A bit of advice

Christian Dior’s compendium of fashion advice, The Little Dictionary of Fashion, is chock full of practical advice as well judgmental comments about overweight and inelegant people. It’s amusing nonetheless.

Some of the practical bits include:

This is a word that would need a book to give it its right definition! I will only say now that elegance must be the right combination of distinction, naturalness, care, and simplicity. Outside this, believe me, there is no elegance. Only pretension.

Elegance is not dependent on money. Of the four things I have mentioned above, the most important of all is care. Care in choosing your clothes. Care in wearing them. Care in keeping them.

A good dress is, first of all, a well-fitted dress. I hate women who look as if they are dressed in a sack.

It is the fitting that helps to emphasize the loveliness of yourself and to hide the little faults you may have.

Until the time we are converted into robots – and I hope this time will never come – individuality will be always one of the conditions of real elegance.

No elegant woman follows fashion slavishly. If a particular new line does not suit you, then ignore it.

In many cases a scarf gives a final touch to a dress. But you have to experiment and try many different ways of wearing a scarf before you find the way that suits you best. It is a very personal matter; and what suits one woman will not necessarily suit another.

A scarf is to a woman what a necktie is to a man, and the way you tie it is part of your personality.

My favorite entry that demonstrates Dior’s disdain for anything inelegant is the one on Nonsense.

In fashion, nonsense is to wear a big straw hat with a raincoat. A raincoat with an evening dress. Brogues with a cocktail dress. High heels with slacks. Velvet after March. Lace with tweed. I could write a book about nonsense in fashion! Too many women forget that even the most extreme fashion must be sensible in a way. Good fashion is always natural evolution and based on common sense.

I dislike trick fashions – designed only for publicity’s sake. They may be eye-catching but they are never elegant.

I don’t suppose he’d enjoy Betsey Johnson that much then.

Dior fashion image via My Vintage Vogue

Betsey Johnson image via nj.com

For some great photos of vintage Dior, visit Life Magazine

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