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The store’s core customers are females ages 12 to 24. Secondary customers are females ages 25 to 45 and males ages 12 to 24. The product mix is 98 percent gently used, the rest is new.

“Teens get tired of their clothes,” said Topolski, of Thornbury, Delaware County.

The merchandise is popular brand names that range from the lower to higher end. The store stays current because it only takes merchandise that has been on the racks at the mall within the last two years, Topolski said.

The goal is to be a trendy and thrifty place for teens to shop for clothes, belts, bags, jewelry, shoes and lots and lots of jeans. A Ralph Lauren Polo shirt that would sell retail for $60 or $70 would be priced at $20 at Plato’s Closet, Topolski said.

The store works like this: People bring in their clothes and a buyer at the Plato’s Closet store looks the merchandise over to determine if it is in good shape. The buyer then puts the brand, condition, size and age of the garment in a software program provided by Plato’s Closet. The program determines how much money the store will give to the customer and how much the store will charge when the garment goes on its rack.

In general, the store pays 30 percent to 40 percent of what it will charge, she said.

In a down economy, it is no surprise a store becomes very popular very fast when it gives out cash.

Topolski’s location opened for buying merchandise Sept. 29. There was a line outside before the doors opened, Topolski said. In the beginning, the store got 75 to 100 people a day bringing in clothes.

While buying cloths was the only way to fill the racks, it did take a huge cash outlay from Topolski.

“I’d go to the bank every day,” Topolski said. “You have to do it to start the business.”

As of now, Topolski has a backlog of 200 boxes her buyers are sifting through. The backlog got so large, she said her husband rented a trailer to haul the clothes to a rented storage unit. Those customers are waiting for their cash, but once she is caught up, the store will be back to paying cash on the spot, she said.

The store opened for selling merchandise to the public Nov. 6. There was a line at the door that day, too, she said.

“I love the concept. It makes a lot of sense knowing how teenagers shop and how easily they get tired of their clothes,” said Topolski, 50.

And Topolski knows how teen agers shop. It was her teenage daughter that took her to a Plato’s Closet in Springfield that started Topolski thinking about buying a franchise.

She said she went on its Web site and saw it was looking for a franchisee in the Exton area, a location that fits the corporate demographic of a suburban retail center near a regional shopping mall with a solid teen draw.

Toposki bought her franchise from Winmark Corp., which also is a franchiser of such resellers as Play It Again Sports, Once Upon a Child and Music Go Round.

Winmark requres its Plato’s Closet franchisees have $48,000 to $95,000 in liquid assets plus $113,000 to $222,000 in assets that can be used for collateral.

Franchisees pay 5 percent of gross sales to Winmark, according to the company’s Web site.

Winmark, a Minnesota based company, traded on NASDAQ, has 800 small businesses in North America.

As sales slump at retailers reeling from downbeat consumer confidence, thrift stores are capitalizing on the public’s shift to frugality.

The National Association of Resale and Thrift Stores said in a survey that 72 percent of its members reported an average increase in sales of approximately 35 percent.

Good news for Winmark, as well. The company reported a 19 percent jump in profits this year.

The first Plato’s Closet store was opened in Columbus, Ohio, by founders Lynn and Dennis Blum who looked to their teenage son to help create the name for the business. At the time, the teen was doing a school project on Greek philosopher Plato.
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Skip the visor and the culottes.

For Jennifer Rosales, 25, a five year veteran of the ladies professional golf circuit, fairway flair is about finding a personal style. In a sport known for its conservative nature, the native of the Philippines expresses her individuality with eye catching pieces such as headbands, sporty pullovers and sweaters, and short shorts.

A new generation of celebrated young golfers is creating a market for less conservative, more fashionable apparel for the sport especially among women and designers are meeting the demand. Rosales’s sponsor, Bally Golf, an offshoot of the 150 year old Swiss leather goods outfit, is planning to launch the “JRo” line, a stylish women’s collection that she helped design, next year.

Bally is one of several clothing companies including Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, and Polo Ralph Lauren that have teed off on golf’s popularity with collections of clothes, bags, and accessories.

Golf has gained a wider following thanks to such star power as Annika Sorenstam, Michelle Wie, and, of course, Tiger Woods, said Byron Kurt, Bally Golf’s vice president of sales. And younger participants and spectators alike are seeking a departure from traditional clothing styles.

“They don’t want to be wearing what the older customer is wearing,” Kurt said.

Alison Walshe, 19, a golfer from Westford, prefers the sporty,
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updated styles offered by companies such as Adidas and Ralph Lauren, and often chooses capri pants and sleeveless shirts for her regular outings to the golf course.

“Women’s [golf] fashion has totally gotten better,” said Walshe, who is transferring from Boston College to play in Tulane University’s golf program.

And make no mistake, the golf course can attract just as much scrutiny as your typical couture catwalk.

“Everyone notices everyone’s outfit,” Walshe said.

Professional tennis has had its share of flashy, fashion forward stars: Think Venus and Serena Williams.

