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.
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: