If you are a fan of books written by fashion designers, then you may recognize this wonderful illustration from the 1959 guide to dressing to please your man from designer Anne Fogarty, Wife Dressing. The book has often led people to criticize Fogarty as an anti-feminist, and a lot of the advice in the book is truly cringe-worthy to a 1960s gal like myself.
But it’s all a bit regrettable, because if you leave out the bits about being an “appendage of your husband,” you have a wonderful little capsule of late 1950s style. I really love this stuff, maybe because my very earliest memories of women date to around 1959 or 60. I remember when “shortie gloves” really were a necessary part of a lady’s wardrobe.
I reread this book this week because I’ve been writing an article on Fogarty for my website. In many ways she really was designing for herself. You can almost hear her mourning for the loss of the crinoline as an everyday part of dressing. She makes references to a new, straighter silhouette, but you can tell she does not like it.
As for travel, the concept of traveling light was foreign to her. Fogarty and her husband traveled frequently to Europe (but interestingly, she refused to attend the Paris showings), and on one trip she says she packed 18 crinoline petticoats, but returned home with none. She ended up trading them for shawls wherever she went. On a ten day trip to Florida, she took eighteen dresses and twenty pairs of shoes! Her advice: Never cut your gear so close to the bone that you leave your personality behind.