The Week That Was, 03.18.2023

March 19, 2023

IT WAS A tough choice last week: welcome a week’s-end breath of spring or the advance of psychedelic retreats. So we did both.


Mary Carpenter gave us a tour d’horizon of the psilocybin scene, from a Jamaican psychedelic retreat led by scientists to moms in the Bay Area microdosing on mushrooms. More to come, no doubt!

As a snap of winter relaxed into warmer temps, Green Acre columnist Stephanie Cavanaugh reported a gardening hat trick: just enough cold to keep things fresh but not harsh enough to freeze tender buds off their stems. She promises a colorful month or two ahead.

How Not to F*ck Up Your Face columnist Valerie Monroe recounted one of the dangers of aging—falling—but did it in her usual droll style. And then tacked on a warning about bikini waxing. Tomorrow the intrepid Val will swing her machete through the jungle of baffling skincare “treatments” (IV drips of glutathione? human growth factors?). Yikes.

And Kitchen Detail columnist Nancy Pollard waded into the murky waters of the family dinner table, which would seem to be disappearing. But she leavened the gloom and doom with a video clip that depicts a 1950 family dining scene that even grownup girls won’t remember . . . or probably believe. Next week in the kitchen: spaghetti alla carbonara. We can’t wait!

Left: Pumpkin and black rayon faille trapeze-style “Monastic” dress, cinched by a coordinating leather and fabric sash, made by Claire McCardell Clothes by Townley. Photo courtesy of Maryland Center for History and Culture. Right: Portrait of Claire McCardell, circa 1940. / Photo by Shelburne Studios, New York, NY.

For the fashion-minded, the highlight of the week was Janet Kelly’s piece on not one by two museum exhibits shining spotlights on women designers of an earlier age. The better known of the two is Claire McCardell, whose praises are being sung by the Maryland Center for History and Culture in Baltimore through November 2023. In addition to her simple “Pop-over” dress, with its big, useful patch pocket, other solutions for daily dressing included modern wardrobe staples such as ballet flats, cat-eye sunglasses, pedal pushers and “ballet britches,” aka today’s leggings.

Elizabeth Hawes is getting her moment in the sun at the Museum at FIT in Manhattan’s garment center. The exhibit, which ends on March 26, catalogues Hawes’s rebellious spirit and functional clothes. Though well grounded in design, she also was an activist and a writer who declared—heretical in 1940s fashion orthodoxy—that style should triumph over mere “fashion” or trends every time, and that women should develop a style of their own.

Speaking of trends (what would we read/write about without them?), this coming week Janet will focus on the fabric rosettes that are popping up all over the runways and soon enough in our closets.

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