Posts Tagged ‘oh the old days’
Loyal reader Nancy wrote in yesterday to say she was surprised I hadn’t weighed in on the passing of Loehmann’s, and to ask if I had any special memories of the place. And indeed I do, although they don’t involve any momentous scores, but instead, epic humiliation at the hands of my bargain-happy grandmother Gelta, for whom Loehmann’s was an opiate as powerful as heroin. It was the only place she would take me shopping, and one of the few where she would buy for herself, even though my grandfather was a successful man who wanted only for her to have the nicest things. Part of the horror of going to Loehmann’s with Gelta was that she had no filter, and this could spell trouble for an easily embarrassed 14 year-old girl in a communal dressing room. Like the time I’d just tried on a pair of white jeans with rainbows on the pockets and she started picking indelicately at the inseam, and announced, “Kimberly, these are TOO TIGHT IN THE CROTCH, ” loud enough that all of the women in our direct proximity actually turned around to see what she could be referring to. If the ground had opened up and swallowed me whole at that moment, I would only have been grateful.
That’s my memory. Now I want to hear yours. Was it something like an amazing Helmut Lang coat, like Nancy, or a markdown-crazed family member, like me?
Sometimes I see guys in their forties skateboarding, and I wonder if they know how ridiculously aging hipster they look. And then I totally obsess over something like this t-shirt—an exact replica of the one Debbie Harry wore on the second-ever cover of Punk magazine—and I am suddenly compelled to cut them some serious slack.
A friend’s Tunisian mother once taught me an old French housewife’s trick: if you lose something around the house, tie a knot in a kitchen towel and you will find it. This works surprisingly well, and—I eventually realized—for such a simple reason. You tie the knot and then trust in the knot, and trusting in the knot bestows freedom to go on about your daily business. It is only after your harried search of ever-less-likely locations ceases that the item in question presents itself, usually in a spot you never would have arrived at had you not simply gotten back to your routine. Because it was over the course of everyday living that you lost it.
This is not unlike how I feel about the sudden reappearance of of Indian block t-shirts. Back in my boarding school days, this was the single article of clothing that transcended classification: the scary hippie girls combined it with gauzy tiered skirts, beaten-in denim jackets, Chinese slippers, and the clove cigarettes that gave them all a faint aroma of baked hams. The preppy girls kitted it out with khakis, fisherman’s rope bracelets, and Topsiders—and on them, the Indian block t-shirt came off like a more exotic variation on a Lilly Pulitzer print. I acquired one or two, but they are long, long gone. And at some point over the past couple of years, I developed a deep desire for another. But this once-ubiquitous item had became impossible to locate. Which was confounding: in an ethnic print-hungry age, how could it be that nobody had thought to bring these back? After a while, I stopped spinning my wheels and moved on. And then last Thursday, as I headed up Ninth Avenue en route to the Rag & Bone sample sale, I saw this in the window of Calypso. Closer inspection revealed it to be the genuine article. I told the cute twentyish salesgirl how much I’d loved these in high school; how happy I was to find them again. “Yeah,” she said, “we’re getting a lot of that.”
Neitzsche may have called nostalgia “a blank check written to a weak mind,” but I say no harm done as long as your trips down the rabbit hole are precious and few. I loved the nineties in a way I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to say I loved another decade—mostly because I was young and carefree, probably, but also because the nineties were an inclusive, fun, all-around exhilarating time to be involved in the popular culture. And this Bikini Kill poster is taking me right back to the green-carpeted, zine-strewn tumbledown offices of of Sassy magazine, circa 1992, in the very best possible way. Profits from all sales go to benefit The Girls Rock Camp Alliance—and it was created in a very limited edition, so do not delay.
Do you guys have clocks in your homes? Because I don’t anymore. Not one. If I wake up in the middle of the night wondering how late it is, I need glance no further than the cable box. In the morning, my iPhone’s alarm wakes me, and throughout the rest of my apartment, I need never wonder the hour for long, because any number of gadgets artlessly blare it. I no longer tell time by looking at clocks, and that is too bad, because clocks can bring such excellent little moments of good design into our lives, and that’s something to preserve, no? This classic Nelson clock is so brilliantly early-space-program (maybe only in my mind though; it was designed much earlier) that I can practically taste 1964 when I look at it. For a less splurgy version, here’s a quite similar take for just $40.
Half trippy, half classic, and, from the looks of it, totally useful as a paperweight, too.
This one is sort of like the periscope of the most orangey-orange submarine ever.