of bulking you up a bit. Your other option is to embrace your slim frame with slightly looser fitting short shorts to emphasize your youthful, boyish figure. If you haven’t heard of Diesel swimwear, they have some really stylish prints, and a great selection of fits and styles. Seriously though, if you don’t like short, tight fitting shorts, don’t sacrifice comfort for fashion.

Athletic

You've worked hard at the gym and it's paid off. You'll look good in pretty much any suit you choose. Why not have some fun though, and try out one of this season's swim briefs? This style is actually a bit reminiscent of the ones men wore in the 1930's, but with a more modern fit, and covers more than the traditional Speedo. Color is important in this style and should compliment your skin tone, since you'll be showing so much of it. A Speedo may not be for you, but don’t underestimate the potential comfort of skin-tight pants. As stupid, sexy Flanders once said it’s like you’re wearing “nothin’ at all.”

There is a myriad of men’s swim brands out there, many you may have never heard of, so try something new. No matter what body type you have, or what suit you choose, own it! The best accessory of this hot, hot season is confidence. Let's face it, summer is all too short. At its core, swimwear is all about enjoying your life, and reminds us to celebrate the warm and sunny seasons of it while they're here. In the end, it’s whatever you feel comfortable in, and can feel comfortable being seen in.

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Covergirl’s Star Wars Makeup Line a Major Hit

April 17, 2016

Covergirl’s Star Wars Makeup Line a Major Hit

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens rocking the box office and turning long-term aficionados into squealing fangirls once again, it’s no surprise that more and more companies are trying to capitalize on its success by incorporating Star Wars themes into their product lines. From Lego sets to waffle makers, it seems that there’s nothing that can’t be Force-ified with a little determination. Yet, as tired as we all are with unnecessary branding (I mean, do the minions from Despicable Me really need to be on everything?), one surprisingly comfortable fit seems to be CoverGirl’s new line of Star Wars themed cosmetics. The products come in a range of new shades—perfect whether you’re on the “Light Side or the Dark Side.” The limited edition line includes six different lipstick shades, nail polishes with names like “speed of light” and “red revenge,” and Dark Side mascara stamped on the back with any one of 10 memorable lines from the movies.



Beyond the cool factor of being able to display your faction affiliation in your mascara, this new product line speaks to a broader cultural phenomenon. Whereas Star Wars was once seen as a hobby for geeks and nerds, it has now achieved popularity in society at large and, specifically, with women and girls. It is in no small part due to Daisy Ridley’s fierce performance as the protagonist in The Force Awakens (contrasted with the infuriatingly and inexplicably passive role Padme took in the later prequels). It is widely acknowledged that the female demographic is beginning to feel more comfortable sitting among the audience of these films. It’s funny how women are happy to show up to your “guy” movies when they’re not marginalized, ignored, or written in a way that fails the Bechdel Test.

Imagine a Star Wars themed Maybelline makeup line during the 1970s, when the first Star Wars movies were originally released. It would never have worked, because the crossover audience interested in both makeup and Star Wars was practically nonexistent. These days, CoverGirl has been able to take advantage of a cultural shift that has made the franchise more accessible to everyone.

In fact, it almost makes one wonder if the opposite is true. If the Star Wars makeup line represents the increase in women’s interest in Star Wars, could it also represent men’s gradually increase comfort in wearing makeup? A quick search on YouTube will prove that this is a topic of great interest to many, probably more people than you would have initially guessed! It would have been interesting to see a line of Star Wars makeup marketed to both men and women as a way to bridge that divide. Unfortunately, either CoverGirl missed a great opportunity, or the world’s just not ready for that yet. Plus, I guess they’d have to rename themselves.

In short, the new CoverGirl line of Star Wars themed cosmetics is really cool, and even if it’s just a branding gimmick, it’s a neat one. It’s great to see women becoming more comfortable expressing their enjoyment of things that were once considered geeky or even unladylike. It’s also encouraging to see the Star Wars franchise showcasing female talent with an abundance of strong and complex leading ladies. It would be great if the pendulum could swing both ways and allow for inclusion of men in more traditionally feminine interests, like makeup. The Star Wars makeup line would have been the perfect place for this kind of honest crossover, but since it didn’t happen that way, men’s makeup will just have to wait for its next chance to spring into the limelight. Until then, keep blending, guys, and keep your brow game fierce.

