The book closet: Chandler's stylish, colorful descriptions April 18, 2012 00:29 1 Comment
As you doubtless recall, dear readers, I am besotted with the writing of Raymond Chandler. He knew how to turn a phrase. Asolutely. He described women — and their clothes — like nobody's business. His descriptions were nonpareil, IMHO.
Here's one I came across yesterday while rereading — yet again — The High Window, published in 1946:
A long-limbed languorous type of showgirl blond lay at her ease in one of the chairs, with her feet raised on a padded rest and a tall misted glass at her elbow, near a silver ice bucket and a Scotch bottle. She looked at us lazily as we came over the grass. From thirty feet away, she looked like a lot of class. From ten feet away, she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away. Her mouth was too wide, her eyes were too blue, her makeup was too vivid, the thin arch of her eyebrows was almost too fantastic in its curve and spread, and the mascara was so thick on her eyelashes that they looked like miniature iron railings.
She wore white duck slacks, blue and white open-toed sandals over bare feet and crimson lake toenails, a white silk blouse and a necklace of green stones that that were not square cut emeralds. Her hair was as artificial as a night club lobby.
So. You get the picture. You do. So loud. So clear. What do you think?
Wanna know what I think? Of course you do. You do, right? Otherwise, I might have to reach for the Puffs. You don't want that. Do you?
I think this showgirl blond might have been wearing McCall 5319 — such marvelous slacks — copyright 1943. She might have topped them with McCall 5910, copyright 1944, View B. And for the shoes, may I suggest this terrific pair of shoes from Remix? (Santa, baby, remember these at Christmas. Please. I'll be a very good girl. I promise.)
And, of course, these ever-so-stylish vintage patterns can be yours. They can. Just click over to The Blue Gardenia, where the patterns are counted, the jewelry is sparkling, and domestic shipping is free. (And we happily ship abroad — Global Priority or Global Express, your choice — for a fee, generally even less than the USPO charges us. Are we special? Well, yes. Yes, we are.)