Tag Archives: Fashion

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!!

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. 

Related reading

Women Arrested for Wearing Pants?

The 1960s Almonte Fashion Show — Names Names Names

1960’s Fashion Shows– Once a Huge Extravaganza!

The Alice Walker Fashion Show 1974 Carleton Place

You Better Work it Girl! Cover Girls of Carleton Place 1965

Miss Civitan Club 1976? Who Are These Women?

Mary Cook’s Deportment Classes for Young Ladies in Carleton Place

Carleton Place Mod Fashion Show 1960’s

And Then There was Cook’s– and Most of All Mary Cook

Fashion Faux Pas in the Cemetery

Style Watch and Fashion Notes 1881

  1. Saved by Her Corset
  2. It’s Electrifying! Dr Scott’s Electric CorsetDeath by Corset? Bring Out Your Dead and Other Notions!Saddle Shoes –Did You Walk a Mile in Those Shoes?

Shopping Online in China — I Bought This and Look What I Got!

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

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

The “Bustle Period” in Ladies Fashion.

Nelson R Baker- Fashionable Tailor of Lanark

McLean the Tailor from Lanark and Other News

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!

T. J. Reid Almonte Catalogue 1911-1912 — Adin Daigle

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T. J. Reid Almonte Catalogue 1911-1912  — Adin Daigle

All photos- Adin Daigle

All photos- Adin Daigle –read-A Name on a Sign –Thomas J. Reid Almonte

All photos- Adin Daigle

In December of 1918 Thomas J. Reid, who had a men’s clothing and furnishings store on mill Street in Almonte said:

“Understand,” said Mr. Reid, “there is not so very-much credit asked for nowadays, but when it is asked for by men who used to spend their money on liquor, we feel safe, in giving it to them.”

read-A Name on a Sign –Thomas J. Reid Almonte

almonte gazette september 1911

Top (Left-Right) (Robert) John Neely, Samuel Neely, Tom Reid, Job Neely Front (Left-Right) Sarah Reid (nee Neely), Robert George Neely, Sarah Neely (nee Parsons), McCullough, Minnie (Hannah Jemina) Neely

( this photo was in the same family group for Thomas J. Reid)




Name: 1911 Census
Thomas J Reid

Gender:
Male
Marital status:
Married
Race or Tribe:
Scotch (Scotish)
Nationality:
Canadian
Age:
41
Birth Date:
Dec 1869
Birth Place:
Scotland
Census Year:
1911
Relation to Head of House:
Head
Immigration Year:
1882
Dwelling No.:
101
Province:
Ontario
District:
Lanark North
District Number:
89
Sub-District:
18 – Almonte
Sub-District Number:
18
Place of Habitation:
Union
Religion:
Presbyterian
Occupation:
Retal
Employer:
Yes
Employee:
No
Works at:
Clothing Store
Earnings:
500
Life Insurance:
2000
Insurance Cost:
22.00
Can Read:
Yes
Can Write:
Yes
Language:
E
Family Number:
102
Neighbors:
View others on page
Household Members:
Name
Age
Thomas J Reid
41
Angnes J Reid
34
Maggie Reid
15
Maud Reed
17
John Reed
39

read-A Name on a Sign –Thomas J. Reid Almonte

all photos- adin daigle

Words to Wear Pants By—- Linda Knight Seccaspina

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Words to Wear Pants By—- Linda Knight Seccaspina

Words to Wear Pants To—- Linda Knight Seccaspina

I looked at a photo of my Grandmother today posing with yet another one of her regular house dresses on and realized I had never seen her wear her pants in her life. I remember the drawers of pinkish Eaton’s corsets, the array of stockings and her many hats and gloves. Evening in Paris bottles graced her bureau along with a tiny container of rouge and a stack of assorted hankies. 

She had 5 or 6 dresses hanging in an old wooden closet along with a wire hanger full of assorted belts. Belts that wrapped around her bust line were a must and the ones that came with the Eaton’s dresses were versatile. I even knew one of her friends who ordered dresses and then returned it but kept the belt because they were that desirable.