It feels like the first cosmetic product that caters to the nerd in me. The lipstick tubes are pretty sleek as well, but I can’t believe they passed up the opportunity to make the their Covergirl Star Wars lipstick tubes in the shape of actual lightsaber. Meh, close enough.

By Kayla Robbins

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The Beginner's Guide to Comfortable Running Shoes

April 01, 2016

The Beginner's Guide to Comfortable Running Shoes

  1. Ignore the footwear brand battles

When it comes to what brand is “the best” running shoe, the debate is mostly artificial.  winners of competitive racing events have alternated between the two throughout the years. It is reminiscent of the soda wars between Pepsi and Coca-Cola—everyone forgets that plenty of people love RC Cola for their own reasons. In this analogy Puma is probably RC cola.

Nike currently has the greatest marketshare, although Adidas has been gaining an edge over Nike in usage by winning professional athletes and marathon runners. In any article about “what athletes are wearing,” Nike and Adidas are consistently at the tops of the list, usually multiple times with different shoe styles of the same brand.  Nike and Adidas have always been competing heavily with each other. If you are an athlete, or just like to have good footwear, you are probably on one of these sides, and not the other. The truth is, it is likely that the reason you or your brand-conscious friends are on “Team Nike” or “Team Adidas” isn’t because of the performance, or the comfort, but because of the branding, marketing, and what professional athletes are wearing. Before listening to the guy that tells you “Nikes are just better, buy those,” know what you are looking for, and what your needs are in a pair of running shoes.

Although Nike and Adidas are solid, established brands professional athletes alternatively trust and are paid to use, you don’t need a name-brand running shoe to be able to pound out your daily 5k run. A pair of New Balance, if they fit right and have good traction, is almost certainly perfectly fine. There are many other important things to consider when shopping for a running shoe.

  1. Try on your shoe at running speeds.

Specialty running shoe stores are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s not because of their low-cost options (on the contrary). It’s because these types of stores employ actual runners, coaches, and fitness experts who will not only help size your foot old-timey style, but they will suggest styles for your feet, and actually watch you while you run to make sure the shoe isn’t moving awkwardly or negatively affecting your gait.

This may not be a premium you want factored into your shoe cost, understandably. I myself have purchased both Adidas and Nike running shoes online, and I am always worried why exactly I’m able to find such a good deal when I do—is it just because they’re ugly neon colors that didn’t sell? Or are these sub-optimal shoes? You want to get a good deal on your running shoe, but you don’t want to end up being stuck with footwear that is going to make you miserable just to save a few bucks.

Most stores have pretty lenient return policies, Amazon in particular. It is important not to give into sunk costs mentality and spend months with a running shoe that is too tight, too loose, or that literally just rubs you the wrong way. First thing when you get your running shoe in the mail (or you try it out in the store), don’t just make sure it is comfortable to walk around inm make sure you can comfortably run in it. If after resizing and tightening the laces, if your shoes aren’t getting the job done at full stride, DON’T BUY THEM. It doesn’t matter if they feel comfortable standing in place—running shoes are for, well, running! If you ordered them online, return them ASAP before you get grass or dirt stains on them.

  1. Replace your shoes when the traction wears

In the above image, you can tell these shoes have clearly seen a few runs, but the traction is clearly defined and able to still grip the asphalt. You only need to worry when the grooves between the treads in your shoes become less distinguishable, similar to tire treads. Whereas the above image is perfectly acceptable, this is an example of a shoe you should not be running in.

I once pointed out the horribly worn traction on the shoes of a running buddy of mine. “But I’ve only had these for three months,” he told me. While they were still looking pretty, his running shoes were woefully inadequate for the miles-long runs we were doing every other day. Sure compared to his other shoes, they have been his newest, and they didn’t even look that beat up. But I told him to feel the bottom of his feet I had seen while we were stretching. “Feels fine to me,” he said. I laughed and told him that his soles were completely smooth. Even the flat-footed converse soles have a tiny bit of traction. A flat-bottomed shoe is not a good running shoe!

My friend didn’t realize that he may have only had his shoes for a few months, but in that span, those same shoes had seen probably a hundred miles of activity, compared to his loafers which probably only averaged the length from his front door to his car and from his car to his office chair.

