Day 50 of the Shoe Challenge – Missi Jackson and the Mesh Confession

Tonight,  I’m have two questions on my mind. The first question relates to these shoes which remind me of ballroom dancing shoes. Does anyone know who Missi Jackson is and is she still making shoes? The vintage pumps that I wore today (shown above and below) have the maker’s mark “Missi Jackson – Handmade” stamped into the leather insoles.  I have no idea where they were made.

Long before Barbara Windsor become my style icon, in between my mock-gothic years and before my unfortunate Sarah Palin newly qualified lawyer frump period, I had an fleeting flirtation with Fifties fashion. Dita Von Teese embodied two or three years ago the look that I tried to achieve then.

Dita Von Teese in Sydney for Australian Fashion Week May 2007

I raided the Victorian Village vintage markets in Glasgow for long kid gloves, seamed stockings, fishnet tights, black satin hobble skirts and little silk blouses. It is very high maintenance trying to emulate Fifties chic, all that sticking rollers in your hair to sleep in. Also, I don’t iron and I am not greatly fond of removing make up stains from period clothing. So slowly, a bit sadly and quietly, the gloves were phased out along with the bright red lipstick and dyed black hair.

I do miss the hosiery particularly the fishnet tights.  In the summer they are a good alternative to going bare-legged, particularly if you pick a nude shade that doesn’t resemble Barbie skin. Once or twice I’ve tried to bring the mesh back. Each time that I do my husband shudders in the involuntary way that he reserves for three quarter length trousers, Juicy Couture velour tracksuits and knickerbockers.

This week, on the day that my shoes fell apart (Day 48 of the Shoe Challenge) I bought myself two pairs of tights from the dollar shop outside my office.  For those of you unfamiliar with dollar shops these are places that sell a lot of cheap crap that you didn’t think you were going to need until you got in there. In most suburbs of Sydney this is where you would go to buy the non-confectionary detritus that people stick in children’s party bags (little men with plastic bag parachutes, fake noses, plastic watches, farting cushions etc). In Surry Hills, the dollar stores stock Mardi Gras costumes, counterfeit Tim-Tam (R) Chocolate biscuits and pinatas with huge phalluses. When I asked where the tights were the shop owner directed me to a display consisting of nearly black tights (for which read battleship grey) some lacy tights that looked like this:

and the abomination that is the …. Sockette

I cannot even begin to tell you how much Sockettes creep me out.  They are like condoms for feet.

So the choice was made for me, I bought the only thing that didn’t give me the weirds namely the fishnet tights. The only problem was, of course, that I now had introduce the tights to my husband.

Why do you hate fishnet tights?” I asked pretty much as soon as I’d kicked off my shoes and put my feet up on his lap before our daughter aka the Minx beat me to it.

I do not hate fishnet tights. I mistrust them” he said “due to presentation issues that I have with them“.

This was going to be good, I thought. I probed further. This took some time due to the need to intermittently break up fights between our children. They take any adult conversation between us as an affront on their personhood and self-appointed roles as the head of the household (job share). Somewhere between the Head Banging Off the TV incident and Bedtime I got to the bottom of things.

Apparently my husband has, on four separate occasions in the past, been asked to fix things in houses belonging to female friends. On each occasion, on arrival, the female friend in question has offered him a cup of tea only to come back from the kitchen clad in mesh hosiery.  He now believes that fishnet tights are a predatory device used by women who want to draw attention to themselves in a renactment of some seduction scene in a porn film.  This, he says, makes him want to run away and hide leaving the way open for other handymen to ahem, get the hand in should they wish to do so.

I have always thought of fishnet tights as retro and fun. It seems from my husband’s disclosure though that men may think of them as slightly trashy and low rent.

So what is your view of fishnet tights? Edgy and cute or trashy and tasteless?

24 thoughts on “Day 50 of the Shoe Challenge – Missi Jackson and the Mesh Confession

  1. How do I feel about fishnets…. Personally, I like them. They have to be worn appropriately, though. By “appropriately”, I do not mean as an homage to ’50s fashion. I find ladies, like Dita Von Teese who don the garb from past eras to be little more than caricatures of what they think that era was all about. It may be a hazard of my profession, but it all seems so costumey. It’s like the Ink-N-Iron “pin up” girls who frequent car/tattoo shows and look like some kind of twisted psychadelic version of a classic burlesque queen. They want to take what they consider the most fun parts, ie: the hair, the tight clothes, the make up, and the shoes and stockings, and bastardize them into something that more closely resembles a modern day tattooed pachuco from East LA in 6″ leopard print f*** me platforms which they totter around in trying to look sexy. Personally, I don’t think it’s possible to capture a true vintage look, unless you’re doing it on stage or screen. There are too many variables in real life. You have to deal with the not inconsiderable prep time, the ability to move around in constricting outfits, and the more mundane need to actually find outfits that are either truly vintage or built vintage modern.