While many golfers still abide by strict dress codes at country clubs collared shirts, long shorts, no bare midriffs like tennis players, their wardrobes can migrate beyond uniforms.

“There’s wonderful freedom for the athletes to express their individual style,” said Karen Durkin, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the Ladies Professional Golf Association.

After successful sales in Asia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the LPGA is bringing its own clothing line to the United States, featuring athletic fabrics, tighter silhouettes, and finer detailing, said Helen Rockey, who works with the LPGA. The styles are meant to work on and off the golf course, whether or not you play the sport.

“You see a lot of people wearing it as everyday streetwear,” Rockey said.

Tara Joy Connelly, 31, a Duxbury golfer who buys merchandise for the Cohasset Golf Club, calls contemporary golf clothes “lifestyle pieces” and believes their popularity stems in part from the resurgence of preppy trends such as Lacoste pique polo shirts. Tommy Hilfiger has been a particularly big seller at her store, she said.

Bally Golf received several calls after Rosales’s performance last month at the US Open in South Hadley. The company does not currently sell in Boston but is considering it (Copley Place is already home to a traditional Bally store). Women already represent 70 percent of the business, said Kurt,
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mostly because they’re more likely than men to buy several pairs of shoes and coordinated outfits.

polo chino A mother’s Love for a fallen son

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The end. Such a sad place for a story to begin. Brian Love was the best snowboarder on the mountain captain of the University of Virginia snowboarding team, in fact on Feb. 1, 2005, the day he slammed into a tree during a practice run at Wintergreen Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The tree was a small one maybe five inches in diameter and none of his teammates saw the accident, but the coroner surmised that he died instantly, probably from a ruptured aorta. He was only 22. But we’ll move on now and tell you all about who he was, starting with the fact that he was the firstborn child and the only son of Carmel’s Susan Love, who will run today’s Big Sur International Marathon wearing a T shirt bearing his photograph. She quietly did the same thing last year, and the year before just three months after his death winning her age division (55 59) each time. Two years after the tragedy, she says it hasn’t gotten any easier to live without him. “But I think you have two choices when something like this happens: You either choose to go on, or you don’t,” she explains. “What I’ve discovered is that the coping, for me, involves getting more involved with running in every capacity: my work (she’s a full time employee of the Big Sur International Marathon), my sport (she’s run 32 previous marathons), my passion (she has a part time career as a motivational speaker, inspiring people to run). For me, everything is about running, and that’s where I’m focused right now.” Part of Love’s job with the Big Sur International Marathon is overseeing 4,200 children in the “Just Run” program, designed to promote healthy lifestyles in young people. Those kids, as a group, have jogged over 104,000 miles already this year. He was a 4.0 student at Virginia, about to graduate Magna Cum Laude with a degree in neuroscience basically the study of how the human brain works, and why it thinks the way it does. He wrote two books a fantasy adventure (ironically entitled “A Collision in Time”), and a compilation of his own poetry as a senior at Carmel High (Class of 2001), where, because he took advanced placement courses, his GPA was 4.2 on the 4.0 scale. He was an accomplished musician (clarinet and saxophone) good enough to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival. He was a gifted photographer. He was in student government. He taught surfing and kayaking every summer at La Jolla Cove. He led hiking and mountain climbing excursions for the University of Virginia’s Outdoors Club. He was a martial artist with a second degree brown belt. He was a biker, a rollerblader, a rock climber, a skydiver, a skimboarder. And what a snowboarder. Less than two weeks before his accident, Brian won the men’s Giant Slalom event at Sugar Mountain in North Carolina. Days after his death, he received a letter from a major equipment company that had decided to sponsor his career. “He was an incredible snowboarder the best I’ve known, actually and he was number one in the conference,” said a teammate, Erin Houlihan. He was a kid with big plans enormous, in fact. He wanted to attend grad school at the University of San Diego, which has the best neuroscience department in the country. At the time of his death, he was planning a 2,000 mile kayaking journey down the coast of Mexico. He was also secretly training to run a marathon as a surprise for his mother. “He asked me for a new pair of running shoes that year for Christmas, so these are the last shoes I ever bought him,
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” she says, holding a snowy white pair of Mizunos. died, the shockwaves that rolled across the University of Virginia campus were startling. Brian, it turns out, was better at being a great guy than he was at all of those other things. “In the weeks following the incident, my inbox was flooded with e mails about Brian. I’ve never seen so many e mails on a single topic,” a classmate, Adam Reinhard, wrote in a letter to Susan. “I couldn’t bring myself to delete any of them, so they sat, stored, waiting for me every time I logged on to my web mail. Finally, I decided I had to print them out and send them to you, so you could see how much Brian’s life meant to UVA. He was the first person to befriend me on the ski team, and he drove me to Wintergreen twice a week during my first season on the team. When he died, I was struck by how much he and I had yet to do together. I just wanted you to know what a difference your son made in the life of this lonely student at Virginia.” Another classmate wrote, “You never know how many lives your littlest actions or gifts might affect. Brian has shown us all that. Thank you, B Love, for the time that you led us and the paths that you showed us. Earth, and now heaven, are better places for your presence.” Brian raised money for an organization called “Arc of the Piedmont,” which benefits mentally challenged children and adults. (His friends have changed the name of an annual fundraising run to “The Run For Love 5K.”) His postgraduation plans included an excursion to a third world country, where he intended to do whatever he could to help impoverished people. Susan Love points to a basket in her living room filled with 300 cards and letters of condolence. More than two years after her son’s accident, they’re still coming. But she still can’t read most of them, nor can she watch any of the many DVDs his friends have sent. would have wanted for his mother, or his now 22 year old sister, Amy (a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), is unhappiness. “I didn’t wake up one morning and say, ‘Darn it, this is the day I’m going to turn things around and stop feeling so devastated.’ It wasn’t like that,” Susan says. “But my daughter, my son and I have always been doers, and we’ve always taken a lot of pride in what each other has done. I guess I feel a need for my children to still be proud of me, and I know he’d want me to go on, and keep accomplishing things the way he did. He accomplished so much in his 22 years more than I’ll ever achieve in my lifetime and I want to honor that. So that part of my life hasn’t changed there’s just a little bit of a veil over it now.” She says she eventually wants to use Brian’s almost new running shoes in her motivational speeches. That’s probably going to be a tear jerking experience for her, she says, but she’s going to do it anyway to help people win the mind over body battle that all marathon runners fight as they try to finish a 26 mile, 385 yard course. “Brian’s shoes are an image people can ponder as they’re running,” she says. “I’m going to tell them that no matter what befalls them during the race, visualize these shoes, and appreciate every single step of every mile. What are you going to complain about? You’re out there. You’re experiencing. You’ve got miles ahead of you, steps to take. You’re running the most beautiful marathon in the world. The Mountain Resort