My friend’s shoes had essentially zero traction. Every stride was less efficient; every contact with the ground more stressful on his arch, ankles, shins, and knees. Running is already a pain sometimes; don’t make it harder on yourself! As soon as you notice your running shoes’ traction starting to wear significantly, it is time for a new pair. You wouldn’t drive your car on tires with virtually no treads—treat your feet with the same respect! 

  1. Safety first, gimmicks second

You may have seen a blog about the benefits of running literally barefoot, or maybe you find those Vibram “finger-toe” or “barefoot” style shoes all-too compelling. While there are success stories from individuals who tout this method of running, it is important to remember that for your average runner in your average city, these types of barefoot-style footwear are not only sub-optimal for traditional running styles, they are actually quite dangerous. A proper running shoe prevents your average stumble from breaking a toe. A proper running shoe will also not make the average rock in your path send shooting pains up your leg if you step on it wrong.

  1. Get the right size shoe

Wikihow has a great guide on how to measure your shoe size properly at home. Most of us know our shoe size and always get the same size without thinking. The temptation for new runners is to get a shoe that is snug as a bug and doesn’t slip at all. It’s true you don’t want a shoe that will slip off your fee, you do want a bit of extra space. A tight fit in a running shoe is a bad fit. 

Wiggle room is important, and you want at least a thumbnail’s worth of extra space when trying them on. If your big toe is flush against the tip of your shoe, they are way too tight. Don’t be fooled into thinking shoes should be perfectly snug. This is bad for your feet because when you run, your feet swell, and you need a little bit of extra space to accommodate this physiological fact.

  1. Consider your running environment

To many runners, the best running shoe is one that can perform in most environments. I like a general running shoe that I can take on a trail, on asphalt, on grass, or gravel. Some shoes are designed and marketed for specific purposes, though.

If you live in a particularly hot area and run mostly on tracks or smooth-surface trails, a thin, “breathable” style shoe could be perfect for your running style. If your runs occasionally have you stomping through a puddle or bearing through uneven surfaces, you may want to make sure you have a hardier shoe.

By Andrew Hendricks

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Modal Madness

March 07, 2016

Modal Madness

Modal Madness

By Rae Avery

Modal has been deemed a wonder fabric that has the entire underwear industry abuzz and seems poised to replace even cotton as the most preferred choice for undergarments, but what is it really? Where does it come from, and what difference does it make to the finished product? Do all those companies that put “modal” in their radio advertisements provide the exact same material product? Will I stop asking leading questions and start answering them?

Invented in the 1960's, modal is a semi-synthetic manufactured fiber that boasts supreme softness and a smooth, luxurious feel to the touch. It all starts with beech trees, a tree with vibrant green leaves, which grow in rich, well-drained soil, and are most often found in the southern and eastern parts of the United States, as well as northern areas of Asia and Europe. Once the beech tree is reduced to pulp, the cellulose fibers are removed, and then reconstructed and spun, creating modal cloth. The increase in the quality of modal fabric starts at the source, even before manufacturing, which speaks volumes of just how much better it actually is. 

An eco-friendly material, modal uses 10 to 20 times less water to create than cotton, and because it is derived from beech trees, which are plentiful, it is a highly sustainable product. Modal is ideal for undergarments because it is so breathable, and unlike cotton, has a high resistance to shrinkage. Modal is also far more water-absorbent than cotton – 50% more, in fact. In a society that is becoming more and more environmentally conscious, modal fabric is all the more attractive as an alternative to cotton.

Modal is cool to the touch, and holds a beautiful drape. It also resists wrinkles, creasing, and is less likely to form pills on the surface of the cloth over time. In addition, the luxurious feel of the material actually contributes to its longevity as a garment. According to WiseGeek.com, “the smoothness of the fabric also makes hard water deposits less likely to adhere to the surface, so it stays soft through repeated washings.” Speaking of washings, modal can be washed in any temperature water, so garments made with it are some of the most easy to care for. If you are the kind of person who goes that extra mile to make sure you are treating your garments correctly, this is great news. However, an amazing pair of underwear needs to look good too, and unbelievably, modal has that covered as well. Modal has a special quality deep in the fiber that resists fading, so colors stay naturally bright and vibrant.

