Thursday, October 15, 2015

Books I read. And re-read. And re-read.

Do you have books on your shelf that you read repeatedly? Of course you do! We've all got favorite books, friends in print, friends with whom you have had many great times, friends who challenge you or from whom you have received much comfort, from whom you've learned much and have much yet left to learn from...

This is the first in the series, actual title TBD, about the books I repeatedly read and suggest you give a whirl.

"The Dress Doctors: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish" is a toothsome terrine of reasons why American women from the Progressive Era through the late 1960s looked so beautifully dressed.   (It wasn't just the girdles as we all learned from watching Behind-the-Scenes from Mad Men!) We learn about the rise of Home Economics, the women who developed the field, and the part of its mission that brought the rules of beauty to the masses at whatever level of economy you could afford, and with appropriateness to each situation.

This glorious, gorgeous time had pretty nearly faded by my 1980s childhood, but vestiges of it clung to women who were there. My great aunts may have been wearing poly-cotton floral pantsuits, but they wore them with flair! They wore them with accessories, and they wore them with chic beyond their means. Why? Because they had learned an internalized these rules!

I cannot overstate the glass shattering effect of reading about the rules behind what makes an outfit work. I cannot overstate the harsh light that age- or situation-inappropriate dress and "killer" shoes now shine in. I cannot overstate the depressing realization that I (and most of America) am way under-thinking my wardrobe as a system. I cannot overstate the sense that I feel very gratified that my belief that our colors are all wrong seems justified.

Quibble: I still think acid green is gorgeous, and I will find a way to wear it!

Drawing above is my study of the cover.

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