By Brian J. Love I meditate on the cool air with every step I take. While the melted snow puddles under my feet freeze my thoughts of trampled bricks wet with envy. Time ceases and excitement grows. The low hum of the chair lifts raise souls to the heavens. And the frosty air focuses all attention on my soul, waiting to be released from the earth and into the powder sky. I pass rows of skis and snowboards gazing at every passerby in hopes of finding their owner. Maybe in hopes of finding anyone. Anyone willing to strip off their chains and ride with them. I have my board and he loves me. We walk through the portal that is the resort center, and into the white happiness that takes us into another world. This resort is a gateway to a higher place. It elevates my board and me.
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The place is Aklavik, a tiny village in the Mackenzie River Delta in the northwest corner of Canada’s Northwest Territories and the man called himself Albert Johnson. He was dubbed “the mad trapper of Rat River” and was the fugitive in the most bizarre and dramatic manhunt in Canada’s history.

To this day, little light has been shed on the real identity of the strange man who was finally gunned down in the mid winter snows in Eagle River, Yukon on February 17, 1932.

To appreciate the degree of superhuman endurance, tenacity, cunning, savagery, desperation, mystery, ingenuity and suspense associated with the death of Albert Johnson, the reader must first appreciate the circumstances and conditions under which the events took place.

This is the great Mackenzie River Valley and the entire drama was played out in the killing sub zero temperatures of the mid winter darkness above the Arctic Circle.

For 48 days, a lone man withstood all attempts of a combined force of Royal Canadian Mounted Police assisted by Indian and white trappers to apprehend him for wounding a police officer.

The chase encompassed 240 kms. While Johnson travelled on snowshoes and broke trail, his pursuers used dog teams and were further aided by an aircraft and radio communication.

The forest and tundra of Arctic Canada is one of the most demanding environments on earth. This is the homeland of the Loucheux Indian.

The forest dwelling Loucheux, whose livelihood depends almost entirely on hunting, fishing and trapping, are acknowledged to be the most skilled hunters in the Arctic forests.

The inherent dangers associated with a semi nomadic existence in this remote and demanding Arctic environment make such high levels of skill tantamount to survival.

A white man, to survive in the high Arctic forests, had to be able bodied, keen of mind and experienced in the ways of wilderness living.

Albert Johnson was admirably well suited for the rigorous life of the high north trapper and prospector.

Johnson appeared in the Fort McPherson area on the Peel River around 1931. The taciturn stranger with the cold pale blue eyes was soon regarded as an unsociable loner who preferred his own company and the solitude of a cabin or bush camp.

In the sparsely populated river valleys of Canada’s Arctic, this was strange and unseemly behavior where friendly and social interchange was the basic fabric of life.

The cold eyed stranger’s surly silence in this already silent and lonely land made people uneasy.

A Mountie was obliged to question Johnson as a result of a formal complaint lodged against him by two Loucheux trappers. It was ascertained that Johnson refused to acknowledge or say a single word when the Mountie visited his lonely cabin on Rat River.

When the same officer returned with a search warrant several days later, Johnson, still without saying a word, shot and seriously wounded the constable.

On the third occasion, a heavily armed posse laid siege to his cabin for three days. They even used dynamite to blow the roof off and dislodge the trapper from his cabin but to no avail. He fired round for round and for the third time forced his attackers to retire for further supplies and to plan a subsequent assault.

