Thursday, 26 January 2017


Strip cartoons
stay in the year they were first published. Modesty Blaise: 1962. Fred Basset: 1957 (suburbs, man in granddad clothes. In 2014 he’s got a laptop, but they’ve still got an open fire in a 30s grate, with an armchair either side. Clive and Augusta: 1967. Bristow: 1960 (ancient adding machines and everything done on paper).

In radio documentaries, quotations from 18th and 19th century writers are read by an actor putting on a silly voice. They’ve used the same silly voice for 30 years: deep, fruity and with a faint mummerset inflection.

The mantua began as bedroom wear, but developed into a stylised and strangely fossilised uniform for formal occasions. In the slow-moving world of the court it was still worn in the 1760s, but looked like an extreme parody of the off-duty outfits of nearly a century earlier. (If Walls Could Talk: An intimate history of the home, Lucy Worsley) Court dress was still being advertised in the 30s. Debutantes wore a modified version to be presented at Court in the 1950s, before the Queen abolished the practice. The debs weren’t daunted: they now wear long white dresses and curtsey to a cake at Queen Charlotte’s ball. In 2017.

150 years after the invention of the typewriter, some are still insisting that children should be taught “joined up writing” or cursive (the reasons given change). Back then, if you could write good cursive, you could get a job as a clerk. These days, why not teach all children proper touch-typing?

D’Oyley Carte productions of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas became fossilised versions, weighted down by accreted “business”. The company closed in 1982 and others were free to interpret G&S in their own way. But there’s a moment when everybody believes that is the thing. English folk songs just are dirges about mine disasters sung by old men putting on a rural accent. Or else they just are twee choral arrangements sung affectedly by the BBC singers.


A skeuomorph is an article based on an earlier model made in a different material. The classic skeuomorph is the china spoon copied from a metal one – the china version has a fake rivet.

Imbrication (a pattern like hanging tiles) derives from Roman Dacian scale armour via the 15th century, says historian Jonathan Foyle.

Horn of plenty or cornucopia: in prehistory, people used animals’ horns like handbags or baskets.

Doric capitals (the curly ones) on columns follow the horns of rams' head capitals. (You can see some in Whiteley's in Queensway.)

Were deckled edges on writing paper derived from the uneven edges of torn parchment?

Scroll decoration: look at a real scroll.

Stone garden planters sometimes have a ring carved on the side – originally a real ring for carrying the object with two poles.

Instructions on party invites for “carriages at 12, black tie”.

We still talk about “horsepower”, and the Deux Chevaux was a popular car.

Fictive damask: it’s painted on the wall.

Some new office blocks are modelled on converted warehouses.

Cabriole legs on furniture descend from Egyptian tables and chairs which had legs modelled on animals’ limbs.

You can get a tattoo imitating cross stitch.
Battery tea lights and votive lights in churches imitate wax candles.

Plastic nit-combs: originally made of bone, the design is unchanged for 1000s of years.

CGI imitates hand-drawn animation, Thunderbirds puppets, stop-motion (Mr Fox).

The underscore key (and character) on a computer keyboard: it used to be for underlining.

Nobody has worn a waist-cinching corset since the 50s, but Disney princesses have 1880 waists.

Modernist houses were modelled on TB sanatoria (flat roofs, sun loungers, covered corridors, balconies, big windows).

Brooms and whisks were originally branches and twigs.

Dummy chimneys on new houses.

Earthenware dishes were based on wooden originals.

Curb chains worn as jewellery are modelled on part of a horse’s bridle.

Buildings are given watchtowers when there’s no need to look out for an enemy, a returning fleet, or misbehaving prisoners.

Lead bullets were fired by slings before guns.

Architects are building tower blocks inspired by Excel spreadsheets, points out Adam Nathaniel Furman.

Banqueting suites and venues for hire still provide gilt “rout chairs” from the early 1800s. Light and moveable, they were the plastic stacking chairs of their day. They go with white tablecloths, and give the whole place an air of formality, social awkwardness and deep gloom. You place them round the edge of the ballroom for wallflowers to sit on and wish they’d never been born.

Do Olympians pretend to bite silver and bronze medals as well as gold? (You bit sovereigns to make sure they weren’t counterfeit – gold is softer.)

The fashionable stopped wearing patches (artificial beauty spots) in the late 18th century, but that was no reason to close down the thriving patch box industry, and the makers carried on designing new models and selling to collectors.

