Tag Archives: Fashion

Should Life Be This Hard? Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Should Life Be This Hard? Linda Knight Seccaspina

One day this week I decided to wear a polka dot jumpsuit instead of pants. At my age I should know better, and the days of wearing a bodysuit with snaps at the crotch are over- so are  buttons in the back of anything. I had worn the jumpsuit before, but could not remember who did the buttons up in the back. So that day I had to program any trip to the washroom lest I just walk around with the top part hanging around my waist.

I made it through the day, but once again I asked myself why I kept this jumpsuit. Rescuing a designer jumpsuit at a steal for $7.00 at a thrift shop should not be the answer. It’s not like it was trapped at the store.

Skinny Jeans

For most of my lifetime I have suffered for fashion beginning with skinny leg jeans.  My legs are not skinny, so why am I wearing them?  Did you know skinny jeans have been known to cause weakness in your ankles? I once read a news article about a woman who spent the day packing and moving for a friend wearing her skinny leg jeans. Apparently after the event she could no longer walk and spent several hours lying on the ground.

Skinny jeans didn’t put her in the hospital, wearing a pair of skinny jeans that were probably at least 2 sizes too small did. Back in the day, the only way to zip super tight jeans up was to lay flat on the floor, or on your bed and use a fork to get the zipper up! Then you had to find someone to pull you up and stand you up straight!  We didn’t listen then, and  I am still not listening now.  For some people like myself “Fashion Week’ lasts all year, and every single day that I am alive.

Corsets

Why am  I also interested in the fashion trend called waist training that has been around since the 1800s? Do I really need to follow this fad at 71? Aren’t my bones cracking enough? I can’t sit, I can’t breathe and my body is really from McDonalds ‘and loving it’. The goal for wearing a waist trainer– if you can wear it for 10 hours a day for at least 8 weeks– is a miraculous transformation. But, how do you get through the first 5 minutes?

Putting on the waist trainer was enough of a workout for the first day. I don’t think my organs moved at all, and my health seems fine after I got it on. “After I got it on” should be the keywords here.  But who really knows what’s up with my insides anyways? They aren’t talking!  Just curious, what part of the mirror thought I looked spectacular in one of these things.

When I was a child, my grandmother wore one. I loved the Eaton’s flesh coloured model, the salmon satin, and the lace. My grandfather used to have to put his foot on her back and heave ho.That was so romantic and it did nothing for her very ample waist except freeze it in place for eternity.

Shoes

Thirty seven years ago I delivered a ten pound male child. There isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t remind him, like Beverley Goldberg, that I was in labour for 28 and one half hours. What did I get from that day in August of 1985 besides a beautiful healthy baby boy? Well, the next day the top of my left foot became very puffy and has remained that way for 37 years. The nurse said not to worry at the time because it was only postpartum fluid swelling– and it would go away. Well that fluid moved its home furnishings and plants and has squatted on top of my foot since that day in 1985.

Anytime I buy shoes the right foot takes a size 9, and the other foot needs the box the shoes came in. I wore trendy heels every day of my life until that day, and now when I find shoes that fit I buy what they have in my size. Black, size 10 and flat.

You don’t need a “warning” for this craziness. It’s called common sense. Do you see warnings on hammers saying: “Striking repeatedly on the head may cause brain damage”?

Life is always full of interruptions and complications isn’t it? Or, do I now consider common sense like deodorant? The people that need it most  just never seem to use it.

