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Posts Tagged ‘shopping from television’

Shopping from Television: Dallas

February 4th, 2010

A guest post by Karen Hart


We’ve been watching a lot of television in our house lately. Television is short, moderately and sometimes unintentionally amusing and you don’t have to invest time and energy into enjoying it. Until winter is over this will most likely be our primary form of entertainment. We tried Knot’s Landing a few weeks ago and had so much fun with it that we decided to take on Knot’s‘ big brother, Dallas.

The clothes are more varied on Dallas in comparison to Knot’s. I suppose it has something to do with Dallas being about rich people and Knot’s being about suburbanites, but no one has worn the same thing twice in the 3 episodes we’ve watched so far (I swear, Karen has worn the same red Hawaiian print jumpsuit in 4 episodes of Knot’s). There hasn’t been anything super glamorous, probably because there was no competition from Dynasty until 1981, and yet it’s all stylish. Oddly enough for a late 1970’s night-time soap opera, a lot of it is made of durable fabrics.

These are winter episodes so everyone wears a coat and someone is usually wearing wool. Here bad girl Lucy has a particularly nice zip up parka in light blue with lovely little block print on the white hood and sleeves.


It drops just under her waist, so there’s seat protection from the cold and it’s fitted with a belt for an hourglass shape. Perfect for that long walk home after you’ve tried to frame a teacher for rape.

Puffy coats were just starting to hit their mark in 1978 (only to get the addition of linebacker shoulder pads a few years later) and Pamela has three or four short ones as well as this long version that she wears to the stables because that’s where you’d wear it … I guess …?



… and the short of it. The silk scarf is more fashion than function, but with a collar like that you don’t need much more to keep you cozy. It’s a good, solid sleeping bag style that you can still find at Old Navy today. They’re a little hard to clean (like a sleeping bag), but warm once it starts working with body heat (like … well, you get it).

Pamela also has a sensible wool coat that she wears for visits to see her family in the dive bar on the other side of the tracks. Her brother Cliff is sporting one of the many versions of the sheepskin lined coat, which will get more mention below.



Pamela shows us the tartan lining. Not too heavy, but comfortable and long-lasting.

The men alternate between suede and leather, unless you’re JR and then you wear wool because it’s bad man classy. The double-breast looks just fine on JR, who wants to create a solid, boxy presence when he works his underhanded dealings. Jock, the up-from-nothing millionaire patriarch, is more traditional Texas, wrapped up in nature’s own sheepskin and suede.


Dallas likes to play off the class war while at the same time showing us that the Ewings are really no better than anyone else — they just happen to have more money than anyone else. “All happy families are like one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” says Tolstoy. Dallas reverses it — everyone has a drunk relation, an illegitimate child, a black sheep, connivers, etc… They are unhappy-alike in family and fashion. Jock wears sheepskin, but so does Cliff, the poor lawyer trying to take them down. And what’s good for the rich is good for the worker. Here ranch hand Hal has the fanciest sheepskin coat of all.


Much better than Ray’s suede short coat which requires a puffy vest underneath. (Ray, it turns out, is the illegitimate Ewing, which may explain why he alternates between the puffy outdoor everyman vest and the Ewing man Texas suede.)

As to durability, you can see any of these coats out there now, because barring any kind of moth invasion or oil spill, these are all sensible, durable styles. My father bought a sheepskin coat around the same time. It was about $300 at Saks, but he’s had it now for about 30 years and it’s still nice enough to wear to church in the winter. Now that’s a pretty sound investment.

Shopping from Television: Equestrian Training Ensembles (Mad Men: Season 2)

March 13th, 2009



Betty Draper’s riding instructor (Mad Men: Season Two)

Like the rest of the world, I love Mad Men. But for me, it’s a snow globe world I want to watch but not occupy. Last week, I caught an easy-to-miss view of Betty Draper’s riding instructor in the first episode of the second season (“For Those Who Think Young”). For the first time, I could actually see myself wearing one of the show’s on-camera outfits (and further, recognize a plausible profession for me in the early 1960s). Here, I love how the instructor mixes her plaids, belts her shirt and sports an accessory neckerchief and worn fedora (not sure what she’s wearing under the hat–another scarf, perhaps?). The look is so distinctive (and semi-eccentric) that I’m wondering if it was inspired by a horsey celebrity (Hepburn?) or specific photograph. Overall, the ensemble and instructor are so antithetical to the sleek stylistic system of the show that it only merits one second or so of screen time. As it were, I could barely coax my digital video recorder to pause on the ensemble long enough to take a photo (the DVR kept pitching me forward to the next shot of a slick gent on horseback).

Filson Mackinaw Cruiser (vintage women’s version)

Archival Bicycles: Vaughn W. Collection

February 19th, 2009
Raleigh Sport

Raleigh DL-1

Raleigh Sport

Alex Moutlon AM-7

Vaughn W. is my kind of archival collector. I might even have to appoint him as an understudy for the time when my own visual content runs dry. Originally, Vaughn sent me a few photographs of bicycles from his collection (“14 at last count”). Each bicycle is nicely appointed with a default Brooks saddle and a Carradice saddlebag, wire basket or some functional racking system. But Vaughn subsequently distracted me with images and commentary on handmade knives (by an in-the-know master), Stormy Kromer hats, Klepper boats, tube amp stereo equipment, US made galvanized pales and buckets, manual wrist watches, and to boot, stills of a (Filson?) wool cruiser style jacket worn by the Joe Waters characters in episode 45 of The Andy Griffith Show, “The Farmer Takes a wife” (a new source for sartorial screengrabs, I’m certain). More on Vaughn and his guest archive coming soon.



Shopping from The Andy Griffith Show (Episode #45)

Shopping From Television: Mills Canvas Bags

December 15th, 2007



Since I’ve been sick, I’ve been relishing my access to A.M. talk television. My favorite program–as a kind of legacy selection from earlier incarnations–is the Martha Stewart show or simply MARTHA. I’m not too fond of the audience applause factor or the set design kitchen from which Martha emerges at the beginning of each show. However, I do love Martha Stewart’s restlessly perfectionist sensibility and sleuth hound approach to food and objects. Over the last few weeks, Martha has been running a “secret sources” segment where she reveals the source for some hard (for the rest of us?) to find Martha approved artifact. Recent examples include ribbon candy, pottery, pet jackets and a Japanese department store in Manhattan. For the most part, I’ve been indifferent to her finds (but imaged my own guest star selections and how I might revive the fortunes of various struggling, defunct or near obsolete brands). However, last week, Martha Stewart stole a page from Archival Clothing by featuring a brand of canvas boat tote which I swore had not been in production for ages: Mills brand canvas bags. We’ve owned a green Mills tote for many years and I was certain that it was dead brand (the label alone looks like something sewn on the dockyards in the early nineteen thirties).