Knowing this, it’s no wonder that underwear advertisers are falling over themselves to claim to have a modal fabric product. But what does that really mean about the quality of their clothing? Being merely modal is good enough for plenty marketing departments, but with technology nearly a half-century old, it isn’t good enough for top-of-the-line products. Like many fabrics, modal can be paired with other materials, but results vary.

With Comfortable Club undies, a ton of testing and research went into the finished product, on both a scientific level and a “people” level. It’s one thing to have your products technically be made of modal fabric, but all modal combinations are not created equally. Those “modal mad” clothing marketers are hoping consumers don’t realize this.  

Comfortable Club researchers analyzed over a hundred different fiber combinations, refusing to give up until they found the very best, even consulting with Japan's prestigious Kawabata Institute for uncompromising quality. Then they tested their findings (high performance underwear) on real people, making sure the fiber blend was the very best in terms of comfort, wear, and fit.

While many companies are eager to jump on the modal bandwagon, few actually use it to its fullest potential, and only use modal so that they can say that they are using it. They are using it as more of a statement of high quality, rather than actually providing that higher quality of fabric. Needless to say, not all companies who use modal are actually providing a superior product. Some of these companies who brag about using modal don’t even pronounce the word correctly. With ComfortableClub.com, we appreciate all the benefits of modal, but we also realize that a great starting fabric isn’t a substitute for superior stitching, tested fabric blends, and of course, a super comfortable product. 

 

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5 Shows to Netflix and Chill With

February 13, 2016

5 Shows to Netflix and Chill With

Netflix and chill doesn’t have to mean what you dirty millennials slowly made it become. I’m fond of a good Netflix and Chili myself. 

Although you might not want to actually mix significant amounts of onion and garlic (as any good chili requires) to your informal date, you ought to include at least some Netflix watching lest you be rightfully dubbed a scheming schmuck. If they can’t be bothered to laugh through a single episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or 30 Rock before attempting to turn the date R-rated, that’s a dealbreaker ladies.

Netflix boasts an exhaustive list of B-movies and Oscar-winners, but if you’re going with a proper Netflix and chill date, it’s a good idea to have a few good TV options. A two-hour film is a long commitment for a date that takes place in the dark, especially if, halfway into it, your date realizes your movie choice was terrible. Since a “Netflix and Chill” date is the only date where you won’t get chastised for showing up in your comfortable, sexy, undies, you want to make sure your programming choices are up to snuff. It may be tempting to try to show off your high-brow taste by introducing your date to critically acclaimed shows such as House of Cards or Black Mirror, just remember that this means having to watch Kevin Spacey snap a dog’s neck and the Prime Minister of the UK engage in sexual congress with a pig in each first episode, respectively. The rest of House of Cards, while amazing, does not get any less depressing, and the ultra high-quality Black Mirror also gets pretty depressing too, albeit it with less bestiality. Spoilers, I know, but you’re welcome in advance. Here are five shows you can watch a lot more comfortably.

  1. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 

With enough of an edge that there’s no 90s sitcom feel, this Netflix original created by Tina Fey is the perfect combination of feel-good humor that anyone can get behind. Having spent the last decade in a bomb shelter with her sister-wives and a preacher who lied that the apocalypse had occurred, Kimmy Schmidt must now face the world 10-years behind the rest of us, and with the stigma of being looked upon with as pity one of the infamous “Natesville Mole-women.” Seeking to escape her past, Kimmy moves to the Big Apple, and 30 Rock 2.0 happens in the best possible way. Even if your date hates the show (in which case, dump them), no one can hate the best intro song of all time. Even better, a second season has already been filmed for 2015 release and the show has already been greenlit for a third season!

  1. Portlandia

If your date has ever listened to NPR at any time in their life, chances are they can appreciate Portlandia. A sketch comedy show unlike anything else, Portlandia can occasionally feel like cultural commentary or a “skewer” of the Austin/Portland “Keep it weird” mantra. However, more often, the show just feels like a delightfully quirky experiment from SNL’s Fred Armisen and Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein that nobody ever got around to pulling the plug on. Portlandia is a solid Netflix and chill choice no matter what season you start with. Each has the same bite-sized vignettes of absurd awesomeness that manages to have enough heart at its core that this show is worth sharing with a partner, and definitely not at all an Adult Swim “weird-for-the-sake-of-weird” production. An IFC original, all but the last season of Portlandia is now available streaming on Netflix. May your date have more romance than Carrie and Fred’s.  