Radio reports of the confrontation between the taciturn trapper and the famed mounted police force of Canada’s Arctic had reached the outside world and had fired up the interest of North Americans.

It has been stated that the daily reports of the chase and periodic shoot outs hastened the public acceptance of radio as a medium for blow by blow news coverage.

When a larger and better equipped posse was again ready to confront Johnson, it was learned he had abandoned his damaged cabin at Rat River. He had disappeared on foot into the frigid white world of the vast Mackenzie River Valley.

The wilderness trained Mounties, the Loucheux and white trappers live by sight, sound and a sixth sense, they interpret what they see and hear. Even the seemingly indefatigable and super elusive Albert Johnson must leave tracks in the winter snows.

A week passed before the Mounties found a faint trace of the trapper’s trail and resumed pursuit.

He was found, a gun battle ensued and a Mountie was shot dead by Johnson. He then scaled an ice covered canyon wall and disappeared once more into the twilight of the Arctic wilderness.
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I don’t know why they call me a supermodel, but they do,” Daphne Selfe laughs. “But I’m game for anything within reason and have to keep remembering I’m 87 and not 18 any more, and to work within my limits.” As Britain’s oldest supermodel, Daphne is enjoying her renaissance enormously.

Talking to me from her Hertfordshire home, she has recently returned from a fashion shoot in Sydney and also fronted a massive campaign for new High Street clothes label Other Stories “I travelled first class all the way to Australia. It was such fun,” she says, “and the clothes were lovely, lots of Dior and Chanel.

“And before that it was Stockholm although you don’t get to see much more than the inside of the studio,” she laughs, “which is a shame because half the fun of modelling is seeing the places you go to.

Welcome to the world of Daphne Selfe, who was scouted aged 70 and has been working hard in the world of fashion ever since.

Having written all about it in her latest book The Way We Wore A Life in Clothes, she will be appearing at The Blenheim Festival of Literature Film Music to talk about her life and advise women how to dress and have confidence in themselves.

“It’s for any woman who feels invisible,” she says “and wants to make the best of themselves.”

Selfe’s memoir is the story of her lifelong affair with clothes and fashion that stretches from her 1930s childhood to the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair. She has been photographed by Mario Testino, Nick Knight and David Bailey, for both designer and high street brands.

Selfe grew up in the Home Counties before being sent to boarding school during the Second World War. She won a local magazine cover girl competition aged 21, signing to the Gaby Young Agency in London.

“They gave you three weeks training in those days, which of course you don’t get now, which is why my daughter and I are setting up an online modelling academy for anyone who wants to be a model, because otherwise how would you know?” she asks raising those famous arched eyebrows.

As for the book, Daphne had been pestered to write one for decades and eventually gave in. “I hadn’t written it before because I was so unsensational. We all have our ups and downs of course but there was no divorce or unhappy childhood, no terrible stories. But I always kept diaries and gradually got the book together,” Daphne says.

Despite Daphne’s unquestionable success and glamorous lifestyle, she is as down to earth as they come and totally unaffected by it all. No diva tantrums or VIP demands here. “They didn’t have celebrity models in my day, back in the 50s, not until Twiggy certainly. And I’m no threat to anyone. I’m fairly low maintenance. I’ve been far too busy bringing up a family to worry about being a diva,
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” she laughs.

Was that a sacrifice then, giving up her modelling career to get married. “Not at all, why would it be?” she asks in surprise. “It’s just part of the rich tapestry of life,” and then she pauses.

“I did try to go back to modelling later but of course by then it had moved onto the 60s and 70s and I was definitely out of vogue, too classical in their minds. But that was fine. My husband worked in TV so I became a film and TV extra for the rest of my career and had a marvellous time. It was great fun.”

And then? “And then I was asked to go to Vogue to contribute to an article on ageing and was scouted aged 70. My first assignment was with Red or Dead but I knew what I was doing and have been working ever since. It’s terribly rewarding, but I enjoy it rather than rely on it,” she says sagely. “You should never rely on modelling.”

With several big campaigns under her belt including a recent shoot for Van shoes, Daphne is literally back in fashion, showing us all how to adapt to a modern day wardrobe.

So is there anything she won’t wear? I’m fairly open to ideas and love prancing about in nice clothes. I did a shoot wearing rubber recently which was great fun. But I try not to wear black unless its mixed with a bit of colour. I prefer trousers and skirts. I dress for my age so no leggings, shorts or anything without sleeves. And as for beige, don’t do it, it will kill you,” she jokes.

So why don’t more women try harder? “It’s an age thing I think, maybe circumstantial. They just give up and lose all their confidence. But we should make the effort. Of course when I’m gardening I’m in jeans and an old cardigan, but if I go out to the theatre I dress up. I’ve got more time now,” she laughs.

Daphne’s beloved husband died in 1997. “I wouldn’t be doing this now if he was still alive, so while I miss him dreadfully, in many ways he did me a favour. It’s just a shame he can’t see it, and my mother would have loved all this.”

