Sensible Sunday – The Older Woman!

And last but certainly not least, the older woman!  After the past two weeks of flat on my back, coughing my lungs out, no voice, sneezing, and wheezing misery I feel down right ancient.  I am pretty sure shuffling around in my bathrobe and slippers with kleenex stuffed in my sleeves, my pockets, and my nose complete the look :-p

So what kind of advice does Ms. Conover have for the mature woman?

Whether you are growing older from forty or fifty or sixty, there are certain changes in your figure.  Perhaps you are growing stouter, either all over or through your bust or hips and abdomen.  Perhaps your chest has flattened.  You may not stand so erect.

You will have to suit your clothes to your new figure.  They can be just as charming, but they will have to be different.  What you want are clothes that will do kindly things–soften the lines of your figure.

Ahhhh…..she had to say it all.  The stooping, drooping, spreading, never ending fight against gravity and time.  So how do we face the inevitable and come out looking our very best?


The older woman will do well to avoid the extreme fads of fashion, for to be really becoming, her clothes must have a certain dignity.

There is the question of the length of the skirt.  Consult a full length peer glass when you are having the hem of your skirt turned.  You will find a long skirt more graceful than a short one.  It is impossible to give a general rule for the length of skirt that will become every older woman, but five inches from the floor usually is about right.

The width of the skirt is another point where the older woman must use her own good judgement, regardless of what is decreed by some French couturiere.  A slip of a girl, who really hasn’t much figure, can wear an extremely tight skirt, but when you are older and have hips to consider, such a skirt is quite out of the question.  However, there is no need to go to the other extreme and wear old fashioned clothes.  It’s a fact that conservative, medium width skirts are in style season in and season out.

So pretty much the rule that carries across the board is avoid fads at all cost, no matter you size or age.  Fads do no favors for anyone except the company marketing the momentary gimmick.

I do love her final advice for the mature, older woman.  A little bit of something to look forward to for those who are not quite there yet 😉

I might add a word about comfort, too.  Wear comfortable clothes.  No woman looks her best if her corsets are digging into her side and her collar choking her, or her skirt whipping around her ankles every time she steps.  Clothes you enjoy wearing are usually becoming.

If you want to dress for an enduring smartness that will last a whole afternoon or a whole day, wear comfortable clothes.

Comfortable Clothes

Comfortable Clothes

If I stretch the rules a little bit my bathrobe is a perfect fit.  Don’t worry, I have no intentions of leaving the house until spring 🙂

This is the last Sensible Sunday for a while.  I hope to continue on through some of Ms. Conover’s hand sewing lessons in a few weeks, but I will need to make up some tutorials to go with it.  I may not have much time for sewing/blogging for the next 6 weeks or so because we are packing to move to our new house!!!  We were thinking ahead and made our closing date later in the spring so hopefully we won’t be trudging through snow banks 🙂

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.


6 thoughts on “Sensible Sunday – The Older Woman!

    • My version is order slightly different (it’s a year newer than your 1921 version). My Lesson IV is Blouses, Lesson V Skirts, VI Dresses, VII Coats, VIII Draping and Pattern Making, IX Infants Clothes, X Children’s Clothes, XI Boy’s Clothes, and XII Men’s Clothes. I could not find a direct email for you.

      • Yes, your version is our wanted version and my (personal) email is s_a_m_wijnsma for the first part and then @ and then I’dbe happy to hear from you. Best wishes,

  1. This advice is as true today as it was when it was written… amazaingly so. Just within the last couple of years I’ve had to give up the high heels I used to wear. I hate to admit that I just don’t feel as steady as I used to in heels and believe that a lower heel is more attractive than pushing a walker around after falling off my stilettos and irreparably breaking my ankle. I don’t have a corsette, but I need one. What happened to my once narrow waistline? My arms and back are just thicker than they used to be. What can I say… no amount of diet or exercise seems to effect much change.
    On the bright side, as I’ve matured, I have become comfortable in my own style. I know what I like and am confident to wear it. To stay up on trends, I recently bought some large earrings and was amazed at how this small item made me feel more updated and fashionable. The mature woman no longer is enslaved to fashion, she has earned the right to set her own style and I think that’s a very freeing.

    • Agreed on all counts!! My big fashion gripe at the moment is the utter lack of reasonable shoe selection. Shoes are a fun way to spice up your style but I am sorry, who can really wear 4″ spike heels?! The only alternative to the extremely high heels are ballet flats. Can’t we have some moderate shoes?!

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