Monday, July 11, 2016

The Best of Summer Nationals: Part 2

In my last post, I promised you a tuba.

Voila: a tuba

Also a saxophone, two clarinets, an oboe and a flute.

This ensemble opened the competition with the Star Spangled Banner on Friday, July 1. Class act.

And to follow up the National anthem, the award for Most Patriotic Warmup Outfit goes to:

Dang, I didn't get his name. Can anyone provide an id?

You may have noticed I have an abiding love of socks. Since I've started collecting Wonder Woman Converse high tops (two pair is a collection, right?) I was thrilled to spot these beauties:

Gotta get me a pair of those.

However, those shoes (above) clearly beyond with these socks (below). Props for defying stupid gender conventions about color, dude. 

Anyway, pink is just pale red. Here's a fashionista wearing the color undiluted, and (classy touch) pairing it with a red mask.

 Best Haircut goes to Victor Ji, from Canada. I admit my vote was influenced by the hip blue frames on his glasses. Could those be Warby Parker? Mmmmm. Maybe.

Best collection of international fencing pins goes to Anne-Marie Walters, perennial member of the Vet World Team.

Actually, Anne-Marie double medaled, picking up "Cutest Grandchild" as well.

The third post in this series will be an in depth look a the most fashionable vendor at this year's event. Stay tuned...

Friday, July 8, 2016

Best of Summer Nationals 2016, Part 1

Hey--Badger here, recovering from a cold I picked up at Summer Nationals. (There are germs in the venue? Say it ain't so!) I stayed in Dallas an extra day-and-a-half to cheer teammates and hunt for fashion pics. I'll parcel out my finds in a few post over the next week.

First up in "Best of" categories: Best Fencing Mask

David Hadler, of the
San Francisco Fencer's Club
Why a trident? Digging around on the web, I believe it's because David is a member of the UCSD Tritons fencing team. Perhaps the implication is that they're spearing their opponents. Go Tritons!

Best Lamé

Remember a few years ago when some people decided it was legal to silkscreen or airbrush additional designs on the lamé, as long as the result was not too intrusive?  There was a brief flurry of creativity, which died away--either due to the expense and bother of applying such designs, or because people got busted by bout committees for non-conforming equipment. In any case, I was delighted to see this lamé echoing the club patch on the fencer's sleeve.

Forrest McDougall,
Precision Athletics Fencing Club
Torrance, Calif.
Very classy. I could see this becoming a thing.

I know people can't exactly take credit for the name on their lamé (though my practice lamé does read 'Badger.'), but how cool would it be to rock THIS moniker in competition.

Rainer Dragon
Fencers Club, Metro NYC
I would totally want to screen a design like this behind the name

Oh well, on to

Best Coaching Outfit

Coach Michael D'Asaro
Salle D'Asaro, Torrance, California
First of all, the club jacket is awesome: the color (acid yellow, echoed in the athletic shoes), the font (an elegant cursive), and the BOARD SHORTS (OMG--so California). And--crowning touch of cool--Coach D'Asaro sports a gold hoop in his left ear. 

And the last, best "best" for today's post: Best Referee Fashion

Alice Chamberlain
Boston, Mass.
I particularly admire refs who work within the sartorial rules governing their outfits (blue blazer...blah blah...sensible shoes...blah blah) and still achieve flare. Alice nails it. Note the:
  • Zip bodycon dress beneath the requisite blue blazer
  • Ankle boots with a chunky heel (I think they are sensible!)
  • Spotted tights
  • Great makeup
I think she is challenging the other refs to up their game, as it were.

OK, that's enough for now. Stay tuned for our next installment, featuring notable socks, warmup gear and fencing pins. Also, a tuba. (Seriously, a tuba.) 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Heads Up

Just got back from the Richmond NAC. Since it was so near home, I drove down and back again Saturday, leaving no time for fashion prowling. Today, though, while Allison tackled vet 40 WF, I made a few laps of the venue.

It quickly became clear the theme for this post would be head coverings. The examples on display encompassed fashionable bandeau to keep hair out of the eyes

Skull caps

Baseball caps (or are they de facto fencing caps?)

And, between bouts at least, cowboy hats

 Even spectators and referees got into the act

(Also, April NAC award for best
dressed ref!)

Do competitors, spectators and officials at other kinds of sporting events look so cheerful, or are we fencers simply a naturally happy lot? We hug a lot, too. I like that.

I didn't have much time for shopping, but a new bag from Radical Fencing caught my eye for a couple of reasons:

1) I am so blessed tired of losing little pieces of black equipment against the black interior of bottomless bags. With a chartreuse lining, problem solved.

b) It has studs. #BadAss

And if that weren't enough, check out the built in (ok, sewn in) packing checklist.

(Missing from this list: "Ibuprofen," "heat pack" and "arm brace" but maybe it wasn't designed with Vet fencers in mind.)

Also, some random sightings that made me smile:

 More awesome club patches for my growing collection.

Temporary tattoos! I'm surprised I haven't seen more of these. One person was cleverly using a temp tatt to cover up a nasty bruise.

Well, fellow fencing fashion fans, until next time, which would be...Nationals! Dallas! Wear your best bling, strut your stuff, and look forward to seeing you there.



[Not only the flag, complete with fringe, but the whole 'freakin stand. Good job, tournament official.]

Monday, January 11, 2016

Fashion history: the fencing mask

For a change of pace, I'm offering up historic styles this week - fencing mask styles, to be specific. They've evolved over time, in my opinion for the better!

According to costume historian Jane Malcolm-Davies, masks were invented around 1750 but fencers resisted wearing them because it "indicated a fear of inartistic work by a opponent." By 1800 it appears these masks were in use, but were fairly spare wire things:

A rare fencing ensemble, French, late 18th century - first half 19th century, comprising padded natural linen jacket with chamois breast. Courtesy Kerry Taylor Auctions

Through the 19th century masks became bulkier and more protective (scroll down), but still offered indifferent throat protection.

Epee master, France, 1899. Found on Tumblr, further provenance unavailable

Chatham University PA, ca. 1908. Courtesy U. of Pittsburgh Library

Bibs don't seem to show up consistently until the 1930s:

L'escrimeuse, 1933 by Willy Kessels, courtesy Arcadja Auctions results

By the 1940s the mask is taking a more recognizable form:

U.S. Naval Academy ca. 1942, courtesy Library of Congress

Today's masks have a larger (safer!) bib, but for foil the lower half is now electric so it won't cover target. I'm sure many foilists remember having to retrofit our old masks a few years back:

How many old lames gave their lives for the new rules?

Mesh is now available in every color of the rainbow, though not seen terribly often:

And of course there are infinite possibilities for patterns:

How do you style your mask?

Malcolm-Davies, Jane. "‘And at the Plastron Push’: The Historical Development of Fencing Kit." Costume 36.1 (2002): 100-111.