Archive for Rag Trade

As summery as it gets

And, well, let’s face it, it’s summer, at least north of the equator:

A relic from Vashti's closet, originally from Old Navy

Vashti explains:

I am a sucker for anything with a pleat. I recently did a huge closet dump and found this beauty in the back of my closet collecting dust and decided it was time to bust her back out.

I definitely like. But now I wonder: how common are these “closet dumps”? And what happens to the dumpees that don’t earn retention?

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Simple, but not too simple

Years of looking at fashion advertising have yielded up one conclusion: no distractions. This Chanel print ad from about twenty years ago isn’t necessarily trying to sell you shoes or bags, but it will, unlike most of the ads that were trying to sell you shoes or bags, tell you where to get them.

Advertisement for Chanel boutiques, circa 1989

A brand with less self-confidence might have shown you their signature shoe, just to make sure they were on message. Chanel figures you already know that.

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A right to scowl

For many years I have said that what I was looking for, in the purely physical sense anyway, was a sweet smile and a nice pair of legs. This combination is not hard to come by, but it never approached my particular orbit. And fashion, as long as I can remember, might happily grant the latter, but the former just is not part of the deal:

Humming Bird hosiery advertisement from 1930

Now there may be extenuating circumstances here, inasmuch as this ad appeared in Vogue in 1930, and in the wake of the crash of 1929 smiles were somewhat sparse. Still, even today, a model is expected to look like they got her out of bed too early.

Davenport Mills, out of Chattanooga, was the first manufacturer to produce hosiery made out of that newfangled nylon stuff, circa 1939. They survived into the 1960s.


Buying local-ish

This turned up in yesterday’s paper, and it set me off on a wholly unnecessary tangent:

Local model dresses up nicely

Model Adrianna Standfill wears red patent heels with see-through straps by Christian Louboutin, $675; Loeffler Randall bag, $395; Alexis gauze dress, $525, all from Balliets. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

I have Actual Neighbors who could wear that and do it proud; what I can’t do is imagine any of them putting up $1595 to do it.

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Knot at all plain

An interesting little slide:

I had this up on a screen at the work box when a pair of gloriously lovely tootsies strode into the room. The owner thereof took a look, smiled, and then said: “Wouldn’t that leave a pattern on the top of your foot?”

Maybe if you stayed out in the sun too long. That’s not her thing, though.

(And I’m wondering how it is that I’ve known this woman for twenty years, maybe more, and never noticed anything below the pant cuff before.)

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Leaving room

Meghan Markle's well-turned ankleThe Duchess of Sussex, I am informed by previously reliable sources, wears a size 8 (US) shoe — except for the minor detail that she would rather not:

At first glance, her heels appear ordinary — something that would garner sister-in-law Kate Middleton’s approval — but upon closer inspection, her shoes are noticeably a size too big. It’s a fashion oddity that [she] has been quietly practicing since her engagement to Prince Harry.

According to fashion expert Harriet Davey, there’s perfectly logical explanation behind her rotation of ill-fitting pumps: “Celebs often go a size up, or even two, in the shoe department when they’re at an event or on the red carpet and it’s for one reason we can all relate to — to avoid blisters,” Davey told The Sun. “There’s nothing worse than uncomfortable shoes.”

Not even royals will suffer discomfort for the sake of protocol. Well done, Your Grace.

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Current fashion

Fran Porretto sent this along:

AC/DC shirt with Tesla and Edison

I pray you got it on first glance.

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Just some of the perks

If you’re high enough on the celebrity ladder, things will be arranged for you. Last fall, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone wed occasional co-star Ranveer Singh in traditional Konkani and Sindhi ceremonies — at Lake Como, Italy.

The happy couple were shod by Christian Louboutin:

Ceremonial shoes for the wedding of Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh

But that wasn’t all:

[D]esigner Sabyasachi told … how the luxury brand went about creating a pair of shoes after her. He revealed, “Deepika is a traditional girl. I remember calling Christian because we both are big fans of her and we love her. And so I told him that we are doing this wedding and you have to do the shoes, and he was like ‘of course.’ When probed further if the diva had shoes named after her, he was quick to say, ‘Yea, the Deepik heel’.”

