Although this two page spread is ostensibly about height and weight, I think the real message is to warn against eccentric dress. The woman on the right has clothes and accessories that coordinate and follow current fashion guidelines. The woman on the left, by contrast, is breaking all the fashion rules. Her clothes are too tight, her top and skirt don’t match, and her accessories do not contribute to a cohesive look. Even her posture is “awkward.” The author is resolutely against standing out in a crowd. “Clothes should provide a background for your personality; therefore they should be unobtrusive…Lack of ostentation is still an in dispensable mark of good taste, just as gaudiness is a mark of vulgarity.”(12)
Photos of eccentric older women from the early and mid twentieth century are rare. Such women must have existed, since they are described in literature and used as bad examples in books like these. Perhaps other family members chose not to take their pictures.
These days older fashion eccentrics are everywhere, it seems. It’s not hard to guess which of these two women would be featured on Ari Seth Cohen’s blog, Advanced Style.