The Dog Days of Summer Get a Fashion Lesson

I was looking around my yard right now and with the heat, the low humidity, and maybe the smoke, things aren’t looking all that pretty.  But, looking out the kitchen window while doing dishes, I did notice something beautiful.  In fact, I put it right outside that particular window so I could get some enjoyment while indoors.  I’m talking about my hibiscus tree that lives in the house in the winter, barely, but is happiest out on the patio all summer:

I thought it was really nice to aim a flower right at the window for me.  I will reward it with some fertilizer, and maybe a bigger pot, if I can find one.  At the top of the picture is a “weather stick” that a friend bought me.  It predicts the weather, based on humidity.  The more humid it is, the further the stick bends towards the ground.  It’s pretty much right against the siding right now going as straight up as it can.  I haven’t seen the humidity more than 20% for a while, and one day last week it was 9% when the temperature was in the high 90s°F.  I only mention it because while low humidity makes the hot weather more bearable, it sure doesn’t help outdoor plants or the fires.  I’m giving all my outdoor gardens a pass right now; I’m glad they are still hanging in there.

B.H. and I have two temporary visitors:

This is a really young monarch butterfly caterpillar munching on a milkweed leaf.  There are two in there, but one seems camera shy.  A neighbor was a high school science teacher and has participated in all these science projects over her career.  She has been raising monarch butterflies, marking, and releasing them in conjunction with a research project called Monarch Watch.  It is associated with University of Kansas and they are researching monarch migration and population.  She isn’t teaching now but still raises caterpillars and releases them after they emerge from their chrysalis.  She knows that several of us neighbors are at loose ends right now and have milkweed in our yards just in case a monarch should come by.  Eastern CO is at the far edge of their territory, but we do get a few now and then.  I was happy to take in a couple of tiny caterpillars and watch them grow.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Now, I had better get to the real business at hand, being silly.  We have been seeing lots of interesting clothes at the thrift stores.  I think people are cleaning closets, and some of those closets haven’t been emptied in a while!

Take this shirt:


No, please, someone needs to take it!  Do you remember the craze of decorating chambray shirts with embroidered designs stitched on or fabric appliqued to the front and back?  I did my fair share of embroidery in the 1970s.  This might have been done just a little later, but who knows; rickrack is timeless.  I know the gingham animals are supposed to be owls, but they kind of look like angry ghosts, don’t they?  Owl ghosts?!  What do owl ghosts say?  Whhhooooo!! [Use scary voice.]

B.H. griped about how the yellow and red owls were reversed correctly on the back, but the blue owl is on the wrong side.  He is our grammar examiner, too!

I found this embroidery pattern at our now-closed craft recycling store:

It’s just what I was mentioning in the previous paragraph.  Look at that poor family on the front of the envelope wearing clothing “decorated” with these designs.  If anyone understands how they grouped these items together, please spill the beans!  For the life of me, I can’t figure out how the biplane fits in here at all.  On the back is a pattern for a pig who is wearing a bowling shirt?  Maybe that explains the strike right next to it.  Was everyone high at the Simplicity Company the day this pattern was put together?  If it tickles your funny bone, and you need some bacon embroidered on a dish towel, it’s listed in my Etsy shop because there is a market for almost everything!

As long as we’re talking about homemade clothing, take a look at this hat which was hanging in the children’s clothing section of the store:

It’s a pretty blinding version of those hats crocheted with pieces of beer cans on the sides.  They sure used glow-in-the-dark yarn.  I’m fond of the beer, Fat Tire by New Belgium Brewery, a local company.  They are the company that sponsors Tour de Fat, a bike parade over Labor Day that we’ve posted pictures of in other years.  It’s cancelled this year just when we all need a good time.  But, it would be irresponsible to crowd people together right now.  It will happen again, next year, never fear!  Folks around here are addicted to it.  In fact, I should have bought that hat to wear to the parade; I’m sure it would have been the final perfect detail for someone’s costume.

This hat was in with the Halloween costumes that are out already:

It really is a kid’s hat, this time, but I’m not sure what creature they were going for with all that lank dark green hair and googly enormous eyes.  Is it the Creature From the Black Lagoon (too much hair), or some sort of mermaid?  Whatever it is, I feel sorry for the poor kid who had to wear this around town.

Well, that’s it for the normal portion of the post.  For those of you without interest in purses (Wha???) I bid you adieu.  Keep safe and sane, and we’ll see you next week.

For the rest of the audience simpatico with our handbag love, I have another chapter on 100 years of purses—this time the swinging ’60s:

The Sixties were schizophrenic in a way.  The early 1960s were more formal and Jackie Kennedy had a massive influence on how women dressed.  She frequently carried a small envelope bag, and her designer of choice was Oleg Cassini.  Over-the-arm leather purses with triangular bottoms were the bag of choice during the day.  But even then, there was a youth movement starting and it burst onto the scene in the mid Sixties.

All of a sudden, bags had long chains, or straps and hung from the shoulder.  They were made from the newest of materials, mixed with some old favorites—leather, metal, and fabric.

The bag in the upper right corner was made from space-age materials and inspired by Paco Rabanne designs with discs connected with metal rings.

The purse on the bottom left looks like it’s made from wooden beads, but no, it’s a tiny bag made from glass beads.  You might get a little money and a bit of makeup in there, but probably not your diaphragm!

The psychedelic movement and flower power started up in the mid Sixties too, with the drug influenced art and music coinciding with protests against the Vietnam war.  Norms were flying out the windows and anything went for the young:

Even some matrons were updating their look with the Pierre Cardin purse in the upper left made from pieces of metalic strips.  Below that is a real Paco Rabanne purse with the plastic discs connected with metal.  I can remember the purses in the upper right for daytime use.  I wasn’t old enough on the 1960s to really get into anything but the mildest of styles.  My mom wouldn’t have let me have either of those purses to carry to church.

The final big thing was the Space Age and all the new materials that came from the big push to get to the moon by the end of the decade.

The bag on the left side of the page was more classic in style, but it also looked futuristic.  That probably sat well with the slightly older lady who wanted to be stylish, but was worried about looking silly dressing like a teenager.  She could carry this shopping or to lunch without fear of being ridiculed.  A lot of new plastics were being used in fashion for purses, jewelry, and shoes.  I can remember even dresses were made from plastic as well as see-through vinyl coats, etc.  You sure couldn’t carry an alligator bag with that outfit!

Whenever I think about the 1960s, I also think of the 1920s, the original rebels.  It’s interesting to look at the norm breaking of both decades, and what followed afterward.

Thanks for reading.  There are still three or four more chapters to cover.  I think at the end I will take a quick look at the designers who were featured in some of the decades and talk about their influence.

I was also thinking that we should do a giveaway soon.  I have a couple of vintage purses that might be a fun way to celebrate finishing this series!

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