Related reading

Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac

Fashion Faux Pas in the Cemetery

The Stack Perm or the Disco Wedge ? 1970s Hair Fashion

The Best Little Chin Hair Post on the Prairie

More Kitten Mill Memories -As the Needle Surges

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More Kitten Mill Memories -As the Needle Surges
Julia James
January 26, 2021  · 
Where the 3 roads meet in Lanark looked like a busy spot in the horse and buggy days. On the left, when I first went to Lanark was, I think, Campbells Rest., not sure what was there when this photo was taken, beside it is what was or became the Kitten Mill, on that same side you can see the second storey of Young’s Furniture Store and the bridge over the Clyde River. The first place on the right side was where the Lanark Era was printed and that building is still there, up at the top of the hill you can see the Clock Tower on the Town Hall
Lanark & District Museum photo

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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Dec 1992, Tue  •  Page 15
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Jun 1996, Sat  •  Page 52
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Thu, Mar 11, 1982 · Page 33
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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
13 Jun 1991, Thu  •  Page 52


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The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
09 Mar 1956, Fri  •  Page 46

Frances Somerville
April 25, 2014  · 

Went shopping and was given a reusable bag from
the old kitten mill in Lanark
memories of years gone by

CLIPPED FROM
The Expositor
Brantford, Ontario, Canada
16 Jun 1959, Tue  •  Page 1

The Glenayr Kitten Mill (A Reminiscence)

 ~ M.C. MORAN

Memories of the Kitten Mills.. Please note that the video was done by John Foliot from the Lanark Heritage Preservation Society.

When I was 17- The Kitten- Glenayr Knitting Mills Reunion

How Much is that Kitten Sweater in the Window?

Stories from the Old Kitten Mill

Down by the Old Kitten Mill

Linda’s Mail Bag– Do You Have any Info on my Blanket?

You’re from the Village of Lanark You Say?

Millinery 1909 — The Merry Widow The Mushroom

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Millinery 1909 — The Merry Widow The Mushroom
CLIPPED FROM
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
05 Oct 1904, Wed  •  Page 1
Marion Umpherson Prentice in front of her shop.

It is easy for one to sit behind the plate glass and make mind bets on the success of the millinery openings. Some deductions are obvious. The ladies and bachelors seem to get the greatest pleasure from the occasion. In fact the particular position which’ each person occupies in the social structure of the town is portrayed in their attitude on those exciting epochs .

Merry Widow Hat

When the fashion bonded public for the first time this Spring we wonder whether the Merry Widow or the Charlotte Corday, or some new favourite is to occupy the highest places for the present. The fluttering excitement of the maiden, the self poise of the matron, veteran of many campaigns, the cynical smile of the bachelor, society’s excess baggage and the thinly-veiled uneasiness of the heads of families—all pass in review before us. Judging from appearance hats are going to be very amicably worn.

Charlotte Corday Hat

The extreme horizon of the Happy World has been more or less contracted—so much so in fact that it will scarcely be necessary for ordinary men to carry a package of court plaster tor the purpose of repairing their damaged features in future. There is a new , favourite: “ The Mushroom.” It does not resemble the common or garden vegetable much, except in the name. It may be that the title was derived from the fact that with one of them in the house there isn’t “mushroom” for anything else.

The Mushroom Hat

Some people like to try on hats, some people don’t. It depends a good deal on how they look, but the ones who do not feel quite satisfied have the satisfaction of knowing; that they didn’t have their hair fixed right. Let it be understood that while the fans of the immediate future seem to a tenderfoot, to have shrunk slightly, there is still sufficient to them to prevent the summer’s sun making freckles on the end of the nose.

March 1909 Lanark Era

  • The fashion designer Lucile had designed the original widow hat for an operetta in 1907, but it influenced hat fashions for many more years.  
  • The Merry Widow hat was always black and encased in filmy chiffon or organdie and festooned in feathers.

