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Rules of Fashion #11

The penultimate Rule of Style from Edna Woolman Chase's Always in Vogue.
Point #11:
A: Stand up when you buy a hat. This may sound daft, but it is rooted in wisdom. Few ladies, we trust, are so foolish as to buy a hat without viewing it from the profile and three-quarter angles as well as from the front, but many a lady fails to realize that her hat must be integrated with the rest of her, that it must be in proportion to her entire body. If you see what you secretly feel to be an enchanting reflection in the milliner's mirror, restrain yourself yet a moment. Stand up, move a few feet away, and view yourself in the altogether. Are you small, so that under a wide brim you look strangely like a gnome under a toadstool? Are you tall, so that too small a hat is reminiscent of a thimble on a broomstick? What looks enchanting in one dimension, sitting down, may be a different story in the round and long.
Erwin Blumenfeld, Schiaparelli Hats, 1938.
B: Just as you should stand up when you buy a hat so should you sit down when you buy a dress. It may be all good when you are erect, but how does it sit? Is it so full that it lies in puddles on the floor? Does the wrap-around skirt fall open? Is it so tight that it rides above your knees? Sit down in it in front of the mirror, and then walk, enough to make sure it doesn't bind. There is nothing more aggravating than a too narrow skirt on one who likes to stride freely.
Allan Grant, Actress Millie Grant trying on clothes during her shopping trip, 1959.

More common sense from Ms. Chase- while the first part of this rule does not strictly apply to fashion now, since so few people wear hats, more people should look at how pieces suit them overall. The second aspect of this point is hopefully followed by most, but I personally know how hard this can be when you are in a tiny dressing room or, even worse, don't even have a dressing room, such as at a sample sale. Part of the reason I never go to sample sales (beyond not being able to stand pushy women wanting to fight me over a purse) is that I despise changing in the middle of a large room, in full view of everyone. I also never seem to be wearing the right kind of clothes for them, thin pieces and bodysuits that can easily have dresses thrown over. Anyone have any hints for doing them in style?

Excerpt from: Chase, Edna Woolman and Ilka. Always in Vogue. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company Inc,1954.

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