Do I look like Agent 99?

vintage wet-look coat

This is me, in my vintage wet-look coat that I like to think makes me look like a groovy 1960s girl spy. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

Here’s a post that ties up a couple of dangling loose ends, but essentially follows on after last night’s entry about how exciting it was, for a little girl like me, to go shopping with my mum at old-fashioned but charming Ross’s Ladies’ Wear in Madoc, Ont. – in the days when every small town could boast at least one dry-goods store and probably also a ladies’-wear store. What ever happened to those days, anyway? Oh yeah, I forgot: Walmart. Things have not changed for the better.

So here’s the thing: quite some time ago I wrote about an article of late 1960s/early 1970s clothing that my mum had that I thought as a kid – and continue to think, all these years later – was the coolest thing ever. It was a bright-red wet-look coat, the kind you wore on spring and fall days that weren’t overly cold, or in rainy weather. The “wet look” was all the rage back then, and was a great excuse for clothing manufacturers to produce coats out of what I imagine was wildly cheap vinyl or plastic. As I wrote in that post, I would give anything to be able to lay my hands on that great vintage coat, but sadly it has disappeared into the mists of time.

Did the red wet-look coat come from Ross’s Ladies’ Wear? I do not know, but I think the chances are good that it did.

wet-look coat

My coat before it was mine – when it was still for sale on Etsy. How could I not buy it?

But as I also wrote in that post, thanks to my good friend the internet I also found a coat from that same era that was not all that dissimilar to the red one that made my mother look cooler than cool. It was white, not red; but it was the wet look, and had the right kind of buttons, and was totally groovy. It looked like the kind of thing a 1960s spy girl like April Dancer (of The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., a short-lived TV series that I adored and wrote about here) or the immortal Agent 99 of Get Smart would have worn.

So here’s the other loose end picked up and knitted into my little story: people, I bought that wet-look coat. How could I not? Hey, it was my size and everything.

And I think it is utterly perfect, and I happily wear it on not-too-cold spring and fall days, and when it’s rainy outside. I am in fact wearing it (and standing in front of the Manse) in the photo of me that you see when I reply to comments here at Meanwhile, at the Manse.

Am I as cool as April Dancer, or 99? Of course not. Who ever could be? But I have to tell you: when I wear that groovy white wet-look coat, I feel like a superspy and fashion icon combined. Now all I need are some go-go boots and… Okay, I’ll stop.

But not before I share this little tribute to the coolness of Agent 99, sung by Barbara Feldon herself:

23 thoughts on “Do I look like Agent 99?

  1. I confess: I had a crush on 99. (And by 99 I don’t mean Wayne Gretzky.) I always picture her wearing a beret and saying, “Oh, Jim!” rather than what she did say, “Oh, Max!”

    • Yes, Jim, I remember sharing many a laugh with you in the ol’ Gazette days about Get Smart (the cone of silence, the shoephone, “I asked you not to tell me that!”, “Missed it by that much” – and on and on). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to hear about your crush on 99!

  2. Agent 99? Hmmm. Maybe more like April Dancer. Remember when she was a go-go girl in the Drubelgratz Affair? There she was, dancing and talking to Mr. Waverly on her communicator. Did anybody think, “why is that dancer talking to her pen?” Anyway, the coat is lovely, and a keeper!

    • Okay, Sash, I just have to say that clearly you are the entire universe’s expert on The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. How could you possibly remember all those details? Sheesh, I thought I was a fan, but you put me to shame! (Have you perchance found the show on DVD? If so, please tell me where I can get it!) But hey, thanks for the compliment on my girl-superspy coat!

      • No, I don’t have the show on DVD, but I understand that all 29 episodes are available on DVD, but only in the US. Darn it. Do you remember Mother Muffin? Wasn’t Boris Karloff wonderful? Or the episode where April was hanging upside down over a tank of piranha, with her hands tied and with a saw slowly cutting through the rope? Or, how about the time she arrived late for a meeting and did not make a good impression because she commented about seeing something in a window …) Oh, it goes on and on, but I loved the show. It was sad, though, how it was goofy and not up to a level of, say, Mrs. Peel and Steed — more like Batman at times. Still, I loved it. Oh, and the Kooky Spook Affair (the last episode where they were in a haunted English mansion)??? Yep, treasure your coat. Next for you — a transistor radio communicator!

      • HOW do you remember this stuff, Sash? Man, I am impressed. Such distant bells ringing: Mother Muffin; the piranhas; oh my, the good old days of black-and-white TV and spy shows! (Not to mention dreamy Mark Slate…)

    • Wow – great photo, and a great find, Sash! I have to agree with the writer who posted that photo that the year The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. was on TV, along with all those other great shows of the time, was very possibly the best TV year ever.

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