Saturday, February 9, 2008

Vintage Charm


You've heard it before, they don't make things like they used to. There's something about vintage items, their charm, their history, their sheen.

Circa 1988, Jean Knee, a recent college grad, ready to embrace the world, rise to any challenge.Funds were short, the new career wouldn't begin for three months. Limbo.

So I got a job at a popular department store as a customer service rep. Fancy, no? No. It meant light accounting, paper work and consoling inconsolable customers. Fine , fine.
I was "encouraged " to wear a dress, woman shoes and, most abominable of all, panty hose.

Grandma, and her credit card to the rescue , had me all set with a suit dress that could be paired with other separates to give me a working girl's wardrobe. I heard that , pervs. As an extra special addition Grandma had a stash of nylons left in pristine, still packaged condition from her pre-retirement days. These babies were of a shimmery taupe that was no longer a avilable for purchase, anywhere. Oh, these vintage pearls gave me the extra polish I needed to pull my look together, and there were six packages. S..I..X.

So I'm at the job waiting on a particularly snarly (rhymes with gnarly, it was the 80's, baby!) lady and feeling the pressure when a feeling of gentle release overcame me. Was it flatulence, Jean Knee? Unfortunately, no. The ancient elastic of the luxurious vintage panty hose had, well, failed. I could feel them bunched around my ankles. I was cool though, since I was behind a counter I just stepped out of them and excused myself. Once in the john I thought of dashing out and purchasing a new pair of nylons from the store. At $6.00 a pair this was just not acceptable, I could buy a pair at the supermarket for $1.89. I could go bare legged, but my 'non-woman shoe' wearing feet would not slip into woman shoes minus the requisite nylons. I decide to wear the nylon panty hose and put my underwear on over them to hold them up. Fabulous! I'm back out on the floor in a flash.

Except the elastic was really, really gone now. I could feel those deviant nylons inching down my legs out of their confinement, getting closer and closer to my knees. They were stretching and pulling and at any second the waistband would be appearing below my hemline looking like deflated elephant ears. I tried to be very still to buy some time. And then my shift was over.

Charming.

24 comments:

Bee said...

FIRST!!
I'll be back.

Bee said...

jean knee, I love this story!
I worked at Sears in my teen years and had to wear fancy shoes and nylons too. At that time, I didn't appreciate the coolness of "pumps" and just thought they were sent from hell to torture my toes.

Jean Knee said...

I still think they were sent for that very reason.

and now they come with open toes so you have to paint your toenails

Melissa said...

That's a fabulous story! Just another reason to NEVER wear nylons!!

Millie said...

Uh oh... how anxiety-causing. You were smart with the underwear thing.

I like nylons. But I hate pumps.

No Cool Story said...

I was 18 on '88.

Hmmm.
*Ponders*

No Cool Story said...

I don't get pumps, what are pumps about? No, I'm serious.

Hey, nylons are icky.

No Cool Story said...

Oh wait, my bad.
I just googled pumps. I thought they were those nasty flat shoes.
They aren't :)

No Cool Story said...

Wear suspenders next time.

giant shoulder pads of america said...

We approve!

Brian o Vretanos said...

I'm afraid I've got nothing to say, as I'm not experienced in these matters. It's amazing the lengths that women go to to torture themselves with strangely designed clothing...

Jean Knee said...

Giant shoulder pads of America---how did you know my suit had giant shoulder pads??? Plus a huge belt to cinch the waist for that inverted triangle look. Plus I had big hair, wow

Dan said...

taking them off and putting your underwear over them...intersting visual

No Cool Story said...

I gave you an award.
No need to put any nylons to accept it. Come as you are.

Tori :) said...

I have an award for you on my blog. And this post is a great reason why! LOL!

elasticwaistbandlady said...

You mentioned all my key words multiple times. Elastic, waistband, lady....

I was subconsciously on your mind when you wrote this, wasn't I?

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I tried to wear knee-highs so I could avoid the yest infection causing nastiness of pantyhose but they kept rolling down around my ankles like Olive Oil.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I am still vintage Elastic.

You do love me anyways, don't you?

Well, don't you?!!!??!!??!?

Tracy said...

That really was a great story. You reminded me of a story with my Grandma. I was a senior in high school, the year 1996, and it was the era of grunge and flannel shirts. Inside I was still a girly girl but on the outside all I wanted was to fit in. Prom was fast approaching and I already had a date. The one thing that I didn't have was a dress. I had tried several on but hadn't found "the one". We went to visit my grandma and I told her of my troubles. She told me to follow her upstairs and we went to one of the packed to the brim closets and after fishing around for about five minutes she pulled out a yellow chifon prom gown that my mom wore in 1966 to her prom. It even had matching gloves and a sheer cape thingy. It was georgeous. I wore it with pride. Sometimes it pays to be a packrat!

Jean Knee said...

Last night, as I was wishing I could fall asleep but no way, I'm an insomniac, I kept thinking how I should have dedicated this story to you, Elastic. so now I am

heck yeah I love you Vintage Elastic--these panty hose were way older than you are.

Jean Knee said...

tracy, my grandma still had unused linens in her closet from when she got married when she died


I inheireted my hoard gene from her I guess

wynne said...

"There's something about vintage items, their charm, their history, their sheen"

Yeah. It's called DUST.

wynne said...

"deflated elephant ears"--ah, the imagery!

And I've had this happen to me before. In not such a glamorous way, of course--my pantyhose weren't vintage, merely worn-out knee-highs--but I still had collapsed pantyhose bunched around my ankles in the middle of church.

I detest pantyhose.

I like jean knee.

jean knee in pantyhose? Only if they're falling off.

Maddy said...

Ah yes, the good old days!
Cheers