It's time for your self-appointed Fashion Geek to take a look at what the wired classes are wearing nowadays. Trinny Woodall1, no comments, please.
A Whiter Shade of Pale
Did you know that you can get a sunburn while wearing that favourite t-shirt of yours? A white t-shirt has an SPF2 rating of only 6, for example. If you're serious about protecting your skin from the sun's rays, you need special clothing.
This stuff has actually been around for years. It's made from fabric that prevents most of the sun's ultraviolet rays from reaching the skin. The most effective clothing has a UPF3 rating of 50. We geeks like it because it helps us maintain that pasty I-spend-all-my-time-parked-in-front-of-the-computer look. Joking aside, this clothing is a godsend for those who are at risk for developing skin cancer but who don't want to spend
their lives indoors. Countries with serious sunshine to contend with, such as Australia and the United States, lead the way in developing products that protect the skin from the sun.
There are a number of Web sites that sell sun protective gear. Below is a list of some of them. (Disclaimer: I'm not associated with these companies in any way, nor have I purchased anything from them.)
- This Resource
Guide lists Australian companies offering UV protective products.
- Sun Solutions Clothing in the USA sells clothing for adults and children.
- Nozone is an international site with play clothes for children.
- Sun Precautions in the USA sells Solumbra brand clothing for adults and children.
- Sungrubbies is another American company selling clothing and accessories for adults and children. Sungrubbies even sells UPF rated fabric by the yard so that you can make your own clothing.
- Kids Kaper in the UK carries sun protective clothing for children.
- Kakadoo Kids, based in Edinburgh, carries clothing for children and adults. You can buy online for English pounds, Euros or US dollars, and the company ships internationally.
Fashion Geek Rating:
How did we ever live without this stuff? You won't find the trendiest designs here, but the clothing does exactly what it's supposed to do.
Keeping Your Cool
Your Sungrubbies hat may keep your head from burning, but it doesn't do anything to keep you cool. For that you need the
Solar Safari Hat. This hat has a small fan powered by a solar panel atop the hat. The fan blows air across your forehead and face to reduce perspiration and keep you comfortable even when it over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). On cloudy days the hat can operate on 2 AA batteries.
Fashion Geek Rating: Silly enough to be fun. Sure to generate comments, if nothing else. Of course, hats hold in heat, so this may be a case of providing the illness along with the cure.
Always in Touch
Sometimes that Palm Pilot or Nokia just isn't enough. That's when you need the SCOTTeVEST
wearable network jacket. The jacket is made from Foster-Miller's built-in textile network, making this durable and washable jacket a portable Internet cafe.
Earlier versions of the SCOTTeVEST jacket had hidden conduits for ordinary cables, which allowed wearers to connect their portable digital devices to the hidden wiring. Foster-Miller's textile cabling eliminates the need for the conduits and separate cabling; the
interconnectivity is built right in to the garment. Connect to your office's computer network, control the lights in your house, send pictures to friends, figure out where you are with a GPS receiver - you're at home anywhere in the world with the network jacket.
Fashion Geek Rating: This is so cool - I want one! Harbinger of things to come.
Ladies, for those times when you don't want to be 'in touch', you need the Wearable Stun Gun! The No-Contact Jacket looks like an ordinary women's jacket, but its inner layer of conductive fibre can be powered up to
deliver a shock to anyone who touches the wearer. It was developed as an alternative to pepper spray and handguns, but unlike these items it can't be used against the wearer, who must power up the jacket before it can deliver a shock. She does so by opening a lock on the sleeve and then building up the charge by holding down a button inside one of the sleeves.
The developers, Adam Whiton, an industrial designer at MIT and Yolita Nugent, who designs clothing for Advanced Research Apparel, are currently field-testing three prototypes of the jacket, and they hope to find a manufacturer who can produce the jacket commercially. They expect that it would retail in the US $900 to US $1,000 range.
Sorry, men, you're out of luck: this bad boy is for women only.
Fashion Geek Rating: Interesting idea, but a bit worrisome. It affords the opportunity for serious mischief. It also may give the wearer a false sense of security; the jacket is designed to slow down an attacker but not disable him or her. Two thumbs up for the Matrix-style design.
Calling Dick Tracy
For the early adopter crowd who want wrist watches that come with product manuals, we bring you the
Fossil Wrist PDA. Not only can you tell time, you can send and receive e-mail, check your calendar, keep up with news and stock quotes, and generally stay in touch with the world. The Fossil PDA has a tiny stylus built into the wristband as well as three buttons for accessing data.
This probably isn't the product for folks who need bifocals. Taking off your specs to read the tiny screen negates any coolness you achieve by wearing it. And the small size limits functionality in general, even for those with perfect vision.
Fashion Geek Rating: Funky and fun, but a bit hard to use because of its size. It may be a boon to travellers who don't want to haul all sorts of electronic gear around the globe.
On A Clear Day You Can See ... Yipes!
From the June issue of Wired Magazine (and where else would The Fashion Geek find her news?) comes word of Miuccia Prada's transparent raincoat. The coat looks like it's made of clear plastic. When it gets wet, either from rain or from perspiration, it turns opaque.
So much for tossing on your raincoat over ratty-looking clothes and rushing out the door. Children would probably love it - unfortunately the coat is sized for adult women with ample budgets.
Fashion Geek Rating: Don't bother.
And there you have it: Geek Chic. On the other hand, we HooToo-ers know that the towel is the perfect accessory. When someone figures out how to incorporate a computer network and stun gun into the towel, it will really be news.
radiation that penetrates a fabric. Sun protective clothing comes with UPF ratings ranging
from 15, which blocks 93% of UVA and UVB rays, up to 50, which blocks 99% of UVA and