CLIPPED FROM
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Jul 1912, Mon  •  Page 2
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Sat, Sep 24, 1904 · Page 4
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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
07 Apr 1949, Thu  •  Page 7
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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
02 Nov 1935, Sat  •  Page 18
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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
07 Oct 1899, Sat  •  Page 6
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The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
13 Aug 1901, Tue  •  Page 2

Hats, Ogilvy’s and Gaudy Teenage Years — Noreen Tyers

Local Women Wearing Hats– Photos Chica Boom Chica Boom

Mad For Hats!! Doris Blackburn’s Hat

Effie McCallum —– Missing Milliner

Mrs. James Prentice Hatmaker Milliner of Lanark

Mad For Hats!! Doris Blackburn’s Hat

Wearing Vintage Hats – Blowing the Lid off Katherine Newton

Bertha Schwerdtfeger — Mother of the Carleton Place Schwerdtfeger Sisters

Mad as a Hatter — Wearing Vintage Hats

Electrical Plugs — Hats– and Impressive Men – Putting on the Ritz in Almonte

Pour some Feathers on Me

Weird Wendell’s Paperback Writers

Pour some Sugar on Me– Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Pour some Sugar on Me– Linda Knight Seccaspina

Pour some Sugar on Me– Linda Knight Seccaspina

I can’t remember what year as a teen I began wearing fashionable tops made out of Sugar Bags. All I know is when I did my grandmother had a fit. It was bad enough I loved corn, but this? My grandfather said in England corn was only fed to the cows– but to purposely show yourself out in public in such a garment was a travesty to the Mary Louise Deller Knight.

My grandmother said all she could think of was the great poverty of the Great Depression. But in my mind there was a romance to the idea that anyone could make something beautiful from something so mundane as an old sack of sugar or flour or anything else.

In truth, feed sacks were used for sewing well before the depression and for several years after.  The evolution of the feed sack is a story of ingenuity and clever marketing. Women looked at these sacks and began to use them for everything in the household and also became popular for clothing items. Manufacturers saw what was happening and they began to print their cloth bags in a variety of patterns and colours.

Every mother and grandmother knew how to sew when I was growing up. Grammy and I would always go to the fabric store and pick out patterns and cloth to make clothes. Unfortunately, my grandmother loved the colour brown, because it was sturdy and basic, much like the sugar bags. I might have been sturdy in size, but I was never basic, and I grew to really not care for the colour brown. 

Truth be known I never liked much colour and still don’t, and even though I had creative genes, sewing wasn’t really my forte. In fact I should have walked away from the sewing machine. But, I pinned, I taped, and if it fell apart, well it fell apart, but the general public got the idea of my styles. I am very grateful the glue gun did not exist in those days– truly grateful.

I had never listened to anyone who tried to talk me out of my views on life, fashion, and being yourself. I was sturdy like the mighty feed bags. At age 15 I marched into the CHS Vice Principal’s office who doubled as a guidance counsellor and told him I would not be returning to school the next year. I also asked for my $10 dollar school book deposit back.

I can still remember to this day where his desk was positioned in the room, and the look on his face that was partially hidden by his oversized spectacles. In a crisp but curt tone he scolded me.

“My dear Miss Knight, what golden path have you chosen for yourself?”

“I am going to be a fashion designer Sir,” I said emphatically.

He got out of chair and perched himself on the edge of my chair and asked me loudly if I was joking. He continued in a loud monotonous drone telling me young ladies became either nurses or teachers. The elderly gentleman suggested that maybe I look into the world of home economics if “I enjoyed sewing”. 

With that I stood up and again I asked him to cut me a cheque for $10.00. With a look of defiance, a shake of his hand, and $10.00, the world was now my oyster

If my grandmother Mary was my foundation for my hard working ethics, then Saul Cohen was the drywall. He expected me to arrive at my job in a children’s wear manufacturer at 7:30 every morning and I had to ask to leave around 7:45 pm at the end of the day. The man worked me to the bone, and I just chalked it up to experience. I worked in the cutting department, sewing, swept floors, did book work, and worked in the show room. There was not one stone that he did not make me turn over, and turn over again.

‘Sauly” was relentless, and when he found out that my Mother had ties to the Jewish religion he made sure I knew about my heritage. Anytime I asked to leave early he would turn around and say to me,

“Do you know how our people suffered?”.

Enough said.

