Posts Tagged ‘oh the old days’
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.
A reader named Leslie got in touch in to say she was having a hard time tracking them down: “These appear not to be available anymore,” she wrote. “How can it be?” I believed it couldn’t possibly—and felt a generational obligation to investigate.*
Leslie had no cause for concern. Dr. Scholl’s Exercise Sandals still very much exist, although most of the newer models aren’t going to please purists: the soles are darker and look synthetic, its classic lines have been messed with, and the sole has a rubbery middle layer. All of this combines rather unfortunately to make them look like Dr. Scholl’s knockoffs instead of the real thing. For those, you’ll need to turn to our old friends at the Vermont Country Store where they’ve them in all their jolie laide glory, in blue, beige, and white, just like you remember them.
The ad is from a vintage issue of Seventeen, and I’m trying to figure out precisely how vintage: what do you say, guys? 78? 79? Possibly early, early 80s? That short denim skirt is throwing me off, but the parted-down-the-center-feathered hair of the guy to the left is pure 1978.
I’ve only been to Portland once, to call on some advertising decision-making types at Nike back when I had just become an editor in chief. I got to take in the spectacle that is the Nike campus, with its roaming packs of cheery lunch break joggers, and its famously well-stocked (and crazy cheap) company store, where I spent thirty very magical minutes. But that was it: we had to scoot right out of town and back to New York, and ever since, I’ve wanted to return. Portland strikes me as what would happen if Seattle and Brooklyn had a baby. But beyond all the crunchy PC loopiness, the bearded hipster gentlemen churning their own cheese, and children with names that are actually verbs; beyond all that which appears legitimately silly and lampoon-able about Portland, it also seems like a quite pleasant place to actually be. And even though I’m definitely in New York for the long haul, I’ve more than once thought it might be a nice place to live.
Portland also has a number of very cool stores, which is of course another reason why I want to visit. I think I could probably spend a small fortune at the nouvelle general store Canoe, for instance, starting with this very sturdy little tote, which owes all of its fabulosity to that red strap.
And a little cluster of these teardrop vases would be quite nice, no? They’re made by a local glass artist, and seem very Portland in that they are crafty around the edges, but streamlined enough not to come off hippie-ish.
Such a cool little modular storage solution for all your desk junk.
I use synthetic cutting boards now because they seem so much more sanitary, but truly, is there anything more elegant and old school than this? One could always just serve cheese on it, but Julia Child wouldn’t.
Were one to make a list of enterprises least likely to succumb to the twee treatment, hardware stores would rank somewhere at or near the top. But that’s pretty much the shape of things at Hand-Eye Supply, the retail arm of hipster industrial design magazine Core 77. They’ve got work gear at Hand Eye, but we’re not talking Dickies and Carhartt: everything is highly curated, from the shop coats from a 100 year-old company in Tennessee to the work jackets sourced from Sweden. That stuff is mostly for the guys, and it is all, of course, as suitable for the woodworking shed as it is for the the microbrew pub. On the cuter side of things, you can pick yourself up this special, custom-illustrated Hand-Eye Supply bandana.
I am forever opening packages with inappropriate implements—scissors, pens—and either destroying the implements or hurting myself. Possibly a nifty little pocket knife is the way to go.
Also: this leather -bottom bucket has dog toy storage written all over it.
Stand Up Comedy could easily exist on the Lower East Side: their stable of designers is just as esoteric as what one might find at, say, Assembly or Maryam Nassir Zadeh, and I even get a New York-ish not quite cool enough for our room vibe from their minimal, not entirely customer-friendly site as well. Still, they sell exactly the type of drapey, asymmetrical, possibly-not-the-world’s-most-flattering dress I lived in my last couple of years in an office, when comfort came first, and cool second.
Like exactly this: brilliant print. Very little in the way of a shape. Totally there.
I would have thrown this on with a black cardi and tights and worn in all winter.
There are a lot of these platform fisherman’s sandals around for spring. And every time I see them, I think of the type of girl they remind me of from high school. The one who hung out with the stoners but was secretly in all accelerated classes; who was kind of bitchy until she liked you, and even then always kept you guessing.
She wore an army jacket, pretty much every day.
And the ID bracelet that her boyfriend who already graduated gave her.
She knew who the Ramones were before anyone.
And her bag always smelled like pot and Tic Tacs.
…and Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers.
I’ve been finding chambray blazers all over the place, and cute as they are (and un-modern as it is for me to admit this) I look at them and all I see are 70s flashbacks. Thoughts?
Computers were actually the size of small rooms when I was a kid, so I’ve never gotten down on myself for not being more of an early adopter when it comes to everything digital. I’ve had the same iPhone since 2009—which in technology years is like driving a 1971 Buick down the Long Island Expressway at rush hour—but as I have noted before, my mobile device needs are simple and few, and it has served me well. I might have traded it in sooner, but haven’t wanted to give the satisfaction to friends who’ve enjoyed teasing me about it, as though the phone itself was emblematic of some fundamental inability on my part to move forward as a human in the world. From the way they react sometimes, you would think I’d pulled from my bag not an iPhone 3G, but blankie and a binky. You really would.
