Friday, March 8, 2019

It's the Fashion, Dahling!

RHYS BOWEN: A few weeks ago my daughter and I were wandering a street of chic boutiques, looking for potential Christmas gifts. In one of them I found a striped blue and white sweater with holes in it. Real holes. It looks as if someone had snagged it on a barbed wire fence, or it had met a particularly hungry moth. No, many hungry moths. It was $450.

"This sweater has holes in it," I said to my daughter.
The boutique owner was close by. "It's the fashion this year, madam," she said.

Has the world gone mad? People would actually buy a sweater with holes all over it?  I remember when they first brought out ripped jeans. I thought that was stupid. Why would anyone want to look as if they couldn't afford decent clothes? What about those jeans that are so ripped there is nothing left but the side seams?

I can understand fashion trying to push the envelope, to make a statement against what is the status quo, but to look like a homeless person? How can a person want to do that and feel good in those clothes? Do you know that there are even YouTube videos on how to distress your sweaters and Tshirts? All you need is a good sweater and a pair of scissors!!!

I confess that I haven't followed fashion for years now. In the Sixties when I started working in London I dressed Mary Quant with my Vidal Sassoon haircut. I wore long and flowing in the Seventies. I wore shoulder pads in the Eighties. But since then I have ignored trends--especially the trend to have skirts halfway to my butt and leggings that highlight all my faults. My skirts have to come to my knees. My waist has to be where waists are supposed to be. I want to look like the person I am: classy, Ralph Lauren.

So confession time, Reds. Are you a slave to fashion? Which fashion trends did you follow? Would you ever buy a sweater with holes in it?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: No. I would also not buy "distressed" jeans. Or anything "distressed," in fact. Or scandalously low cut, or cut out shoulders, or cut out anything, for that matter. No backless, or sideless. No surprise openings, keyholes, illusion lace, see-through places or bondage straps, or cutoff jeans that are so short that the pockets show.  Nothing that looks like underwear on the outside, or even underwear showing. NO straps showing under anything. That is not nor will it ever be okay. I have spoken. :-) 
(Yes, I have become my mother. I am the girl that got sent home from school for having my skirts too short. And I looked great, so there. But apparently no one else on the planet thought so.)

JENN McKINLAY: Safe to say my clothes get "distressed" all on their own, especially if I wipe on my skateboard, so there's no need to give them a running start. As for fashion, which is really just for conferences and book signings these days, I try to buy items that don't age. So, if Audrey Hepburn would wear it, I buy it. If she wouldn't, then it's a solid no. Around the house it's jeans and t-shirts all day every day. I love my life!

LUCY BURDETTE: I can't imagine what guidelines I could offer that would be better than Hank's! For me it's t-shirts and yoga pants, and I so love my jeans. If I have an event (such as the big launch last August with Rhys and Hallie), there's a little shop near my town in CT where they'll help me choose something. It always looks good, though it's rarely something I would have picked. And it doesn't cost a fortune. One day you must post a video of you on skateboard Jenn!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Maybe we could start a Writers in T-shirts and Yoga Pants club? WTYP? I do like nice clothes, actually, but I can't say I follow fashion. The most distressed I get is faded wash jeans (and the GAP hoodies I wear around the house which are at least 20 years old...) Yesterday I did some spring shopping. I bought a black Eileen Fisher t-shirt, a pair of black ankle-length spring weight pants, a classic white shirt, and a pair of light wash jeans. Wardrobe complete. (I will try to remind myself of that when I do my spring closet organizing--I don't need MORE clothes!)

HALLIE EPHRON: I love Jenn's question: What would Audrey Hepburn wear? And no, I pay no attention to fashion. I do mourn the GAP of olden days where you could buy a great classic white collared shirt or V-neck T-shirt. And no cutout shoulders or distressed jeans or wonky hemlines for me. Thank you.

Eileen Fisher is my splurge. Their clothes are truly classic, they last, and they'e washable. I just bought a dark green velvet top at their 50% off sale. Win, win!

RHYS: You see how sensible we Reds are! We like to look timeless and well-dressed (apart from Jenn on her skateboard and we can't do anything about that. She's our wild child!) We wear Eileen Fisher and channel Audrey Hepburn.
So who would wear distressed jeans? Holey sweaters?