Another person I owe who I am today is the late Morty Vineberg from Au Bon Marche in Sherbrooke, Quebec. I learned the retail trade from the bottom up from him, and to this day, if there is a spot for just 50 items, and I have 300; I can whip that into shape as fast as you can say “bargain designer clothes”. In those days you took pride in your work, listened and worked hard, and you learned from those that knew.

How do you explain to kids today that’s how life was? You don’t– you had to be there– when life was never sugar coated and as sturdy as an old sugar bag.

The 1960s Almonte Fashion Show — Names Names Names

Fashion Faux Pas in the Cemetery

The Poker Face of Corsets and Waist Training -1800s Fashion Comes Back in Style

The Stack Perm or the Disco Wedge ? 1970s Hair Fashion

What Would You Wear to the Carleton Place 1897 Inaugural Ball?

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What Would You Wear to the Carleton Place 1897 Inaugural Ball?

CLIPPED FROM
The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
09 Jun 1897, Wed  •  Page 1

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The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
17 Nov 1897, Wed  •  Page 1

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The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
24 Nov 1897, Wed  •  Page 5
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The Lanark Era
Lanark, Ontario, Canada
24 Nov 1897, Wed  •  Page 1

So what did they wear to the Inaugural Ball at the town hall 1897?

CLIPPED FROM
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Aug 1896, Sat  •  Page 4

Also read-Shenanigans of the Monday Night Town Hall Opening

Memories Carleton Place- Town Hall

The Building of the First Town Hall Carleton Place

Carleton Place Town Hall Sued For Cupolas!

Why is the Town Hall Stage Slanted? Is it Collapsing?

A Concert at the Town Hall While Small Pox Raged on…. 1901

Shenanigans of the Monday Night Town Hall Opening

What Didn’t You Know? The New Town Hall 1897

A Concert at the Town Hall While Small Pox Raged on…. 1901

Sarah Marselles the Spirit of the Town Hall Square Park

Saved By The Bell in Carleton Place? What Does the Photo Say?

Things You Did Not Know About the Town Hall….

The Horrors of Wool, Bread Bags, and Red Dye Number 7

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The Horrors of Wool, Bread Bags, and Red Dye Number 7

The Horrors of Wool, Bread Bags, and Red Dye Number 7 Linda Knight Seccaspina

During the 50s because of the baby boom, there was suddenly a high demand for more stylish clothing for children. Many boys began to wear jeans to elementary school– but girls of all ages were still expected–if not required-to wear dresses and skirts for school, church, parties, and even for shopping.

Out of all the outfits I wore as a child I remember my 3-piece red wool winter snowsuit. It was a short red wool swing jacket with matching jodhpurs and a hat. That particular red outfit and enduring Toni Perms would have been enough to drive me to a psychologist for years.  

There was nothing like playing out in the snow with this 3 piece red wool outfit on. I have to wonder what manufacturers and mothers were thinking. It wasn’t warm, and when it got wet it weighed triple its weight. The scratchy wool fabric rubbed my thighs so much that chafing couldn’t even be called a word. 

Red dye number 7 has never been safe for the world, but in the 50s when you removed coloured wet wool your skin matched the shade you had been wearing. It took a lot of scrubbing to get the colour residue off, but nothing was redder than my raw inner thighs. I had matching red rubber boots and sometimes I had to wear bread bags on my feet in those boots to stay dry.

My friends next door hated the snow boots they had to wear. They were black boots with buckles on the front that every male in any generation seemed to wear. They were tough to put on and were even more difficult to remove. Worn over shoes, the heels of your  shoe would tend to become wedged in the narrow neck of those boots.

To remove the boots at school, the boys would have to sit down on the hallway floor and try to unbuckle the now soaking wet buckles, which was difficult to do with cold hands. The boys could never seem to get their feet out of them without a fight. One boot or the other was always stuck halfway off, with one foot seemingly wedged in at some strange angle. Parents thought the solution to this was once again to place empty bread bags over their  shoes before the boots, but it never helped. That idea only caused them to have to deal with wet, empty bread bags along with the boots. At least their parents were there to help in the fight to get the boots on at home, but at school the kids were on their own. By the time those feet got into the still damp boots, the school was nearly empty. 

