Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Shorter the Sleeves, the Longer the Gloves

[Ladies Home Journal 1951 ad for Van Raalte Gloves]

The Van Raalte glove ads always reminded women of the main glove rule, "The shorter the sleeves, the longer the gloves."

Did any of you wear above-the-elbow gloves with a strapless dress to the prom? 

I did but I never realized that wearing gloves as a "career woman" was as important as wearing my panty girdle back in the early 1960s when I was hired as a receptionist at a large religious publishing company in Nashville. 

Soon after beginning work one of the young editorial assistants firmly suggested she go with me to Cain-Sloan department store on our lunch break to help me choose a pair. 

They were soft black leather wrist-length gloves and I wish I still had them. I was wearing them here -- on my honeymoon -- with the tailored red wool suit my mother made me.

And I was wearing my mother's mink stole. You can bet I felt sophisticated, even in my white harlequin glasses. [I wrote about it here, at my old blog Across the Way.]

I didn't know any women then who thought wearing fur was wrong. All of my girlfriends wished we could afford furs.

I have to admit that if someone had given me this gorgeous chinchilla coat that was in the Ladies Home Journal of 1951, I would have worn it proudly then.

I know--bad, bad, bad. But we didn't know any better, and honestly, speaking from first hand experience of our son's utterly mean tempered pet chinchilla, I might not turn down the coat now. 

After a few months of him always biting the hand that tried to feed him -- me -- I ignored my son's tears and begged the pet shop to take him back.

And believe me, I knew it was a him. The chinchilla knew he was a him too and was very proud of it. [Don't ask.]

So while today if I could squeeze into this to-die-for red wool suit, I would not buy the Persian-lamb collar, or the fur of any other animal.

But it's best not to tempt me with an offer of a chinchilla coat. 

And I still miss the ratty old mink jacket that I left in Nashville when we moved to Florida. I bought it for $40 at a yard sale back in the 1970s, and nothing was warmer on a cold windy winter day when I took Tex and Penelope, and later Otis and Milo for walks through the valley. 

I may have to haunt the estate sales when we move back to Tennessee. Is wearing old fur coats PC now? If I don't wear them out in public and risk getting paint thrown on me? If I only wear a ratty old yard sale one in the privacy of my own back yard? Isn't that just a thrifty form of recycling?

What do you think?