Thursday 5 September 2019

What to Wear 11

Don’t wear very small hats.
(The Well-Dressed Woman’s Do’s and Don’ts, Elise Vallee, 1926)

Cardigans with mismatched “whacky” buttons.
Anything turquoise, unless it’s jewellery.
Anything machine-knitted.
Too many rings, khaki or blue nails.
Short dress, bare legs.
Floral fabric, lace and sequins.
Bracelet-sleeved jacket over a long-sleeved shirt.
High round neck.
Long hair.
Per the broadsheets: No all-beige outfits, no elasticated jeans, no wallet that closes with velcro.

V-necks or an open shirt/jacket over a camisole.
Hats and fascinators need short hair or an updo.
Buy new bras every few months and shorten the straps.

I recently read a thread about young women in academia and what they should wear to be professional. Why, oh why, were the proposed solutions:
Don't wear colorful clothing.
Don't wear "too much" makeup.
Don't wear "flashy" jewelry. (@CallMeRichier)

Anna Murphy in the Times says the following rules should never be broken:
No navy and black together.
Don’t mix silver and gold jewellery.
No trainers with a tailored jacket.
Sleek clothes call for sleek hair.
Don’t mix the seasons “no chunky knit with summery silk skirt”.
No socks and heels.

An older woman always looks good when groomed, and wearing good quality clothing that is stylish, simple and well tailored. A well-cut blazer-style jacket, with slacks or skirt, can then be made modern and younger with T shirts, blouses and ONE new fashion item. This may be a belt in a bright colour or modern-style shoes and bag. Or team the blazer with a good pair of jeans. This will stop you from looking “like a Nana”, and be comfortable at the same time. Also, tone down your makeup if you have always worn it, or start wearing a little if you haven’t – you will need subtle colouring to stop you looking washed out and pale. (Top Tips for Girls)

She had about nine bracelets and bangles, consisting of chains and padlocks, the Major's miniature, and a variety of brass serpents with fiery ruby or tender turquoise eyes, writhing up to her elbow almost, in the most profuse contortions. (W.M. Thackeray, Snobs)

In my first few weeks at the convent, aged 10, we were supposed to follow the hunt, which “met” at the school. A notice went up telling us what to wear: “Jeans, not slacks, may be worn.” I remember thinking at the time that the nuns had got it the wrong way round – surely they wanted us to wear old-fashioned “slacks” – tapered, terylene and uncool – rather than working-class jeans? 

In the 50s we were dressed rather plainly, with an avoidance of overt femininity. Mum sneered at mothers who dressed their children in party dresses for every day – particularly very short black velvet with lace collars. Frilly white lace knickers probably went with these. And she would never get me an organza party dress like my friends had, with several layers in the skirt. Instead she made me a dress out of pale blue velvet, with a net overskirt. It was lovely, and a white rabbit cape went with it, but it wasn’t the real thing.

Stow Crats and Upper-Upwards were still changing for dinner in the 70s – men in DJs, women in a long tweed skirt (what Jilly Cooper called “horse-blanket skirts”), and either a white silk blouse or a cashmere jumper. This outfit was a long way from the evening dress that used to be de rigueur, but Upper-Upward houses were still freezing. When Agatha Christie first got married, everyone changed for dinner, but, she explains, you made one dress do for about five years.

More here, and links to the rest.

1 comment:

  1. Love this - of course up my street. The rules are always ridiculous, shibboleths. If I were a fashion editor, I would do a regular series of a rule (eg 'navy and black' above), along with an example that doesn't look good and one that does look good. Surely it's always down to cases?
    Why DID the nuns want you in jeans? sounds so unlikely.