Keeping it uniform

Arlo Guthrie once sang about the Group W Bench. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t it:

Hosiery ad by Ellen Tracy

This turn-of-the-century advertisement for Ellen Tracy says perhaps a little more than it seems to. I mean, yeah, there are different hosiery colors, and the shoes aren’t exactly identical, but otherwise this is a shrine to conformity. Since this was almost certainly shot in New York City, everyone is reading what appears to be The New York Times: the two other Big Apple dailies are tabloids, and somehow you don’t, or at least I don’t, expect them to be reading The Wall Street Journal.

Tangential: There’s a scene early in John Duigan’s Flirting where the students at a girls’ boarding school have arrived for assembly, and as they’re seated, they all cross their legs, right over left, at precisely the same angle — except for a newcomer, played by Thandie Newton, who quite deliberately fails to fall in line.

As for Ellen Tracy, it’s just a name, coined by founder Herbert Gallen in 1949; the company flourished until 2002, when it was sold to Liz Claiborne.

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