Click on the photo for an original shawl collar dinner jacket and pants, and you too can be this suave!
What is the purpose of a rule? Does it help to make life pleasanter? Does it make a social machinery run more smoothly? Does it add to beauty? If it serves any of these purposes then it is a rule that should be cherished. Emily Post said of Etiquette, “It is … essential to ease of living that certain mechanical conventions be observed”. Take introductions for instance, it is important to introduce oneself and shake hands but not to tell someone to shake hands. Knowledge is the key. Etiquette is evolving as well, for instance according to Manners for Moderns, a book authored by Kathleen Black in 1938, “Take the matter of drinking from a cup. It hasn’t been such a very long time since cups were made without handles and saucers had deeper sides. In those days it was quite all right to pour your drink into the saucer and drink from it. But saucer drinking was ugly and awkward…So, some bright soul invented the cup handle.” Now we are just concerned with pinkie in or pinkie out. With convention rules change. Manners were invented to make it easier for people to live and work together. And Kathleen says, “Using good manners is like putting money out at interest – you get more than you put in.”
CLOTHES OF A LADY
Emily Post, “Clothes not only add to our appearance; they are our appearance. The first impression that we make upon others depends entirely upon what we wear and how we wear it. Manners and speech are noted afterward, and character is discerned last of all”. What message are you conveying? There is a whole section dedicated in the Etiquette book to me called, The Old House Coat Habit. What is becoming? A person may be stared at for many reasons. Let’s make sure they are the right reasons. In 1945 etiquette meant, wearing gloves in church and on the street. Hats were worn with daytime attire and church clothing never with an evening gown. At a hotel a women would not wear a hat to dine at the hotel restaurant. A woman hosting at her home would not wear a hat and would be dressed less elaborate than her guests, unless she is older. Guest hat’s are part of the ensemble and they are not expected to removed them. There by identifying the hostess.
Today clothing should be suitable for the occasion. For instance, a perfect ball gown is one to dance in. Dress to flatter your shape everyone has one and yet they are all different, so what works for one person will not work for another. Color is important because there is an entire psychology behind it. White is pure and invisible and will not get you noticed. Yellow and orange are friendly and bright and often only in fun clothing. Purple, people love or hate. Blue is the only color that flatters everyone. Black is considered slimming but that really applies to all dark tone colors like navy or brown and are sometime’s a more flattering choice. Patterns make things interesting and larger. Horizontal stripes ad height and slimming quality. Vertical stripes add width. Horizontal is flattering. So if you are pear shape, small up top, draw the eyes up with a patterned top and solid bottom. Or you have a tiny bottom and wide shoulders, then do not wear a lace collar, V neck or shoulder pads, instead stick with a simple solid blouse in a warm tone like wine and leave the prints and gathers for the bottom. Pleated pants, capris or skirts. Wear full swing skirts. A-lines also flatter all figures.
Often associated with the Wartime 1940″s or with the refined ladies of the American Civil War period, the snood has a rich history of style and practicality that dates back well over a thousand years.
The earliest recorded mention of the word “snood” is from the year 725 during the Middle Ages. Many works of art from that time period depict women, both affluent and working class wearing the snood or caul. With their hair elegantly embraced by the decorative hair net, women could face the challenges presented by the times with style and utility. Technology that was common place to the Romans was completely lost to the Middle Ages. Romans had central heating and indoor plumbing but 300 room castles from the Middle Ages haven’t a single bathroom! No wonder they called it the Dark Ages.
The snood made a style comeback in the 1800’s, around the time of the American Civil War and this would lead directly to the snoods popularity revival in 1939 with the premiere of the movie Gone with the Wind . When Vivien Leigh appeared wearing the snood, the fashion comeback caught fire once again.
Not long after that, dark days returned when the world became embroiled in it’s Second World War. Men rushed off to the battlefield and women filled the factories to back the fight. The necessity of wearing one’s hair up while operating machinery was emphasized in public service announcements like the one made by Veronica Lake and in popular movies such as the 1943 Ann Sothern movie Swingshift Maisie. Made popular by Rosie the Riveter, the bandana is often thought of when thinking of Fourties factory headgear, but the snood could be worn after work hours where the bandana was only appropriate while working. Equally at home in the factory or on the dance floor the snood grew in popularity especially due to shortages, rationing and the need to make the most out of what you had.
With the popular renaissance of vintage inspired fashions, the snood has once again gained popularity and can be seen at the car shows, dance floor, Pin Up contests and photo shoots. Simple to wear and easily accentuated, it’s no wonder the modern vintage gal has embraced the time tested and wondrous snood.