Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday 457 : 16 February 2019

I love the old time department stores so this prompt has inspired me to find photos of their windows. I grew up visiting Marshall Fields in Chicago. My grandmother and mother would take me there and it was always a big deal. Such elegance. Such service.

Regrettably, we’ll soon have robots running the stores, which won’t be the same, not by a long shot. Below are some images from Marshall Fields and other retailers that evoke that charm and warmth of nostalgia.

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At Christmas, Marshall Fields, n.d.

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Outside Marshall Fields, 1910

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Drawing of NY’s Macy’s Window, circa 1910

 

To see more enchanting Sepia Saturday posts, click here.

 

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Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday 455 : 2 February 2019

This week’s prompt inspired me to find some photos with straw hats. Here’s what I saw on Flickr Commons.

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For a 1951 ad

From State Library of Queensland.

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Radio hat. Wired for sound. Nationaal Archief, n.d.

Invented by an American. Sadly, there’s no year given.

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Portrait, circa 1909. State Library of Queensland

Parisian Charm School

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In Parisian Charm School Jamie Cat Callan provides an orientation to the uninitiated to the to élan of Paris. Her lessons on fashion, color, use of voice, flirtation and such explain why the French have such elegance and poise. In addition, she gives the names of tour guides and teachers with businesses that give unique experiences to English speakers.

The book is a fun, breezy read, that gives a romantic look at all things French. It’s far from a complete or sociological look at the City of Lights. I thoroughly enjoyed Callan’s writing, but realize that like any country France has its pros and cons and that a lot of the tours or experiences would be pricey. So remove your rose-colored glasses before you sell your house and move to Paris in search of amour.

The Awful Truth

Taking a break from drama on the level of Human Condition, I watched Cary Grant and Irene Dunne in The Awful Truth. The Awful Truth is a 1930s romantic comedy about a married couple that races into divorce court after a misunderstanding. Each side has gotten the “wrong end of the stick.”

While they have 90 days between the court date and the divorce finalizing, Lucy, the wife, meets an Oklahoma tycoon who woos her, making Jerry, her soon-to-be ex-husband painfully jealous. Jerry no sooner gives up than Lucy realizes she wants him back.

In a nutshell: Lots of slapstick, lots of wit, lots of style and lots of fun.

Elegance

In response to the Daily Post’s prompt, I’ll share some thoughts on elegance. The video above has several good tips on elegance, but I’ll add a few thoughts.

  • We’re losing or lost the idea of everyday elegance. I sorely miss it. Watching White Christmas on Saturday, I was swept away by the elegant clothing both men and women, stars and extras had on. We can’t roll back time, but we can iron our shirts and look polished even when wearing casual clothing.
  • You don’t have to spend a lot to be elegant and it’s not just for formal occasions. Check out my friend Bridget’s Instagram. She lives in the mountains and everyday posts what she’s wearing. She’s got a knack for casual elegance.
  • I’ve learned a lot about elegance living in Asia. Their outfits are usually “less is more” in that they don’t overdo it with accessories. (N.B. some short, short skirts are in vogue and a few inches more of fabric would leave something to the imagination.)
  • The antithesis of elegance for me is chipped nail polish. I’ve been guilty, but once your polish is getting chipped, remove it. If you’ve got a non-elegance pet peeve, comment below

 

Dragnet Girl by Ozu

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Dragnet Girl: Joji (l) and Tokiko (r)

Director Ozu’s Dragnet Girl is an absorbing silent film about Tokiko,a gangster moll, who becomes jealous when Joji, her boyfriend, gets a case of the wandering eye. Tokiko looks as sweet as can be, but actually she’s quite a coquette. She works at a company by day and the boss’s son is smitten with her plying her with expensive gifts that she’s happy to take.

Her night’s are spent with Joji, the head of a small crime outfit that seems to fix boxing matches. Tokiko is Joji’s main squeeze. Selfish and extravagant, she’s quite brazen and disloyal as she’ll wear her boss’s gifts in front of Joji.

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Kazuko

When a high school boy, impressed with Joji’s flash and power, tries to join his gang, the boy’s sister, Kazuko, who’s simple and innocent, begs Joji to get her brother back on the straight and narrow. Joji’s instantly smitten with Kazuko. He starts hanging around her music shop and starts appreciating classical music and all that Kazuko, who pays him no mind, appreciates.

At first Tokiko dismisses her rival, but when she sees that Joji is changing for real she gets nervous. She goes as far as plotting to shoot Kazuko, but then she comes to appreciate Kazuko’s magnetic innocence. Tokiko is not to be trusted after telling Joji she wants to change and become more like her rival. She’s been branded as a delinquent and that label’s impossible to remove.

The film has the style of a noir classic and takes some interesting turns as Tokiko refuses to marry her boss and plots to rob him with Joji. It’s a beautiful simple film that didn’t need talking.