“But I keep up with fashion by reading papers and magazines. I like knowing what’s what. And yes there are designers that I favour, but I can’t wear all of their clothes. You have to know what suits you and stick to it. I can’t be wearing mini skirts at my age or necklines down to my navel. So you have to be careful what you pick nice coats, skirts below the knee, polo necks.

“I’ve always made my own clothes as well, so I can change a hemline or neckline if I don’t like it. Even so, Daphne must make an effort to stay looking so good? “Well I’m lucky I have a dancer’s frame, but I do exercises everyday when I wake up and have an exercise bike. I don’t go out cycling any more because it’s too dangerous on the roads, but I walk a lot.

“It’s about looking after yourself, what you eat and drink. But more than anything it’s about having a positive attitude. And at this great age I want to inspire people.” So what next? “I would love to be on Strictly. I love dancing. But maybe they’d think I was too old?”
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Grammys newcomer Sam Smith looked dapper in a white bow tie and Madonna rocked one of the season most eclectic red carpets Sunday in a bedazzled two corner black hat and burlesque esque corset with matching thigh high boots.

Fashion is always a little crazy at the Grammys, guys included, but first time winner Smith soaked it all up in a more traditional tuxedo as he managed his nerves going up against some of his idols.

Madonna big shouldered shorty outfit was custom Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci. She wore not much underneath, flashing a black thong and fishnets at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. She wasn a hit with some in the Twitter peanut gallery: got a glimpse of Madonna arriving. Seems to be channeling some mix of the Duchess of Windsor and Mae West, one chimed in.

Fashion is always a little crazy at the Grammys, guys included, but first time winner Smith soaked it all up in a more traditional tuxedo as he managed his nerves going up against some of his idols. [Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]

Madonna big shouldered shorty outfit was custom Givenchy Haute Couture by Riccardo Tisci. [Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]

Rihanna dashed into the live show at the last minute in a poofy, tiered pink confection of silk and tulle from Giambattista Valli that had some online comparing her to a party cupcake. She was dripping in Chopard diamonds.

Beyonce and Miley Cyrus went for black Cyrus in strategic, sexy cutouts and the queen in a low V neck embellished gown with a train from Proenza Schouler. Also in black was Gwen Stefani in a stunning strapless black Versace Atelier jumpsuit with a structured spiderweb swirl up top.

Audacious singer actress Joy Villa was encaged in revealing bright orange, and it was unclear how Sia could see under her huge shaggy white wig.

Rihanna dashed into the live show at the last minute in a poofy, tiered pink confection of silk and tulle from Giambattista Valli. [Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]

From left: Beyonce, Miley Cyrus and Gwen Stefani went for black. [Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, left; Jason Merritt/Getty Images]

Brandy Clark showed off a killer pair of metallic silver Prada pumps under a sparkly, second skin silver and black gown, while Nick Jonas chatted, hands in pockets of a light grey tweed suit with a touch of yellow and ultra skinny trousers.

Among Clark tasks in handling newfound fame and regular everyday life: myself into this dress, for starters, she told The Associated Press.

Ariana Grande had her signature high ponytail in place, wearing a white and silver, one shoulder Versace with a cutout back Big Sean by her side. wearing Saint Laurent man, head to toe, he added of his shades of black tuxedo.

Aloe Blacc, left, in an edgy royal blue tuxedo from Sand Copenhagenm and Pharrell Williams in Adidas. [Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images]

Black hatted Aloe Blacc went with a patterned bow tie and edgy royal blue tuxedo trimmed in black from the Danish fashion house Sand Copenhagen. Known for leg baring, Pharrell Williams didn break from tradition. He was dressed in a grey short suit, matching bow tie and shoes, from Adidas.

Tuxedos aren just for the dudes these days. Charlie XCX did her white tailed tux trouser look justice from one of her favourites, Moschino, paired with a bright pink bow tie and blush fur stole.

hate boring fashion so I wanted to do something and fabulous, she said. like unpredictable. Trainor brought the bass and her dad. She wore a tight sheer miniskirt under a full black, long sleeve overskirt adorned with black lace for her first Grammys walk.

Katy Perry, left, in Zuhair Murad and Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell [Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]

Katy Perry tousled lavender hair popped against her silver backless sheer dress. It fell below the knee and had long sleeves and swingy crystal fringe fresh from the Paris runway of Zuhair Murad. She wore a $2 million canary yellow diamond ring from Harry Kotlar.

just want to shine like a diamond, she said, referring to one of her songs.

Later, Perry white caped performance gown drew comparisons to the Stephane Rolland wedding gown of Solange Knowles.

Perry was greeted on the red carpet by Nicki Minaj in black Tom Ford, her decolletage out in a front slit cut to her waist. Ford also dressed Jennifer Hudson in a stunning bright white strapless dress that fell just below the knee, her sassy short hair a perfect complement. So was her Marli diamond choker.

Lady Gaga went grey for grey with date Tony Bennett. On their heads, that is. She showed off a high slit in her silver gown by Brandon Maxwell, Lorraine Schwartz diamonds in place with a touch of emeralds.