Saw a plastic jamjar with a handle for sale in Sainsburys. (PM)

In the early 20th century, makers of classical marble, slate and onyx clock garnitures took a long hard look at their unsold stock and designed some Art Deco Cubist versions to use up their warehouse full of marble etc.

forelock-tugging: It’s constantly invoked as a sign of overdone deference, though nobody has actually tugged a forelock since about 1920. You clutched the brim of your hat (tipped your hat) as a vestigial version of raising your hat out of respect. If you weren’t wearing a hat, you tugged your forelock. Why did you raise your hat? Because you were supposed to remove your hat in the presence of a lady, or someone further up the social hierarchy. And raising the hat was a vestigial version of taking the hat right off and bowing low.

Notorious Bank junction '... too many people milling around in a space designed for horses and carts. ' (@susieclapham)

TV screens (squares with rounded corners) turned up all over 60s art. Sunglasses were much the same shape. Windows were modelled on aeroplane windows – with round corners to stop them cracking.

Piracy had ceased to pay, but a vocational tradition will last long after it has ceased to be economic, in a decadent form. (Richard Hughes)

Women go on making rather dull, simple pillow lace long after the fashion for trimming all clothes and underwear with lace has passed (and lace has been made by machine for 100 years). Yet lace never entirely disappears. it lingered in various forms into the 80s with a revival of lace collars and petticoats. There was a revival in the 90s and somebody wrote a brilliant article on the semiology of different coloured lace. White – you look like a doily. Black and red – tarty. Navy blue or brown – mother of the bride. Pale green? Turquoise? Lilac?

Medieval great halls were modelled on Bronze Age round houses which were modelled on yurts with seats round the edge and a brazier or hearth in the centre.

Maes Howe, Kevin’s Kitchen (ancient underground spaces with huge corbelled “spires”) copy caves. Cathedrals are the same thing above ground (apart from the crypt).

Seaside piers were originally for steamers picking up passengers – they could only sail in deep water. When the steamers went, towns went on building piers.

After the War, wire-grid stretchers were converted into fences for council estates in Deptford an East Dulwich. Subsequent council estate fences were modelled on the stretchers.

Early newspaper computer systems used the language of “desks” and “baskets” (what we called “metaphors” in those early computer days). We still talk about a computer’s “desktop”.

Writer and priest Ronald Knox noticed that in the 20s, women who had had their hair “shingled” (cut very short), still patted the backs of their heads as if to check their updo.

Ranch-style houses of the 50s copied genuine ranches – wooden cabins built around a chimney put together from whatever rocks you could find lying around.

Deeply buttoned leather sofas were copied from car interiors (It was as if a motor car had spawned. EM Forster), which in turn were copied from carriage interiors – padded to protect you from the lurching of the vehicle, and probably for warmth as well. And leather would be hardwearing and waterproof.

Gas lights were modelled on the lanterns hung at the doors/gateways of grand houses. Electric “carriage lamps” outside your 30s villa are a further evolution.

New houses are modelled on converted Victorian houses (a long thin “living area” with windows front and back, copying two small rooms “knocked through”).

In the Ice Age there was no distinction between dolls and idols (articulated figures have been found). There are wooden Egyptian figures in the British Museum with articulated arms. Egyptian (and early Greek) statues of gods follow articulated figures, with a slot in the hand to hold a rod or spear.

Digging at Silbury Hill revealed successive layers of chalk and turf. It was a model of the moon: you could clad it in chalk so that it would shine (especially by moonlight), and then make it go “dark” again by covering it in turf. And when the moat fills with water the hill is reflected, and the moon is full. It is this that it is, my theory.

Reverse skeuomorph: Zoroastrians use real flaming urns in their ceremonies.

More here.

Ionic capital

Lagging Behind

This blog is really about how the way we live now grew out of the way we lived then. The future doesn't arrive all at once: there are odd pockets that fail to keep up with the march of progress and are always lagging behind.

Pub opening and closing times (introduced in World War One) fitted contemporary work start and end times (sometimes 8am to 4pm), as did last tube and last bus times. When we started work later and left later, these were slow to catch up.

Some letter-writers don’t seal post because they think it’s cheaper to send unsealed envelopes. Not true since 1969 and the introduction of 1st and 2nd class post.

Treasury tags resembled tiny green shoelaces and were used in old-fashioned filing systems. They lived on in office drawers long after becoming pointless.

People are still using (and buying, and supplying in cafes and restaurants) teaspoons and jam spoons that are too short for the tall glass coffee cup, or the jampot. What they need are long “parfait” spoons, designed for eating ice cream from one of those tall glasses.

