Some of my freakin’ favorite things…

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Fashion Forward and Back

There’s a Star Trek episode I remember—trekky anyone?—in which Harry Mudd’s dangerous androids are defused by being told that they are being told lies, so they can’t figure out what’s true. In an admittedly obscure way, that’s what this video reminds me of. It’s so very vintage to me, but to the ladies and gentlemen who created these clothes, it was forward looking; they were inspired by the near, and long-term, future. I wonder if our love of vintage is as much a curiosity about what lies ahead as it is an appreciation for what came before… Or does that not compute?

Get your kicks on route sixty-six

If I were a car, I’d be a Futura. I saw one at the garage down the street from me. Gus, the mechanic, usually has two or three beauties getting a little work done. Nothing removed, puffed up, or otherwise altered, just a little tune-up underneath the hood.

Wikipedia tells me (do you actually have to cite wikipedia?): “The Classic Car Club of America maintains that a car must be between 20 and 45 years old to be a classic, while cars over 45 years fall into the Antique Class.”

Um. I think I’m an antique. But if you’d be so kind, I’d prefer to be referred to as “vintage.”

Speaking of which, Vivienne Westwood is a rare vintage, always worth a listen!

What Becomes a Legend Most


Not sure what this has to do with fashion exactly. Something about “style icons” perhaps?

Ben Brantley wrote an article recently {Among Celebrities, Mystery’s Not Fashionable} about how our newfound capacity to stay in the spotlight—tabloids and twitter, wordpress and wikipedia—has undermined the whole reason we want to know anything about each other. There’s no mystery if we keep flaunting ourselves, and mystery is desire I suppose. Okay, that’s a bit of a leap. But compare Jackie Kennedy to Lindsay Lohan, and yeah, that does make his point…

What Goes On

I find myself obsessed, yet again, with the Beatles. The first time was in the 1960s, when they were brand-spankin’ new. My father would read out loud New York Post’s headlines such as “Ringo’s Getting His Tonsils Out” or “Ringo’s Getting Married” and my sister and I would prance around our living room singing “Ringo’s getting married, Ringo’s getting married!” Hilarity incarnate. I couldn’t have been more than 6 years old, and not entirely sure what tonsils, or even marriage, meant, but I understood it was big.

Then in college, circa 1980, my compadres and I went through some sort of pop-nostalgia thing. Grownup-hood impending, trying on the coolest version of our parents we could imagine. We weren’t alone. Would there have been Ramones without Beatles? Or even more significantly, what about the Ruttles?

Now here it is, 40 years after the grande demise, and my 9- and 6-year old boys demand (whine, cajole) Beatles whenever we’re in the car. They can tell you which song is on which album, they discuss who’s their favorite (Ellis: Paul, Lowell: John).

Good is always great, oh and, “Ringo’s Wearing Red Patent Leather!”

A Short Tale

Cuffs. On pants they seem prissy, self conscious. They remind me of bedroom, dining room, furniture “sets.”  Too planned out, over-worked, “outfitty,” unimaginative.

Is this just a reflection of a personal scar? I wore cuffed pants—plaid no less—on my first day of a new school when I was in seventh grade, in 1974.

It was a careful plan: a maroon knit top, color coordinated with a vertical stripe in my plaid bell-bottoms, all culminating in great big, extra wide, CUFF. I regretted it the minute I arrived at home room. I’m sure I looked perfectly groovy, in a Brady Bunch sort of way, but suddenly my thirteen-year-old self realized groovy doesn’t equal cool. Ragged-bottomed blue jeans ensued for the rest of the year.

Speaking of which, on the subway yesterday I checked out peoples’ bottoms (pants bottoms that is). Very few cuffs. There are a number of reasons for this, but I’m guessing one is because altering clothes is a rarer asset than it was in days of yore, such as 1974. Cuffs are more complicated than just turning up a hem. A tailor can do it but it’s not as simple, or cheap, as just not having cuffs in the first place.

But if I see shorts without cuffs, or at least some deliberate termination, I think the wearer is indifferent, suffering from that same lack of imagination as a pant-wearer WITH cuffs. To me, shorts are the Anti-Pants, and they necessitate a confident ending. Pants typically terminate, tried and true, somewhere below the ankle. Shorts come to an abrupt ending, and benefit from communicating some sort of gracious segue into the knee. Above, below, mid thigh, mid calf: what are you doing there, and why?

This model’s legs are twice as long as mine, but you get the idea...

Is this just an excuse to a buy pair of shorts I’ve sighted and fixated on? They’re from RoganNYC, a shop right around the corner from me, on the Bowery. I keep stopping in and ogling them. Yesterday I tried them on, and they were surprisingly flattering—I was sure the stripes would make me look like I’d eaten one too many donuts for breakfast, but no, I looked about the girth to which I aspire, shall we say. Then again, maybe they have one of those magic dressing-room mirrors, which make you look slim and chic, though you may be flabby and bedraggled in real life. And Rogan’s got nice dressing rooms: soft leather floors! I suppose it’s further evidence that they care about the details, which is why I like their simple shorts in the first place. They look good, the fabric is substantial and soft, the price is fair, and I hesitate only because they’re a little short for me. We ladies who were thirteen in 1974 may not want to show off our upper thighs like we did back in the day. Still, I really like the CUFF on these things! Without them, they’d be boxer shorts, but with them, they look designed to suggest leisurely activity, as in Supermom meets “ladies who lunch”—a good fast walk to pick up the kids from school (no wheels in Manhattan); then a pit stop at a proper people-watching outdoor café for a great big midday lemonade…

Of course this doesn’t answer the age old question: what about skorts?

Fly the friendly skies (oops, that’s United).

1954-65

Delta’s is “We love to fly. And it shows.” And what better way to show it than a history of their Airline Attendant uniforms? Yup, nothing I love more than a good uniform….

Propeller Era Uniforms (1940-1959).
Jet Age Uniforms (1959-present).

Those from 2001–2006 strike me as despicably insufficient; un-uniform-ish. They’re touted as some sort of homage to “business casual,” but why would you want to do that? It reads wrong. The four in this 2003 picture look like rumpled and weary passengers at the end of a long work week. It makes me want to jump out of my own seat and serve them a good strong martini. BTW, they are Attendants from “Song,” Delta’s now-defunct low-fare brand experiment. I guess you can’t fake grass roots.

“Business Casual 2003”

1957-59

1969-70