Thursday, May 6, 2010

Return of the Redressed

  As one might imagine the last few days back have been busy with getting back to the business of the everyday, which is never quite routine, and I'm off to New York City for the weekend (a little Mother's Day rendezvous with my mother).  I haven't even unpacked my suitcase from the road trip!
   Liss came home Tuesday evening with items from our friend's late mother's estate, and one of the items was this booklet:
It contains the description of hundreds (well, 501) free pamphlets and stuff one could send away for in the 70s.  In addition to mailing away for patterns and instructions, one could find out about starting a career as a diamond cutter (courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor!) or get a guided study of Rembrandt's etchings so one could better their own technique (hello U.S. Government Printing Office!).  There are also things from various private enterprises, but I was really surprised at how many U.S. government documents there were.  (It's funny, I recently thought about all the brochures that came out of Pueblo, Colorado in the 70s.  I visited the website, and they're still cranking them out:   I'm sorry, but downloading pdfs is just not as much fun as getting something in the mail.)
    This booklet also immediately brought to mind one of my favourite possessions, one of the things I'd grab if there were a fire in my house:
    My mother gave me Cheap Chic way back in the late 70s, I think, and the love for it is evident in the well-worn pages and spine.  I still reference it.  It is, by far, the best fashion/style guide I've ever read.  Yes, styles have changed but finding cool stuff in a thrift store, reimagining work clothes as fashion items, or integrating classic items without looking like your name should be Muffy is timeless!  I am constantly looking for another copy of this because mine is starting to lose pages.  If you find one, let me know.  I'm willing to pay.
   501 Valuable Free Things also reminded me of how I used to send away for all kinds of stuff, and with Cheap Chic, I mailed away for a ton of catalogs.  You can see my little scrawl, with notations, in this photo (not the best picture, but hey):
    Did I ever order from any of these?  Probably not, but as anyone who's into personal style knows - fantasy and inspiration go a long way. 

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