Real Girls Don’t Wear Trousers

Cover of a Topper annual

There is no date on this Topper annual, but I suspect it was published in the early '60s.
A Nancy strip near the end of the Topper annual. See the description below.

Description

Sluggo is walking through town, past a few houses, leafy gardens, and shops. In the first frame, he is glancing at a woman carrying parcels. She is wearing trousers. He is annoyed. An exclamation mark appears in a speech bubble above his head.

In the second frame, Sluggo sees another two women in trousers, his face scrunched up in irritation. In the third, yet another. He says, "I hate women in slacks." In the fourth frame, he sees two more women in front of a shop window, and he continues, "That's all you see these days."

Most of the women seem to be shopping. In the fifth frame, Sluggo passes two more carrying parcels and says, "Phooey!" In the sixth, there's a group of three gathered on the pavement, one showing a package to the other two. Sluggo remarks, "Why do they want to dress like men?"

The seventh frame shows Nancy in a yellow coat and red trousers, standing proudly with hands on hips. Sluggo shouts "YOU TOO?" and stomps off.

And in the final frame, Nancy is on the right of an open space near a tree. Sluggo walks to the left leading his dog. The dog is wearing Sluggo's trousers on its hind legs, and Sluggo a short print skirt. Astonished, Nancy stares.

Placeholder: the Hackers and Hardware Freaks of Borin Van Loon

I've been maintaining the website this week, which means I've not had time to blog anything. So this post is in the nature of a placeholder. Imagine me in the attitude below, hunched over a heap of image-conversion utilities, file upload scripts, directory listers, and flexbox reference guides:
Cartoon of typical hacker at work: a sweaty, fat, unshaven programmer hunched over his computer, shirt undone and clothes covered in food stains.

That isn't me, of course. I don't drink Coke or drip food on my clothes: too many are irreplaceable. Nor do I use floppy discs:
Three floppy discs and 84.8 copies of my logo, with the caption: 'The disc on the right can hold 84.8 of my logos'.

I mention floppies because they were once the last word in portable storage. There's an 8GB memory stick plugged into my computer. Had I been writing this twenty years ago, it would have been a 3½-inch disk with a capacity of 1.44MB. As my logo is 16.98kB, it would hold only 84.8 copies thereof. The discs in the cartoon are an earlier kind, which as far as I can see from Wikipedia, would have held at most 720kB and more likely 360kB.

It's that era that the cartoon is from. It was drawn by illustrator Borin Van Loon for the 1984 book Micromania: the Whole Truth about Home Computers, by David Langford and Charles Platt. One of Micromania's objectives was to warn against the dangers of computer addiction. In the case of the hacker, these include obesity from bad diet and never moving away from the screen. Those who are addicted to hardware — building gadgets from electronic components — don't suffer from this, it seems, perhaps because they spend so much time traipsing round component shops:
Cartoon of typical hardware freak: a gaunt balding figure clutching pieces of hardware and a box of discount components. His trousers are done up with wire.

Here's a Borin Van Loon videogame addict. He would easily transpose to today's notorious addiction: the smartphone.
Cartoon of typical videogame freak: a young man with bulging bloodshot eyes, neck rigid with tension, gaping mouth, permanently-clenched joystick hand, and vibrating fire-button finger.

When I started writing this, I was going to remark on the difference between the way Van Loon's hacker is dressed, and the interest in mathematical elegance that programmers exhibit. These search results show how often the topic gets discussed online:
Some Google search results for 'programming elegant'.

So why aren't people who are elegant in one field (programming) also elegant in another (dress)? But then I remembered from the book that the hacker is not meant to be a professional programmer anyway. He's a hobbyist obsessed with throwing together computer games, but who won't take the time to learn how to do so properly. If you want drawings of such people and their dress sense, Van Loon is your man, and there are contact details on his home page. I'll end with his picture for the cover of Micromania. Cartoon of a different hacker, for the cover of Micromania. Gaunt like the hardware freak, he is sitting in a moonlit room at 2 in the morning. His decor has computer motifs such as transistors and space invaders. His eyeballs are shaped like TV screens with small irises on the screens.

Short Rations

Cover of the Pick of Punch for 1942 Title page of the Pick of Punch for 1942

Cartoon from the Pick of Punch for 1942. Two clothes moths are on a jacket hanging in a wardrobe. It has holes in. One moth says to the other 'Careful, dear! This one's got to last us until August!

Here's another austerity cartoon, from the same Pick of Punch annual that I wrote about in "Austerity Patchwork". I put some references at the end there explaining the history of WWII clothing restrictions. I don't know the significance of August, but maybe it was the first month after publication that readers would have been allowed to obtain new coupons.

Description

Two clothes moths are on a jacket hanging in a wardrobe. It has holes in. One moth is saying to the other 'Careful, dear! This one's got to last us until August!"

Austerity Patchwork

Cover of the Pick of Punch for 1942 Title page of the Pick of Punch for 1942

Cartoon from the Pick of Punch for 1942, set in a men's outfitters. A customer is walking away from the counter and out of the shop, wearing a suit. The jacket and trousers are made from rectangles of differently-textured and -patterned materials stitched together. The tailor is saying to his assistant, 'And there goes the last of the pattern-books.'

I found this in a 1942 Pick of Punch annual. It's not about colour, but is fun nevertheless. For anyone who doesn't know the history of WWII clothing restrictions, this article from the National Archives explains it, including the rôle of Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies, their styles, and how ration coupons worked. There's another explanation here from the Imperial War Museum.

"Fashion or ration: Hartnell, Amies and dressing for the Blitz" by Robert Daoust, The National Archives
https://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index.php/fashion-or-ration-hartnell-amies-and-dressing-for-the-blitz/
18 February 2010

"How Clothes Rationing Affected Fashion in the Second World War" by Laura Clouting and Amanda Mason, Imperial War Museum
https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/how-clothes-rationing-affected-fashion-in-the-second-world-war
5 January 2018

Description

A men's outfitters. A customer is walking away from the counter and out of the shop, wearing a suit. The jacket and trousers are made from rectangles of differently-textured and patterned materials stitched together. The tailor is saying to his assistant, "And there goes the last of the pattern-books."