None of her friends that I could remember wore pants either. Maybe it was the odd conversation around a table at the local Legion that kept these women in tow. I remember my Grandfather and his friends ask if the whining would come from a different direction if the women wearing pants were drafted for service.

My mother Bernice had two pairs of cotton capri pants, one white and one blue which she wore with a sleeveless blouse and a tiny scarf tied sideways across her neck. My father never had complaints about it and said his wife had been wearing the pants in the family for years. He blamed everything on the war anyways– or her celebrities in the Photoplay magazine. They were the root of all evil according to Arthur J. Knight.

I can’t remember when I started wearing pants except for shorts in the summer as a small child. The first time I walked into my grandparents home sporting a pair of jeans Grampy Knight asked me if I had been hired for agricultural work. I loved those jeans and refused to wash them less they would shrink to a point where I could not get into them. My Grandmother was horrified and for six days when I got Strep throat she monitored them on the chair beside my bed. Every day she would beg me to wash them as jeans in such unkempt condition were probably against the Bible doctrine and maybe even provincial health laws.

In the late 60s the local hotels and fancy dining rooms banned women for wearing pants. As a teen we were not allowed into church dances with them, and even local offices banned them as office wear. The clothing manufactures went into overdrive realizing the business they could lose and petitions were begun by female office workers. It’s not like it was a new thing as some women had been wearing pants for decades.

Some folks were still up in arms including my Grandparents who quoted Deuteronomy again. “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”  Of course they had a specific verse for The Beatles too– not that there was anything wrong with that.

According to some, pants were the beginning of the loosening of morality and jeans, hot pants, long hair and bell-bottomed pants were not only offending good taste, “they were also stimulating the sexual passion to such an unbearable degree that there wasn’t even one young man left pure in that moment of time in the Townships.” Of course they mentioned that about drive-ins too.

Sometime in the lates 70s, my stepmother began wearing “the pant suit” or the power suit as they called it. Suddenly my father was telling me I should buy a couple of pant suits and conversing with my Grandfather that the Royal Bank had issued a statement that they were taking a fairly liberal attitude to clothing on the job. There was no objection to women wearing pants for work, although pant suits and coordinates were preferred.

After my bout with Strep Throat I never wore jeans again until the mid 2000s. Maybe because it just wasn’t considered rogue anymore for a woman to wear pants. Or, maybe because yoga pants suddenly had become the bacon of clothing.

My Grandmother was buried in one of the dresses she wore throughout her life, and I’m sure she never really wanted to wear pants. For her granddaughter, me, wearing jeans and pants encouraged women they could make change. Granted some days I sometimes ask myself if I should wear the smarty pants or the fancy pants, but I am still controlling the zipper.

A young woman has appeared twice at the Clinton, Ontario skating rink in male attire, and she is promised a visit from the magistrate if she repeats the performance. “Any woman who wants to dress as a man must come to police headquarters to get permission.” February 1887 Almonte, Ontario Gazette

Things Borrowed from my Grandmother — Human Hair Nets

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Things Borrowed from my Grandmother — Human Hair Nets

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
21 Apr 1923, Sat  •  Page 23

Hair nets were made either from combings collected from men’s plaits by local barbers or from whole plaits which flooded the market in the years around the revolution of 1911. … With the advent of nylon the global demand for human hair nets plummeted.

I used to borrow two things from my grandmother- Her hairnets and her tie up shoes with cuban heels in mesmerising brown !!! I wore those shoes until they died and wore her hairnets as a snood. She just shook her head LOL

In the late 19th century fashionable ladies in Europe began to replace their silk hair nets with hair nets that were hand-knotted out of human hair. Initially these were made by poor women and children in the rural villages of Alsace and Bohemia but production later spread to the Shantung province of China which became the most important centre of hair net manufacture, employing as many as 500,000 workers. By the early 1920s the human hair net had become an item of mass consumption, with American women consuming over 180 million nets in the year 1921-22. The appeal of the human hair net was that it was invisible, blending with or adding subtle highlights to a woman’s own hair.