Behold the Deepik heel:

Deepik heel by Christian Louboutin

List price is $995, but at the moment they seem to be sold out.


The right to Bear legs

Sometimes you have to go with the title you have:

Advertisement for Bear Brand hosiery

Thia particular advertisement boasts that the product is “British made,” but Bear Brand originated in the States: the former Paramount Knitting operation had several American plants, including one in Kankakee, Illinois that has since been razed. While the Stateside operation was winding down, the British firm continued until the 1990s.

Now there’s a thoughtful driver.

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Score one for karma

This asshat was blown off magnificently:

Summed up nicely by a Farker:

Guy insults woman on Tinder because of the dress she’s wearing. Company that makes the dress asks woman if they can use her picture to advertise the dress. Guy looks like an idiot. Woman looks great.

In the UK, ASOS sells this dress for £75.


Took a shine to her

In 1972, the Army dispatched me to my first permanent duty station, to the extent that anything is permanent in the Army. I never thought of myself as anything but the generic Good Soldier: I wasn’t expecting to save the world, but by damn, I could get my bed made in the morning. And I did a pretty decent job keeping my boots properly glossy, which drew the attention of an adminstrative type two barracks over.

Donna Marie — her last name escapes me for some reason — outranked me by about a week, which meant more then than it does now. And she noticed the boots: “How do you do that?” I started to explain, but she cut me off and requested I do hers right then and there. Unfortunately for me, she was done up in the Class A of the day. So I’m crouched down low, putting some gloss on Donna’s shoes while daring myself not to look at Donna’s legs.

This late-1950s ad reminded me of that, rather forcefully:

Woman in a rain slicker with shiny shoes

For some reason, this ad, one in a series of such, was deemed a trifle risqué, perhaps because of low contrast: what she’s wearing, apart from the shoes and that wet-weather garment, is not all that obvious.


Modestly wacky

This dates from a time when underwear was gradually ceasing to be, well, “under”:

Undies by Lycra

In 2003, Du Pont moved to spin off its textile-fibers division to Koch Industries, which combined it with its existing fiber operation to form Invista; the Lycra trademark is gradually fading away in favor of the generic “spandex.”

(With thanks to Amy Poindexter, whom I’ve never seen in anything like this.)

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Smartly dull

Today, this would more likely be called a matte finish:

A downright cobwebby Kayser hosiery ad

Kayser called this “Gossamer,” and it’s tricky for me to work my mind around the idea of something proudly billed as flimsy sold as a premium product. Then again, it must be conceded that my experience with purchasing women’s unmentionables is decidedly limited.

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Nine individuals later

One does get weary of contemplating “Individual-1,” after all:

Individual 10 by Wolford

Wolford sells these in 15 different shades for $49 a pair.

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The Empress’ new clothes

An advertisement for “Spanish lambswool invisible petticoats,” from 1806:

Mrs. Robertshaw begs leave to inform those ladies that found their invisible petticoats shrunk last winter that she has a kind so much improved that she will warrant them never to shrink even in the commonest wash, at the same time will be found equally as soft, pliant and warm. Everybody that has tried them allows them to be a much pleasanter article than ever before invented, being so very elastic [a word merely meaning at the time having some stretch or give] and of so beautiful a white, and, like all these comforts will add quite as little to size as her patent lambs’ wool so much approved of last winter. Likewise invisibles and stays all in one; well adapted to ladies that are confined; also under waist coats and drawers of the same description.

Of course, what makes these garments “invisible” is the fact that they’re worn between the body and the dress, hence unseen; no H. G. Wells-style trickery here. Interestingly, advertisements of this sort disappeared, so to speak, after 1816:

The year 1816 is known as the Year Without a Summer (also the Poverty Year and Eighteen Hundred and Froze To Death) because of severe climate abnormalities that caused average global temperatures to decrease by 0.4โ€“0.7 °C (0.7โ€“1.3 °F). This resulted in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere.

Evidence suggests that the anomaly was predominantly a volcanic winter event caused by the massive 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). This eruption was the largest eruption in at least 1,300 years (after the extreme weather events of 535โ€“536), and perhaps exacerbated by the 1814 eruption of Mayon in the Philippines.

