“Of course you can’t have some of the things that slim girls have – ruffles, puffings and frills for instance.”
O.k. In my book that isn’t too bad of a start. I am not fond of ruffles, “puffings” (whatever those are), or frills. And with the variety of style choices available today one doesn’t have to feel as trapped now days by this type of style trimming limitation. I am sure it was much more difficult to find acceptable styles within the fashion norm in the 1920s which was one of the driving forces behind Ms. Conover’s dressmaking course. She was giving all women, not just stout women, personal control of fashion and their individual fashion needs and desires.
But Ms. Conover does go on to list a whole host of other no nos for the stout young girl. Some which are entirely contrary to our modern sensibilities when it comes to dressing the stout of us. One of her suggestions, that I find particularly distasteful, is to dress the stout young woman in one material/fabric of a single color. I guess the approach in the 1920s was to make the “stout” invisible. She also recommends plain material as opposed to anything with a large or loud pattern and definitely no large plaids or horizontal stripes or trimming.
I did think this following recommendation was rather funny, probably because capes are not a major or common fashion must have these days.
“There are stout girls who wear capes well, but they are the tall stout girls. If you are just medium or short and plump, a coat that is belted trimly with a narrow belt will give you better lines. In any event, avoid a cape. It is almost the worst enemy the stout young girl has.”
So make sure you put on your high heels if you are going out in your cape!! Personally, I think every woman deserves to feel like Wonder Woman once in a while 🙂
She does have some excellent information that is still applicable today for those of us who are stout or otherwise.
Don’t skimp your clothes. A tight dress never makes a person look smaller. In fact, tightness is apt to accentuate the size of the bust, the bigness of the arms, and the width of the thighs. Try a little fullness, it will do wonders in the way of hiding large hips.
Proper fit really is crucial to looking your best in any outfit. An outfit that is too tight or too loose will easily add 10 pounds to your silhouette. Take the time and make the investment to have your clothes altered to fit you properly.
On one last note Ms. Conover is careful to recommend that the stout young lady be selective in her hat selection. The stout young lady should always avoid mushroom shaped brims and turbans, choosing instead meduim brimed hats with high crowns.
I am writing these articles from my own personal collection of Ms. Conover’s dressmaking series, but this series is available to any of you that would like to read the complete work (or part of, not all 12 lessons are available). This series was originally published in 1921 and is now in the public domain. If you would like to study this more in depth you can read directly from the source yourself without my commentary My version was released in 1922 so it may be slightly different from what you find here, but it should be very similar. You can download the entire first lesson in either Adobe or PDF format. You can also download the 1922 version here, but I am not entirely sure if it includes all 12 lessons or not.
If you are curious about my “art” work, I did it myself using an app called Paper 53. As you can see I am still in the early stages of learning how to use it, but it sure was fun! You are welcome to use my pictures for your own purposes, I would just appreciate acknowledgement.