1923

What is interesting is that wherever they were produced the nets were made exclusively from Chinese hair – much of it collected up from men’s combings. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries most Chinese men wore their hair shaved at the front and in a long plait or ‘pigtail’ at the back in a style which had been imposed by the ruling Manchu dynasty two and a half centuries earlier under penalty of death. When itinerant barbers tended to these pigtails, they saved the combings many of which ended up recycled into hairnets for the Western market. ‘No other hair possesses the right degree of coarseness and resilience to give that peculiar elastic spring to the mesh that a good hairnet requires’ argued the Textile Mercury in 1912, suggesting that the hair of the northern blonde races was too fine and soft, the hair of Italians and Spaniards a little more suitable owing to its coarser texture, the hair of the Japanese too stiff and the hair of yaks inadequate.

However when the bob became a fashionable hair style in Europe and America the hair net industry in China suffered a severe blow. Attempts were made to revive it with some success in the 1930s and 1940s when double mesh hair nets became popular. Using two rather than one hair at a time these nets were longer lasting and some of them were designed specifically for bobbed hair styles. But soon this fragile and ephemeral artefact, which had always been valued largely for its invisibility, had disappeared from European and American heads, replaced in many cases by nylon alternatives. Emma Tarlo

Did you know?

Ena Sharples, a character in the UK soap opera Coronation Street between 1960 and 1980, was famous for wearing a hairnet;  the original hairnet was brought in by the character’s actress, Violet Carson, to stop the make-up women from altering her hair.

Food service workers often wear it to prevent hair from contaminating the food, even though there has never been any scientific or anecdotal evidence that hair poses any health hazard. The man who started the trend of hairnets for food service workers admittedly lied about the dangers of hair in food, and his hairnet manufacturing company profited greatly from the propaganda and new regulations.

Hairnets are part of normal attire for female horse riders, and are worn in most equestrian disciplines, including dressage, eventing, show jumping, and hunting. Organizations such as the Pony Club encourage their young members to become accustomed to wearing hairnets when around horses, not only to ensure a neat and elegant appearance, but also to eliminate any danger of scalping, should the rider fall off and the horse tread on loose hair.

Ballet dancers typically wear one at the crown of the head covered in a fine hairnet.

Chattanooga Daily Times
Chattanooga, Tennessee
11 Feb 1923, Sun  •  Page 11

Additional reading..

How Many Times Should You Bathe?

Being a Tombstone Tourist

Know Your Travelling Salesmen!- Professor Dorenwend

Searching for A Good Hair Day — Linda Knight Seccaspina

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

Should Girls Speak to Strange Men in Uniform? 1917

Lois Lyman–A Hair of a Blunder!

To Die Dying Your Hair

Why Were These Folks Facing Backwards?

Scrapbook Clippings of Wampole

The Sears Roebuck Nursery Chair

The Best Little Chin Hair Post on the Prairie

As the Carleton Place Barber Pole Spins

Whose Barbershop Chair was This?

Victorian Surgery — Beware of Content Ahead!!! Seriously!

The 1960s Almonte Fashion Show — Names Names Names

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The 1960s Almonte Fashion Show — Names Names Names

Women’s age-old interest in clothes was demonstrated again when a total of 400 which included a sprinkling of males, attended the Fashion Show in the town hall, sponsored by the Almonte Ladies Curling Club. Mrs. R. A. Jamieson was convener of the Show and practically all the members assisted in some capacity to make the event  an outstanding success. The stage which in the raw, is a most depressing sight, was transformed into a rose garden with an arbor forming the entrance to the ramp down which the models walked.

 There were rose covered trellises, a picket fence, etc., all arranged to form an attractive setting for the attractive models. Mrs. Parrett, proprietor of the Lanark Shop, opened the show and acted as commentator throughout. 

The merchandise was loaned by Pimlott’s Ladies’ Wear, Milady Dress Shop, Johnson and McCreary, Smolkin’s Men’s Wear, The Mariette Shoppe, The Lanark Shop, The Misses Hogan, J. H. Proctor, Phil. Needham and the Canada Fur Manufacturing Company of Toronto, of which Mrs. K, Burns is the local agent. Mrs. Parrett introduced the models all of whom are local. 

