Are You Desperately Seeking These Boots, Susan?

Five years ago I wrote about the fashions in 1985’s Desperately Seeking Susan — and ever since, the popularity of that post seems to have grown. Nearly as fast as the cult classic itself, I daresay. Halloween costume time especially drives interest, I suppose. However, my main interest in posting this today is because — hold onto your hats! — I’ve a pair of the very rare black sequined Desperately Seeking Susan boots up for sale in our Etsy shop! (It includes some ephemera too!)

black sequin covered desperately seeking susan boots 1985

80s desperately seeking susan movie boots booties

There Will Always Be One Queen Of Ice Skating

For me, the best thing about the Olympics is the figure skating. And nothing & no one in ice skating compares to Oksana Baiul. Into the drama of the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics stole a 16 year old Oksana Baiul, taking the gold and our hearts.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years already…

Baiul is still active (you can like her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter), still glamorous, and she’s celebrating 20 years of Olympic gold with her Oksana Baiul Collection.

oksana baiule winter 2013

Perhaps my favorite performance of Baiul’s, the legendary Arabian performance.


Women & Children Should Be Scene & Not Heard

We’ve all heard the expression “Children should be seen and not heard”, an expression particularly aimed at girls. Well, apparently it was updated in the 1970s to be “Children should be scene and not heard”. Enter Exhibit A, a vintage advertisement for Mary Maxim needlecraft kits which features a little girl dressed to complete a festive holiday scene:

mary maxim vintage ad 1978

The girl wears a floor-length red dress, much like the table wears a red floor-length tablecloth. Both decorative small female child and small table each wear overlays of fancy white crocheted creations (the Mary Maxim pinafore and tablecloth kits).  If anyone can show me an example of this done to boys or men, please do.

The ad was found in the September 1978 issue of Decorating & Craft Ideas Magazine.

Women’s Yellow Pages

Women’s Yellow Pages of Greater Milwaukee, 1995-1996. (Please refrain from jokes about “fingers doing the walking” among the women of Milwaukee. Thank you.)

milwaukee womens yellow pages

Today, Yellow Pages & phone books in general seem so quaint…. And women themselves today? Not exactly “quaint”, but certainly undervalued. So I was amazed to find out that such Women’s Yellow Pages still exist in some areas.

Related: My article at Collectors Quest regarding the history of telephone books.

Horsing Around With Lolita Smut

Because (nearly) every little girl loves horses (I sure did!), it shouldn’t be surprising that a shelf full of horse figurines would be among the decor shown in smut to designate the juvenile status of the woman. However, in this case, one would be pretty hard-pressed to suspend their disbelief that this “babe” disrobing to her stockings and suspenders is an innocent teen; she looks a lot more like a mom in her daughter’s room — perhaps there to dust the Breyer horses, nodding dogs, and 45 RPM records. For more thoughts on this: When Lollipops Make Us Suckers (NWS).

Desperate To Be Obscene

EBay seller LadiesOnFilm carries a large number of vintage risque and nude images from publishers of adult magazines from the 60’s through the 90’s. It’s rather clear that many of them are the unused outtakes; but then, I guess “outtakes” are in the mind of the viewer.

It’s funny how often the “bad” pictures seem more natural than the “good” pictures. I find this photo of Carol Newell (by Ron Vogel, 1968) charming. It’s how a woman sits on the stairs, relaxed, not worrying about the planes of her face and the contours of her body… There’s no arching of her back while pointing her toes. That’s how the real girl next door sits.

The women struggle to look natural in odd poses. While the props are often dated and hysterical, it’s the desperate poses for the sake of sexual puns which are far funnier. I can just hear the photographer saying, “That’s it, that’s it, baby. Now just crawl along the floor and choke that plaster snake statue…”

I’m not saying that no simply nude woman has ever taken a bad photo, but they are far more beautiful than those photographs which overreach — either in physicality or in attempts at innuendo.

Vintage Space Age Panties

A vintage gag gift for women, still in the original box which reads:

“Out of this World”
Space Age Panties
for Mi Lady

Fench Delight

Inside the box, a simple typed note:

End-orsed by Leading Astronuts for the GAL who thinks HERS is out of this world.

And a pair of sheer lime green chiffon nylon panties with black lace trim — crotchless, of course.

Ever notice how risque men’s gag gifts (NWS) are usually, well, rather useless; but those for women are to be worn. This makes the joke literally on her, with him getting the last laugh.