I hated wearing navy blue school tunics and white blouses and Monday seemed to be the only day I could wear the same white blouse as Friday without anyone knowing. In those days we wore uniforms so everyone would be dressed the same and no one would feel slighted. 

Then there were the tights– yes, the tights. They were so uncomfortable and scratchy that I couldn’t help but complain. I even snuck into one of the church’s closets one Sunday before the service and took the tights off. Unfortunately my Grandmother caught me  without my tights under my Choir robe and told me sternly, ”you have to put them on now!” I told her that they were uncomfortable but she told me I had to wear them for the rest of the church service at least. There just seemed to be something unfeminine about not being able to sit down comfortably with the crotch sagging down to your knees.

Now, most fashion for kids is just as trendy as adult fashion– even more for school. Every style comes back, even if you don’t want it too. Today, you need a small loan to buy a school uniform and as for the bread bags, well, I hear Reynolds Oven Bags, size Large, do a better job than Wonder Bread bags! As for the chafing– at my age my thighs don’t chafe anymore. They just applaud my efforts as I move around.

Stay safe!!

Dressed for winter. Note the storm door and the wooden bucket. No names to protect the innocent.

Related reading

Fashion Faux Pas in the Cemetery

The Poker Face of Corsets and Waist Training -1800s Fashion Comes Back in Style

Saved by Her Corset

It’s Electrifying! Dr Scott’s Electric Corset

Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac

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Glitter Shine and Satin – Ottawa Fashion 1978 – Flash Cadilac
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
29 Nov 1978, Wed  •  Page 40

Wednesday, November 29, 1978 Page 41– By Rose Simpson Journal Reporter  ( see info about Rose below)

 Photograph, Jan Marshall, 24, a designer at Flash Cadilac, models purple slouch pants, made from a rubbery, shiny material that looks like leather, but Is a lot cooler. Klm Green, 18, shows off a shimmering block low-cut top with slouch pants. The high heels are a must..Linda in bottom corner photo.

Below, Nancy Cambareri, 19, a Flash salesgirl, models the Wonder Woman look. And on her right, Karen Cameron, 18, wears a tuxedo. Red vinyl corsets are big sellers this year. So are 10-karat gold false fingernails, and leopard-print pants. Tuxedos for women and zoot suits are THE Items on the New York dance floors, but Ottawa women aren’t exactly lining up to be the first on their blocks to own them. 

Strippers, secretaries and disco queens looking for the unusual can usually find it at Flash Cadilac above Le Chateau on Rideau Street. There are clothes which range from the exotic to the erotic. Customers may pick up a sex aid while picking out a formal. And you can bet your silk pyjamas you won’t find your satin slit-up-to-the-waistline skirt anywhere else in town. 

Flash’s clothes are made in the backroom by 15 seamstresses working under the eye of owner Linda Seccaspina.. Linda is Flash Cadilac. The 28-year-old designer who hails from Quebec’s Eastern townships dresses in the most outrageous fashions. She colors her hair (calls it Crazy Color) in the colors of the rainbow. She has a business that is growing so rapidly she says she can’t make clothes fast enough. 

Outrageous fashions popular in conservative Ottawa? “Oh, I think New York is much more conservative than Ottawa,” she insists. “When I was in New York last time, I had purple hair. I wasn’t wearing anything too out of the ordinary satin running shoes, you know. But I couldn’t get a cab driver to pick me up. They all just stopped and looked, locked their doors and drove away. “They don’t do that in Ottawa.”

 Linda’s father’s reaction to her mode of dress was similar to that of the New York cabbies. She says she has always dressed “different. As a dress designer, she began with more conservative firms but says she felt restricted. When she and partner Angelo Seccaspina opened Flash Cadilac, she began to cut it her own way. She has never looked back. She is now designing clothes for stores in other Canadian cities, but she maintains she wants the business to stay small. 