    So, after that rant at what I consider to be the inanity of immersing oneself completely in what one considers and believes to be era specific clothing and identity, we come back around to my feelings on fishnets. Which is…

    I like them. I like them paired with boots, and court shoes, and pencil skirts, and shirt dresses. I like them when they are used to compliment and enhance an outfit with individuality, not merely regurgitate a look which is no longer truly possible to achieve. As with all items of fashion, such as bell-bottoms or peasant dresses or shoulder pads, fishnets are most effective when used as a wink back at the past with a look towards the now.

    Bu then again, I’ve never used them to try and get a handy man to “fix my plumbing”.

    • Didn’t you love Gwen Stefani in the No Doubt days with the Vargas girl lippie & hair and the army boots? 100% agreement from me, slavish reproduction doesn’t do the original any justice at all. How long does it take you to plan period costumes by the way? Do you scour eBay for vintage patterns & so on or do you make your own?

      • My preference, if we’re talking stage costuming, is to build reproductions of vintage clothing. Nothing against the originals, but they just aren’t tough enough to withstand 8 shows a week. It’s funny you should mention ebay. I decided I wanted the coat Zooey Deschanel wears in “Yes Man”, so I looked at the internet for an appropriate vintage coat pattern from the ’60s. I found one, it cost me $45, and it’s too small so I have to pattern it bigger, but it will be worth it. When we’re doing a show, the shops pattern and build all pieces. No existing patterns per se, just a lot of draping and cutting.

        Gwen Stafani’s look was ok. It mixed eras, which was her saving factor. Did I ever tell you about the time Fiona and I were eating at our favorite Mexican dive restaurant when No Doubt, who are from the OC California, sat down in the booth next to us? I love that they were making all this money, but still decided to eat at MexiCasa.

  2. Sockettes are “like condoms feet”? Too true. And funny to boot.

    As for fishnets, they make me think of chicken wire. And the bubbles of flesh that poke through when I wear them hardly make them an erotic experience for anyone.

  3. I like the fishnets you picked up in town. They remind me of a documentry I watched on spiders. They managed to get a spider stoned (I know!!) and then filmed it trying to makes it web, the end result looked a lot like your stockings…

    For me I think I am in agreeance with Not Drowning Mother, on top of bubbles there is the added chaffage of all that extra-ness up there… I need to loose some weight me thinks.

  4. Nope, not for me. I don’t like them on me and very rarely find them attractive on others. I’m CERTAIN my husband would fall over backward in hysterics if I ever walked out in them too. I’m all for short sexy skirts and high sexy heals but the legs… must either be bare or covered, nothing in between!

  5. Not trashy … grrrr … unless worn by a hooker.

    Edgy? No, shouldn’t be edgy, either.

    For me, the connotation is of dance, particularly a beautiful flamenco … a nice heel, a strap, nets … and a red red rose.

    At 44, no, I won’t be wearing them with anything above my knees!!! But that little bit of calf and ankle between hem and shoe … is so beautiful. And they just feel … nice.

    DH this morning said, “Are you going all bras & stockings are you?” I said, no, I’m reclaiming what I gave up when I had small children to constantly pick up and carry. That includes throwing out the 8 year old nursing bra I’ve lived in. (Painful confession, that.)

    • Reclaiming your girlhood – remember when we used to buy gorgeous lingerie to feel good about ourselves & to treat our husbands/boyfriends?

      They do feel good and in the Australian climate provide coverage for legs without giving you a sweaty crotch (sorry to be graphic). I for one believe that it is bad manners to turn up to a business meeting with bare legs. But that could be because I am in the same generation box as you Carol x

      Burn the nursing bra.

      • Oh I never wear them any other time … meetings, pah! Mind you, my meetings are perhaps of a different calibre to your lawyerly lawyer type ones. I haven’t worn any other hosiery (think pantihose) for …. 10 years? Or longer.

        Lingerie? I like bras that make ME feel that my not-so-ample boobs look nice. To me. Bugger what anyone else things! If I look down and the girls look up, and I smile, it’s the *right* bra!

        And it’s not even about treating DH … it’s all about ME!

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