Of course, men are willing to wear risque and even tasteless gag gifts (NWS), so I guess it’s just harder to make a man gag.

“Look Like A Chick For A Change”

An ad promoting more “feminine” fashions found in a 1974 issue of 19 magazine. Because, you know, ladies dasn’t wear pants.

Diana Pooley Ltd. must have been like Laura Ashley was in the 1980s; the option for “non-feminists” who eschewed being anything other than a lady in a man’s world. Fashion choice is one thing, but forcing such gender ties to fashion… Well, I often wonder if the Pooleys and Ashleys of the world are ever embarrassed to see their old ads.

Vintage ad scan found at Emmapeelpants at Flickr, where she calls it “Brilliantly patronising and rude.”

Vintage Jay Herbert

On a recent visit to Fargo’s Antiques On Broadway, I spotted this vintage lighter (still in the box) advertising Jay Herbert of California and the stylized name looked familiar…

A quick image search on Google, and I received the instant gratification I sought: vintage fashion labels for Jay Herbert of California.

My favorite is this fancier version in which the scroll work at the bottom somehow remind me of scissors. It still holds it’s logo value today, for somehow, in all my perusals of vintage fashions over the years, I retained the sight of it enough to recognize it on the lighter.

If I had to guess, I’d say the fancier labels are the older ones. But it would only be a guess. For aside from department store ads in old newspapers announcing the Jay Herbert of California brand, there’s scant information available on the fashion house.

One thing is for certain, though: Jay Herbert was not a fashion designer or even an actual person. Buried in a precedent setting legal case regarding the definition of an employee (at least for tax purposes), I discovered that Jay Herbert of California was the business name of partners Herbert Owen and Joseph Silverstein who “engaged in the manufacture and sale of ladies’ dresses” in 1960.

That technically means that references to Jay Herbert as a designer are false.

But there’s even more ambiguity…

It appears that Jay Herbert of California began appearing in vintage department store advertisements in the late 1950s but by the mid 1960s they fade away… And decades later, in the 1980s, the name Jay Herbert appears again — on handbags and wine caddies — but now simply as Jay Herbert, New York.

I’m rather smitten with this vintage or retro Jay Herbert New York handbag.

I’m not sure if this Jay Herbert, most known for their coveted quilted Chanel-inspired handbags, is related past anything but name. Trademark searches show no records for the name Jay Herbert, Jay Herbert of California, or Jay Herbert New York. The name could have been sold, licensed, or, having no protections, even just capitalized upon as having some recognition with retailers.

More contemporary handbags appear with metal tags bearing the Jay Herbert name and metal “coin” logos — but these handbags and purses are “by Sharif.”

Sharif, like Cher, uses only one name. The designer bags are sold mainly (if not only) on HSN. The designer incorporated as Sharif Designs Inc. in 1979, but it has a family history dates back to 1827 in Egypt.

Personally, I prefer the vintage bags over the new ones, and the vintage fashions even more. But it’s the vintage labels and logos I love most of all.

I hope this helps you with your Jay Herbert shopping and collecting. If you can add any information, please do!

Image Credits: Simple Jay Herbert of California label via Half A Second Art and Vintage; fancy Jay Herbert label via Timeless Vixen Vintage; Jay Herbert New York purse label via Barefoot & Vintage; Jay Herbert New York wine caddy label via DJVintage; retro quilted Jay Herbert purse via A Little Luxury; two photos of Jay Herbert by Sharif metal tags via Mr. Mister Vintage

This Is Just The Sort Of “Wrong” I Love To Collect

The “Me Jane” spread-legged plastic clothes hangers.

Sorry, ladies, these vintage novelty hangers were “for men.”

Because nothing says, “I’m secure in my masculinity, my sexuality, my self, and my life,” like a closet full of these gems. The reason these are the ultimate bachelor pad item is because they help guarantee a man remains a bachelor.

What I don’t get is the leopard print bikini panty. Why pretend modesty now? …Maybe the makers didn’t know what it looks like under there. (Makes me want one so I can peep beneath the fabric panty to see if it’s like Barbie. Or Ken!)

Via Copyranter.

Foot Fashions A La Purple Rain

In the 80s, we used to decorate our boots with chains and wraps, just because we could. Or maybe it’s where we kept our gold, which could quickly be converted to cash — you know, like when when we needed to buy our boyfriend guitars, like Apollonia did for Prince in Purple Rain.