We may perhaps assume that the tendency of women to wear less when it gets warmer goes back at least two hundred years.


Here a light, there a light

The shoe vlogger known as Bupshi tours the Crystal Worlds museum run by Swarovski in Austria:

There is a Part One, but it’s all daytime: not so exciting. And if anyone cares, she’s wearing “Daisie” by Steve Madden.


The height of discomfort

Some Japanese women have had it up to here with high heels:

Did you know that it is mandatory for women in Tokyo to wear high heels to work?

That’s right, a working woman’s dress code in Japan’s capital city necessitates them to wear heels. But no such absurd dress code demands are observed when it comes to the men. We can smell the inequality all the way from Tokyo!

To protest against this form of discrimination, women have launched an online movement called “#KuToo”. The #KuToo movement takes a leaf out of the #MeToo movement as women finally speak out
about the pain of having to work with heels.

Apparently “KuToo” is a fusion of the words for “shoe” and “pain,” which at least makes sense.

A lot of people are drawing parallels between having to wear heels at work with the discriminatory tradition of “foot binding.” While foot binding was a custom of applying tight binding to the feet of young girls to alter the shape and size of their foot, in some twisted way it is very similar in having to mandatorily wear heels to work.

You get old enough, high heels will alter the shape and size of your foot..

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Big leg woman ain’t got no soul

We will leave questions of taste aside for the moment:

(Via snipe.)

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Perhaps this will help

A friend of mine, fortyish and tech-minded, came up with this brainstorm:

What I really need is a way to order lipstick by hex code or RGB value.

Think of it! Sixteen million colors! (More precisely: 16,777,216.) No doubt some of those colors would look terrible on her, and some other ones might look terrible on anyone, but a little six-character code is probably more functionally descriptive than, say, “Tahiti Twilight.”

And if you’ve ever fancied the edges of this page, done up in Too Long Marooned, it’s #330000.

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Not quite bedtime yet

And really, this makes a heck of a lot of sense:

Yes, I have lots of pajamas. But they are important to me. I even have what I think of as “pre-pajamas” — comfortable clothes that are still okay for going outside in if you have to put the trash down or if you need to run through the bank’s drive-through window (I would go ahead and get “properly dressed” again if I had to go to the grocery, but it’s nice to have lounge pants and old floppy funny t-shirts for at-home wear).

I think we may safely assume that all of her utilitarian garb is in good repair, unlike some of the stuff I’ve seen creeping across the parking lot at sunset.

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Doctor’s orders

I may be wrong, but this seems sensible to me:

And that pseudonym grabs me right in the temporal lobes.

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When the numbers don’t add up

Women are known to complain about such matters, and who can blame them?

Who here is ready for the skinny jean fad to go ahead and get on its way?

The very term “skinny jeans” is a play on everything that was meant to be good about jeans.

My 16-year-old daughter looks fantastic in them. And while I am calling out “Amens,” what cruel fresh hot sauce is it that about the time a woman must lift her breasts up from around her waist to secure them in her bra, her daughters will be at peek bikini age?

There’s a nonzero chance that what she meant to say was “peak bikini age.”

And I note, with just a hint of sadness, that the office’s cute blonde who could rock those skinny jeans has moved on.

She was seventy years old. And yeah, if you looked in certain places, you’d see signs of it. Me, I focused, as I will, on a sweet smile and killer legs.

And I would like to believe this is why nature chose to give me thick hips and calves that laugh in the face of “plus sized” boots. But that isn’t really working for me here in 2019.

I wear a size 9½ shoe.

My bra is a double D, that often begs me to woman up and trade in for a triple. When I am “thin” I am a size 10. When I am just right, I am a 12. And when I am not any of those sizes, I am a 14 or 16.

I do not know how much I weigh. I gave that practice up a long time ago. You see, girls like me, you can’t guess our weight. Although, that is a fun game. The nurse puts the scale on 100 … and I say, “that’s cute…” 150 … keep guessing … and then she inevitably says, “Wow, you carry that well, I had no idea … you have such a pretty face.”

Shut it missy.

