Yesterday I attended the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show with my best friend MJ in tow. Here are some pics; if you didn’t attend, you missed out on some gorgeous vintage winter coats, furs, brooches, and shoes. I’ll let the pictures talk for themselves on this post, while I tell you a story…
So I went in looking for a piano shawl, and ended up finding a 1960s winter-weight coat that defies written description. Easiest way to explain it is to say that if you took the vinyl off of a 60s stuffed chrome kitchen chair, then made that same hippy-golden-orangey print into a carpet, then took that carpet and made it into a knee-length coat, you’d still need to trim it with orange teddy bear fur and brass buttons to finish it off. It was absolutely one of a kind; it was somewhere between haute couture and bingo hall. It fit all my curves and it screamed my name.
It wasn’t what I’d come in for, and I walked away from it twice before MJ convinced me to go haggle the price. If I could get the seller down 40%, we decided I could buy it. I talked to the ancient, pill-box-hatted Italian lady selling the coat, and she said she’d give me my price because, “Many women today, they try on the coat, but they are no right for it. This coat needs a woman who is very small. You can have this coat.” I had been chosen by the coat! It was mine! We left, triumphant, and I put it on immediately.
That was when I realized it was maybe a bit tight through the shoulders. And short in the sleeve. This is common for me, though; while I have T-Rex arms in terms of strength, I have Cthulhu arms in terms of length. I also have a serious set of shoulder blades, which means I do have trouble fitting clothes that are perfect in every other way. I started to panic slightly that I’d spent all my pocket money on a coat I couldn’t wear, but MJ reassured me I’d adjust to the tightness, and she’d help me fashion some long gloves to add warmth at the wrist.
So we headed out to the parking lot in the Rideau Centre—an ever-expanding structure where we were certain we’d lost the car but finally found it three stories up. I turned her on and prepared to back out of our parking spot, when I realized the coat constricted about 80% of my arms’ usual range of motion. MJ laughed at me as I grunted and turned the steering wheel in quarter turns. This happened repeatedly at every section of the garage, as we made infinite right-hand turns in a dizzying spiral. MJ laughed and laughed at my feeble arms, bound and restricted like I was in one of those full-body casts. I whined incessantly that I just wanted to get home, already; MJ reassured me that I would just make Alan do all the driving when I wore the coat.
A blue Jetta with a “Farmers Feed Cities” sticker stopped in front of us at one point, and I had to creak my way around them with more tiny arm motions.
Three right-hand turns in the garage later, we found ourselves behind another idling car. Another idling blue car…a blue car with a “Farmers Feed Cities” sticker…
Waitaminit… “MJ! For Chrissakes! What does that sign say over there?”
“P3 is WHERE WE STARTED. How is that POSSIBLE?”
“Omigod, Jordan; we’re still on P3…we’ve been driving…hahahaha….in circles…”
Apparently the monstrously confusing plethora of arrows on the directional signs in the garage had been directing us to the exit, but we’d been following the wrong arrows. Worse yet: we’d been following the same four right turns around the same one floor of the parking garage for almost ten minutes.
We both laughed ‘til tears ran down our faces. My laughter was constricted by the coat, of course.
I got home and showed off the coat, omitting the story to Alan and conveniently forgetting to tell him that it was way too tight for any sort of arm usage. I figured I’d just do what MJ said: make Alan drive when I wore it.
Then I wore it out to a meeting this morning, and when I got home I tried to take off my scarf…and the entire seam of one arm ripped open.
I’m keeping the damn coat, though. I’m going to think of something, because I’m the freakin’ QUEEN OF DIY, YA’LL. There will be a solution. There’s no way my hippy-vintage-psychadelic-carpet-coat is going away. Some fashion works for us; some of the best fashion, we have to work for.