She likes the intimacy she used to have with her old customers. She knew them all by. name when Flash Cadilac first opened its doors two years ago. “But you can’t just sell to a select group. You have to sell it to Joe Q. Public. Now I go out into the store and I don’t know anybody.” “It’s really kind of sad.”

Linda and Angelo have opened another store across the street called Flaming Groovies, which caters to a larger public. But she treats the two stores differently. “This one is my baby. Sometimes Angelo says ‘let’s send some clothes over to Flaming Groovies. I say no. I’m very possessive. I guess it’s because this is where it all started.” 

Linda Knight Seccaspina- Flaming Groovies 1970s Rideau Street- Flash Cadilac was across the street Sheila Wallet Needham Photoread The Stack Perm or the Disco Wedge ? 1970s Hair Fashion

Linda is planning to give Flaming Groovies a chance—for Christmas, Linda is designing a section of clothes all in emerald green to celebrate the opening of the movie The Wiz. She says she got the idea after seeing the movie previews, one scene Shows the characters , ; living In the Emerald City decked out in green. A large section of Flash Cadilac features lingerie In all shapes and sizes. Most of the underwear is as sheer as Saran Wrap. Linda says most of the strippers and dancers in town frequent her store because “we have a much bigger selection than most other places.” Much of it is brought from larger cities. 

Linda is considering making her own exotic lingerie for the dancers because “even though we have the best selection, there needs to be more to choose from.”The underwear is bought by as many secretaries as dancers”, she says. 

Corsets and garter belts are very popular with the buying public. “A girl comes here, you know, if she wants to buy a little something to surprise her husband with.”  Linda attributes her success to the popularity of disco and disco dress.’ Disco Is non-verbal and outrageous. It is glitter and shine and satin. It is loose, and free-flowing with lots and lots of material.  Flash Cadilac clothes have all those free-flowing qualities. 

Linda says her gay customers have also helped her business, “They’re always the first to get in on a good thing,” she says.’They were the first with disco, and they were our first customers.”

Linda’s predictions for the winter —Black. Black and glitter is very big. Shiny, gold is definitely but in the states tuxedos are very popular; but the ones I have aren’t selling very well. “Slouch pants (pants baggy around the waist and tight at the bottom) are very big, too. Any dresses or shirts with lots and lots of material.

CBC Archives has just released an old documentary about Disco from 1978? that my good friend Jacki Alexandra sent me that not only worked for me and is a BFF.It’s all in french but if you were into Disco Viva etc you need to watch this. If you remember my store Flash Cadilac on Rideau Street in Ottawa at 15:28 until 21:00 you can see the store and hear me interviewed.. I had purple hair in those days.. dark purple so thats why its so dark…Enjoy

One gal/model had to quit working for me the day after this came out in the Ottawa Journal as her family said she had disgraced the family by posing.

I was not happy having to open Flaming Groovies next to LUNA on Rideau Street. I had enough work with one store and I knew having two close together would not help. But Angelo insisted.

I wore one of the cowl tops in the photo to the local gay bar The Coral Reef which used to be under the Rideau Street parking lot on Nicholas. Someone said, ‘Who is that new drag queen?” I was actually honoured as my make up must have been done right. LOLOL

What happened to Ottawa journalist Rose Simpson?

The article was written by Rose Simpson in her Ottawa Journal days… Rose Simpson with her new book —BUY HERE click

or read her blog click

The Best Adult Brownie Recipe with a side of the Vice Squad — A Flash Cadilac Story

Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac — A Hello and Goodbye Hawaiian Short Story

Stayin’ Alive — Reconnecting With the Friends of Flash Cadilac

Flashy Memories of Pandora’s Box ETC — Oh Ottawa Behave!

Remembering Nash the Slash at The Black Swan Pub

or read other stories available in the book below on the Amazon’s of the World

No! That’s NOT just MY size!