From left: Taylor Swift in Elie Saab, Kim Kardashian in John Paul Gaultier, and Iggy Azalea in Armani Prive. [Larry Busacca/Getty Images; Jason Merritt/Getty Images; Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]

Taylor Swift turquoise Elie Saab red carpet gown drew some online snark: over a mini dress, one tweeter offered of her sleeveless short under billowy, long look.

Kim Kardashian gold John Paul Gaultier screamed bathrobe, but her new shorter looked great. No matter.

love how sparkly it is, she said. love it. Azalea hair? Not so much. It was a thick braid wound around her head like a crown against a tight tight bright blue custom Armani Prive gown.
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Her grandfather, James Brown of Baltimore, sold his big, rather goofy looking blue and black basketball sneakers, which to Rachel’s giggles had once doubled as uproariously funny clown shoes.

Guess a kid has to find out sometime what a grandfather will do for a quick $150.

Brown surrendered the shoes, a pair of 1985 Nike Air Jordans, to a company that will sell them to kids in Japan who are trying, in desperately expensive ways, to be cool. Dozens of people did the same thing as Brown yesterday, lining up in the Sheraton International Hotel in Linthicum to trade their old, sweaty basketball shoes for cash.

“Rachel, God bless her, she’s a smart little thing, and she knows things don’t remain static,” her grandfather attempted to rationalize after counting his money. “We’re talking a highly intelligent baby here.”

The company that bought the shoes, Small Earth Inc., travels around the United States, holding buying sessions about every three weeks. Based in Grand Rapids, Mich., Small Earth buys the shoes, photographs them and sends the pictures to dealers in Japan, where particular shoes are all the rage. The dealers then order the shoes, which are sold at a considerable markup.

“The Japanese kids wear blue suits to school,” said Andy Drasiewski, president of the company, trying to explain the inexplicable fads of youth. “See, the only way they can show how cool they are is by what they put on their feet.”

That, of course, only partly explains why some of these basketball shoes are sold in Japan for up to $1,500. What Japanese kids want are old shoes, specifically old Nike shoes, and more specifically, old, uncommon Nike shoes. A new pair of Air Jordans are unwanted, but an old pair can sell for $900 if they’re black and white and not red and white, which brings in only about half as much. A 1985 pair of Nike University Dunks can sell for $1,500. An Adidas brand or two will also sell, but are not in as high demand.

Drasiewski estimated he will spend $30,000 on shoes turned in at the Sheraton by the time he leaves town, after buying sessions today and tomorrow.

He doesn’t buy every pair of Nikes that walk in the door. Newer shoes just won’t sell in Japan. So, while some people were paid $250 for a pair of shoes they bought 12 or 13 years ago for $60, other people were offered $10 for shoes that cost them $130 a year ago.

Still other people were told their shoes were worthless in Japan and to keep on walking.

Frank Brown of Baltimore, for example, along with his buddy Earl Brown, filled four large garbage bags with shoes and lugged them to the Sheraton. They couldn’t sell a sole. “I just wanted to clear my closet and make some money, and I come up here, and MAN!”

Keith Jack, 22, of Columbia felt somewhat the same way, but he was willing to unload a pair of 1995 Air Jordans for $35. He had paid $140.

“You know, you don’t pay $140 for a pair of tennis shoes and go around wearing them,” he said without a hint of irony. “You don’t wear them unless you’re going on a date or something.”

Drasiewski said he has run into problems in several cities, facing hordes of people who arrive certain they will be paid big money for their shoes.

In fact, he pays top dollar only for a handful of brands from a few scattered years.

The Nike shoes most in demand are the first six editions of the Air Jordans, made from 1985 through 1991, University Dunks, and the Georgetown Terminators. French made Adidas basketball shoes will also earn some cash. ( Drasiewski is also paying for pre 1970 Levis).

“We’re after fashion, not function,” he told one person who had hoped to sell a pair of 1994 Air Jordans, a remake of the much in demand and original 1985 Air Jordans. “To them, it’s like the original is the Picasso and you have a reprint of the Picasso.”

Drasiewski said sellers should not try to hide scuffs or glue a sole or even change insets, because all of those fixes decrease, rather than increase, the value of the shoe in Japan.

As for Grandpa Brown, he was laughing so perhaps he was only kidding but it could be he was feeling a little guilt over his beloved granddaughter Rachel. He had his own plans for the day.
lmu men s water polo A Michigan company is paying top dollar for vintage sneakers that will be resold in Japan for up to

lacoste polo shirts for men A look at businesses that are or already have opened in the Region

logo polo A look at businesses that are or already have opened in the Region

A Hooters is coming to AmeriPlex at the Port in Portage.

The restaurant chain, which has locations in Schererville and Merrillville, is known for its scantily clad female servers and chicken wings. A plan to bring a Hooters to the business park in Portage dates back to at least 2006, but construction only recently began.

Schererville based commercial real estate firm Latitude Commercial sold the property where the Hooters is under construction to a local investor for $3.3 million.