  1. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

While this is not the safest of choices if your date is of a highly religious or conservative persuasion, sometimes laughing at awful people behaving horribly is the perfect way to break the ice. If your date has never heard of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, it’s worth introducing this show with the qualification that it is essentially Seinfeld if the cast were all psychopaths and sociopaths rather than merely self-absorbed narcissists. An FX original, all but the last season of this show is also available on Netflix’s growing catalogue.

  1. The Office

I know, The Office may seem like a bland choice, but I defy you to watch any episode start-to-finish and not at least chuckle. Even when Steve Carell leaves the show, there are plenty of gems in the Michael Scott-free episodes. Although the first few seasons may seem a little slow, The Office is full of plenty of humor to keep things light and fun, and the Jim and Pam romance is sure to melt even if the most cynical of hearts. Pam Beesly and Jim = PB&J.

5) Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel

For B-movie special effects and explosive amounts of nostalgia, episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff Angel are perfect choices. The perfect mix of soap opera, silliness, and female-empowered action, the self-aware dialogue that is unmistakably Whedon-esque is a much more date-friendly option than encouraging your date to finally check out Firefly. Albeit a great show, don’t introduce Firefly to someone on a date. It doesn’t usually go well. Stick with the show that knew vampire drama was ridiculous even before Twilight and True Blood were a thing. 

While Buffy fans might have a problem with the two being lumped together, it’s worth mentioning that if you work your way through the Angel catalogue, you’ll eventually get to see a young Mad Men’s Pete Campbell back when he was a moody, demon-slaying without an artificially-receding hairline.

“Wait, what!?” you ask. What about Nurse Jackie, Better Call Saul, Orange is the New Black and [insert my favorite show here]. While each of those are great, often hilarious shows, you can’t exactly just dive in to a random episode of many of these without a lot of context, nor can you pick up three episodes later having missed… a significant amount of the plot. This is a necessary quality of any proper Netflix and chill content, and something all five of these items have in spades.

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Flip-Flops, Crocs, and “Barefoot” Shoes: the Search for Comfortable Feet

February 13, 2016

Flip-Flops, Crocs, and “Barefoot” Shoes: the Search for Comfortable Feet

We all know high-heels and dress shoes are notoriously uncomfortable sacrifices of comfort for style, but some footwear promises to free us from our feet coffins (my word for shoes) only to provide danger and discomfort themselves. From flip-flops, to crocs, to those creepy individual-toe running shoes, are they worth wearing in public?

Flip-Flops

“Thong-like sandals have been around since at least the ancient Egyptians,” Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto explained to a Washington Post reporter. She went on to explaining that the ones we wear today, however, are more inspired by traditional Japanese zori sandals that were worn with Kimonos, and that this style became popular with the rise of surfer culture in 60’s America.

Flip Flops

With so many options for cheap footwear today, though, many take umbrage at your god-given right to fault your toes and walk around with barely any protection or comfort for your feet. In a piece that generated more hate-mail than any piece of political coverage she has ever done, Slate columnist Dana Stevens makes the case in her piece titled: Your Flip-Flops Are Grossing Me Out, sporting the even less ambiguous subhead, “They’re unsightly, unhygienic, and unfit for public display.” She goes on to defend, in comparison, the “butt-ugly” croc because at least “they permit the wearer to break into a run or take a step backward when needed.”

Hate for flip-flops is not limited to the click-happy columnist; the flimsy footwear has upset whole nations. Employees in Britain’s national health care system, the NHS, became so annoyed that flip-flop related accidents were adding up to an estimated 40 million pounds per year and reported that flip-flops ‘injure 200,000 a year,’ they began releasing advisories that encouraged even going barefoot over flip-flops. The Daily Mail released what reads as almost a public service announcement against the footwear publicizing these numbers.

