When it comes to 90’s rave fashion, Luscious was a brand spoken of with reverence by many, even to this day. As dance culture flourished, small homegrown industries sprung up to cater to the specialized needs of flamboyantly fabulous ravers. Local fashion labels such as Snug and Modrobes (who remembers that fantastic store the latter had on Queen Street West?!) were known for their uber cool, totally out there gear designed from lightweight, durable fabrics. Luscious in particular earned a special place in many ravers’ hearts for their ultra-comfy, functional overalls specifically designed with the raver in mind.
Imagine my delight when I recently stumbled upon this vintage treasure in Kensington Market. I was especially happy to have it at a mere fraction of what I would have paid for it back in the day! These black Luscious overalls with white stitch detail are made from a 98% cotton and 2% lycra blend. The cotton imparts breathability, especially when you’re dancing for hours in a hot, sweaty room, while the lycra provides just the right amount of stretch. A huge bonus when you’re bending and squatting all night long. I would even go so far to say that this is the next best thing to wear besides naked at a rave! Side zipper closure makes these overalls easy to get in and out of and they fit nice and snug without being tight. Cleverly slanted hidden pockets, 1 on the lower leg and another on the upper back are pretty groovy. So nice to have extra places to hide and possibly forget your gum. Or papers. Not to mention, stash your glowsticks!
Such considerate extras are features that are sadly missing from today’s overalls. In case you haven’t noticed, overalls have made a huge comeback in the fashion world. This came as no surprise to me, since I’d been rocking Silver coveralls (another Canadian brand) since 2012, intuitively sensing the return of sensible wear. Often, I find women’s slim fit overalls are less about functionality and more about objectifying the female form to the point of vulgarity. Which makes Luscious all the more loveable and dear.
Alas! The pair I picked up needed to be shortened. Folding the cuffs didn’t work either because of the wide flared leg, plus I wanted to keep the double stitched finish. So I took it to Sylvia Wilkins, a wonderful lady who supervises a sewing group in my hood. Right away, she declared that previous alterations had been done on the hem. Turns out that these overalls were made for an extremely long-legged, slim built Amazon, which meant that in their original condition, they were actually too long for the previous owner. I can’t begin to tell you how good that made me feel.
Sylvia began by pinning the hem to my desired length. With a sewing gauge, she carefully measured and cut 2 inches off. This expert seamstress confessed she likes to start seams on the inside of pants and hates sewing in black. All the more reason to appreciate her assistance!
Next, Sylvia added the first row of stitches. They were a bit loose, so she adjusted the tension on the sewing machine, which helped tremendously. So the next row came out just right, which meant I had to remove the loose job with a seam ripper. At least she was nice enough to start it for me. Fun!
As she hemmed the garment, Sylvia used a cool tool called an awl to tame the fabric as it objected to being altered. As do many humans too. She explained the flared bottom has more material which made it bouncy. Sylvia got that rebelliousness under control right quick.
Lickety split, I got the perfect fit! Thanks to my kind and generous mentor Sylvia Wilkins, who taught me sewing basics for a year.
“What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in life?” I asked, hoping to glean some nuggets of wisdom from this seasoned veteran.
“I have no idea…” she replied.Not the response I was looking for but it felt good to know that in future decades, I can look forward to being every bit as clueless about life as I am now.
“Attitude, love, patience,” was her final answer. I can honestly say those attributes served me well on the dance floor and will continue to do so for many years to come.
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