Most Essex/Cardiff girls get breast implants, but clothes manufacturers haven't caught up. They’re still using measurements taken immediately after the war, in the 50s, when food had been rationed for 10 years. And the average unaltered English woman has hips that are two inches wider than her bust. Another side effect of better nutrition is that people are now taller – again, manufacturers pay no attention. So the girls at Aintree Ladies' Day wear dresses strained over the bust, with a waist that’s too high and a skirt that’s too short.

New, groovy craft books recycle the same old patterns for – tumbler cosies? Wine bottle cosies? Did anyone ever a) make them or b) use them? (They might have gone with the raffia placemat aesthetic of the early 60s.) Also unwearable slippers (slippery), knitted summer tops and dresses (hot).

Why did anyone object to “illegitimate” children if they didn’t think unmarried sex was a mortal sin, and the laws had been changed so that you could legitimize a child?

It makes sense to ban contraception when you need cannon and factory fodder. But the idea that contraception was somehow sinful continued after these were no longer needed, and we worried about overpopulation. Some doctors would only prescribe the pill for married women. And in the 70s some women having abortions were pressured to be sterilised at the same time, or have an IUD.

Prom dresses are copied from ball gowns designed for ballroom dancing, but girls wear them to “bop”. They have looked silly for 40 years.

When will social etiquette catch up with idiots who blare songs/videos on their phones in restaurants already playing music? (@andybud_o New technology always takes some time to develop its own code of manners.)

Toner was intended to clean off greasy cleansers, like cold cream, in the days when women were convinced by beauty pundits that soap was too "drying", and at the same time their faces were being destroyed by ingrained dirt (more likely before the Clean Air Act). So toner went out of style. But toners are back, says the Times March 2015: “The toners that we used to know were harsh, aggressive and dried out your skin. Now they are designed to soothe, hydrate and calm.” Old versions of revived products were always “harsh”. (Women's products are always sold as “gentle and kind”.)

There’s a lingering feeling that doctors need something to give patients to “keep them happy”. If they can’t refer to homeopaths, what can they do? Before regulation, they handed out useless “tonics”, or prescribed rest cures – perhaps we should bring these back.

Historian Quentin Bell pointed out that because of the lag between design and construction, buildings “with bobbed hair, cloche hats and short skirts” were being finished when women’s fashions had moved on to curls, frills and drapery.

We went on making steamed puddings long after we’d ceased to cook over open fires in a cauldron (when boiling a pudding in a cloth made sense). And they were recommended in WWII, when we were also urged to save fuel.

Men’s shirt pockets still fit cigarette packets, not mobile phones (and why do women’s tops have a tiny useless pocket?)

Elastic was in short supply during WWII, hence all those instructions to cut up old rubber gloves and hot water bottles to make elastic bands, which persisted long after the need for them had gone. We were still being told to wash rice and lentils in the 70s, when they came in packets. My mother used to save the wrappers from butter and margarine to grease pans for baking long after vegetable oil became available, and butter and marge were no longer rationed. We were also told to grease pie dishes because that was how you stopped the pudding sticking to the sides of a pudding basin – but pointless when you're making a casserole.

Continuing to lay a table cloth on a deal kitchen table, or one with a plasticised surface. Converse: marking your polished wood table because you don’t realise that you need a woollen cloth, covered with a linen cloth, and place mats.

Insisting on shallow, tepid baths even though you now have constant hot and cold running water. (And only three times a week.)

An older person pointed out c. 1970 that girls were wearing long, floaty, old-fashioned, feminine dresses – with the big clumpy platform shoes that went with mini-dresses. And it looked all wrong. She was right.

We still talk about “bed linen” even though it’s made of cotton, and used to refer to “under-linen”. We still “tape” when we record, and refer to recordings as “tapes”. Well, you can’t get “sex recording” into a headline. We still “film” things (“videoing” is awkward).

Newspapers called the Something Herald or Bugle. When was news last announced by a herald with a bugle?

Sitting with your back to the engine (or facing) on trains was relevant when carriages were open, and if you faced the engine you might get a face full of ashes, sparks and cinders. It continued as a superstition that some people felt sick unless they “faced the engine” or vice versa.

Gas lighting used up oxygen and people began to stifle, so keeping one window open even in winter was a good idea.

Tomato pincushions still have an emery-filled strawberry attached for de-rusting your needles. Modern stainless steel pins and needles don’t go rusty or oxidised.

