JANUARY Already beleaguered by the press for her performance during the presidential vote-counting scandal, heavily lacquered Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris gets it this month from Mr. Blackwell, who ranks her tenth on his annual list of the nation's worst-dressed celebrities. "The pretty, brassy lassie from Tallahassee needs cosmetic direction," proclaims Hollywood's self-appointed fashion cop.
FEBRUARY Men's beards are experiencing a popularity unparalleled since the 70s, reports Ruth La Ferla in the New York Times. Most in vogue is the "shadow beard," a manicured version of Don Johnson's Miami Vice stubble that's "groovier than the goatee and covering more acreage." Of his own facial hair, home furnishings designer Alexander Julian says simply: "Stroking it makes me look smart."
MARCH The U.S. Army announces that black berets will be standard headgear for all soldiers starting in June. The Rangers (the elite infantry group that already wears black berets) and the Green Berets register their formal opposition, but many soldiers are relieved to be rid of the envelope cap, which one calls "an eyesore and an embarrassment." Explains haberdasher John Helmer, "A beret can be morale-building, because it is pretty cool looking."
APRIL The Girl Scouts of America issues new uniforms: cargo pants, bucket hats, and polo shirts carefully designed to be indistinguishable from those found at the Gap or Old Navy. "It's hot! It's savvy! It's today!" says the organization's Web site. "Abercrombie has shirts just exactly like the Girl Scouts' one," 11-year-old Tori Lardner tells the Chicago Tribune.
MAY Survivor host Jeff Probst forces his cast to show up to the reunion show in the same smelly, filthy, worn-out clothes they'd worn for 45 days in a row during filming. Meanwhile, on the show's Web site, copies of the tube top worn by winning survivor, Tina, are marketed as "the Buff." Part head scarf, part tube top, the Buff is a "uniquely versatile, stitch-free garment you can wear as you struggle to survive."
JUNE Cosmopolitan promotes the mullet the as the "most wanted new mane."
JULY The U.S. Polo Association sues Ralph Lauren for $100 million, claiming the designer used a campaign of intimidation to sink the polo association's own apparel line, which Lauren had earlier claimed infringes on his copyright. (On August 1 Polo Magazine loses a suit brought by Lauren and is ordered to change its name.)
AUGUST Berlin's Humboldt University releases a study showing correlations between a woman's character and the color of her bikini. Women in green bikinis tend to be charming, it claims, while a red bikini indicates a sporty woman who likes a challenge. Woman who wear one-piece suits are not studied.
SEPTEMBER Fashion models by the dozens cancel their overseas bookings and lie low, throwing the season's tight schedule into a tizzy. "Girls are not wanting to fly right now," Click Model Management owner Frances Grill tells the New York Times. "Those who are, are going with a lot of trepidation."
OCTOBER New Yorkers are too depressed to shop, reports the New York Observer, and salespeople all over town are bored and listless. "I'm still in the place where shopping feels disrespectful," says one woman. Equally disaffected are some designers: Hussein Chalayan trots out unraveled, half-torn garments at the spring ready-to-wear shows in Paris. "Tailoring didn't seem appropriate," Chalayan tells the International Herald Tribune
NOVEMBER Shoe designer Manolo Blahnik denies reports that he withdrew a pair of stilettos from his latest collection for fear that the three-and-a-half inch metal heels could be mistaken for weapons by would-be hijackers or airport security. The actual problem Blahnik's U.S. license holder George Malkemus tells the New York Times, was that the razor-sharp heel dinged floors and punched holes in carpets. "The decision had nothing to do with anything political," says Malkemus.
DECEMBER Romanian newspaper Evenimentul Zilei reports that 64-year-old Ioana Cioanca has crocheted a raincoat from her own hair. Cioanca says she plans to wear the coat with a matching skirt, blouse, bag, and hat, also made out of hair.