Sensible Sundays

Advice for the thoughtful, vintage minded woman.

A few years ago I acquired the most wonderful treasure (thank you Shanon!).  I have in my possession a complete set, copyright 1922, of the “Complete Course in Dressmaking in Twelve Lessons” by Isabel DeNyse Conover.  The thing I find incredibly fascinating about these early instructional materials is how much emphasis is put on, not just how to make your garment, but the effort that must go in to the presentation of your garment.  Over and over I see reference to how a mediocre garment can be overcome with top shelve grooming, posture, and fit of the garment.  Advice that has been passed over to our fashion detriment in modern times.

It would be such a shame to lose this wise advice for all times simply for lack of effort on the part of those of us who possess it.  Over the next weeks and months I will be sharing tidbits of this long lost wisdom every Sunday.  Look forward and enjoy!

Ms. Conover starts lesson one by getting right to the point.

Of couse you want to be stylish.  Every sensible woman does.  But do you know how to acquire the well-dressed look?

I am not entirely sure there are many sensible women left these days 🙂  I include myself in this, as I have been know to wear my yoga pants out grocery shopping on many an occasion.  But maybe Ms Conover can encourage us to reach for sensibility a little more often than we usually do.

People may be born beautiful, but certainly they are not born stylish.  It’s a clothes sense that they acquire.    They learn to wear clothes that are suitable.  And there is the secret summed up in one word.

I am pretty sure Ms. Conover would deem pajamas worn outside of the bedroom, for any reason whatsoever, as entirely unsuitable for any circumstance!  I am also certain muffin tops of any degree would be considered a huge breech of the suitability standard.  So how do we measure suitability?

You know that is doesn’t make any difference how beautiful a dress may be, just as a dress, if it is inappropriate or unbecoming to the wearer, you will never think of it as stylish.  Now do you?  There are three great big important things to remember when you are selecting a dress, whether it is for yourself or for someone else.

First:  It is important that the style of the dress suit the place or occasion for which it is intended.

Second:  The design of the dress must suit the season – in other words be near enough to the prevailing mode not to be conspicuous.

Third:  See to it that the lines and color of the dress suit the wearer.

If your dress will pass these tests, you may rest assured that it is stylish.

So there is you sensible advice for the week.  Common sense in a modern world where common sense has become most uncommon.  May suitability abound in your wardrobe choices this week 🙂


Conover, Isabel De Nyse. “Lesson 1.” A complete course in dressmaking. New York: E.J. Clode, 1922. 1, 2. Print.


12 thoughts on “Sensible Sundays

  1. Pingback: Sensible Sunday – Timeless Style vs. Momentary Fad | One Stitch At A Time

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