Your desires to buy a sperm-shaped guitar or pull your finances literally up from your bootstraps aside, you might just find these shoe and bootstraps by Lizette quite fetching. They are not only stylish (and retro 80’s style at that!), but practical in that they hold loose shoes, like mules, on to your foot to boot!

Spotting Memories In Retro Radio Ads

Still nostalgic thinking about the old days in Milwaukee radio, I’ve been hanging out consuming The Halcyon Daze (I prefer using the “classic” interface for navigation, in case you visit here, Scott Beddome — aka rock’s Scott “The Kid”). I’m particularly smitten with this post of 1984 TV commercials for radio — especially this classic WKTI spot:

Not only does it feature Reitman & Mueller, and the Booze Brothers — but that’s Warren Wiegratz on the keyboards!

Having stalked Oceans for years, I’d know. My Oceans following began in 1984 or so, when my biological sister’s foreign exchange “French sister,” Christine (Oh, so tempted to talk trash about Christine and her visit; but I will behave.), came to stay with us and she wanted to hear a jazz band. So my parents took her to Sardino’s. After an early crush on Duane Stuermer (somewhere around here I have signed ticket stubs from Duane, and, possibly, his brother Daryl), I eventually forged a friendship with drummer Ernie Adams — who’s dad, it turned out, worked with my mom. Small world. It became even cozier when Ernie and and dated; but I don’t like to kiss and tell. *wink*

Of Tailgators, Radio & Retail

This is a vintage WKTI Tailgator pinback from 1983, featuring Old Style beer. It’s mere 1.75 inches, but oh the size of the memories it unleashes…

If you’re of a certain age — and from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area — you remember this era of WKTI, Reitman & Mueller — and the uncomfortably named Jim “Lips” LaBelle.

Thinking of WKTI reminds me of the days our family ventured into the retail business. We bought into the Just Pants franchise, running the Just Pants store at Southridge Mall, then a Taubman Mall (Taubman married and divorced from Christie Brinkley, a rather too present icon of my life, helping me date nearly anything).

Our biggest Just Pants competitor was the County Seat — and Kohl’s department store (which bled we specialty jean stores to death by using Levi’s and Lee denim loss leader sales). Anyone else remember the days of denim walls so high, sales staff used ladders to reach the goods? That’s the pun behind this sexy Just Pants ad — it predates when we had our store (and I doubt we would have ran the ad ourselves, even if it had been in the creative pool of franchisee options.)

Anyway, in that era we not only often played WKTI in the store but we special ordered and custom hemmed Bob Reitman‘s black boot-cut Levi’s. Yeah, we were that cool.

Back then, we not only played whatever radio we wanted in the store, on July 13, 1985, we played the Live Aid broadcast in the store. I called in from the store to donate, getting myself an official Live Aid t-shirt. (They were out of my size, so I received a size small which wouldn’t have covered The Girls and so it has remained safely packed away all these years.)

Now, WKTI is WLWK, “Lake FM.” (Reitman’s still kicking it on air with his weekly show, It’s Alright, Ma, It’s Only Music.) And, ironically, Lake FM sounds almost like an auditory time capsule of the Reitman & Mueller days. I know, I’ve listened to the station when I’ve traveled home. Old habits die hard and my fingers still “dial” to the stations I recalled. Not that any of them are there anymore.  Lazer 103, QFM, LPX… All long gone. Apparently, after I moved from Wisconsin, the radio station marketplace went to hell. I’m not the only one who’s more than nostalgic; check out 93QFM: The Halcyon Daze for Milwaukee Rock Radio DJ Stories.

This got me thinking about the other radio stations & DJs… And the connections to retail.

Marilynn Mee, aka Jackpot Girl, part of Bob And Brian’s morning show on Lazer 103 (Mee may still be on WKLH?), was someone I met quite often when I was working at the Estee Lauder counter at Gimbels. Mee was pals with Pam, who worked Lancome. I envied Mee her wardrobe of all things.  But then, if you’ve ever had to wear the cosmetic girl garb, well, you’d understand it. Hard to feel 80-‘s glam when you’re wearing a turquoise smock-tent, no matter how fab your face and hair look. (Despite the fact that Marilynn and Pam partied with rock stars, I was the good girl who found herself knocked up; an entirely different subject, and I’ve digressed too much already.)