They were Mrs. Joyce Hill, Mrs. Muriel Hill, Miss Mary Hourigan, Mrs. Clare Kitts, Mrs. Freda Levitan and Mrs. Irene Duncan. Modelling men’s clothes were Gordon Clifford and Gerry Green. Three children who also acted as models, stole the show for a time. They were Ruth Leishman, Barbara Ann Duncan and Donald Duncan. Mrs. Clare Kitts, wearing a black gabardine suit and two piece mink neckpiece from Milady Dress Shop, was the first model. 

With this she wore a pink blouse and milan straw hat and black accessories. The next was Miss Mary Hourigan wearing a turquoise crepe dress from the Mariette Shoppe. Mrs. Freda Levitan next featured a blue and white cotton from Pimlott’s Ladies’ Wear. Mrs. Muriel Hill modelled a navy taffeta from Pimlott’s Ladies’ Wear with a hat of navy blue trimmed with taffeta and white flowers. 

Mrs. Joyce Hill was introduced next, wearing grey gabardine slacks and T-shirt from the Lanark Shop. The sixth model was Mrs. Irene Duncan, wearing a three-piece suit in rayon herringbone from Pimlott’s, with green kid shoes with platform soles from Proctor’s Shoe Store. There were 40 costumes shown in all with the models appearing more or less in rotation. One especially attractive ensemble was shown by Mrs. Joyce Hill–It was a grey kid jacket worn over a green gabardine suit The fur jacket was lined with matching green gabardine was from Milady DressShop and was supplied by the Canada Fur Manufacturing Company (J. T. Conway and Son.) Another fur coat by the same company that excited considerable pleased comment was a full length muskrat coat made with a border. This was worn by Mrs. Muriel Hill with a smart cocoa brown gabardine one-piece dress. Mrs. Irene Duncan also displayed a handsome g controlled by darts. 

The show closed with Mis. Joyce Hill and Mrs. Clare Kitts appearing as bridesmaid and bride respectively. Joyce wore a yellow bengaline taffeta with two net overskirts, gold sandals from Proctors and flowers from Misses Hogan. Mrs. Kitts’ wedding gown was. of all over chantilly lace over taffeta and she wore a floor length veil of French net with hand embroidery. Both the bridesmaid’s dress and the bride’s dress were from Milady Dress Shop.

 

related reading

1960’s Fashion Shows– Once a Huge Extravaganza!

The Alice Walker Fashion Show 1974 Carleton Place

You Better Work it Girl! Cover Girls of Carleton Place 1965

Miss Civitan Club 1976? Who Are These Women?

Mary Cook’s Deportment Classes for Young Ladies in Carleton Place

Carleton Place Mod Fashion Show 1960’s

And Then There was Cook’s– and Most of All Mary Cook

Easter Spring Outfits — Post Yours!!!

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Easter Spring Outfits — Post Yours!!!
Please post your ‘dressed up’ photo from the past in the comments. This is my friend Patti Lennox— Patti Lennox
16h ·
In my Easter bonnet!
We dressed like this every Sunday for Sunday school. Kelly Crampton

Lorna DrummondThis picture taken at Umphrey’s (McFadden Furs) on William St. We lived on the corner, the Umphreys were our next door neighbours

M Terry Kirkpatrick
My sister Laurie Kirkpatrick McCabe with June Hall (McEwen) at Town Hall Fashion Show. Guessing early 60s.

Mindy MerkleyPretty sure this was one of the fashion shows mom (Mary Cook) sponsored. I remember being walked down that aisle many times wearing a variety of outfits handmade by the many seamstresses of Carleton Place. Those fashion shows raised loads of money for many town projects such as the building of our first arena or support for the local Cancer Society.

1914 McDiarmid gals Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
Susan Elliott ToppingTaken at Mary Penman’s farm neat Almonte about 1960. Easter Sunday.

Lyann Lockhart

March 31 at 8:57 PM  · Lockhart’s 2014