“Fabrics & Dress,” 1937

My sister Lauren and I were in Thriftsmart today, and as we were about to head out the door, I spotted this little gem:

It’s a book entitled Fabrics and Dress, part of the Riverside Home Economics Series, published in 1937.  I paid $2 for it.  And I thought it was interesting enough to share some excerpts with you, in hopes that you will enjoy it as much as I.

Yes, Howie darlin’, I know you like the book, too. But this doesn’t help me when I’m trying to take pictures of it.  (Sorry, people.)

Now, for your edification (or amusement), may I present Fabrics & Dress!

Under the heading “What Have Been Some Follies in Fashion?”, the authors advise us that

Another more recent fashion, which will probably seem as absurd as many of these when it becomes long out-of-date, is the very short skirt of 1928 and 1929, which was about three inches above the knee.  When worn with extremely high heels, it made the expanse of legs much longer than the length of the skirt. [What would they think of shorts, I wonder?]

And in the next chapter, on dyeing hair, the authors observe that

Nature harmonizes the color of the hair, eyes, and skin, so that when the color of the hair is changed, we might liken the change to a discord in music.  There may be only one note out of key and the others may be in perfect harmony, but that harmony is lost in the discord of the whole.  The results of dyeing are not only discordant, but artificial in appearance. 

(I must say, in some cases, I’m inclined to agree.)

On horizontal lines in dress, the authors say that they “need not worry the girl of nearly normal proportions,” but that “those less fortunately proportioned” should beware.

“A costume,” they say, “is incomplete without fresh and harmonizing gloves for an accessory.”  (Oops.)

Chapter IX, “Best Foot Forward,” begins with a quote:

Skyscrapers in their proper place
Are not without a certain grace;
But towers under either heel
Must make one rather dizzy feel!

And continues:

We are all familiar with the habit of the proud and strutting peacock, who droops his feathers in shame when he looks at his ugly feet. If we were as sensitive as the peacock, we might feel crestfallen when we observe that our shoes are out of harmony with the costume.  The appearance of our feet affects others as well as ourselves.

Having left you with this sobering thought, I bid you adieu for the evening.

About Charity

I have an inexcusable number of cookbooks (and like to experiment with them), have worked in architectural antiques, and have been sewing most of my life. I recently graduated with a Ph.D. in Apparel, Merchandising, & Design from Iowa State University. Doing household things (except for cleaning!) and hunting for antiques are my favorite pastimes.
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