In reading through the recommendations for the short, stout woman I have come across some of the best and most sensible general advice for all women. I will share that in a bit, but first the do’s and don’ts for the short, stout woman.
Ms. Conover presents three pretty straightforward don’ts.
Don’t wear a suit coat that cuts you right in two. A hip-length coat or a three-quarter length coat is far more becoming.
If you wear a fur, choose a small neck piece and have a short haired pelt such as mole, beaver or seal.
There is danger in the two-short skirt for the short woman. One short woman expressed the idea concisely herself, when she said, “She didn’t want her skirt to look like a ruffle.” It’s a fact, that often an inch on the length of your skirt will seem to add an inch to your height.
I have to admit that I laughed out loud when I read the comment about the skirt looking like a ruffle only because that describes the folly of many women now days, stout or otherwise. There is a best length on each one of us that will be the most complimentary. That is the very best way to look the most attractive, including those trying to look sexy. Sexy doesn’t necessarily mean shorter. A shorter skirt length may just make you look desperate and/or silly. Nothing sexy about that!
So what should the short, stout woman look for in her clothing choices?
Pick out styles that have long lines. If you wear a tunic it ought to be a long one.
Keep your waist line as low as possible, it will give you a more graceful appearance than a bunchy short waist.
As a rule, V necks are the most becoming. The longer the V, the better. You know the deep V gives a chance for the becoming touch of white.
Full length, set in, close-fitting sleeves will make your arms look slimmer.
Pretty basic guidelines. I was a little surprised at the sleeve recommendations. Today women try to camouflage their arms with loose, baggy sleeves. We tend to shy away from tight, fitted sleeves today simply for the ease of movement as well.
Now for Ms. Conover’s most sensible advice of all.
Study yourself as a whole and balance your costume. Don’t trust a shoulder length or a waistline mirror. A hat may be becoming to your face, but be top heavy for your body. It takes a full-length mirror to make us see ourselves as others see us.
Standing on a chair and looking in a small mirror doesn’t tell us much either. A cut-off view of feet, ankles and skirt may look very graceful, and yet the length of the skirt from the bottom to waistline may be very awkward.
In the tens years that I have been doing alterations in my shop I have seen the truth of these statements first hand. On a weekly basis I have men and women alike try their clothes on to be marked for alterations, only to find that there is no need, simply by seeing themselves in a full length mirror!
Next week, what to wear if you are tall.
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.