Enamel hot water jugs and galvanised iron baths lived on in houses after we all acquired indoor plumbing. They were just repurposed: the baths ended up in the garden, full of earth and plants (as now with Belfast sinks). Or else they were used as drinking troughs for animals. The enamel jugs became flower vases. Some tin hot water jugs became watering cans (enamelled and  painted). (And cattle drinking troughs in cities are now full of plants.)

Brushing your hair 100 times a day keeps it glossy, we're told. It's a relic of the days when Victorian women had waist-length hair. The (soft) brush distributed the oil from the top to the end and probably did make your hair smooth and glossy. Detangling was done with a comb. But there's no need to brush short hair 100 times.

Early Man threw precious objects into bogs from 10,000BC. We still throw coins into water, and tie rags and more onto sacred trees.

Hats and gloves for formal wear lasted into the 50s. Originally the gloves kept your hands clean – and the veil on your hat kept your face clean and protected it from the sun.

Why do some people STILL refer to utility companies as 'boards' 30 years after the shackles of nationalisation were cut away? (‏@davidkingmozart)

The menservants who worked in large and lavish households were still made to wear powder, and grand footmen looked like extras from Cinderella right up to the Second World War. (If Walls Could Talk: An intimate history of the home, Lucy Worsley)

And isn't it time for lawyers to junk those stupid wigs?

Picture by John Leech.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

More 60s Food

In the 50s, aprons were all frilly and feminine (or gingham), and if a man wore one – cue laughs. Mid-60s, Habitat started selling unisex butcher aprons, with a practical plain design of white stripes on navy (it was traditional, but went with the geometric and yachting themes in fashion). They sold in millions and coincidentally it became OK for men to cook, and kitchens and dining became far less formal, with earthenware plates instead of fine china, and stainless steel cutlery instead of ornate silver. You ate round the (stripped pine) table in your (big, Victorian) kitchen.

Previously, the woman slaved in the kitchen for three hours, passed the food through the serving hatch, then nipped round to the dining room and joined her guests. With smart eat-in kitchens guests could talk as the hosts cooked, and even help out. It was also part of the “fun!” approach to life. No more boring white candles and Georgian candlesticks, have these pink/red/blue ones in a stainless steel modernist holder! Don’t launder those napkins, have a fun, red paper serviette! Don’t decant everything into separate vegetable dishes you'll have to wash up, bung everything into this oven-to-table casserole dish decorated with futuristic snowflakes! And the quickly prepared food (spag bol) was a lot tastier than the standard roast and two veg.

It was DIY cooking (led to the 70s fondue party – playing with your food!). It was a new kind of oneupmanship, and some caught on faster than others. It was about being modern. There was a lag between the vanishing of railway porters and the invention of pullalong suitcases, and a similar gap between the disappearance of servants and the junking of the stuffy lifestyle they had made possible. Duvets, dishwashers and freezers helped, too. 

Sheets and cookware became colourful. And mugs (easier than fragile cups and saucers). Plastics enabled patterned formica wipeclean worktops and wacky cutting boards. No more scrubbing kitchen tables. And goodbye antiques - a circular mirror framed in red was the icon of the new look.

So what did we eat in our trendy new kitchens?

Coffee ice cream, rum’n’raisin ditto.

Steak was a treat. It had to be rare. We bought sets of serrated steak knives. But if you ordered it in a restaurant you quite often didn’t get a steak knife and it was practically impossible to eat.

Potato scoops produced spheres of mashed potato, like melon or ice cream balls. They went with radishes/tomatoes cut into flowers. (How I miss those mashed pot balls in a sea of Bisto gravy.)

Mortadella: a horrible pallid sliced Italian sausage. People were outraged if you wouldn’t eat it. Why? It symbolised “abroad”, and sophistication.

cottage cheese
tinned mandarin segments

With variations including mayonnaise, smoked salmon and caviar. It was sooooo sophisticated! And delicious. Wet, sweet, salty and bland. And pumpernickel was different in those days: thinner and blacker and tasting faintly of salt and treacle. Oddly, it was delicious with butter and Silver Shred marmalade.

As well as fussing about how to eat pasta (twirl it round the fork), there was an immense amount of fussing about how to cook it. You had to take it off the heat just before it was cooked, and then quickly decant it so that it didn’t go on cooking because otherwise it might go soft and it wouldn’t be al dente and that would never do! It might become like very soft spaghetti in tins. Middle class food always has to be tough. Meanwhile common people were making macaroni mould in a pudding basin (it's rather delicious – combine with cheese sauce and peas and eat cold). We still had pudding basins – they were left over from the steamed pudding era.

