14 June 2009


So, I recently purchased a copy of McCall's Complete Book of Dressmaking by Marian Corey. It's from the fifties and is completely fabo. The full color illustrations alone would be worth the paltry sum I paid for it, but the glossary and instructions are excellent--particularly since Ms. Corey clearly has a preference for hand-techniques, so a lot of the stitches and techs in the back of the book are fancy lap work (which I always prefer).

The funniest part of the book, though, is the section on how to select becoming patterns. A woman should always dress in a becoming fashion, and should avoid all things that make her unbecoming. Her advice for the short and slender is absolutely ludicrous--all of it stuff that if I tried to wear it I would look so overwhelmed and clownish. Short girls should apparently never wear short skirts--their skirts should be as long as humanly possible, and if short skirts are in fashion they should hide in shame from them until they go out of style again. We should also never wear belts at the waist, or mary jane style shoes (ok, so that last bit is something I read in Fashion Mags to this day). We should be lax about fitting the bodices of our blouses, as the extra room will disguise our lack of chestiness. Slim shoulders should be disguised by humongous puffy sleeves and copious use of shoulder pads. Our jackets should be cut as long as possible to make us look longer.

Can you imagine me in a floor-length skirt, too-big blouse with shoulder pads and puffy sleeves to my wrists, a long jacket to my knees? I would look about 2" tall.

I think the skirt needs to be a little longer--what do y'all think?

1 comment:

  1. short women are told not to wear shoes with ankle straps beucase teh truncate the leg and stumpify (often giving a cankle affect! the horror!). but the thing about mary janes is probably more of a "you don't want to make yourself look like a child" warning than anything else.