Legendary Hollywood costume designer Edith Head (1897 – 1981) was known for her even disposition, her practical approach to seemingly impossible problems and her ability to costume every genre of film: westerns, musicals, comedies, and biblical spectacles. In her long career she is credited with over 500 motion pictures, more than any other designer in movie history. She received an astonishing eight Oscars and thirty-three nominations for the award. Edith Head was the only Hollywood costume designer with public name recognition.
In 1967, she published a book, How to Dress for Success.
In this primer for ladies Head offers advice on dressing well with an eye towards getting a good job and, even more important, how to get and keep a husband.
My very favorite quote:
“Frequently at parties and premieres attended by Hollywood stars, visitors are shocked when they see the wives of our handsomest film stars. These men who work constantly with women who are the epitome of glamor, very often marry women who are quite ordinary to look at. The unknowing are inclined to ask “How on earth did she ever get him?” I can tell you because I know. She interested him more than any other woman.”
The book feels like a telegram from a bygone era. Head talks about “hunting for a man.” But rather than sit back and feel all superior Seraphic Secret finds acute wisdom in Head’s advice. For the most part—hostess pajamas?—her smart, no-nonsense approach to fashion is classic and timeless.
Here’s her advice on lingerie:
1. Evaluate your present collection of girdles, bras, foundation garments for (a) condition, (b) efficiency.
2. Seek the advice of the experienced corsetière in your favorite store to find the right garment to improve your figure.
3. Buy underwear (slips, petticoats) that coordinates with your foundations in color, trim, and type.
4. Remember that last year’s shape may be wrong for this year’s silhouette.
5. If you wouldn’t want anyone to see you in your undies — get new ones.
Karen and I wish all our friends and relatives a lovely and inspiring Shabbat.