Food was more expensive. Sainsbury’s sold bags of cracked eggs, and corner shops (then called “grocers”), sold bags of broken biscuits.

I'm sick of kitchens like science labs with an "island" you can't sit at. I miss those big kitchens with useful tables. Time to revive them?

More here.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

60s Slang

In the 60s, small talk, conventional etiquette, and formal manners were abolished. (Among a small subset of humanity. And they came back pretty quickly in the 70s.) The aim was to be laid back at all times, as if you were stoned, which you probably were. If you tried to talk about anything serious you might be told “Heaveeee!!!!” “It was quite a heavy scene” might mean that people were taking hard drugs. If you wanted to leave a gathering because you were bored, shy or embarrassed, or there was nobody there you wanted to talk to, you could say you were quitting the scene because the vibes were bad. Depressing events were a downer or bummer. Fortunately you could “get into” practically anything, from spiders to origami to particle physics, and make it “your thing”. If you were baffled or bored by any of the above, you could say “It’s not my bag”.  “Into” and “my place” were just coming in. Spacey for spaced out and airhead came later. But nobody ever said “Yeah, man!”

bad trip
bad vibes
do your/your own thing
Don’t come unglued!
Dragsville, Squaresville etc
drop acid
far out
generation gap
go crazy apeshit
go through changes
hacked off
Hang in there!
heavy scene, lighten up
Heavy, man!
hooked on
If you’re looking for a pad to crash...
It was a blast.
It was unreal!
It’s not my bag.
laid back
Let it all hang out.
Let’s split.
living in sin, shacking up
my place, your place
No sweat.
Quit buggin’ me.
scene, bad scene
something else
the fuzz
threads, gear
Turn on, tune in, drop out.
Wanna score some acid?
Want a toke?
What do you do for bread?
where you’re at, where it's at
where you’re coming from

I researched the slang for My Novel, a 60s-set young adult paranormal romance called Witch Way Now? (And I remembered a lot of it.)

More 60s here, and links to the rest.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Wrong Trousers

In the 80s, we wore comfortable trousers that fitted. Those were the days! But now it's 2016.

About 15 years ago, trousers became "hipsters" again, as in the 70s.

Ever since then, I've been waiting for trouser waist bands to return to the waist. They have slowly crept northwards, but manufacturers seem baffled by this "waist" concept. Most trousers and jeans now have a "waist" below the navel (which is where your waist is, in case you've forgetten). They frequently have no belt loops, and no way of stopping them descending slowly.

Here's a woman with a waist. It's that narrow bit in the middle.

And that's where a trouser waistband should be. I can find high-waisted trousers with skinny legs, torn knees, or flares. Or that are made in sizes 6-16 (I am an 18). Or with inside legs between 25" and 29" (my inside leg is 32").

Sometimes manufacturers just add a bit onto the top of low-waisted trousers:

Too often the "high waist" is nowhere near the waist. Not mine, anyway (I am 5ft 7.5in).

All I want is trousers with straight legs, a waistband, belt-loops, and a waist ON the waist. Not somewhere in the vicinity. Not hovering near the hip. On the waist. I fear that "mom jeans" are thought to be frumpy, or else catalogue companies have a lot of old stock to get rid of. But if you go to trendy Dalston or Broadway Market, you will see girls all dressed in proper Mom jeans (see top picture). Moms want mom jeans! And we want them now!

Monday, 15 August 2016

70s Style

It wasn't all psychedelic granny squares and loon pants. I was narrowing my flares by 1973.

Clothes design was the new rock in the late 60s: Rabanne, Courreges, Mary Quant, Ossie Clarke – but by the early 70s they all seemed to fade away, leaving us with disparate trends worn all at once. Flowery blouse over woolly jersey and under cord pinafore dress, in different colours. Fashion chaos. It was called the layered look. Wearing two shirts at once was really trendy for about 10 minutes.

There were famous designers in the 70s but they were very upmarket and couture and typists/students like me didn’t wear drapey loungewear. With it went an early 70s fashion for a scarf tied as a tight turban coming right down to the eyes, which were heavily made up. The ends of the scarf were twisted into a rope and wound round the head. It was a cross between an oriental turban and something vaguely 30s.

