Tag Archives: jeans

Words to Wear Pants By—- Linda Knight Seccaspina

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

More Documentation on Bluebell in Carleton Place



Hazel Stewart





The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Jan 1973, Mon  •  Page 3



The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
23 Jun 1981, Tue  •  Page 1




The Blue Bell Closing Fiasco in Carleton Place

I Miss My Howick Ballroom Jeans –The 70s Revisited

I Miss My Howick Ballroom Jeans –The 70s Revisited



This is why Daylight Savings Time needs to be abolished– I think we all turned the clocks back a little too far. Someone is trying to cash in on nostalgia– you know, what is old is new again. Of course people who used to wear wide-leg jeans should now rejoice. According to Christie Creighton Wallace’s Facebook page the jeans that outfitted a generation are coming back to cover America’s legs in oversized, elaborately decorated denim. JNCO short for “jean company,” is a Los Angeles based clothing company who specialized in wide-legged jean styles for men and women that gained popularity in the ’90s . Yeah, let’s bring these back, along with random escalator fatalities, or something like that.

I’m not sure the teenagers will give up their skinny style just yet. However, if you been to anime cons or comic cons, or heard of Kandi Kids, I am pretty sure that group has already given their up skinny jeans. Of course don’t get me started on leggings. (of which I still retain one pair in my drawer) The real satire of stretch pants is that they were probably endorsed by the new world order as a way to reduce human propagation.

But, I fondly remember the Howick Star Jeans that I sold hundreds of once upon a time in the 70s. The best memory is of a wasp that once flew up my wide leg and got caught in my Ballroom jeans and attacked me. How about the memories of wearing those wide-legged frayed hemmed wonders while walking on a rain soaked sidewalk or in deep Canadian snow? Did that equal a miserable disaster for anyone? What was the word most associated with people who wore these pants? ‘Poser’– remember that one?

For anyone that did not know the Howick legend- it had an Ottawa connection. Ray, who used to own the Black Cat Bistro in the 70s at Hawthorne and Colonel By just off the Pretoria Bridge in Ottawa was the man behind the trend. Ray not only had a bistro, he also had a very cool fashion store on Bank Street. It’s never about being best in life, it is being better than you were yesterday- and that is what Ray was all about. During many frequent visits to my store, Flash Cadilac, the man who wore an eye patch told me many stories about the concept of the Howick Star Jean, or what we called Howick Ballroom Jeans.



The trend lasted barely a couple of years but it went from one big star to 4 stars and eventually died out. Yes, it found its way to that great Museum of Cool in the sky along with the Members Only jackets. Happiness is fitting into an old pair of jeans– but in doing research for this blog I could not find nary a mention of the Howick Ballroom Jeans in the fashion archives. Did the style become like disco, and were they suddenly related to being uncool, never to be mentioned again? Fashion always seems to be a repetition of what is cool- and if JNCO is back, let’s bring the Howick Ballroom Jeans back.





Shanon Bowers—Cleaning out my stash of vintage clothing and came across these. Enjoy 

download (3)

Montreal 1975— watch for the Howick Jeans store


I Seldom Wash My Jeans – Personal Confessions


Since I’m a female, I generally keep quiet about this subject as women are supposed to be super clean. Of course I practice good hygiene, but I seldom wash my 8 identical pairs of ripped jeans. I began to do this before people like Anderson Cooper and other fashionistas admitted on television that they only wash their jeans occasionally. Okay, let’s take that a step farther, they never wash their jeans, but I eventually do.


It all began for me when I was 18 and got a bad case of strep throat. I ended up crashing for 8 straight days in my jeans at my Grandmothers. After I finally joined the world again I saw how great my jeans looked and announced to my horrified Grandmother that I was never washing them again.

Fashion legend Tommy Hilfiger has just single-handedly ended the debate that has plagued America since the beginning of time — how many times should you really wash your jeans? — and his answer might kick up a stink. Never! Some designers say you should wear your jeans every day for six whole months after you’ve purchased them to “break them in”. But, I do have opinion on those that insist on going commando in their jeans. Please wash at least twice a month!

Levi’s also adds washing your jeans as infrequently as possible, no more than once a month (for environmental reasons more than anything, as cotton is a thirsty plant and its demands threaten global water supply).

When you’re a billionaire like Hilfieger who’s made a fortune selling overpriced clothes, especially denim, you can wear a different pair of jeans a day for the rest of your life and not even worry about washing them. Throw them in the trash, put on another pair, or I bet he has people that do it for him.

One of my friends bought a pair very expensive jeans at Bloomingdales, to celebrate a 20 pound weight loss. The clerk was saying the same thing – never wash premium denim. Instructions were to roll them tight like in a roll, put them in the freezer, as the bugs or germs are killed in the freezer. Cheap brands like they sell at Walmart should be worn at least 10 times before washing. What happens when someone’s freezer smells worse than any article of clothing I wear for an extended period of time? NO, that would not be my freezer.

The much-reported experiment of University of Alberta student Josh Le, who wore his jeans for 15 months without laundering them, demonstrated that not a whole lot of smelly bacteria build up on them anyway. According to the National Post Le, 20, bought a pair of Nudie Jeans in September 2009. He wore them nearly every day and even slept in them for about a month to really let the sweat shape the creases. Instead, “the day I came home I triple-bagged them and put them in the freezer.” The next day, they smelled fine. So for the rest of the 15 months, he threw the jeans in the freezer every other week.


Of course he was normal–spilled food on it, wiped it off with a paper towel, and kept on going. “I wanted to push it to the extreme,” he said. Analysts compare those jeans to a pair he had worn for only 13 days, andthey approximately found the microbial load to be about the same. “Approximately?” I guess that’s vague enough to ignore the stench.

Honestly now–does this bring the word “gross” to a whole new level or are they just cold and germy after you take them out of  the freezer? Home freezers don’t kill bacteria, I assume it just puts them to sleep. I bet they wake right up when you take them out. So who is right?


Flash Backs of Little Miss Flash Cadilac by Linda Seccaspina available at Wisteria 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place or on Amazon.