Tag Archives: advice literature

The War on Pants for Women, 1972

When women began wearing pants in public, they faced ferocious criticism.  I am used to biting comments well into the 1960s. “There are fortunate girls (usually under the age of fifteen) who look well in tight trousers; but I have … Continue reading

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Mrs. Ralston’s Fashion Advice for Older Women

In the early years of the twentieth century the Ladies Home Journal fashion expert, Mrs. Ralston, wrote for a wide audience.  On her regular trips to Paris, she brought home news of the latest trends for the stylish set. However, … Continue reading

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Amy Vanderbilt on (and in) Pantsuits, 1971

I have always considered Amy Vanderbilt (1908-1974), America’s mid-century manners maven, something of a fussbudget.  Consider her 1952 advice on evening meals: “Every woman should change for dinner, if only into a clean house dress…Fresh clothes and makeup, even if … Continue reading

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Who Was Mrs. Ralston?

If you have ever looked at issues of Ladies Home Journal in the early twentieth century, you probably have come across articles by one Mrs. Ralston.  She gave advice on current fashion trends for all age groups and answered questions … Continue reading

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Looking Your Fashionable Age, ca. 1969

Many older women of fashion had a hard time in the 1960s.  Youth was in style and new ideas filtered up from the street rather than down from designers who might have had some sympathy for older shapes. Perhaps to … Continue reading

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“Is the Trousers Skirt So Foolish?”

The question above, posed by the Ladies Home Journal fashion writer Mrs. Ralston, was apparently a controversial one in 1911.  I’ll write more about Ralston later; for now it is enough to know that she was an important arbiter of … Continue reading

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Patterns of the Times

At the end of the 1940s and into the 1950s, the fashion editor of the New York Times, Virginia Pope, sponsored a series of patterns that were written up and advertised in the newspaper.  Published by the Advance Pattern Company, … Continue reading

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Colors for the Mature Woman, 1920s

This small pamphlet comes from the Women’s Institute, a correspondent school for sewing, millinery, and cooking, run by the famous Mary Brooks Picken.  Thanks to Lizzie Bramlett for sending it on from her large collection.  On one side it offers … Continue reading

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Advice on Aging from Glinda the Good

The 1959 advice book, With Powder on my Nose, was written by Billie Burke (1884-1970), the actress who played the Good Witch of the North in The Wizard of Oz.  Although Burke never refers to the famous role, her tone … Continue reading

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Lillian Russell–An Older Icon for the 1910s

Although she all but is forgotten today, Lillian Russell was a big star of the American stage, music hall, and vaudeville circuit at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries. Called “America’s Beauty” for decades of … Continue reading

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