Yeah, I think I’d get snappish after years and years of that.

(Via Alice Mills.)

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Summer, when the reruns air

But an actor still needs to eat:

William Shatner and DeForest Kelley hawking men's shirts

“Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a mannequin!”

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Becky’s in black

The song is called “LBD,” and that’s what it’s about:

If you’re puzzled by that verse in Spanish, well, the G is for Gomez.

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It’s the orthotic that counts

This is a case of my clipping something from the newspaper and then completely forgetting about it. From some time last spring:

Jill by Marion Parke

About the designer:

Marion Parke is an American podiatric surgeon and luxury footwear designer. Motivated by her vision for footwear with intelligent design, she creates shoes that seamlessly blend thoughtful structure with an elegant yet edgy style. Marion Parke has treated countless stylish women seeking beautiful footwear with considerate construction. In response to this need, she launched her namesake collection for Spring 2016. Her launch collection quickly garnered editorial and retailer interest. She was named a finalist for the Accessory Council’s prestigious Emerging Designer Award in 2015. Most recently, she received Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award in Accessories for 2017.

“Jill”, pictured above, doesn’t seem that edgy, but it’s nice to look at.

Dr. Parke knows her way around this part of the world, too:

Parke, a University of Oklahoma graduate, launched her first namesake collection in spring 2016. Since then, her luxury shoes have caught the attention of women across the country, including countless celebrities, who have a little more spring in their step thanks to Parke’s sculpted and contoured insole.

She said it’s that insole that sets her shoes apart from others. A traditional insole generally is a flat piece of cardboard. Hers follows the natural contour and curvature of the bottom of the foot. Key elements are arch support, cupping in the heel and added material along the outside for a more stable position of the foot.

While others may describe her shoes as comfortable, that’s not a word Parke uses. She thinks the expectations are different. Her shoes are not made for people with foot problems or bunions. Her shoes aren’t extra wide or extra deep. They’re for the woman with normal feet who says she still can’t wear a high heel for more than 30 minutes.

“That’s where the white space is in the market,” she said, adding her shoes are for the woman who likes to shop designer and loves fashion.

By now, “Jill” is on the way out, and the $450 price tag has shrunk to $270.

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The Stevening

Amazon carries about 20 colors of Steve Madden’s “Daisie” pump, and some of them, in some sizes, are on sale at this writing for rather less than the $100 list. Unsure which to show off, I looked over at a distant tab, and here’s the shoe vlogger known as Bupshi, trying on five of them in an Austrian (I think) store:

Before you ask: it’s a four-inch heel.

And she’d like you to know that (1) she bought the red ones and (2) no, that’s not a tattoo.

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I’d like to buy a towel


I assure you, this is no sillier than the sixty thousand other fashion vlogs.

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Get those halls decked, stat

So what is this “gay apparel” business, anyway? Erin Palette has the specifications:

Gay Apparel
Light Armor

  • Aura: Faint illusion
  • Caster Level: 4th
  • Cost: 1,151 gp

Gay Apparel is a masterwork reinforced tunic of red, green and white, usually decorated with bells and festive designs of snowflakes, candy canes and reindeer. Because it is essentially a shirt, Gay Apparel can be donned (or removed) as a Move Action (there is no “don hastily” option for Gay Apparel).

When worn by anyone possessing bardic performance, Gay Apparel grants the Lingering Performance feat. When worn by anyone with at least one rank in Perform: Sing, it grants the use of the Basic Harmony teamwork feat even if they lack the prerequisites.

Construction Requirements: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Basic Harmony, Lingering Performance, Auditory Hallucination.

And a fa-la-la to you all.

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And some of us are glad of it

“Girls,” said Aristoc in 1969, “are different”:

1969 advertisement for Aristoc hosiery

The Aristoc name dates to 1934, when it was adopted by the then ten-year-old A. E. Allen company; eventually they were absorbed by Pretty Polly.

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Gender, schmender

In case I was wondering how well the various online-advertising entities were tracking me, this would have served quite nicely as a wake-up call:

Banner ad for

This banner ad was fed to me while I was looking up team standings on

(And still I wonder: why didn’t they choose to promote

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