Because I’m all nostalgic about radio…

My first radio love was WOKY — and AM station that then played top 40 pop stuff. It came in loud and clear on my red ball Panasonic R-70 transistor radio.

I would turn the volume up and dance madly in the back yard. My most vivid memory is of cranking up Billy Preston’s Go Round in Circles and dancing on top of the old wooden picnic table. So not safe, I’m sure, even if you weren’t dancing yourself dizzy goin’ round in circles. Ahh, those were the days, though.

Image Credits: Vintage 1970 Just Pants ad via Ads-Things4Less. Panasonic photo via ebyauctions.

New Vintage Reviews #8

New Vintage Reviews Carnival

Welcome to the long overdue New Vintage Reviews Carnival, edition #8.

In this blog carnival, we review everything from classic film to vintage vinyl, from out-of-print books to games found in the basement — we hope to make the old seem shiny and new again!

If you’d like your review (or one you’ve read) to be included in the next edition, please submit it!  If you’d like to host, just contact me ( and put “New Vintage Reviews Host” in the subject line.


At A Penguin A Week, Karyn reviews The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley.

At { feuilleton }, a review of Joseph Balthazar Silvestre’s Alphabet-album, circa 1843, by John Coulthart.

My review of 1962’s Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Plans For Physical Fitness, here at Kitsch Slapped.


At Immortal Ephemera, a review of 1950’s Bright Leaf, starring Gary Cooper, Lauren Bacall, and Patricia Neal.

At Out Of The Past, a review of Garbo’s Ninotchka (1939).


At Steamboat Arabia, an illustrated review of The Game of Life aka Checkered Game of Life by Milton Brady — first sold in 1860.


At Scratch, Pop & Hiss, a review of James Luther Dickinson’s Dixie Fried (1972).

At Kitschy Kitschy Coo, my review of Toni Basil’s self-titled album.

At Silent Porn Star (obviously NWS), a review of the 1957 LP My Pussy Belongs To Daddy, which is silly and risque.

At The World’s Worst Records, Darryl W Bullock reviews A Soldier’s Plea by Bishop J M Smith and the Evangelist Choir.

My review of MTV’s High Priority, here at Kitsch Slapped.

And… This last one isn’t truly a review… But in the spirit of living with “old stuff,” surely the story of Phil Cirocco’s full restoration of a Novochord dating from 1940 fits in.  (Via Scratch, Pop & Hiss.)

MTV Cared About Your Breasts

Over a decade before Rethink Breast Cancer & MTV News Canada launched (to public outcry; video), and the Women Rock! Girls & Guitars breast cancer benefit too, MTV had the High Priority campaign against breast cancer.  (You can be cynical, and view MTV’s interest as self-interest — be it sexist preservation of the sweater-puppets which jiggled in videos, or a way to combat judgement that rock videos and music television would be the end of civilization, but whatever MTV’s motives, they’re active in PSAs.) The campaign began in 1984, but my thrift store find is the 1987 High Priority album.

(I say “find” because up until spotting for $1 at a thrift shop I was ignorant of this MTV effort. In my defense, we didn’t have cable; our family only managed to get a color TV in the late 70s or early 80s — but we were the first to have a microwave oven. My parents only got a video player after I moved out; and they just got cable two or three years ago. So that tells you something about our family values. And why, even if we had cable, I would have likely opted to read anyway instead.)

The profits from this album went to the AMC Cancer Research Center. The album cover featured unfinished, yet signed, art by Andy Warhol on the front; monthly self breast exam info and other cancer prevention tips on the back; and ten songs from leading female performing artists of the time:

Side One

Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves; Aretha Franklin with The Eurythmics
Manic Monday; Bangles
I Can’t Wait; Stevie Nicks
You Give Good Love; Whitney Houston
Time After Time; Cyndi Lauper

Side Two

Oh People; Patti Labelle
Le Bel Age; Pat Benatar
Nothing At All; Heart
I Feel The Magic; Belinda Carlisle
Slave To The Rhythm; Grace Jones
More Than Physical; Bananarama

While the High Priority Campaign holds no “remember when” significance, the songs and artists do.  So I’m lovin’ listening to it. Grrl power!!

Want it? Infrequently posted on eBay; less expensive at Amazon.

