"Women walk the streets, their curves accentuated by their dresses," Superintendent of Police Harvey J. Scott said. "But our real problem is with bobby soxers. They are the sweater girls—just kids showing off their curves and apparently liking it. What kind of mothers and wives are they going to be?"
In September of 1968, an obscure clerical worker named Francine Gottfried briefly attained international celebrity status as "Wall Street's Sweater Girl" as large crowds of gawking men and newspaper reporters awaited her arrival at the Wall Street subway stop each morning and mobbed her on her way to work. For two weeks in September, 1968, large groups of men began to mob her on her way to work. Newspapers dubbed her “Wall Street’s Sweater Girl” as her curvaceous figure seemed to be the sole reason that crowds formed spontaneously around her when she appeared in the financial district.
Gottfried first started working in the financial district on May 27, 1968. By late August, a small band of "girl watchers" had noticed her, and that she always followed the same route. They timed her daily arrival and started spreading the word to their colleagues and co-workers. For three weeks, the band of gawkers grew exponentially larger until on September 18 there were 2,000 people waiting for her.
By this point the crowd itself had become the phenomenon drawing
the crowd, and the following day, September 19, over 5,000 financial district
employees downed tools, left work and poured into the streets at 1:15 pm
to watch the 5-foot 3-inch brunette exit the BMT station clad in a tight yellow
sweater and miniskirt and walk to her job at the Chemical Bank New York Trust
Company’s downtown data processing center. Police closed the streets and
escorted her through the mob, which damaged three cars as men climbed on their
roofs to gain a better view. Stockbrokers and bankers leaned out of windows
overlooking Wall Street to watch as trading came to a virtual halt. “Ticker
tapes went untended and dignified brokers ran amok,” wrote New York
magazine. Photographers from all the daily papers and Life, Time,
and New York snapped her picture. “A Bust Panics Wall Street As The Tape
Reads 43” read a headline in the Daily News.
"Wall Street's Sweater Girl," Francine Gottfried, walks to work as a large crowd of gawking men and newspaper reporters look on.
The following day, Friday, September 20, the corner of Wall and Broad was jammed with 10,000 spectators and press who waited for Gottfried in vain. Her boss had called and asked her to stay home to put a stop to the disturbances. A nice Jewish girl who lived at home with her parents in Williamsburg, she wasn’t seeking notoriety and started taking a different route to work. “I think they’re all crazy,” she was quoted as saying. “What are they doing this for? I’m just an ordinary girl.” After that, the Francine mania on Wall Street quickly subsided, and she eventually left her $92.50 a week job as an IBM 1260 keypunch operator to become a go-go dancer.
Though the Sweater girl look remained hugely popular well into the 1960's, the look would start to go out of fashion towards the very end of the decade. the over-emphasized, pointed look of the bullet bra would eventually and dramatically decline by the late 1960's. The decline of this look can partly be blamed on the new feminist philosophy that started taking root during the time, and which believed that bras were a sexist tool placed on women by men. During this time, in the 1960's, women started burning their bras and going bra-less. During this time, newer bra designs were also emerging as well. These newer designs included more light-weight, soft-cup bra designs. With both of these factors taking root in the 1960's, the bullet bra, along with it's look, declined in popularity. With the bullet bra no longer being in fashion, the sweater girl look was never the same again... since the two trends seemed to go hand-in-hand.
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