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D.F. Krause
  D.F.'s Column Archive
June 28, 2006
I Knows About Chinos and IPOs

A big opportunity looms this week as fashion retailer J. Crew goes to the market with its Initial Public Offering. And my decision to invest or not invest may hinge on the distinction between a long E and a long I.


“Look,” I tell Mrs. Krause. “J. Crew is doing an IPO. Do you ever go to J. Crew?”




That’s what she says. But all women go to all these places. One is just like another. So I keep reading from the Associated Press story.


“In May,” I read, “J.Crew also announced it was developing a new chain of casual women's clothing stores called Madewell, which will focus on key fashion basics like chinos.”


At this, Mrs. Krause doubles over laughing. Then she falls off the couch. Then she looks up at me and points, and laughs some more.



“Chinos? Rhymes with Rhinos?”


Yes. That’s what the story says. Chinos! Ch-Eye-Nose!”


“It’s Chee-Nos! CHEE-NOSE!”




She spits out her Coke.


“Well,” I say, “what are they?”


“They’re pants,” she explains.


“What kind of pants? What’s different about them? What makes them Ch-EYE-NOSE?”




OK! CHEE-NOSE! I still don’t know what makes them that, as opposed to any other kind of pants. Are they short? Long? Striped? Do they have three legs?


“It’s like this,” Mrs. Krause explains. “If you see them, and you know that they’re chinos, you’re fashionable. If you don’t know that they’re chinos, you’re not fashionable.”


I furrow my brow.


“You have no idea what makes them chinos, do you?”


She shakes her head. She sure doesn’t.


So we put “chinos” into a Yahoo! Image search, and up comes a picture of some chinos. So these are chinos. Brown pants. A zipper. A button. Belt loops. Conventional pockets, plus painter-type pockets about halfway down the leg on either side.


“It has painter-pant pockets,” I say. “Maybe that’s what makes them chinos.”


“So do painter pants,” she said.


Foiled again.


So I look at chinos, which I still think should be pronounced chinos-rhymes-with-rhinos, and I see pants. And because of this, I am not fashionable. Because if I were, I would look at these pants and say, “Oh! Look! Chinos!” And I wouldn’t pronounce it like rhinos. But this would be if I were fashionable, and if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a lucrative IPO for Christmas.


So maybe this means I should get a piece of the IPO action. After all, J. Crew is clearly selling stuff to those people who are far more fashionable than I am. And that’s a lot of people. That’s pretty much everybody. The More-Fashionable-Than-D.F.-Krause market may be the most lucrative market on the face of the earth.


But if the ability to recognize chinos were that intuitive to the fashionable, you would think they would know how to pronounce the word. At the risk of offending Sino-Americans (rhymes with rhino-Americans), I know how to pronounce words that I see.


You look at pants and see chinos. I think of rhinos. I think I’ll buy Treasury bills.


© 2006 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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