The Sexual Segregation Of She-Ra; Or, Why I Love Thundarr

I’m too old to claim to have logged hours of watching She-Ra or He-Man — or any childhood memories from that MOTU period. But that won’t stop me from having an opinion.

In The Problem With She-Ra as a Feminist Text, Renee Martin considers the retro ass-kicking cartoon vixen in terms of various female identities:

As adult, I can look at She-ra and still appreciate the positive role that she filled for some young girls. I say some, because as a WOC, She-ra is not a show that I would particular encourage my children to watch, and even more so if I had a daughter. You, see when feminists start talking about women’s advancement, my first question is which women are we talking about? If we’re honest, no matter how many times the great unified sisterhood is pitched by feminism, there are always going to be some women, who somehow don’t fit the mold, because they are poor, of colour, trans, lesbian, older, disabled etc.

…I love her even though she is flawed and continues the erasure I feel as a marginalized woman in many spheres, but I will not dismiss her, because I don’t have the right to take away heroes from little White girls, who need their heroes too. Even though their challenges will be much different than mine, I will not deny that these challenges exist, and by so doing erase the threat that they pose to me. There are very few positive role models for young girls of colour to look up to but erasing the few White images will not change that.

When I read Martin’s post, I found myself nodding my head in understanding and agreement; however…

I’m still struck by something Hillary DePiano, author of The She-Ra Collector’s Inventory: An Unofficial Illustrated Guide to All Princess of Power Toys and Accessories, said in my interview with her:

Interestingly enough, I started somewhat backwards. He-Man predated She-Ra by quite a few years and as a kid I just LOVED He-Man. I had quite a few of the toys. But when the spin-off show, She-Ra came out, my parents decided that since there was now a “girl version” that I had to give all my He-Man figures to my brother and that he would play with them and I would get the She-Ra. God, was I bitter about that. I think there is some feminism lesson in there.

I can’t help but wonder, then, if She-Ra was a means of sexual or gender segregation.

She-Ra was part of the Master Of The Universe world but she was relegated to her own corners of it, kept out of the “Males Only” areas just because they had lady parts. (The usual over-emphasized comic book figure lady parts, of course. He-Man had his own exaggerated maleness too; it’s the earmarks of such works.)  I can’t say that watching the complete She-Ra series and all the He-Man episodes, we could count how many bubblers water fountains She-Ra and crew couldn’t drink from, how many buses these sheroes rode in the back of; it’s far worse than that.

The simplicity of making an “all female version” of the popular Saturday morning cartoon series completely removes coexistence. Women on one side; men on the other — the original side.  Almost like parallel universes, really. What does that say about gender equality?  Not much. Especially if parents, the kids’ overlords, were interpreting these two shows and their accompanying toy sets as “one for boys, one for girls.”

(If there were any super-cross-over MOTU episodes, those might be more interesting; but I doubt I’d be surprised.)

That’s maybe (partly) why I liked Thundarr The Barbarian. There may not have been complete equality, but at least Princess Ariel and Ookla the Mok existed along side leading man Thundarr.

Sadly, there were no Thundarr The Barbarian toys. *heavy sigh* Which means I cannot discuss the parental interaction. Nor can I collect the toys.

PS For the record, I was — and forever remain — an Ookla fan. Ookla was a formerly enslaved a leonine humanoid with fangs and yellow eyes. Whatever a Mok may be in this cultural equation, I guess that’s how I’m identifying.

While Ookla’s guttural, growling language may seem unintelligible, and therefore not appear well suited for blogging writing, “he” is also, according to those who know, “the most likely of the heroes to charge right into an enemy attack or to be enraged by unusual nuisances or threats.” And that, my friends, is how I see myself. (Plus, I will also go quite out of the way to avoid water on my face as well.)

Image credits: Photo from Hillary DePiano’s book and used with permission.

Once Upon A Time… There Was The Storyteller

I don’t spend my time listening to TV show announcements, and I admit I know even less about comics — but I do read a lot of blogs. So that’s how I found out that ABC has just announced that they have picked up a new series entitled Once Upon a Time, which is similar to Marvel’s Fables comic book series in that the fairytale characters will be set in “today’s world.” (Poor things.)

For some reason, this reminds me of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, even if ABC’s show will have actors and (apparently) no puppets. And isn’t set in the past.

I’m looking forward to the new ABC television show… But I would welcome the return of Muppets, or any puppets, really.