Lately, however, I’ve realized that an upgrade is actually very much in order. I’ve come across some apps my phone can’t load, and I want a good camera—the better to catalogue my exploits for all of you. The young man at the Apple store on 14th Street was very polite, and didn’t so much as smirk when I pulled out my old jalopy. He set up my account for me (how much do we love that they do setup at the Apple store?) and I was good to go. Now I get to enjoy the fashion part, and cuteness abounds. Swash is a British line of clothing and scarves, and they’ve got the prettiest, cleverest prints going. I love that they design iPhone cases, because their other stuff is a fortune. This one’s so unlikely, all in green, and so optimistic too somehow.
If this floral print from Kirna Zabete came on a dress, I’d totally buy that dress.
From graphic design super-site Society 6: a burst of graphic ethnic happiness.
Also from Society 6: a crazy quilt of brights you’ll never have to worry about losing at the bottom of your bag.
Exactly what you’d want as your iPhone case if you were trying to be all fabulous on safari.
I am trying to get over the branding here, because the yellow splatters on grey are just so chic.
Is it a Rorschach test or is it an iPhone case? Or, fabulously, both?
Embroidered bombers—so peacock-ishly, aggressively retro—are among the pieces I most closely associate with late 1970s vintage style. And since that was pretty much the exact moment in time when I became aware vintage style was a thing, they made a big impression. The marriage between East and West is a big part of the appeal: they were originally made by members of occupying forces as mementos of their time in Asia, and the American-style bomber shape with the traditional Asian stitching is just so unexpected and cool.
I could never pull one off—I’d feel too much in costume somehow—but that’s totally a personal thing. I once spied Mary-Kate Olsen looking like a million bucks as she slouched about the Citarella cheese section in one, and have seen others make them happen similarly fabulously as well. This remarkable specimen is from Ruby Lane, and is so Velvety Winter Goddess.
So annoying! This Zara jacket appears to be at least temporarily sold out online, and—I am reliably informed—in short, short supply in stores here in New York. Zara’s pretty good about reissuing popular styles—that’s their whole thing—so if you’re interested at all it’s probably just a question of holding tight.
Or is one already happening and I don’t know about it? Because if so, I think I’d be down with that. WWD reported yesterday that Paul Smith was given access to the band’s archives to collaborate on a few t-shirts, and their songs just keep popping up on rotation wherever I go—the combined outcome of both 80s nostalgia and Pandora, maybe. They just played “Once in a Lifetime” here in my corner cafe/work HQ—which made me so happy it inspired a search for cool gig posters. (And if you’re wondering: yes, I can work a retail angle into pretty much anything.)
Like when you’re on endless queue at the neighborhood health food and yoga emporium, wondering what could have made progress come to an absolute and extended standstill, and then your favorite song of maybe the entire 1990s comes on, and suddenly you’re happy to stand there for a while.
October weather arrived right on time in New York yesterday, with all of its attendant rain and gloom. And so I went digging in the closet for the most weatherproof bag I could find to transport my laptop around the corner to the cafe where I sometimes go to write, and came up with this Sandqvist messenger bag, which I purchased right before I went to Europe in June. I hadn’t used it since I’d returned home, and the interior was a nice little trip back in time: various denominations of Euros and big red tablets of French aspirin littered the bottom of the bag, along with the boarding pass for my flight home, and a card from the Paris boutique L’Ecalaireur that I’d saved because the logo was so cool. (Don’t you kind of love when you grab a bag you haven’t used in ages and encounter a mini-time capsule when you open it? Ticket stubs from a movie you went to on a first date? A lipstick you’d loved and lost? A wedding shower invitation for a close friend currently in couple’s therapy? Even just a half-consumed, long-forgotten container of Tic-Tacs can send me into a torpor of nostalgia.)
I love this Sandqvist bag—and not only because it got me through the trip so well, working not only as an excellent carry-on, but as my daily schlep-around-the-city carryall. But also because it reminded me of the Danish Schoolbags that my college roommate Margaret—and all the other cool private school girls from New York —showed up with my freshman year at Oberlin. It had exterior pockets and a big outside zipper that made it expandable enough to carry all of one’s books. Suddenly my backpack—which was standard issue for the kids at my hippie-preppy New England boarding school—felt shamefully uncool. The Danish Schoolbag wasn’t insanely expensive—like $90 if I recall correctly—but the status it conferred was sterling. The first morning of my first fall break in the city, I took off like a shot to Chocolate Soup, the (long gone) Upper East Side children’s store that had the city’s Danish Schoolbag monopoly. I bought a blue one and carried it until it was worn into the ground.
You can not find Danish Schoolbags anywhere anymore,* and they are mourned by many (here is a very sweet piece that ran in the LA times in 2002). And yet they still appear to be produced. It’s all quite puzzling. I tracked down the Dutch company that makes them to look into the matter, but I’m keeping my expectations well-managed. And also considering whether what I miss most might not actually be the bag, but 1983.
••There is an American Danish Souperbag website but it isn’t official and is, sadly, somewhat of a boondoggle.
UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! Commenter heathmitch has tracked down a store in Germany called Scandinavian Objects that sells Danish Schoolbags in black and grey. This is very exciting. I have the best commenters.
UPDATE OF THE UPDATE: Scandinavian Objects is sold out. We soldier on.