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!

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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

What Do Men Want?


Here’s a video my friend Linda Taylor Brodow made, to help sort out the intricacies of men’s fashion trends… I’m inspired, and feeling groovy (music is by Dave Stewart/Mick Jagger, New York Hustle, from the ‘Alfie’ soundtrack).

A Video Tour of Mad Men’s Costume Shop

A tour of the costume shop

Click for a Mad Men tour

Why do I love that show so much? Is it simply the clothes? This seems like a good place to clarify: Anne’s + my clothing line, Doppelgänger Wear, is about the history of women’s ambition, expressed as clothing. Whaddya think, can you see it? Our clothes are not based on high-fashion of bygone decades (the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s, etc.), rather they are based on home-sewing patterns of those eras. This means style marketed to women who wanted to make something of themselves, by themselves. The latter wasn’t such an uncommon pursuit in those days. In school, girls took “home economics” while boys took shop. But the former, to make something of themselves, is still a work in progress, isn’t it. Funny how that progress has diminished our ability to sit down and sew.

To Vogue or not to Vogue

VogueMovieStill

Here's a trailer

Hi there y’all. Here’s a NY Times article about a flick that sounds worthy. {Behind ‘The September Issue,’ a Documentary on the Inner Workings of Vogue}. Admittedly, I haven’t picked up a copy of Vogue magazine in years, but I have some kind of allegiance to it involving how we dress/represent ourselves. I don’t live in that fashion-is-everything world, do you? Seemed like a better idea when I was about 20 years old. These days I’m more inclined to read Time magazine than Vogue. Oh yeah, and that reminds me, here’s an article by Kurt Andersen that calls to me loud and clear, about ‘amateurism.’ {The Avenging Amateur}. Love that Andersen fellow. HeydayHe wrote a great big novel called Heyday which, okay, may not earn him a Nobel Prize in Most Elegant Letters, but he represents his big ideas so entertainingly; enthusiastically. And then again, I remember liking the book right away because of how carefully Andersen describes the clothing of his characters. Plus the funky cover. Who says you can’t judge a book that way?

Gladiators

Circa 1968.

Circa 1968.

Firstly, thanks Scott for this groovy picture of you, your brother, and your teeny tiny sister, all dressed up in your school uniforms! I’d say your school was definately Mod, not Rocker.

Secondly: The fashion industry digs itself into a hole when it insists, with penny wisdom and pound foolishness, we must wear what is “of the moment.” Soon my favorite garments will make me look old and frumpy; decidedly un-hip; cash-poor; and so on, if they aren’t brand-spanking new. I try to evade this problem by wearing clothing, not fashion—I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has reacted this way to the industry’s commercial peer pressure, given how the industry is constantly in a state of panic that no one’s buying. But I love design, so, what clothing? Land’s End? It’d be like I’m a painter and although I’d like to express something luminously in oils, I’ll just use magic markers.

fluevogGladiator

Recently someone decided that a safe manufacturing bet will be Gladiator Sandals. So here’s John Fluevog’s version. I love it; I love the proportions, and that it’s magenta. But I won’t buy a pair (at least I think I won’t!), because while I’d love to express to the world the beauty of magenta, I suspect that’s not the only thing I’d communicate.

Thirdly, I just loved these photographs: Redesigning Women.