“The property comes with a long term lease that was signed at closing and is backed by a very reputable company,” Latitude Commercial Senior Vice President Brett McDermott said. “It is a strong investment for the buyer given the price point and the length of the lease.”

South Bend based Holladay Construction Group is building a $2.2 million stand alone sit down restaurant and sports bar at 1665 Olmsted Drive in the AmeriPlex complex, which already includes dining options like El Salto, LongHorn Steakhouse, Taco Bell, Starbucks, Subway, DQ Grill and Chill, and the Islamorada Fish Co. at Bass Pro Shops.

The mixed used business park on Ind. 249 between Interstate 94 and the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor in Portage also is home to many large industrial employers like MonoSol, Fronius and Graycor.

Atlanta based Hooters of America LLC will own the new 5,600 square foot eatery, which is expected to be finished by January. It will be south of the Country Inn and Suites hotel on the southwest side of the park.

Hooters operates more than 430 restaurants worldwide.

The first vacancies Gordmans and Firehouse Subs have opened up in Schererville’s Shops on Main shopping center since construction began in 2013.

But two more waves of construction are planned at the new shopping center at Indianapolis Boulevard and Main Street, which is home to Whole Foods, Nordstrom Rack, Pier 1 Imports and Tomato Bar.

Retail developer and manager Regency Centers said the 254,107 square foot retail hub at the border of Schererville and Highland has eight vacancies totaling 76,851 square feet of available retail space, including 18,472 square feet that has not been built.

There’s also land available for outlot construction along Main Street directly across from the Target at the four way intersection that leads into the neighboring Highland Grove shopping center just north of Shops on Main. Any development there potentially could be larger than the largest anchor store at Shops on Main, the now vacant 50,134 square foot former Gordmans big box store, according to Regency Centers.

Regency Centers also is looking to build out another phase between the original back row of stores that includes Ross Dress for Less, DSW and Home Goods, and the new section to the south that include Nordstrom Rack, Talbots and Bentley’s Pet Stuff.

The future development will include four storefronts, ranging in size from 3,436 square feet to 7,475 square feet. Other spaces also are available for lease in the new section and the strip mall along Indianapolis Boulevard.

Rosati’s Pizza, known for its thin crust and deep dish Chicago style pizzas, will soon open a second location in Schererville.

The Warrenville, Illinois based chain, the second largest restaurant chain in the Chicago area after Portillo’s, has a sit down family style pizzeria that seats 100 at5504 Lincoln Highway in Schererville. It plans to add a second, smaller Schererville location atShoppes on the Boulevard on Indianapolis Boulevard, near the borders of Highland and Munster.

The new shopping center is currently under construction just south of Steak Shake. Rosati’s will lease space in the new development, which also will include aMcAlister’s Deli and aBuonaBeef.

“We are excited for Rosati’s to join the already strong lineup of tenants within the development,” Latitude Commercial Senior Vice President Brett McDermott said. “This leaves us with about 4,000 square feet remaining in which we are in talks with a few potential tenants on.”

The new Rosati’s leasing space next to theMcAlister’s will focus mainly on takeout and delivery, according to a Latitude Commercial press release. Customers will be able to order pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads and appetizers like garlic bread and fried ravioli. 30 in Schererville focuses more on the dining in experience and offers beer and wine.

Rosati’s, which has been “keeping it real since 1964,” also has Northwest Indiana locations in St. John, Munster and Valparaiso.

A new resale shop in Hammond’s Hessville neighborhood sells is selling furniture, general merchandise, collectibles and other sundries.

Danny Schuster, his girlfriend Julie Poremba, and their mothers Aleene Minard and Diana Keller, started 219 Resale Shop at6647 Kennedy Ave. to find new life for used items. It had long been Poremba’s dream to open a resale shop.

“We have a lot of experience in resale, in garage sales and antique shows,” she said. “Plus I’ve done merchandising for Pier One. It’s coming together quite nicely.”

The store carries a wide inventory that includes kitchen ware, men’s clothing and collectibles, including windup toys and miniatures cars still in the box, mostly acquired from estate sales and storage sales. Items frequently change, and 219 Resale is currently stocking a lot of Christmas decorations.

“There’s a lot to rummage around,” she said. “It’s well done and well put together. There’s a lot of merchandise that’s pleasing to the key. We try to be over the top with customer service and roam around to help customers. We want people to leave the store happy and come back.”

They thought the Hessville neighborhood could use a good thrift store.

“Some stores go to upper scale neighborhoods where they know they can make money,” Poremba said. “We want something for the residents. I came from Hessville, originally.”

The store has however proven to be a destination for those who like treasure hunting at resale shops.
lacoste polo shirts for men A look at businesses that are or already have opened in the Region

about marco polo a list of upcoming local kids

long sleeve polos a list of upcoming local kids

The next public sale starts March 17, 2014at 2601 Memorial Parkway inHuntsville.

Kids’ Kloset children consignment sale, featuring a Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter event offering gently used items. Spring 2014 public sale dates are: Thursday, February 27th: 10:00am 8:00pm, Friday, February 28th: 10:00am 6:00pm (25% off) andSaturday, March 1st: 9:00am 4:00pm (50% off)

MOMsMart HAMOM semi annual consignment sale that takes place in the spring and fall.