54 comments:

  1. I don’t understand sweaters and jeans with holes, either. I don’t follow fashion . . . I wear clothes that I like, that I feel comfortable wearing, and I find myself regularly rolling my eyes at the latest trends . . . .

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  2. No holes for me. I've seen the rips and holes in jeans, shaking my head in dismay, but I didn't know they were putting holes in sweaters now. I still thought you were supposed to check and make sure a sweater didn't have any pulls or holes. Shows how far behind I am.

    I do wear jeans a lot, but that's at home or running around town or going to the grandgirls and the like. I have a habit I can't break, nor do I want to, of wearing nice slacks (do people even say slacks anymore?) to doctor appointments or to performance events. I favor nice blouses or shirts as tops to go with the slacks. Now, at something like Bouchercon, I think t-shirts are great, but I still don't like messy ones, and my jeans at such an event are new or newer ones, not my ratty ones. I even try to dress nicely when flying, comfortable, but not sloppy. I swear that you get treated better when you look better. I'm sure it shouldn't be that way, but it seems to be so. I'm by no means a fashion-plate, but I think well-groomed is a good look.

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    1. You always look fabulous, Kathy...

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    2. Well, I have to admit, Rhys, that I am a fan of your wonderful outfits, and I do wish that I could achieve your elegance.

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  3. I like my stuff unholey, thank you very much. Okay, so I sometimes keep my clothes too long and they have holes in them before I throw them out, but I like to put them in there myself.

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  4. NO. Just. No. I simply do not understand buying something new that looks like it's ready for the trash heap. Nor wearing leggings so tight and tops not long enough the person looks like she forgot to put her skirt on.

    I live in jeans and sweatshirts or t-shirt. My author clothes have to be comfortable and packable. Period.

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  5. The only way I wear clothes with holes in them is if they develop from being worn and I fail to notice some tiny hole that has made its way into the fabric.

    And considering my idea of clothes shopping is going to a concert and buying a band T-shirt, I think it is safe to say that I am not a slave to fashion in general or any particular trend in particular.

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  6. No. I have one pair of jeans with a hole in the leg from wear that I keep for painting. Otherwise if it’s got holes it’s time to get rid of it.

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  7. I'll tell you who would wear those kind of clothes - my 15 year old granddaughter. I noticed her sweater had kind of a hole caused by a dropped stitch, obviously intentional. "I can fix that for you," I told her. She gave me a look, "it's supposed to be like that." Ah. She wears the teenage versions of all those "styles" and why not. But I would never wear such things and neither would any adult I know. But I have to wonder - with the cold shoulders and ripped out jeans and sweaters, aren't they freezing?

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    1. Judi, my 15 year old goddaughter came to the family New Year supper in jeans with holes on both knees. I didn't say a word but I thought that even at 15, I would not have accepted that my daughter wear something like that for the occasion. Not to mention that it was very cold outside.

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  8. I'm really good at tearing holes in my clothes... inadvertently. Maybe I can make a career out of it? And it's been SO COLD around us I feel very sorry for anyone who's clothes have holes, intended or otherwise. Finally today it's going up over freezing.

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    1. Ephron's Boutique... Get your clothing distressed here!

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  9. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve yelled out the car window: you forgot your skirt! Of course the woman in question can’t hear me, but how ridiculous does it look? My mom used to say: don’t you have a full length mirror? Keep trying to remember how much I wanted to wear what I wanted to wear when I was “young “ and I try not to have turned into a cranky old person. But there is cute fashion and then there is ridiculous fashion. Like color blocking, right? They have scraps of leftover fabric, which they then sew together and try to convince us it’s fashionable. No! It’s remnants.

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  10. In my humble opinion, there is no way to improve upon Hank's answer to this question!

    I admit, I do like nice clothes. But for the past decade or so, as I have drifted into "a certain age," I have found that more of my focus turns to making sure I look neither dated nor ridiculous. That is where those timeless fashions of Audrey Hepburn really prove their value.

