An Interview With the Original Owner of My Vintage Coat

Dear original owner,

I scored your coat at a vintage shop and have a few questions for you:

Q: If you could afford this couture coat, I have to assume that you had enough money to have help. I imagine that you had a “girl” who looked like me and cooked, cleaned and took care of your kids. (So what did YOU do all day?) Could you imagine your “Girl” one day having a granddaughter who would buy your coat? My grandmother was a “Girl.”

Q: Can you imagine that married women would fight to be accepted into the corporate workforce and then some of them would choose to keep all their household responsibilities as well, thereby having two full-time jobs and thus tons of stress?! Meanwhile, their husbands tend to do the same amount of work that your husband did. Why? Well, there was a Enjoli perfume commercial back in the 80s where a woman touted:

I can bring home the bacon/ Fry it up in a pan/ And never, ever let you forget you’re a man.”

This commercial helped convince a whole generation (or two) of women to be 24-hour women. Many women accepted that philosophy quicker than a cashmere sweater at a sample sale. We’re still waiting on the men’s jingle on how they can work and cook the bacon. Although these days grass-fed beef would be more apropos.

Early 1960s coat shown via catalog ad from that time, alongside me rocking the vintage frock in 2012.

Q: What happened to the original top button? What do you think of the new blinged out button I replaced it with?

Q: Why did you get rid of the coat? Was it because it was no longer fashionable? Or, when you passed away did your children lack fashionable instincts and give it away?

Q: Did you have one of those leopard coats like Jackie O? If so, where can I find it?

Q: What size were you? If it fits me, I’m thinking that in those days, you were definitely considered a big girl. Did you feel beautiful? Did you have lots of clothing options? Did you ever diet? If so, which diets were available? I’m pretty sure that Jenny Craig and Atkins weren’t options back then. Perhaps you did Weight Watchers as your “reduction” program?

Q: How many sexual partners did you have? Did you wait til you were married and then that night think, “Is that all there is?”

Q: Our president today is a black man. What do you think of that?

Q: Did you ever hear Whitney Houston sing or Michael Jackson dance?

Q: Can you imagine two hurricanes, a tornado and earthquake in NYC in an 18-month period? It happened.

Q: Would you believe that we’re still on many of the same political issues as in the 1960s? Yup, we’re still arguing about abortion, are still talking about birth control and people are still fighting for their civil rights. I know, shocking. Hopefully in 40 more years, we can move on to other social, political and environmental issues.

So thanks for your time. I’m really enjoying your coat. By the way, who was the designer? The tag is gone. I can use the Internet — this massive public spiderweb of information — to try to find the answer. But my generation expects immediate gratification, so I hope you can just give me the answer.

Paris vs. Milan — The Report

Here’s the long delayed report on my April vacation to Paris and Milan. This time, instead of writing about what I did and saw, I decided to assess each city in a gamut of random, yet meaningful categories. Folks, you’ll never find observations like this in a travel book. Check out the winners!

OBSERVATION WINNER I’M JUST SAYIN’
PARIS MILAN
1. Most bonafide gingers None at all spotted in Paris
2. Most men you want to look at Tie – Parisian men win the fashion, but Italian men are really handsome. A hybrid would be perfect.
3. Most women you want to look at   Hands down, Frenchies win this. The Italian women are atractive too, but their attire negates that.
4. People spotted wearing fur even though it’s Spring A surprisingly tied category
5. Tightest clothes Damn, signoras!
6. Most plastic surgery Donatella would be so proud
7. Most blondes
10. Most people wearing all black
11. Best lingerie Paris (however, see below)
12. Most clothing designers who actually realize that women have breasts
13. Best shoes French, you don’t have to leave the US to know that
14. Best sunglasses Enormous and always on, even on a cloudy day
15. Weirdest eyebrows Tie – In Milan, they draw them in quite dramatically. In Paris, their eyebrows don’t match their hair. Quell horror!
16. Best makeup Can you say cat eye magnifique?
17. Best smelling… people
18. Best smelling…shops
19. Least rude I was done with the Italians within an hour. New Yorkers and Parisians don’t even rank as rude in comparison
20. Quickest switch to English when noticing my slow processing of information
21. Most romantic
22. Best cocktails Milan didn’t even bother with cocktails, usually only offering a wine list
23. Best tap water Always on the table in Paris. Milanese looked totally offended just by the request for non-bottled water.
24. Tastiest tomatoes
25. Best french fries Only Amsterdam is better
26. Best overall food I walked down the street eating bread in Paris and pretty much starved in Milan
27. Best sweets Neither. Both need to learn how to use SUGAR
28. Most addictive snacks Total tie. In Paris, it was crossaints. Milan, lemon gelato.
29. Best public transportation Paris was quick, clean, no complaints. Milan – confusing as fuck.
30. Best cars Milan, you fancy, huh?
31. Fastest drivers
32. Most honking They might be worse than NYC cab drivers
33. Where you’re most likely to get run over by a motorcycle They’ll jump a curve in a minute
34. Most places to easily trip and fall
35. Most iPhones Tie. It is seriously outta control. Apple rules the world.
36. Most Beats by Dre headphones Yes, those enormous ones
37. Best music In Paris, I felt like dancing everywhere. Milan had the sound of cymbals in their music– or opera, God forbid
38. Most Angry Bird fans
39. Most public drunkenness
40. Easiest access to birth control Condom machines are in every subway station!
41. Best dogs They were usually small and had long hair and accessories!
42. Cutest kids Both had some pretty cute kids, but the Italian kids were cute AND entertaining
43. Least Americans spotted Americans are generally embarrasing
44. My most used phrase I want to buy this Do you speak Engish?
45. Place I could return to over and over and OVER

Please Wear Short-Shorts

The unofficial start of summer is only a few days ago and already, I  feel the need to save the world from some horrifying looks. This will be short.

Going Strapless? Go Bold

Let’s first discuss strapless shirts/dresses, tube tops, and any other look that doesn’t have sleeves. If you’re going to wear it, WEAR IT. Don’t spend all your time hitching your top up. If it keeps slipping down, something is wrong. You either have on the wrong size top/dress or the wrong size bra. And if it’s not slipping, but you still feel the need to constantly check it, give up. You  need sleeves.

GOING SHORT

And the second area — shorts — on this, I must go IN. Shorts should be an inch above your knee or shorter. I love short-shorts. And it takes a special leg to pull those off. Make sure you have special legs. However, short-shorts aren’t my chief complaint today. The issue at hand is long shorts.

Shorts that hit the knee or somewhere below that are baffling to me. When you sport this look, you’re not doing yourself any favors! Well, unless you think chopping yourself off in the most awkward place is favorable for you.

This complaint applies to women AND men. I saw men in shorts that dragged on way past their knees. And I saw women in shorts that hit them at mid-calf. Ok, those are actually Capri pants. And I know I’ve said I wouldn’t complain about Capri pants anymore. Yet every year, here they come. Why do designers think it will look good to create pants that cover all the way down to the shapliest part of the leg (and it’s only American designers. You wouldn’t see a French or Italian woman in these pants)? They practically promise to make the wearer look like a stump! And the worse is when short women wear these horrible garments. If they get them in green, they could audition to be munchkins on the Wizard of Oz.

So save yourself, there’s a lot of summertime left. If your shorts (or capris) are longer than your knee, head on over to Rivington Street. There are plenty of tailors there who can whip your wardrop right into shape. Probably for less than $10. Happy Summer!