But I remember Foale and Tuffin who made quilted jackets out of ethnic fabric. Quilting was a thing. I had a genuine Chinese jacket that I struggled to do up, and a shiny black quilted tabard that I wore with terracotta harem trousers and wedged espadrilles (circa 1976).

Circa 1970, the “unisex” trend shocked those people who love to be shocked. Girls and boys wore pudding basin haircuts, baker boy caps, big clumpy lace-up shoes, V-necked tank tops, tweed Oxford bags, waisted jackets with big lapels in a brown, orange and yellow palette. And there were unisex hair salons. (Any minute now we might get unisex toilets.)

In the early 70s there was a brief vogue for primary colours, especially red and blue. Also for wearing short-sleeved, tight cardigans over a shirt. (My shirt was red – from Woolworths, my cardi was blue and I wore this ensemble with blue hotpants, red tights and blue tap shoes.)

Also in the early 70s there was a Goth look influenced by Biba with very dark eye makeup and lipstick (she pioneered black and khaki nails), 40s dresses, and a LOT of purple. This ensemble was worn with a holey crocheted shawl, platform boots, a choker and a grim expression. There was an expensive glam version way out of our price range, and a suburban version that dropped the shawl, kept a late 60s half pony-tail and added a smile.

Another suburban style: A-line skirts, knee-high boots, Cleopatra hair, tailored and waisted jackets with big collars and a choker. Underneath the jacket is a blouse in the same style, in flowery fabric and with a lot of tiny buttons.

And my favourite combo: silver V-necked cardigan over brown velvet maxi skirt for evening wear. Choker and boots optional.

And a tamed hippy look: long hair parted in the middle, fringed suede waistcoat, A-line suede miniskirt, platform boots that reached mid-calf, fringed suede bag. The palette was ochre, olive and brown, or if you were prepared to stand out in Godalming, brown and purple. Perfect for skipping through puddles and dancing through fields. Unfortunately you needed a slim figure and a sweet, dim smile.

There was a Minnie Mouse, 40s revival look with polka dots and high-heeled strap shoes (that Roxy Music album cover is 1972).

Middle class girls wore baggy sweaters with daring V necks – that hadn’t been seen since the 50s. Older ladies were still wearing “big hair”, with high round necks or polo necks which did them no favours at all. You wore a narrow belt over the jersey (or a jacket), sometimes in the same fabric and with a plastic 30s style buckle. Belts were a cheap way of looking stylish.

Sociology lecturers wore corduroy dresses or smocks with wide short sleeves and a yoke right across the bust, worn over a too-small polo neck. This costume went with a Purdey hairstyle, which quickly became a drab uniform for polytechnic staff. When the fringe got too long, you cut it yourself, too short and straight across. The male version was longish curly hair and a wild beard, plus glasses, concealing the entire face apart from the nose.

Serious people were very serious in the 70s, and it was the done thing to be drab. Oddly enough, the drab people all paired off, despite thinking that love was a bourgeois construct and romance a tool of patriarchy.

Knitting patterns showed smiling women with long, straight hair doing practical things – like feeding horses. Thick woolly jumpers in “natural” wool expressed “togetherness” (according to actress Sophie Grabol), also a rejection of capitalist values. Boucle yarn was in, and by the late 70s: Aran, Aran, Aran, worn with a man's flat cap or tweed solar topee and a big grin.

I adopted the look, from the top:
Gaucho hat
thick Aran cardigan, leather belt
several “prairie” tiered skirts, the underneath ones showing
Fellow students thought it was a bit avant garde. It was hard to get Aran cardigans, you either went to Ireland or knitted your own.

Knee boots came back, and we tucked our flares into them, creating a Russian look. Designers created Russian style tunics to go with it, and Cossack trousers. Did knee boots spell the end of the flare? Or cycle clips? Or leg warmers? With skinny jeans you don’t need cycle clips.

We wore 15 denier tights in "American Tan" (orange) in the summer because bare legs just weren't possible. If it got too hot, you dyed your legs orange with Q Tan which smelt of digestive biscuits. In the 80s we just went “What the Hell?” and walked around with bare (white) legs, and manufacturers brought out ecru tights to match.

I'm still following the advice of Catherine Milinaire's Cheap Chic (charity shops, army surplus). Some of our odd mix and match looks were the result of earning very little (our low salaries assumed that we were still living at home or that daddy had bought us a flat). And army surplus clothes preserved 40s designs. I wore Land Girl brown corduroy breeches and navy serge sailor trousers. But it was difficult being a large girl of 5ft 9in.

60s clothes here.