Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.

2 Comments:

So, did you find a pair of sleek leather, non-isotoner gloves? And if so, where? ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 12:56 PM  

Sadly, the only place I've been able to find soft leather 3/4 length gloves in fitted sizes is at Saks Fifth Avenue. I've never looked at Franco's, however he may just have them there too. the other choice is to buy them from a Vintage shop or to ask Patti, yes that would be me....if she has a pair that would fit you. I have several pairs of beautiful Vintage glvoes in all lengths . You can take you pick of any of them, I would love to give you a pair.

Hugs,
Me ;)

By Anonymous Patti, at 12:56 AM  

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Sunday, November 19, 2006  

Ahh, Mary. I know better than to visit a yarn shop when I have only 6 weeks to go on TheVow. I did come into the city via Libbie, Cary, Huguenot and Midlothian turnpike, so I had to grit my teeth as I crossed Grove, so close to the Knitting Basket and I deliberately got in the left lane as I passed the old Stony Point Shopping Center, where Lettuce Knit is. My folks don’t live out as far as the county seat so I almost never get to Holly Springs. In fact, I’ve only ever been once, though it’s a delightful shop and has beautiful rovings. Happily, I’m still in love with The KipFee and am not too tempted to actually buy anything right now. Not so close to Christmas with so many socks left to knit. Till January, I’ll content myself with looking at catalogs. Lord knows I have enough of ‘em.

And thank you Caroline - I do sometimes think about writing, well, if not a novel, at least a sort of James Herriott sort of collection of tales from my little world. Who knows. Maybe someday I will. I certainly can get nostalgic about Times Gone By - and tender as well. Besides, the people are all so precious to me, because of their quirks far more than in spite of.

I will confess, though, that I did stop at a mall on my way home. Partly, I’ll admit, because it is a mall and it is something I don’t get to that often, but partly because I needed a pair of new leather gloves. My old ones were badly worn and it just won’t do for a girl to go through the winter without leather gloves.

My obsession with leather gloves goes back to high school; to a specific moment, when I opened my yearbook, that freshman year, and saw the photo of Brenda Bullock in winter coat and sleek leather gloves, clutching her sheet music. It was one of those classic fashion statements. She looked like an adult; confident, independent, serenely capable, not a gauche and yearning teen. She looked timeless, as well, and I am sure, if I dug out that old yearbook, I’d still think so. Somehow, I felt that if I could just get my hands on a pair of sleek leather gloves, I too, would be a capable, confident grown-up. I promised myself I would never again go through the winter in fuzzy wet mittens or orlon (or whatever synthetic, thus cheap) gloves.

This obsession was fueled by the scene in Betsy in Spite of Herself, when she comes out of church to find it snowing and Tib takes off her lavender kid gloves saying “...dampness isn’t good for kid.” I mean, imagine knowing, at 15, that dampness isn’t good for kid gloves. Imagine even having kid gloves when you’re 15! Our gloves came out of a bin full of one-size-fits-all and even if they don’t match who’s looking. I had even been known to wear socks on my hands, like Jo March and her sister. (Literature played an important role in shaping both my core values and my behavior.) So. When two fashion role models have fine leather gloves, it’s a sign.

What I didn’t know was how hard it was going to be to bring elegant leather gloves into my life. First off, my mama was always more interested in fun clothes than chic. It was she who cursed her daughters with horrible knitted hats sewn all over with big quarter sized sequins. We called them maid hats, because the women waiting at the bus stops, who came from ‘cross the river to clean houses each day, wore them. We managed to consign them to the lost-and-found at Westover elementary school till the last sister went on to high school, when the secretary asked my mother if they were hers. “They’ve been in the lost and found since your daughters started coming to this school.” Mass marketing culture aided and abetted my mama’s fashion decisions. It was 1967. We were sinking into the mod squad hippie synthetic lycra rip-stop nylon era. Elegance was out. Goofy was in.

Then, of course, there was the expense. I haven’t a clue what fine leather gloves cost in 1967 but I plunked down $ for a pair yesterday. I remember the first pair I finally slid over my hands cost the better part of $25, at a time when minimum wage was still in the $2 range. I am not sure I would give a teenager a small, easily lost accessory that costs 13 hours labor at her after school job. I’m not sure I would have spent my own money that way either. In fact, I know I wouldn’t, for as a young girl I was obsessed with fashion quantity. I wore a uniform to school and pined for variety, color and rapid change. The first year I was out of uniform, I made a point to wear a different skirt every day of the month. I sewed and could indulge myself, but I shudder to remember that I really did have a skirt made out of fake fur.

Worst of all was actually finding a pair of good leather gloves, after I decided that there was no good reason to bypass a simple luxury just because I didn’t grow up with it. By this time, leather gloves; elegant, thin, fitted to your hand leather gloves, not work gloves or stuffed with fur to keep out the cold gloves, were so far out of fashion even Vogue and Bazaar had stopped running ads for them. Slender arms and tapered fingers, encased in form fitting leather, sometimes showed up in promos for jewelry stores but I suspect they were vintage clothing by then. For the most part, gloves had gone functional. Gone was the glass counter, with the woman in a navy blue dress and prim white collar, who pulled out the stick and measured your hand before pulling the tray of sleek leather gloves, overlapping like shingles, in warm black, brown and navy blue, from the second shelf down and laying it reverently on the counter top. Self serve Iso-toner bins full of gloves that were too tight for my hands became the closest thing to leather gloves at even the poshest department stores. Gone, too, were the selection of lengths. My preference is for three quarter length, both as a look and to block any draft up my coat sleeve. Now and then I can find them, but usually I have to settle for something just slightly longer than matinee length.

Of course we all know that fashion is a cyclical thing and nothing stays out of style forever. It will come back in some altered shape, even if it’s corsets for the budoir. Never doubt it. One day you will consider how to make a bustle work with your new suit. Or your daughter will. Happily, leather gloves are once again marginally available. I wish there were more choices of style and length. I am willing, now, to compromise and buy the ones that are lined with thin knitted cashmere, instead of thinner and sleeker silk. They’re warmer. I also wish the ones with the rabbit fur trim had also come in brown, because I am just chichi enough, just enough my mama’s daughter, to have popped for them too. Probably it’s for the best though. Christmas is coming and I’ll soon be spending for others, not self.

So there you have it. I can’t seem to go through the city without going to a store. Like Aunt Rene and Virginia Powers and all the rest of those dear old things, when I slip on over to Richmond I’m probably going to slip on into the dressing room and just try that little number on ... just to see how it looks, you know. Or I will buy leather gloves. If it’s winter and the dampness of the past few years have ruined the pair I already have.

And then, perhaps, I shall come home and knit myself a pair of serviceable snowball mittens.

posted by Bess | 7:35 AM
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