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Rules of Fashion #6

And now Edna comes to the nitty gritty of fashion….


Point #6: The allotment of budget. There are certain articles in one’s wardrobe on which one not only may, but should, splurge. Within reason, of course. Remember this is a Quaker speaking. A good cashmere sweater will last for years. Your winter coat should be the very best you can afford. It is meant to survive several seasons, keep you warm, and be worn every day. The same is true of your tailored suit. It should be of good fabric and well cut. Also your street shoes should be the best. Smart, comfortable, and with a medium heel. For walking the city streets they should not have open toes and heels. This misbegotten fashion I have already dwelt on at length. Keep your shoes in good repair; you prolong their life indefinitely.
Economize on evening slippers. They are fragile and unless you are a debutante the wear you exact from them will probably be limited. If you are a debutante you will want several pairs, but they need not be expensive.

Overall, all useful advice, though I doubt the girls I hang out with “economize” on their evening shoes. I can’t imagine what Edna and Elizabeth Hawes, who also had a revulsion of opened toed shoes, would think of summer in New York nowadays- it seems that even office workers seem to forget all rules of propriety and run around in flip-flops and light summer dresses.


Excerpt from: Chase, Edna Woolman and Ilka. Always in Vogue. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company Inc,1954. All photos by John Rawlings for Vogue, 1943 and 1946 respectively.

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