Book review: Wife Dressing

6 Feb

So, we went to McKay’s this weekend with the kids…y’all it is so hard not to buy way too many books when they are so cheap like that! I’m a very fast and not very discriminating reader, so when a book is $1.50, that means that I can buy more, or not feel bad for buying junky chick lit. Or this book.
Wife dressing, you ask? Well, I am a wife, and I aspire to be well-dressed although you certainly can’t tell it by the yoga pants I am wearing right at this very moment. This is a re-issued book that was originally written by designer Anne Fogarty in the late 1950’s. Fogarty was the apparent inventor of the “Paper Doll Silhouette” which was a very full skirt worn over several petticoats. The book is very era-specific, although it’s interesting that it is called Wife Dressing because Fogarty herself was a career woman who designed for Saks Fifth Avenue and almost certainly paid some of her own bills.


This is the original cover. Also, if you ever want someone to tell you that a mink tote bag is an idea who’s time has come, Anne Fogarty has got your back. Fogarty is enthusiastic about three things–coveralls, tote bags (expecially fur tote bags) and her 18-inch-waist (although she admits that at the time of this writing her waist had expanded to 19 1/2 inches…horrors!). I included my tape measure in the picture of the book so that you can see how incredibly small 18 inches really is. It’s smaller than one of my thighs. I measured.

I have to say that unnaturally tiny waists just look bizarre to me. Every Christmas when I watch “Holiday Inn”, I spend the whole movie wondering how the top part of Vera Ellen’s body doesn’t just snap right off. Vera Ellen was very anorexic, of course. I expect that Anne Fogarty was, too. Or maybe I am just bitter that my own waist never gets smaller no matter how many days I work out and all of the really cute vintage seems to have a 27 inch waist.  Am I just bitter? Or does a tightly-cinched waist look incredibly uncomfortable to you, too?

Anyway, if any of my Nashville peeps want to read it or need to feel completely and totally justified in owning a mink tote or wearing a girdle, say the word and I will happily pass it on to you. xoxo, LaurenT


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