Hanky Panky

Handkerchiefs remind me of a lot of things. Tied around the neck, they suggest an old-fashioned country crooner. Worn as headgear, they bring to mind L.A. gang-members or possibly music video back-up dancers.  And if you wrap one around your face to cover your nose and mouth you’re probably holding up a bank in the Old West.

But in the 1970’s in certain social circles, if a man placed a handkerchief in his jeans’ back pocket he not only announced his homosexuality but also his specific sexual fetishes. The Hanky Code developed in gay communities in Canada and the United States as a means of identifying sexual partners based on practices and compatibility. Colours and patterns symbolized different activities, from the relatively-vanilla (light blue for oral sex) to more extreme (black meant S&M, understandably). Friendly orange conveyed the rather daring message that you were ‘up for anything’.

While the back pocket was the most common placement, hankies were also looped around belts or tied around ankles. Worn on the left side they meant you were a ‘top’ (the penetrating role) while the left side signalled you were a ‘bottom’ (the penetrative side). Inexplicably, the sides could reverse meaning depending on which coast you were on.
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Shopping Under the Influence

There are two things l love in this world: pretty clothes and bangin’ parties. Any combo of the two will completely convince me that while shopping and drinking is a dangerous combo wallet-wise, it’s also a very clever way to promote a space, as proven by the Vintage 69 Housewarming Party.

My roomie Adam and I start getting ready like we would for any party: getting dressed up, changing eight times each, and sipping some bourbon while we fluff our hair. Already it’s more exciting than a regular vintage outing, which, for me, is generally a happenstance occasion when I am wandering aimlessly around the neighborhood. We discuss what would be the best time to get there, and the possible consequences of our equally dire financial situations, just like we’d do before any other party.

We get there pretty early and already the place is full of fashionable revelers snapping photos of each other. It really does feel like a house party: there’s beer, crackers and cheese, and a DJ to set the scene. The abundance of gorgeous and unique items is great for the party atmosphere, since there are conversation pieces everywhere. For example, one new friend explains the purchase of a doll’s head toilet paper cover, which was currently being used as a beer cozy, as “the sort of thing you’d only buy under the influence.”

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Funny Devil Face Wears Prada

So here I am, finally working at a real fashion magazine! It’s always been one of my dreams to become a fashion journalist; it’s right up there on my list of childhood aspirations, just below sorceress and rock star. Even so, while I know WORN isn’t your typical fashion publication, I was, at first, a little confused. How come no one has asked me to get them a latte yet? Why has no one thrown a coat on my desk? Where’s my trip to Paris? And why, may I ask, have I already gone into my third month of work without an obligatory song and dance number?

Then I remembered: like many of my childhood dreams, my ideas of what it’s like to work at a fashion magazine are based solely and solidly on what may not be the most realistic of representations. Mainly, movies.

Specifically, there are two films which, while separated by decades, present pretty much the same accepted ideas about the cut-throat world of fashion magazine employment, and which have formed my fashion fantasies: The Devil Wears Prada, and its eerily similar predecessor, Funny Face.

Both films start with the same premise: a young, bookish brunette falls into a hard-to-get gig at a fashion magazine by complete accident. She meets a demanding, influential fashion editor, who insists on a makeover. The bookish brunette resists but is eventually swayed by the glamour of the fashion industry, visits Paris, falls in love, and tries to come to terms with her new identity. This is standard stuff!
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