The Boutique Closet An upscalechildren consignment sale specializing in boutique and trunk show brands. Consignors canearn up to 85% on 8 specific premium brands.

Sweet Repeats Located at 7696 Hwy 72, Unit 320 (Between TJ Maxx Kohl in Madison. Spring dates: Wednesday, February 26th 9:00am 2:00pm, Thursday, February 27th 10:00am 7:00pm, Friday, February 28th 10:00am 5:00pm, Saturday, March 1st 9:00am 3:00pm (half price day)

Tots2Teens Gently used seasonal clothing infant thru teen and maternity. Also selling household items, decor, kitchen, crafting, sporting goods, shoes, toys, electronics, books, baby gear, furniture more.

We accept boutique, trunk show, monogrammed, appliqued and fine handmade clothing as well as Gap, Under Armour, Crewcuts, Mini Boden and Chaps/Polo/Ralph Lauren clothing from infant through children size 14/16. We also accept all sorts of baby gear, children furniture, shoes, toys, and much much more. Check out our website to learn more about the truly unique Persnicketies shopping and consigning experience.
about marco polo a list of upcoming local kids

polo skully A life on the line

polo brand shirts A life on the line

Jeff Yarnold, air operations co ordinator for North Shore Rescue, sat in the front of the helicopter next to the pilot, scanning the boulder field. He was looking for tracks in the snow, slide paths and signs of recent avalanches.

At this time of year, the valley doesn’t look the way it does in the summer hiking guides. In January, it’s a different country.

This is where missing hiker Liang Jin is thought to have headed before he vanished recently. It’s the same place British tourist Tom Billings disappeared a year earlier.

The hunt for Billings was one of the last major searches conducted by Tim Jones, the long time leader of North Shore Rescue, who died suddenly of a heart attack on Mount Seymour a year ago this week.

Jones was fierce about the work of North Shore Rescue.

“He threw everything he had at it,” said John Blown, another long time member of the team. “He’d mow down the entire forest to try to find someone.”

Not being able to find Billings “drove him crazy,” said his son Curtis Jones, 28 who is also a member of the rescue team.

Curtis remembers chatting with his dad about the search on Christmas Day 2013, about needing more leads to push it forward. They kicked about an idea of videotaping the Hanes Valley and ‘crowdsourcing’ the search online.

In search and rescue work, there’s never a lot of down time.

So far neither Billings nor Liang has been found. The North Shore mountains seemed to swallow them whole. Neither were prepared for the conditions they’d encounter.

Hanes Valley is among a list of names familiar to searchers: Suicide Gully, Montizambert Creek, Crown Mountain, Tony Baker Gully. Places where a person can get into trouble quickly.

It was around the same time of year a week before Christmas 2012 and snowing heavily in the North Shore mountains when snowboarder Sebastien Boucher went missing on Cypress.

The 33 year old had last been seen ducking under a boundary rope and heading into rugged terrain west of the ski resort.

Members of the rescue team spent two days looking for Boucher without success.

There was deep snow and a high risk of avalanche.

“It was terrible, terrible conditions,” said Blown. “You were literally swimming in neck deep snow.”

On the third day, there was a brief break in the weather long enough to send up a helicopter. From the air, they spotted fresh tracks on the side of Black Mountain.

At the time, Tim Jones was in a downtown Vancouver hospital with his daughter Taylor. When the pager went off, Jones ran to the nearest police station, commandeered a squad car and asked to be driven to the airport, where the helicopter picked him up.

A four man team including Jones, Mike Danks, Blown, and Yarnold were dropped on the mountain with a sling load of about 500 lbs of gear.

But moving it in those conditions was like “pulling a sea anchor,” said Yarnold. “We ended up leaving it there.”

They followed the tracks down into a gully towards Disbrow Creek. When people are lost in the North Shore mountains, they almost always head down it’s easier, and they think they’ll reach safety that way, heading toward the city and the ocean. What they find instead are dangerous waterfalls and drop offs that end in icy creeks. Heading down is always a bad idea.

As darkness fell and the searchers got closer, they could hear Boucher yelling crazily in the dark at the base of a waterfall.

“He was yelling like a madman,” said Yarnold.

There was no choice but to follow him down.

“When you throw a rope off into the darkness, you hope you can find another rappel station when you get to the end of your rope,” said Blown.

Yarnold the first rescuer in was shocked when he suddenly found himself face to face with Boucher, who was still upright and walking. “I said, ‘I can’t believe you’re alive,'” said Yarnold. “He said, ‘Me neither.'”

High risk rescues like this are all in a day’s or most often a night’s work for members of North Shore Rescue, British Columbia’s busiest and best known mountain search and rescue team.

The North Shore’s combination of mountain backcountry that pushes up close to a big city has been a recipe for many rescues over the five decades the team has been in operation. This year, the team will mark its 50th anniversary.
polo skully A life on the line