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Day 285: Lessons from Bea Danville: The three-year plan

Published 1956 by Wilfred Funk, Inc.

So, when I was a teenager, my fabulous mother gifted me with this genius vintage book: Dress Well on $1 a Day by Bea Danville. I can't believe I left it behind when I moved, but my mother graciously sent it along to me so that I could remind myself of this wisdom.

I was going to write one blog post, like a book review, but every sentence is genius, so this is going to be a series of lessons from Bea Danville.

I'll start by setting the scene, i.e., quoting you from the inside flap:

"This book is intended as a link between the world of high fashion and the average woman - a link that will enable her to enter that fabulous world by learning how to invest her dollar for maximum returns in glamour."

[Sounds good to me! Let's begin with Chapter 1: How the plan works for you:]

What gives a woman that indefinable something called charm? It's an elusive quality, difficult to define, but one thing is certain: an attractive woman will always be suitably dressed and well-groomed for every occasion, for charm and good taste are synonomous.

I know at this point, many readers will heave a sigh and say: "Well, that lets me out. How can I possibly dress attractively and in good taste when there are so many other demands on my money?"

[It's like she read my mind and heard my sighs!]

This is, indeed, a major problem for most of us. It is out duty... to look good. But how can anyone be shown off if she is too garishly dressed for a formal occasion, or over-dressed for a barbecue? [How?? Oh, Bea, please fill me in!] It runs counter to the essential Cleopatra in us not to look our best, whether it be around the house, on the job, or visiting friends. [I agree wholeheartedly]

The object of this book is to explore the myth that being well-dressed depends entirely on the dollar. We will tell you how to organize your wardrobe on a three-year plan, because that, much more than the discount and the dollar, is the secret of chic.

[At this point, Bea explains how English girls - she, herself, is English - learned during the rationing during WWII that buying good-quality clothes was a saving and not an extravagance. But I know we're all dying to know WHAT IS THE THREE-YEAR PLAN?]

To be realistic, you can't do much buying with $365 where clothes are concerned. But over a three-year period, $365 becomes $1095, which is quite a lot of dollars. Therefore, the girl who hasn't much money, but who wants to look as though she had, will not attempt to buy everything new each year. She will plan her buying carefully on a budget, stretched over a longer period of time.

[This is like Project 333, but over 3 years! Project 3333! Crazy how thriftiness has been an admirable quality among fashionably women for more than 50 years]

Stay tuned for next week's installment... Chapter 2: The essence of chic is good grooming


Michelle P said...

These are great!

Serendipity said...

I concur! Good grooming can be everything. I wouldn't care how put together a womans outfit is if her hair and makeup and the rest of her was a hot mess.

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