Category Archives: shoes

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.

2 Comments

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

Mrs. Blandings

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House is not my favorite movie. It’s not included in my admittedly small personal library. But there is one scene which, due in no small part to the nature of my “day job,” is very near and dear to my heart.

Jim Blandings, feeling the constraits of a small, New York City apartment on his growing young family, decides to move them all to a more spacious spread in rural Connecticut. Jim’s wife, Muriel, is in charge of the decorating.

In my favorite scene, Muriel Blandings is discussing with the painter her color choices for the walls, as workers scurry about in the background. This is the dialog between Mrs. Blandings, the painting contractor, Mr. PeDelford, and his painter, Charlie:

Mrs. Blandings – Now, Mr. PeDelford, we’ll discuss painting.

Mr. PeDelford – Okay.

Mrs. Blandings – I had some samples. Here we are. Now, first, the living room. I want it to be a soft green. Not as blue-green as a robin’s egg.

Mr. PeDelford – No.

Mrs. Blandings – But not as yellow-green as daffodil buds. Now, the only sample I could get is a little too yellow. But don’t let whoever does it get it too blue.

Mr. PeDelford – No.

Mrs. Blandings – It should be a sort of grayish yellow-green. Now the dining room, I’d like yellow. Not just yellow. A very gay yellow. Something bright and sunshiny. I tell you, if you’ll send one of your workmen to the grocer for a pound of their best butter and match that exactly, you can’t go wrong.

This is the paper we’ll use in the hall. It’s flowered. But I don’t want the ceiling to match any colors of the flowers. There are some little dots in the background, and it’s these dots I want you to match. Not the little greenish dot near the hollyhock leaf, but the little bluish dot between the rosebud and the delphinium blossom. Is that clear? Now, the kitchen’s to be white. Not a cold, antiseptic, hospital white.

Mr. PeDelford – No.

Mrs. Blandings – A little warmer, but still, not to suggest any other color but white. Now, for the powder room in here, I want you to match this thread. And don’t lose it. It’s the only spool I have and I had an awful time finding it. As you can see, it’s practically an apple red. Somewhere between a healthy Winesap and an unripened Jonathan. Oh, excuse me. (leaves to speak to another contractor)

Mr. PeDelford – You got that, Charlie?

Charlie – Red, green, blue, yellow, white.

On every one of the press checks I go to, it’s my job to KNOW color. I have been playing with Color-Aid swatches and Pantone books since I was a toddler. So, when I order a RED dress from eBay and it shows up RUBY, don’t think I won’t say something. When my beautiful, Stealth Gray Pearl car is repainted some custom mix that a lazy painter thought would be close enough… it isn’t. When my Persimmon and Periwinkle tattoo comes out Persimmon and Blue, I’m going to bitch about it. The differences might be subtle to most people, but to me, it’s like night and day. This isn’t to say that I’m GOOD at color. If I don’t have my swatch in front of me, it can be a nightmare for me to match it. Some folks have a real knack for putting a color to memory, but I’m the sort who is STILL trying to find “the right pink” to match a dress I bought a year ago. And while, in many cases, “close enough” is, it isn’t where that dress is concerned. In this case, I’m trying to learn a lesson oft repeated to me by my friend Mary Jo: “It doesn’t have to match, it just has to go.” (Meanwhile, people stop me on the street when I’m “daring” enough to wear yellow shoes with an all black-and-white outfit.)

So, what goes with this lovely new vintage number that I brought home, again at half-price, from the thrift store yesterday? It’s what I’d call a Sky Blue; not as green as a Robin’s Egg…

As usual, more info if you follow the link.

2 Comments

Filed under collections, fashion, jewelry, shoes, shopping, tattoo, the office, vintage

Clecktions!

I know, I still owe you kids the final post about my trip to Boston, with links and pictures (with circles
and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was). But you see, I didn’t realize that I’d taken 400 photographs, and I only got through my first edit on Wednesday night.

Instead, here’s an interview that I did with Sabrina, the charming blonde mannequin over at Holly Gab (the blog arm of Lucite Box Vintage). I took the photos myself, and in a terrible rush, so they’re not, how do you say, “good.” On the other hand, I don’t have fancy lighting equipment and I didn’t want to drag everything to the level of my studio lights, so… deal with it. :)

Now, does anyone know how to clean white canvas espadrilles?

2 Comments

Filed under collections, fashion, shoes, vacation, vintage

More about nothing

First off, my apologies for missing yesterday’s post. I usually write at night, but I was wiped out after the weekend, and I spent the morning catch-up opportunity CLEANING MY HOUSE. I still have days (and nights) of organizing ahead of me, and I’ll do as much as I can before I head out of town for my uncle’s memorial service. I feel much better now that I’ve packed my sweaters away for the season, and finally untangled the shoe collection. I have once again run out of shoe cubbies in the closet, but the remaining pairs are now neatly stacked instead of the threat-to-walking-across-the-floor that they’ve been for a shockingly long time (and found a shirt that I was starting to think I’d never actually bought). I still have to deal with a crazy amount of laundry, both clean and dirty, before I can finally allow people upstairs again. Because I know that Jessi has been sneaking up to use the empty second floor bathroom during parties, and I don’t want to subject her to the chaos any longer. :)

The weekend with my father was a joy. It is perhaps best summed up, however, by a conversation he had with his neighbor/friend/dogsitter when he returned home:

Deb: How is G’s jewelry business going?

Dad: I don’t know. I didn’t ask.

Deb: How are the dog tag sales going?

Dad: I don’t know. I didn’t ask.

Deb: What did you two talk about?

In case anyone else is wondering, or my father discovers my blog: The jewelry business isn’t really a project that I actively pursue/advertise. I make stuff because I enjoy the process, and if somebody buys something to help offset my costs, then yippee. I actually fear becoming successful, and having to make stuff. Then it becomes work. The dog tags, on the other hand… well, their sole purpose (other than to decorate your dogs/cats/similarly-sized animals) is to provide a small boost to help defray the extensive costs of operations over at Colorado Pit Bull Rescue. So by all means, buy ’em up!

Oh, and I rec’d a sweet handbag in the mail today, purchased from an eBay auction:

Man, the cats who stripe are so talented.

Okay, back to cleaning!

3 Comments

Filed under family, life-threatening clutter, shoes, shopping