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Clothing And The ABC Of Success

( Originally Published 1924 )

By the time the lisping voices of babyhood are struggling through the intricacies of their A B C's, the child has begun to learn also that this strangely interesting new world is going to expect or exact something from it in return for the privilege of giving it life.

Children are expected at certain times to look clean, to be "good boys" or "good girls," and to try to do things in a "nice" way—as much as possible in the manner of Father or Mother. This, then, is their first introduction to the laws governing:


three rungs in the ladder up which all must climb to success.

Of course this book is primarily concerned with Appearance, the first in the tribunal of Life before which we are judged. But it must be re-called, however, that the two other letters play just as important a part in their way, and that success in appearance can not be obtained without proper regard for behavior and culture—good breeding and fine appreciation expressed in thoughts and in relations with other people.


The woman who goes for advice to a specialist upon good appearance is first scrutinized carefully to see in which type she properly belongs-if the type is' actually developed, or if a non-committal exterior covers the evidence of an interesting personality which might be brought out. For, after all, Nature has certain molds, and each one of us fits into a particular one—if we can but find it.

So I would state again and again that the most fundamental rule for becoming dress is this : Know your own type; admit its limitations and do not go beyond them, and adopt a permanent mode of dressing that, in its simplicity of taste, best accentuates your own natural charm.

In the past, the word type denoted printing Nonpareil, Minion, Long Primer, etc, We had blondes, and brunettes, and red-haired folk then as now, but they were never spoken of as Types! Emphasis was never placed on distinction gained through a knowledge of one's own type and in dressing for that type. The old-fashioned idea is conveyed humorously in this old-fashioned rime:

"There are fat folk and lean folk
And sort of in-between folk;
There are queer folk and dear folk
And folk of every kind.
There are happy folk and lonely folk;
But after all the only folk
Are folk like you and your folk,
The nicest folk I find."

I suppose certain women have been consciously or unconsciously dressing to type ever since Helen of Troy draped her robes about her to "half conceal and yet reveal" her statuesque type of beauty, or since Cleopatra drew the curtains of her barge and commanded her servants to bring forth silken garments for the alluring of Antony. Lady Hamilton knew well the art of dress in enhancing the aristocratic trend of her loveliness.

Another word in recent years has been used a great deal in describing feminine attractiveness-Personality.

One can, of course, be a type without ever having that mysterious and indefinable something which is considered so valuable an asset. We know in a way what individuality is—that which neither poverty, disgrace, tatters, nor velvets can remove from us—as determinedly ours as Ego. Personality has exactly the same tenacity, but its charm can be cultivated.

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