Crocs

They look like an… orthotic. Which is understandable, considering many claim this shoe is the single most comfortable piece of footwear they’ve ever worn. So emphatically though, did croc enthusiasts make this claim that after the crocs became increasingly popular in the mid 2000s, culture and fashion writers began to refer to their ubiquity as “an epidemic.” It seems now that the hype around crocs has faded, but aren’t going to disappear anytime soon as the footwear becomes a cheaper, niche choice for certain shoppers. Yet, even though crocs lost the war to put the world in uniformly ugly and comfortable footwear, fashion bloggers still feel the need to occasionally point out how unacceptable they find another’s footwear.

Crocs

In 2016 you shouldn’t have to sacrifice style for comfort, but when it comes to crocs, we say live and let live. Although, unless you’re a nurse, pregnant, or suffering from foot pain, you can probably expect wearing crocs in public to get you the same reaction as though you were wearing slippers. Sure, you can make an argument for why it’s acceptable, but then you’re the crazy person arguing in public about their foam plastic shoes.

“Barefoot” or “minimalist” running shoes 

There may be specialized situations where these shoes are just the perfect fit for you, but the fact still remains that to the rest of the civilized world, we can’t help but worry for your safety. Vibram FiveFingers were introduced in 2005 and hyped as “perfectly safe” provided you ran with barefoot-running technique, and for a while this line or rhetoric (though technically true) seemed enough of a defense for the uber-trendy against the naysayers. After all, Abebe Bikali won the gold medal running barefoot. Yet, as evidence mounts that minimalist shoes are actually dangerous, according to the NIH, Vibram was forced to settle a lawsuit with refunds of up to $94 to anyone who had purchased the product since 2009 due to exaggerations of the health benefits of the footwear, it seems increasingly apparent that there is no real science to these, albeit nifty-in-appearance shoes, and that Abebe Bikali probably won a gold medal for being a really great runner, not because he was barefoot. Simply put, in addition to increasing your risk of injury, barefoot-style shoes are the fedoras of footwear, and detractors at least have scientific evidence to criticize this dying hipster trend.  

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The History of Underwear

February 06, 2016

The History of Underwear

Underwear is considered to be “mandatory” in our prudish western society. Practically everyone wears them, and those few who prefer to go ‘commando’ most likely wear underwear most of the time too. It’s a simple enough concept: underwear serves a very simple and necessary purpose. However, you may be surprised (and a little grossed out) to know that underwear as we know it today is actually a pretty modern invention. While the thought of “ancient underwear” evokes images of loincloths and toga-wraps, the fact is that these were functional outerwear bottoms. Our poor, poor ancestors had no idea what their junk was missing.

Your underoos have a pretty interesting history—one that explains why they go by several names such as drawers, briefs, boxers, knickers, panties, Long Johns, and tighty whities. Underwear as we know them are small, compact, and cover only the area we feel the need to cover. Most importantly, they are comfortable. However, this wasn’t always so. In the not-so-distant past, undergarments took on many different forms from what we use today. Some of these varieties throughout history are stranger than others. “Chausses,” for example, were two leg pieces, but didn’t even cover the crotch!

These types of “half-pants” were not the old-timey version of ass-less chaps, but rather designed so that you could wrap a diaper-like piece of cloth around your waist underneath. As became more common in the 17th and 18th century, one would tuck or tie their ‘longshirt’ between their undercarriage, like a sort of gross, adult onesie. At this point, underwear (if you could call it that) wasn’t worn for aesthetic value, as they are today. Instead, they were more hygienic, or used as a protective garment due to the discomfort of the clothing of the time. Keep in mind that until the Industrial Revolution, all undergarments were made by hand, so honestly, they couldn’t possibly have been that comfortable to wear. When the Industrial Revolution hit however, the cotton gin made clothing much easier to manufacture.

In truth, it wasn’t until the 19th century that we really began any halfway decent attempts at what a time-traveler would actually consider easy or comfortable to wear. Before this, clothing simply didn’t allow for it. Around World War II, the common undergarment was the “union suit,” a garment that was both shirt and pants combined. This was the norm for quite a while. These were issued to American soldiers during World War II. A fun fact in the history of underwear is that the term “Long Johns” is derived from John L. Sullivan, a boxer in the 1880’s who would wear these army-issued undergarments during matches. Even at this point, underwear was quite uncomfortable. Imagine wearing a full body suit under your clothes. Yikes.

