Winner of eight Academy Awards for Costume Design, Edith Head was uniquely positioned to become a brand name, and reach a wide audience with her deep knowledge of fashion. Thus, in 1967, Random House published a handsome volume by Edith Head with Joe Hyams, How to Dress For Success. With its lilac linen cover and cheerful illustrations by Head this handsome volume is a lovely and useful entry into the always popular self-improvement genre.
The prose is lively and straightforward. Head comes across as a stern school mistress who has definite opinions. And if you know what’s good for you, you will pay heed.
Liberally sprinkled throughout the book are references to the dozens upon dozens of Hollywood stars Head has costumed. And really, who’s going to argue with the woman who has dressed, among others, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Gloria Swanson and Tippi Hedrin.
Chapters range from How to Dress for Success for Business, How to Build a Successful Wardrobe, How to Use Color Successfully, and How To Analyze Your Figure—Head orders you to put a paper bag over your head with cut-outs for your eyes and then objectively analyze your shape in a mirror.
Has any woman in the history of the universe ever subjected themselves to this scary advice?
Most unique is Chapter Two, How to Dress to Get a Man… and Keep Him. In a post-feminist age, some might find Head’s advice quaint if not downright regressive, but here at Seraphic Secret we do not scorn wisdom that has come before our time.
Without further ado:
Edith Head’s Success Formula For Dressing To Get and Keep a Husband
1. Decide want kind of man you want.
2. Find out what kind of girls he likes.
3. Know what kind of fashions pleases him.
4. Don’t masquerade in clothes you hate just to attract a man. Be sure you are really, deep down inside, this kind of girl. If not, find another man!
5. Learn all you can about him — his hobbies, his interests, his likes, his dislikes.
6. Be interested in his interests.
7. Choose your wardrobe to please him and suit his way of life.
8. After you get him, stay the way you were and don’t relax into a post-marriage slump of careless marriage.
9. Look reasonably enticing in the morning — better at night.