Thursday, December 3, 2015

Where Do You Get Your Fashion Advice?

Did Edith Sitwell need some?

I lovelovelove reading old fashion magazines. And I mean old. 1920s, '30s '40s, '50s... Not only did the magazines show and tell you what to wear, they gave you a blueprint to pull it off. From Diana Vreeland's whimsical "Why don't you"s in Harper's Bazaar in the '30s*, to the twice-yearly "What to Wear with What Chart" in Glamour in the '50s, one could figure it out with some authoritative help.

Glamour advises, September 1957

The downside of this is women were not encouraged to think creatively on their own. Anyone who dressed outside the box was considered "eccentric" (think poet Edith Sitwell). The upside was a woman had guidelines and direction— a map. Today fashion is like setting out on a journey through a jungle set with mines without even a compass.

I read in a 1956 Glamour that Audrey Hepburn wore the strap from a case of Italian wine as a belt around her tiny waist. Never mind that I've yet to find wine sold with a strap. She wasn't following any chart.

By the late '60s it was all about the Youthquake and not about matching your handbag to your shoes.

At the Lovely Boutique Where I Work, women sometimes ask me how to wear their purchases.
This question surprises me because I myself won't buy it if I don't know what to do with it.  I may tell them, "Dark denim goes with everything" or "You don't want to match but blend" or "Your eye will tell you if it's working". I want women to be able to think for themselves and have confidence in their decisions.

Judging is seemingly everywhere

There are plenty of outlets for sounding off on what other people wore. Everyone is willing to tell you what you did wrong but not how to get it right.  Magazines aren't giving the advice they used to. Bloggers will show you what they wore, but no one wants to be a copy-cat (or shouldn't). Sales associates who care are few and far between.

Those might have been the days...

Where do you get your fashion advice??? Or do you slog through the jungle on instinct and faith?

* From the reasonably sane ("Why don't you try a beige linen blouse and black linen shorts on the beach with red zippers and a tiny monogram just below the belt?") to the absurd ("Why don't you turn your old ermine coat into a bathrobe?"), Mrs. Vreeland had advice to give.


  1. I was just in Florence, Italy. We went into La Rinascente, a very nice department store, and noticed that they put outfits together ON the rack--not just on mannequins. So you have a very pretty coordinated look all right there for you to try on. I did notice that women in Florence dressed much more similarly than women do here (I live in a small east coast city). I think that consistency at a certain level of style is attractive, but it can also get boring, and in the case of 70 degree weather but everyone wearing quilted jackets just because it is November, a little silly. But it does make dressing easier, if you know you're going to follow the "look"

    1. Thanks for your insightful comment. Boring and tasteful is a very fine line to cross.

  2. I'd love to see more of those Glamour articles. My local libraries dumped their bound volumes of Glamour and Mademoiselle and replaced them with black and white microfilm. (That sound is my teeth gnashing.)

    1. Is it too late to find the dumpster where they were dumped? What a treasure trove that would be, and shame on them!