What about women’s side of this history? While men only had to worry about wearing one undergarment, women wore two. At waist level, women throughout history wore “shifts.” A shift, or chemise, is basically a short gown or smock worn under a woman’s dress. Separately, women would wear a body piece to provide back and bosom support.

Historically  women didn’t wear underwear, originally known as "knickers," until the 19th century, making the famous painting “The Swing” much more naughty than you would initially think! 

The 20th century gave way to the elastic band found in the waistline of underpants, and was at the same time integrated into the necks of tee shirts. The founder of Everlast, a boxing equipment company, decided that the leather band that made up the waist of a boxer’s shorts was inferior to an elastic band, and integrated this band into his product, hence the name “boxer shorts.” Up until this point, however, underwear still wasn’t as small and compact as it is today. Most undies went down to the knee. While they were still tweaked for support and comfort, this is still very different from what we wear.

The question you may be dying to have answered is where “tighty whities” come in. Originally, the closest thing to the famous tighty whities was a men’s bathing suit. In 1934, Arthur Kneibler, an executive and designer at a Wisconsin hosiery company, received a postcard depicting a Frenchman wearing a bikini-style bathing suit. From there, he decided he could design a pair of underwear much like this.

Around this time, underwear was really starting to take off, as not just something ugly that you wore underneath your clothes, but something that could look good, and flattering. The ‘70s and ‘80s gave way to the idea of designer underwear, as labels like Calvin Klein began to design underwear that we could be proud to flaunt. From then on, the public view of underwear was never the same. It became something stylish. Beautiful-bodied men and women would model underwear and make them look sexy.

From boxer shorts and tighty whities, the next big step was the boxer briefs. These bad boys didn’t make their spotlight until the ‘90s. They are the favored undergarment of men today, and modern fabric technology has made them more comfortable than ever. If you’re going to do some time-traveling, do your junk a favor and follow your mother’s advice: make sure to bring a clean pair of underwear.  

By Dia Ascenzi

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Valentine's Day Gift Guide for 2016: Updated Twists on the Classics

January 27, 2016

Valentine's Day Gift Guide for 2016: Updated Twists on the Classics

The typical Valentine's Day gifts are just that: typical. Don't settle for giving a blah gift one more year. You've found that special someone who drives you crazy in a good way. Give that person something fresh and creative this year. Celebrate your love with these modern takes on classic Valentine's Day gifts.

Flowers – Don't get me wrong, roses are considered classic for a reason. With a candy-sweet fragrance and soft, touchable petals, roses will be a thoughtful gift until the end of time. To give this traditional floral gift a “2016-approved” update however, go to a farmer's market and see what fresh cut flowers are in season. For extra credit, give bae some potted flowers or a lush green plant in a beautiful geometric planter or terrarium that will liven up the apartment, and last much, much longer than a cut bouquet.

Naming a -star- cockroach  – Everyone knows those star charts are bogus and the inhabitants of the planets orbiting “Kim & Tina 4ever” will never subscribe to the intergalactic imperialism you’re supposedly heartfelt gift implies. Instead, look toward our own planet and the Bronx Zoo’s new Valentine’s Day fundraising program where you can name a loved one after a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach for $10. Buzzfeed, and a number of other blogs have already tried to spin the scheme as a way for the zoo to profit off of people naming their exes off of the disgusting insect, however, this could be just the thing for the sexy entomologist in your life.

Lingerie – The intention of this cheeky, age-old classic is as transparent as the lingerie usually is. Something skimpy and flashy is clearly meant to be more a gift for the giver than the receiver. The updated twist here is to give good quality underwear, made of luxurious fabrics, that feel amazing when worn, rather than merely appealing to the pervey gift-giver. Show your valentine you want them to have the best, whether you end up seeing them in it or not. There’s nothing worse than when sexy underwear doesn’t also make you feel sexy, so give the gift of the most comfortable underwear they'll ever wear.

Framed photo – While there's nothing wrong with a good ole' framed photo, it stopped being a surprising and unexpected gift 20 years ago. For an upgrade to this romantic standby, start with your favorite photo of you both together and make a custom photo smartphone case you can embellish with words and art.

