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Day 287: Lessons from Bea Danville: The essence of chic is good grooming

Copyright 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.

And now, I share this wisdom with all of you.

Today's lesson: The essence of chic is good grooming

"If you spend $300 on your outfit and then team it with frowsy hair, [I assume "frowsy" means "greasy"] sloppy figure, and a slouch, will you look better than a well-groomed model in a $30 dress? One glance is enough to reveal the answer."

[Bea speaks truth. Also, somehow these 1956 prices still make sense. I could get a $30 dress on sale somewhere, surely. And a $300 outfit would still look pretty great in 2011.]


Stop slouching, Bea Danville is going to get mad!

"You must be well-groomed if you are to carry your clothes with an air of chic. Good grooming is a way of thinking. That costs you nothing in cash beyond a few pennies a week for the wherewithals [wherewithals!] of beauty, such as shampoo, make-up and so on. Good posture requires nothing but effort."

"You must do something for the clothes you wear. So I am going to suggest, before you read any further, that you put this book [blog] down and go over this very minute to a long mirror and check yourself over from top to toe. 

As you look at yourself in the mirror, go over the following points:

Your Posture.
Your Hair.
Your Make-up.
Your Hands and Nails.
Your Figure and Waistline.
And last and certainly not least: What do you add up to?


This girl adds up to: Gymnast-Hair-Bow-Nice-Hair-Girl with cactus plant and cute dresser.

[I like the idea that it's not about spending money or buying stuff, but rather how you carry yourself, that is the essence of style. Maybe I don't have money to spend on a new dress right now, but I do have the time to paint my nails, or practice my posture.]

Is the general impression you are making fresh, chic, pretty and a pleasure to look at? Do you really look as good as you'd like to? Probably, if you are like most of us, there's room for improvement."

Next time... we'll go over each of these points one by one.


My money, my life said...

I really liked this post. The advice given is very true. I think grooming and posture are the most ignored areas when it comes to personal appearance, but also the areas that will make a huge difference in how we appear. When I read this post I immediately thought of a Chanel dress worn by Mariah Carey at an event a few years ago. She wore a black V neck number that would've probably looked really nice - except she chose a few sizes too small, wore it with long, uncontrollable extensions and some kind of glitter shoes. It all just came out soo...wrong. She looked like a stuffed sausage, two drinks away from breaking free from her dress, instead of a chic and elegant woman that we normally associate with Chanel. If you're overall apperance isn't there, you can rely on expensive clothes alone to project the right image - and lucky for us, the reverse is also true. You can look a million bucks by taking care of your grooming and posture, but wearing some simple, cheap finds!

Annabelle said...

@My Money, My Life - I totes agree! Thanks for the Mariah Carey example, I was trying to find an image of someone wearing expensive clothes poorly. Grooming and posture are frugal ways to make anybody look like a million bucks!

Thanks, Bea Danville.

Serendipity said...

This is why I make my hair such an investment. I know, it's probably silly to be spending so much on my hair, but I wear it everyday and I often meet with the public a lot. I don't want to have poor grooming and look frumpy. Not saying you can't look nice without hair that's been dyed and what not, but some women don't do anything.

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