Monthly Archives: December 2008

6 out of 10

I know about vanity sizing.

I know about the benefits of spandex.

I know that my personal style involves a snug fit.

But this new skirt? It’s a size 6.


Over THESE hips?

Oh, man.

I’ll take it.

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Dim-Out Anklets

Hi! Remember me? I used to post 5 days a week. Now I seem to post twice a month. It’s something I will try to get better about. I think perhaps I need to get out of the house more.

Okay, so if you know me at all, you know that I collect, among other things, vintage clothing. Always have. Well, as long as I’ve had money to spend, I have. My mom had a beautiful, I’d guess late-1800s jacket that I used to adore as a girl. It was too fragile to atually wear out, but I would put it on, and wonder about how to fix the worn and frayed bits. I have no idea what ever happened to it, or to the gorgeous, ’40s-era ivory satin wedding dress (tea-length, therefore not a gown) that I bought on Canal Street in NYC back in 1990. I spray-painted a pair of pumps to match. I kid you not.

All of the collecting that I’ve done over the years has been with a huge amount of luck, and a small understanding of what it is I’m looking for. I recognize silhouettes and colors and fabrics from the photos I’ve always admired, and as a graphic designer, I can guesstimate an era by the typeface used on the label, but I’ve never done any serious studying. I could be wrong a lot of the time. In fact, I’m sure that I am. So from time to time, I do a little online hunting to brush up and maybe learn a thing or two.

This morning, I was scouring the LIFE archives on Google Images (boundless thanks to Ryan Cochran over at The Jalopy Journal for pointing me there). The image search feature is capped at 200 matches, so I kept finessing my keywords based on intriguing hits. Some magical combination of words let me to a series of photos of a woman’s ankles, wrapped in a variety of large white cuffs. There was a mention of “dim-out fashions.” Of course, I know what a dim-out is, but it inspired a fashion trend? And what on earth could it have to do with these giant anklets? My internal research alarm was buzzing madly, so I went about finding out.

If there is an online archive of LIFE articles, I don’t know about it and can’t find it. I know that these photos accompanied an article that ran in the March 22, 1943 issue. And while I couldn’t find a LIFE archive, I sure know where to find the New York Times archive. On January 16th of 1943, the Times ran an article which explained,

White anklets, which would make New York women pedestrians visible to motorists 100 feet away on the city’s dimmed-out streets, were suggested yesterday by the Public Safety section of the Greater New York Safety Council as part of a five-point program to reduce the mounting number of fatal traffic accidents here.

Ah-ha! Now I get it! There’s also a mention of “college girls” being asked to “help out” which only strengthens my belief that the entire concept was thought up by a bunch of ankle fetishists. I mean, c’mon. Take a look at these photos.



Filed under fashion, Is it safe to remove the gas masks?, nostalgia, shoes, vintage

Leopard! No, Jaguar! No, Cheetah!

Along the lines of my post regarding RETRO versus VINTAGE, here’s a quick lesson for retailers regarding what is, and what is not, LEOPARD PRINT.





Thank you.


SIDEBAR: I know, I know, I haven’t written in ages, and this is what I pop back in with. If you really want an update of how things are going on my end, from a personal perspective, here you go:

  • One of my Top Three All Time Favorite Uncles had a heart attack on, I believe, Monday night. The last I heard, he was feeling fine, and is undergoing surgery as I write this to unblock … blockages. If I had any more information than that, I would be appropriately worried or relieved.
  • I may have landed myself a guy, and then again, I may not have. My friends are wondering why I’ve been so hesitant about allowing myself to feel giddy, so here’s this: I adore him, but he lives far away and is gunning hard for a job that will, coincidentally, keep him far away. For a long period of time (perhaps a 5-year contract). We have made grand plans to visit each other every month, but the reality is that in his field, time off is a joke. In the year or so that he and I have been close friends, I’ve witnessed him working through birthdays, anniversaries, major holidays, and vacations that he’d already paid for. And not “working” as in bringing-a-laptop-to-the-hotel, but “working” as in on-site, pulling 14-hour days. I hate it I hate it I hate it. The thing is, he loves it. It’s what makes him tick. And I couldn’t ask him to stop, because then he wouldn’t be the guy that I adore. From afar. And with great hesitation. So, there’s that.
  • If my math is correct (although I am not known for my math skills), I have pulled in enough contract work to keep my bills paid through the end of 2008, with a small amount left over for frugal Christmas gifts. Which is good, because Unemployment Insurance in Colorado remains a joke, and I have yet to procure so much as a thin dime from it/them. Also, my health insurance costs a bit more than it did when subsidized by The Man, and the deductible is such that I may as well not have it except for Extreme Emergency situations. I have eliminated my usual charitable contributions, for which I feel pooie, but it was necessary. My shoe budget, if you could call it that, has been reappointed as my business expenses budget. However, I was pleased to discover that renewing my business name with the State cost an entire dollar. I love a bargain! Perhaps this is why they cannot afford to pay out Unemployment claims. Exactly how I will manage 2009 remains a mystery, but my previous-employer-now-my-biggest-client seems pleased with my work as a contractor, and I hope will keep me as busy as their ever-dwindling budget will allow.
  • Related: A big shout-out to the hard-working gals at Fresh Organic Office Delivery, who, in spite of their acronym-friendly name, also deliver delicious organic produce (and the occasional free-range, drug-free holiday turkey) to homes, and are keeping me fed for a very reasonable price. They offer a choice of two different sizes of bins, every other week, and I believe today may be the day I create a Creamsicle®* Pie recipe, because a still have four (organic) oranges left from my last bin. There might also be a pluot pie in the immediate future.

*50/50 bars to my West Coast friends who talk funny

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