I’ve been reading this book, mostly while doing my morning hamstring
torture stretches. I have it on my Nook, so it is easy to hold with one hand while I pull or push on one of my legs with the other (I’m laying on my back). Sadly, in this format I couldn’t really enjoy the illustrations, so I may end up having to get the hard cover version so I can really take it all in visually.
The reading was fascinating! I had never heard of the Dress Doctors, although I knew of some of the programs they were part of. I didn’t know about the books and textbooks; I recognized a lot of the messages from my grandmother and mother.
The Lost Art of Dress – the Book & Author
There are lots of resources you can check out if you are interested. I think start here. Author Linda Przybyzewski, PhD has a blog. Buy the book at an independent bookstore or the usual online suspects.
I still believe it is worth getting dressed–not just putting clothing on. I think about what I wear every day–even when I’m not going anyplace. I am always “comfortable” and dress to suit my mood and my endeavors for the day. Obviously, I dress differently to go teach as a fashion professional than I do when I’m sitting at my computer working–but my intention is always to feel good about myself. By differently, I mean I tend to wear slacks instead of jeans to teach. Otherwise, I am mostly found in different styles of jeans. Probably generational. I do not wear pants or skirts with elastic waists except during exercise because they do not flatter me and therefore I don’t feel at my best in them. As an aside, I think having a firm waistband can go a long way to keeping you aware of your weight.
When I was a Young Person . . .
When I was in 8th grade home ec the teacher taught that you put your outfits together based on a point system. Each item you wore got a point, with things like a print, a stone, a buckle, buttons, etc. all adding points. There was a number you should not exceed, but I can’t remember what the upper limit was. I want to say 10, with 13 being the number allowed for a “fancy dress” occasion. But my memory might not be correct.
- 4 points for pieces: Jacket, skirt, top, shoes.
- 2 points extra for the jacket (which would have horrified any home ec teacher) for the non-matching buttons, the pockets, and the epaulettes. It would likely have gotten 3 points.
- 1 point for the print in the top (probably one more for the trim, but we won’t pile on).
- 2 extra points for the shoes. The bows and print at a minimum would have garnered extra points. The style probably would have garnered an additional point. I actually think that each bow and the print on each shoe would have been counted separately.
So that simple outfit = 9. No jewelry, of which each item counted, so a pair of earrings would be 2.
- 6 points for pieces: Jacket, shorts, top, sandals, hat.
- 2 points extra for the jacket for the cuffs and seersucker.
- 1 point for the print in the top
- 1 point for the necklace
- 2 points for the shorts-fly, button, button loops, pockets.
This casual outfit = 12.
This was the system under which I established my personal style. It is no wonder I favor tailored, solid colors! For today’s dressing I think we would need to add a few points for it to be at all workable.
The system established by the Dress Doctors, which was restrictive, must have allowed for much more embellishment than the system I learned. They favored the five principles of design: Harmony, Rhythm, Balance, Emphasis, and Proportion. There are variations of these in most design fields, and I learned them slightly differently, but the concepts are the same. My favorite is Harmony (which I learned as Unity), which just means that everything works together.