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No! That’s NOT just MY size!

My very first job when I was young and thin was working as an assistant fashion designer in a children’s wear firm. It was not glamorous work but I gained a lot of much needed experience. My job was to make patterns for their personal designer who was never going to leave unless she was sliced and diced.Even in those days they had an official Canadian children’s sizing chart that clothing companies had to adhere to. When you bought your kids clothing you knew that a size 2 was a size 2 no matter what company produced it. So what ever happened to the women’s clothing industry?

I can buy three pairs of jeans in the same size and when I get them home good luck getting two pairs of them on. Jean companies advertise how advanced their fits are and call them “Just Your Size”. Well, I tell you what jean companies- they are not “Just Your Size” but I assume they might fit someone else!When I opened my own clothing store years later I had to assure customers that some companies made their clothing way too small and if you needed a size 9 you might as well try on a 13. Sometimes I had to comfort many a customer because they thought they had gained weight.

More women have developed eating disorders over the size of clothing than anything else. Retail stores do not help either with their skinny mirrors. These mirrors are not a piece of fiction – they do exist and are a threat to our ‘fat bottomed nation’. When my store took over the main floor once occupied by a major Canadian fashion chain I warned everyone about the mirrors. They were all built on a slight angle and everyone looking at their reflection appeared 5-7 pounds thinner.

The fashion designers do not help either and even the aging ones seem to feel everyone over 40 should be a size 2 or a 6 at the most. Can these people not design anything that does not accentuate our prime ‘muffins tops’ and the ‘bicycle racks’ we proudly wear on our upper backsides? Let alone the horrible matronly prints they use; heck that would be another book in itself.What are you fashion people thinking and are you all blind?

A store I would personally like to shake my finger at is that huge pink lingerie chain, who feels they offer women the best in intimate apparel. Maybe they do but are they really thinking children’s sizes instead of someone who is packing some cleavage and the results of a family meal or two? If you order a bra from their mail order catalog you will notice a huge difference from a similar item that you purchase from one of their retail stores. Sizing seems to be different and the side boning is awful. A few wears and a wash and those under wires are going to be digging for gold in your armpits for hours.

When Subway advertises a foot long sandwich it is a true foot long. Why is it so hard for the fashion industry to get this through their thick skulls? Thanks to all of you (Subway excluded) I had eating disorders all my life trying to get into clothing that you made way too small. Now I am ancient and I just tell everyone I am a “4 dressed up as a 9″. Okay maybe NEVER a 9 but I wear something comfortable that is really just my size and not yours!

Women “Bobbed” for Having a Bob 1923

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Women “Bobbed” for Having a Bob 1923

Bobbed hair, says a cable from London, is rapidly passing out in England. In Manchester hospitals all nurses have been ordered to allow their hair to grow. In future one no one will be allowed to look after the patients with a Bob. Many London restaurants and department stores have issued notices to the same effect. In Almonte the Gazette is informed that bobbed hair is still popular with those who have bobbed it, but is just as unpopular with those who refused to conforn with the rage of short hair. The situation seems to be that there will be no increase in the number of the “bobbed” but– there will on the other hand be a gradual decrease until all the ladies are back into the fashionable long hair once again.

Almonte Gazette November 1923

Most people trace the popularity of bobbed hair in Western fashion back to the 1920s, thanks to the haircut’s close association with the image of the flapper. However, the cigarette-smoking, flask-wielding flapper of the 1920s didn’t exactly start this trend. In 1920, the New York Times traced the origins of the bob “epidemic” to 1903, when two female students at Bryn Mawr college appeared with short hair to play basketball. The article also claims that bobbed hair became popular in Greenwich Village between 1908 and 1912, thanks to the influence of “intellectual women” from Russia who used bobbed hair to disguise themselves from police.