Jewelry – Diamonds are everyone's best friend. The price tag that often accompanies them? Not so much. For less than the cost of the average tennis bracelet, you can surprise your other half with the highly coveted Apple Watch. The ultimate tech accessory has the ability to text, make calls, get directions, play music, and yes, even tell time. Highly customizable, the Apple watch has nearly limitless band designs and comes in many materials — from rose gold, to Hermes leather, to “fluoroelastomer” (a high-performance rubber, perfect for fitness, and available in many colors).

Mixtape – Who can forget the sacred process: tracking down carefully curated songs that said exactly how you felt, laboring over song order, hand-drawn cover design, and of course, all the fast-forwarding, rewinding, pausing and recording necessary in order to craft the perfect mixtape with which to declare your love? While cassette tapes have gone the way of the buffalo, the spirit of the mixtape will live on forever. To express your feelings through the perfect songs today, but with far less effort, make a custom spotify playlist to play during your date. Don’t risk the Power Rangers theme song popping up from your shuffled library on Valentine’s Day.

Chocolate — Chocolates are a universally beloved gift, but the bright red, heart-shaped box has an inherent awkward, juvenile feel to it. Just say no. To put a modern twist on this indulgent classic, you could go the extra mile with some haughty overpriced chocolate, or you could spend less than $100 and get your loved one memorialized in 3D-printed chocolate. For someone so sexy you could just eat them up. Results may vary.

 By Rae Avery

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Preparing for the Big Night

January 27, 2016

Preparing for the Big Night

Underwear is a staple gift. Victoria’s Secrets across the country suddenly find themselves flush with awkward first-timers all-too-willing to shell out loads of cash to get something shiny, sexy, and usually not even a little bit comfortable. And sometimes, depending on how well the underwear-giver actually knows their Valentine, it can be more than a little awkward! There’s a large gulf between “be my Valentine” and “be the tailor to my genitals.” That’s not to say that underwear is a bad Valentine’s Day gift. On the contrary! But if you’re gonna risk it (and hey, with great risk comes great reward), consider what level of underwear giver your relationship might actually be ready for. Below are a few tips based on what level you’re at with the lady or guy in your life, from Level 1 for those wise enough to tread with caution, to Level 3 meaning you’ve already thrown caution to the wind along with the rest of your clothes. 

For Her:

Level 1: Boyshorts

When you want your lady to know she is your superhero, defender against all things zombie, and totally the sexy tomboy of your life. While there’s nothing inherently unfeminine about boyshorts, they do give off a certain kind of Hollywood heroism that may be a safer bet if it’s your first time buying clothing for your better half’s lower half.

Level 2: Cheeky Briefs

A cheeky gift in the most British of senses, you won’t be fooling anyone when you buy your special lady a pair of cheeky boxer briefs, but by avoiding going for the sexiest option possible, you’ll be more likely to get the intended reaction of a bit of cheekiness in return. Cute, sexy, but still playful.

Level 3: Modal Thong

So you want to give something sexy as hell, but you are empathetic enough to understand that G-strings are just terrible. Something with the name “string”should not be considered clothing. So if you you still want a gift that is explicitly designed to have your “baby move your butt, butt, butt,” then to further quote the famous late 90s poet Sisqo, the only gift for your Valentine is “that thong thong thong thong thong.”

For Him:

Level 1: Lounge pants

Sweatpants aren’t sexy, but a nice pair of lounge pants, on the other hand, definitely send the right message to the special guy in your life. They say: you’re my lounging commando. Telling your Valentine you’re a-ok with being lazy and comfortable with them doesn’t have to come at the expense of sexiness.

Level 2: Fitting Boxer Briefs

To tell your man even more explicitly you care about his junk even when you’re not directly involved, get him a gift that will make him wish his new date underwear was his daily underwear. Boxers or briefs? The question is absurd. Get him the combination that he’ll want to show off when he can and that will support him when he can’t.

Level 3: Thong

Perhaps it’s a gag gift. Perhaps your man deserves to feel like a very pretty lady. Or perhaps it's his punishment for singing The Thong Song way too many times. You can either give him a pair of yours, or you can order him a thong that might actually be comfortable to a guy who can feel comfortable in a women’s thong. It’s a Level 3 gift for sure, but it’s not necessarily the wrong one for the right guy!

By Andrew Hendricks

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