Forget Rabbit Fur Coats

Fringed calico chaps are where it’s at.

Way Out West by the Sterns


John Wayne ain’t got nothing on my fringe game…

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “Thrift Shop”


Why Your Grandma Never Had Hair In Her Eyes

Alpha Delta Pi ladies of Indiana University, 1943

One notices in 1940s hairstyles that the hair just beyond the temples was often smooth or pinned back, making the voluminous curled areas appear ever poofier in contrast. Ever wonder why you don’t see pics of these women with long bangs in their faces (like the umpteen actresses on talk shows who constantly wipe their hair to the side)? There’s no Crystal Gayle or Kim K. hair here. And it wasn’t just fashion.

Able-bodied men were overseas, and women were manning the production lines. Long hair (or even one stray lock) could get caught in machines and not only injure the workers, but put production on hold until she was freed. Even Veronica Lake (of the oft-imitated peekaboo hairstyle) changed her style during the war effort, showing the dangers of untamed, unpinned hair.

This youtube video explains why safety is of the utmost importance during factory work.

The end result is a new and improved, less seductive 4’11” Veronica, donning the updo called the “Victory Roll.” Sleek = Safe. And as you can see in the video, from behind, her hair makes a dazzling V for victory.

Many stars wore them, including Rita Hayworth.

(Photo by Pictorial Parade/Moviepix/Getty Images)

And Betty Grable.


Now you know why your vintage pin-ups often wear their hair in an updo, and why the Allies won the war.

The Power Of Velour

A friend’s Facebook post today of his infant self, garbed in velour, got me thinking about my days of velour, which, incidentally would be a great autobiography title. I stumbled across this 1979 Sears catalog image, and was reminded of a velour green dress I donned at Christmas that year (with a white satin blouse underneath-trust me, ’twas all the rage), in the final vestiges of the unseemly 70s. Or was it velvet or velveteen? Who can discern the magic of textiles?

Listen, I could collage up this joint and post all kinds of velour images across this page, but honestly, it’s overkill. I think we get the gist of velour off of just this one plush-fabric pic. It’s a lipglossy, pre-Working Girl meets Studio 54 (I almost said Area 51; Freudian slip) era, with the skinny belt, skirt slit, and stilettos, to boot. I can’t tell if they’re 13 or 43. But look at Miss Purple’s jutted elbow. She is NOT having sassy backtalk today. You flip through that Rolodex, girl. Fierce.

Now should we bring velour back? Heavens, no. When I see it in the wild nowadays (once just this year at church), I shake my head. The moment is over. It only whispers “Goodwill reject bin” from the fibers of its sheen. And we all know the only relevant sheen in 2018 is a Netflix Martin.

But can we take two minutes to appreciate it today? Even just saying the word is fun. Velour. Make it rhyme with sewer. Is it flattering? Heavens, no. It makes pre-teens look four months pregnant. Does it keep you warm? Yes. Did it take these girls from playgrounds to champagne? Or is the lyric “from crayons to perfume”? Whatever. Velour does that. That’s the power of velour.

Things That Don’t Pair Well With Wine: That Outfit

Long Island winery from “An American Moment” by Harris

Why am I so salty on the sabbath? Is it the 100+ heat with no chance of a cloud until mid-October? Perhaps I just can’t process why this vintner chose to put that ensemble together.

“Okay, Carol, focus, focus! The magazine is coming today, and they’re going to take some pictures, so I’ll just build my outfit, starting with shoes. These sandals are so smart! What goes with this coral shade? Ah, yes, my old artist’s smock–the one with sleeves that go past my weenus. What’s next? The plaid navy skirt that makes me look bulky despite my thin frame. Marvelous. Done.”

To be fair, salmon and navy are on trend this season. Just not in the same proportion.

In fact, my last dress purchased was a navy/salmon print. That salmon is so current. Or is it against current? 😉

Who knew you could even get SHOES in said colors?

Just perfect for the petite jogging woman who needs to add three inches of height as she pounds pavement!

Before Summers Were 110 Degrees

An American Moment by Harris

Those of you alive during the summers of the 1980s might recall how high-cut swimsuits were, with fabric barely meeting at the hipbone. These two young ladies seem to be enjoying the golden hour of a Rhode Island summer’s eve. Props for the two-tier gold necklace. Did she wear that into the water?

Misquamicut Beach

When Helen Was A Popular Name

In days of yore, both high school and university yearbooks included many pages of the campus’s most attractive dames. The 1933 Austin High School Comet was no exception. Let’s start with the freshman.

How equestrian! How polished! How elegant!

Now on to the sophomores.

Check out the razzle-dazzle art deco framing their pics. I guess most high school girls owned riding crops. Now we see the juniors, both named Helen.

And there are no 12A or B favorites, oddly. Just Essie Mae Wentworth, Queen of the Spring Festival.