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  11. In my youth I wore distressed jeans--they 'distressed' themselves naturally through normal wear and tear and then I patched those 'wears and tears' with colorful patches. But, buy sweaters with holes in them? Nope. Love the line about Audrey Hepburn--if only I could wear anything with her class and effortless ease! Like Jenn, I'm still a t-shirt and jeans kind of person--I've off-loaded all the 'office wear' I used to own for conferences and stuff. These days my 'dress-up' wardrobe consists of casual pieces (black pants/skirt/tops to go with).

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  12. Does anybody remember patches on their jeans? Back in the seventies I sewed a big mushroom on my favorite pair. I thought I was the grooviest!

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  13. I have my clothes organized by destination: travel, weddings, and a decent dress for the Cincinnati opera season. Otherwise it's flannel pj bottoms and hooded sweatshirts for winter, and gym shorts and a dryfit T for summer.

    Hank, I was sent home from school for wearing culottes. How daring!

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  14. Hallelujah! The moth holes I found in my favorite Lord & Taylor black turtleneck are not a disaster, after all. I can say I'm in the height of fashion, rather than in mourning.

    Sigh. If only I could convince myself of this.

    Wool turtlenecks, the classic, fitted kind, have been my go-to winter "t-shirt" for decades, but they are impossible to find anymore. I am really feeling the loss of this black one, you betcha.

    Those ridiculous holey jeans at outrageous prices? Some manufacturer laughing all the way to the bank.

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    1. My kids each have a pair of those jeans, purchased with their own money. BUT they both waited until the jeans hit the clearance rack before purchasing.

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  15. A peek into my closet reveals two sets of clothes. There's what I purchased ready made and what I've sewn.

    The ready made is repetitious. (dare I say boring?) For instance, I find a sweater I like (J. Jill kimono). When they go on sale each year I buy a new one in a different color. Same with pants, shoes, and shirts. I basically wear the same outfit just in different colors.
    Now my hand sewn wardrobe is very different. After reading, my addiction in fabric and patterns. I have never met a yardage store that I didn't love! And, sorry Hallie, some of my stuff just might have a wonky hem, but nothing too drastic because I'm short.
    I agree wholeheartedly with Hank

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  16. Living up here on the tundra, I have summer and winter clothes. None have holes in them except a cashmere sweater but I repaired it because cashmere is timeless. For years I work jeans year round but I've grown up a bit and graduated to crop pants in cool weather and capris in the summer. There is nothing attractive about my legs and knees. I'm a huge fan of Tencel, and my favorite stores are Nordies, Talbots, JJill, and Land's End. If you haven't tried Tencel, watch for it. It's a natural fiber, cool and breathable, and it doesn't wrinkle, comes out of the dryer ready for the most particular of you to wear. I really like the way the latter one, Lands End, does business, partnered with Patagonia.

    Shoes are always flat, always comfortable and most always come from DSW. I've no need for this years styles as mind always look the same anyway. And I haven't worn heels in years, not happening, not even kitten heels, no matter how much diamante they may sparkle.

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  17. P.S. I'm a big fan of shibori. This is the "art" of repairing a hole in fabric with a over laid patch of similar fabric. The repair is accomplished by using a heavy thread in a visible color, usually white or black to attach the patch. The stitching is done by hand and it is what creates the visual interest. Vertical stitches cross hatched with horizontal. Sometimes in spiraling or concentric circles. This in my opinion is how one should wear their holey jeans. Repaired by the ancient method of shibori.

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    1. Opps! meant "Boro and Sashiko". Sorry! shibori is the art of dying fabric. I need coffee.

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    2. Sashiko is very beautiful. I did not realize it was invented to repair holes!

      I'm also a sewing goddess, Lyda. :-)

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    3. I didn't know this was a thing. I've covered stains or patched holes for years by using patches of other fabric as an accent.

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    4. Liz- do a pinterest search. Amazing results! Karen, Edna Mode is my spirit animal!

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    5. Lyda, I taught sewing, and then wrote about sewing for profit for years.

