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BOOK

Wife Dressing - The Fine Art Of Being A Well-Dressed Wife, by Anne Fogarty, RATING: EXCELLENT

Very Useful: Chapter Fifteen - A Glossary and Friendly Guide to Fashion Jargon. This section has been most helpful to me in deciphering fashion speak. For example, I learned that a Mackintosh refers to "A waterproofed coat" or that Shirring means "Three or more rows of gathers". (Yes, it is true, what I don't know could fill books - and usually does.)

SUMMARY

Wife Dressing is a "How To" guide for dressing appropriately written in the 1950s that will interest anyone with taste.

REVIEW

Wife Dressing should be required reading for every girl - regardless of whether she plans to be an astrophysicist or a housewife. Instilling the notion of dressing appropriately into girls' minds at an early age can only benefit them, as far as I can see, and may even ward off harmful behaviors as girls become teens and then adults.

Perhaps I am ascribing to much meaning to this very basic idea, that of wearing clothing suitable for the activity or occasion, but I tend to think not. The Germans have a saying "Kleider machen Leute" 1 or as we say in English "Clothes Make the Man" implying that how you dress will dictate how others will judge you, at least initially.

This is why parents freak when  their 13 year old daughters try to march off to school dressed like Brittany Spears in one of her music videos. How useful it would be as a mother to have a authoritative reference such as Wife Dressing, and to simply say "Dear, One does not wear Dominatrix  to school! Save that outfit for Big City Clubbing".

Anne Fogarty is not a prude; she does not wish to prevent risqué attire, nor does she espouse becoming a slave to the fashion industry. She does recommend dressing for the occasion, developing your own personal style, understanding which fashions are flattering for your body type and being prepared for unexpected fashion emergencies. She defines the goal, and then gives some solid advice on how to go about achieving that goal.

 

 

 

 

1 As far as I can tell, this saying originated from the short story Kleider Machen Leute written in 1866 by German author Gottfried Keller. There is however, a similar saying in Latin vestis virum reddit that is attributed to the Roman rhetoric teacher Quintilian who lived from 35 to 96. Let's just say that this is an idea that has been around for awhile.

RETRO HOUSEWIFE, 2008-04-11

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Wife Dressing - The Fine Art of Being a Well-Dressed Wife.

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