Long before David Letterman popularized the top 10 list, God delivered to Moses in the desert two tablets inscribed with a list of rules.Since then,lists have become an easy shorthand for organizing just about anything.Just try going shopping without one.

Why all the fuss about lists?Human beings crave order,and lists are one way of bringing a subject or task into focus.Lists also measure our accomplishments against those of others.Learning that Ralph Lauren ’s compensation rose 556 percent last year,while Tommy Hilfiger ’s declined 7 percent,is a guilty pleasure.

Lists have become an indispensable (or dispensable, depending on your view,)tool of the publishing trade, from fashion magazines touting the 526 must-have pieces for fall to daily newspapers ranking the highest- grossing films.

Women ’s Wear Daily in June 2002 weighed in with its own entry.The WWDList,which appears in the paper on Thursdays,covers a variety of far-ranging topics from profit margins to Pantone colors.On the following pages,every list that ’s appeared in WWD since the feature ’s inception is reprinted and organized thematically.

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