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  18. PS, For appointments, dinners out, church, I wear slack and a nice sweater/blouse/jacket/even teen shirt. I believe that my attire should be respectful when I mingle with the great unwashed masses. LOL

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  19. Like Deb, Hallie, and Rhys, Eileen Fisher is my usually reliable "go-to" choice. But recently, I've discovered a great new clothing line which I recommend to all of you. American Giant makes tops, pants, hoodies for men and women--and everything is made in the US. The clothes are so well made and hold up to many trips to the washer/dryer. I'm veering toward a mild addiction, and have ordered tops in multiple colors. T-shirts (V-necks and crew) and long-sleeved versions are what I reach for almost every days. The fit is flattering--slightly fitted with generous sleeves f(or those of us not blessed with Michelle Obama triceps!), and there's a range of colors, plus the usual black and white. I order them online and am always pleased with the products. Check them out!

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    1. Thank you, Katie! In desperate need of good everyday t-shirts here. The Eileen Fisher I just bought was for "town" dressing lol

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    2. GAP! White long sleeved crew neck t-shirts. They are perfect.

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    3. https://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=241908202&cid=17083&pcid=17076

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    4. and J Crew https://www.jcrew.com/p/womens_category/tshirts_tanktops/longsleevetshirts/slim-perfect-longsleeve-tshirt/B1304?color_name=bright-kelly

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    5. Also Lands End. Great tee shirts, all styles and colors. Watch for BOGO sales.

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  20. Like most of the Reds, no holes for me and no fashion. I wear clean and confortable clothes . I pay attention to them and keep them a long time. I am very faithful when I love something, no matter the fashion.

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  21. I am with the rest of the Reds in not understanding this recent trends - I'm definitely a comfort-at-home, traditional-good-taste-out dresser - but then,I don't think my mom got my mini-skirts and fishnet tights either, back in the day. I can hardly remember that girl with the lemon yellow suede mini-skirt, huge earrings and yes, Sassoon haircut. (You know you are out of date when your daughter uses your real clothes for a '60's Halloween costume. She did!)

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    1. Oh, Triss, I had that haircut, too. ANd pink acid wash jeans and a MATCHING pink acid washed jean jacket. It was quite fetching.

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    2. Warren Beatty thought so, right?

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    3. Pink jeans and jacket sounds so fun! At a certain age. Not this one. :-)

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  22. I buy from ebay. The rest is silence.

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  23. Fashion, and our slavish devotion to it, is causing a worldwide waste problem. All this Marie Kondo stuff, in particular, has escalated the issue, too, with mass closet cleanouts, and thrift stores and landfills overwhelmed with clothing and other fabric-created objects (linens, towels, curtains, etc.)

    A lot of this kind of stuff used to get hauled overseas to be turned into paper and other recycled materials, but there's simply too much of it now. Locally, we now have an "orange bag" service (the bags are green in other places). We can leave the orange bags at the curb on our usual garbage/recycling pickup day, and the company that picks it up will sort it into usable/non-usable categories. Usable items get sent/sold to appropriate places; non-usable ones get recycled as fibers.

    The bags are free, and so is the service, here in Cincinnati.

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    1. That's brilliant, Karen. I keep a donation bag in my garage at all times. My daughter Jane has made a rule... One item in, two items out. It works well

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    2. Great idea on the "orange" bags. My city has weekly recycling pickup, and garden waste pick up as well for compostable material, but we don't have anything for clothing.

      I always donate my used things.

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    3. I donate, too, Debs, but some things are just too worn out to donate. We had old coats that belonged to my father-in-law, who would be 106 if we were alive, and some drapes dating back to about the 70's, the kind with the insulated backing, and some old tarps and other stuff. That kind of thing would just go into the landfill without this new service.

      I hope it spreads everywhere. It's a much-needed type of recycling.

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  24. The cuffs of one of my zip-up hoodies are frayed. Of course the hoodie is 20 years old. Does that count as distressed?

    While I wanted to follow fashion when I was younger, my mother wouldn't let me most of the time (she folded on shoulder pads, but held firm on short skirts). Now? I spend most of every day in Columbia fleece pullovers (winter) or soft t-shirts (summer) and yoga pants. I have two pairs of very nice jeans and a couple nice skirts for when I have to go "adult" somewhere. I rely on my daughter to keep me from looking old and frumpy, though. She's got a good fashion eye.