Meanwhile, those who wanted women to maintain their traditional roles as well-behaved daughters and wives did whatever they could to discourage the trend for bobbed hair. Preachers conducted sermons against it, schools banned it and pamphlets warned young women that short hair would lead to a variety of undesirable health conditions. A New York Times article from 1920 says that young women with disapproving parents went so far as to go to their doctors’ offices to be diagnosed with falling hair in order to receive a “prescription” for a bob haircut.

American actress Louise Brooks, shown here in 1929, was known for her daring short bobbed hair. Source: (John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
The hairstylists who were willing to cut a woman’s hair so drastically found that they were ill-equipped to cut and style women’s hair into the modern bob. They had only even trimmed long hair with shears. The women visited barber shops, instead, where the barbers were willing to chop off their hair and had an assortment of fine scissors and clippers to do a neat job. 

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Men Without Socks – An Opinion- Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Men Without Socks – An Opinion- Linda Knight Seccaspina

Men Without Socks–An Opinion– Linda Knight Seccaspina

It is pretty obvious I don’t hang out with the Millennial fashion crowd. Last Saturday I went to a lovely outdoor event where 90% of the crowd were Millennials. Most of them were at least 3 decades younger than I. There were trendy young petite women looking like they just came off a fashion runway, and most of the men were wearing no socks. I was surprised, because basically we are only about a generation out from the belief that women should always wear hose or stockings with heels

Of course I have seen this style on Sonny Crockett  on Miami Vice in the 80s but I had no idea the style had resurfaced. They say it’s a fad, but I always thought socks were considered the condoms of feet. Is it laziness, fashion, or the casual look pushing its way back into office attire now?  If you think you are “The Wolf of Wall Street” I suggest you not give this a try as you probably will be taken aside in the boardroom and handed a pair of socks. But, maybe I’m wrong as every woman in the western world has owned at least one pair of ballet flats in the last decade and gone sockless. I remember being one of them.

I know for a fact there is nothing worse than the squelchy damp sensation that comes from a day of going barefoot in shoes. Shoes without socks are often rewarded with an odour, and let us not speak of what might be growing down in the dark linings of shoes. So these gentlemen that appeared to ooze confidence last week as they walked around with a glass of Chablis in hand, were being stylish, or maybe some had forgotten to bring their yachts to the vineyard. But, I had to remind myself, it was just socks and it wasn’t like they were trampling the Constitution of Canada with their bare feet– they were merely socializing.

Most of their pants hit about two inches above the shoe and exposed the bottom of their ankle. I have heard if you choose to wear them any higher than that people will assume you are wearing Capri pants and that’s a definite faux pas. I could not stop looking at these gentlemen’s feet, mesmerized, and wondered if both the wearer and his partner had nasal issues which would ensure they did not notice odour. But once again I assured myself they were at an outing and not running two marathons from 9-5 in their shoes. But the stories from my grandfather in the trenches in World War 1 reminded me about a young man’s plight a few years ago who worked in a car wash developing what my Grandfather called “Trench Foot”.

I discussed this with my sons who are in the same age group and I asked them what they thought about these new lack of feet garments. They both laughed at their mother who had obviously in her fashion design career not heard about the discovery of “no-show” socks. That was a huge “OH” moment for me and I suddenly remembered all the ‘low cut”  socks I had bought for their birthday presents–the low-cut invisible kind that’ll keep you fresh and won’t ruin your look-so they say. 

I now know that today’s fashion was no different than men wearing knee socks and dress shoes with Bermuda shorts in the 50s. Or men getting up to mow the lawn at 8 am with socks and sandals on, or not wearing compression socks when you want to live dangerously. I asked my husband if he would consider wearing this style of socks and he shook his head immediately. He said he had no issue with odour but the ankles had to be protected. I then remembered a man who once shined shoes for a living on the Main Street in Cowansville, Quebec. He told my father that he would tell his clients with no socks on their feet that they just might as well be wearing a pair of skunks.They say that fashion is a language that creates itself in clothing  to interpret reality. You could have fooled me!