    But at 18, she can wear a lot of things I just can't - and although she will buy some "distressed" things, she has a limit. She much prefers soft shirts, a nice pair of jeans, and in the winter she loves a good chunky fisherman's sweater. I will admit she wears short skirts, but she has the legs for it.

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  25. What Hank said!

    I especially don’t get the fascination with holes. If I have an article of clothing I like but it has holes in it, I’ll wear it when I’m cleaning the bathroom, etc!

    DebRo

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  26. I've seen women wearing extremely ripped jeans here when it's been bitterly cold and thought they must be miserable. Since it's International Women's Day, I would add that I don't think women should have to suffer for fashion with uncomfortable clothes and excruciating shoes. What a huge scam it all is!!

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  27. To my best recollection, all of the Jungle Reds that I have met always wear beautiful clothes. They wear colors that are perfect for them.

    Holey sweaters and ripped jeans reminds me of when Marie Antoinette and her ladies in waiting would pretend to be peasants and live on a farm. The farm was still owned by the royal family, though. I am not a fan of ripped jeans. I was so embarrassed when I had a rip in my jeans and I sew a patch over the rip! LOL.

    Ralph Lauren is still my go to clothes. It is worth the extra bucks because the designs are cut to fit me. I am built the way I am and cannot change that, no matter how thin I become. My grandmother always had her clothes custom made because she was tall for women in her generation. I wore her black dress to the banquet at Bouchercon in Toronto and I got so many compliments. Though I am not as tall as she was, I inherited her broad shoulders and waist.

    Highly doubt I was a slave to fashion, though there were times when I admired clothes that Princess Diana wore. I remember getting a red and white sweater with sheep motif after seeing a photo of her wearing a similar dress. And I admire the clothes that the Duchess of Cambridge wears because she often wears long sleeve dresses. I like long sleeves. I once wore a ballgown to the gala and the photographer told me she could see the bra under my ballgown. I was embarrassed! When I was a kid, I loved fairytales and praire stories. I remember wanting to wear princess dresses. And I wanted to wear a dress from 1800s with a bonnet. LOL

    LOL. I love that idea of a t-shirt and yoga pants!

    Diana

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  28. I used to buy "nice" clothes when I worked in an office. I looked for sales and clothing I could mix and match with what I had. Nowadays? Dress up clothes are almost nonexistent. I have some drapey pants in black and in beige that are actually for travel. I dress them up for occasions with nice jackets/top. My everyday wear? Tee shirts, sweatshirts, jeans, comfortable lightweight pants billed for hiking/camping. It depends on the weather. No jeans in the summer or I would roast. If I wear something with holes it means I didn't see them. I have one bedraggled sweatshirt with a hole in the bottom and raggedy cuffs that is 25 to 30 years old. I wear it at home when I don't plan to be seen! I used to love dresses and nice outfits but I don't go anywhere anymore that requires them.

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  29. Clothes with holes in them, that were created on purpose, are not in my closet. I do have one or two t-shirts in my drawer that have very small holes, that I caused, that are worn on laundry and cleaning days. As a child growing up, being a slave to fashion did not happen in our house. My grandmother was delighted when her first grandchild, me, was girl. She was so looking forward to sewing me all these cute clothes. My mother was very happy to have my grandmother sew clothes for me but no puffy sleeves no ruffles and no flounces! I was born with my grandma's barrel chest, short torso and mom's broad shoulders. When daughter number two came along, she had the same broad shoulders but the rest of her portions where a little better than mine. Our mom had a great sense,she believed we should be dressing in what looked good and would last instead of what was in vogue. Being a child of the 60s and 70s was not a fashion friend for the Dale girls.
    Now I look for long classic lines if I need something beyond business casual -love my black jeans for the office. Weekends - comfortable always.

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  30. Hard to know what to say, after that last comment!

    If you want to have those fashionable holes in your clothes, just get a cat or two. In my old guy opinion, "fashion" is something made up to sell clothes or other products, with little or no redeeming value of it's own. I've worn jeans all my life, slacks and coat or suits during my work years, shorts and T-shirts in Summer, in other words, the usual.

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