September 16, 2009

edith head - how to dress for success

Having been laid low by a bad cold I just got back to working on the 1780 stays today. Yikes. So until I have some progress pictures I thought I'd post some advice from someone who would know foundation garments, Edith Head.

"If you think the very same undergarments will suffice for all the items in your wardrobe you're mistaken." So true, Edith. Equally as true, "Aside form the importance of your underthings in shaping your outer silhouette, there is the psychological factor of feeling lovely from the skin out." I'm sure I'd feel lovely in something like this.

These pearls of wisdom, and the drawing, are from her book, How to Dress for Success, published in 1967 by Random House. I found this book in a hip used book store near my house. Imagine my surprise when I opened the front cover and saw this.


Actually, the book had me when I saw the cute illustrations and realized it wasn't John T. Molloy's, Women's Dress for Success. The 1970's book that I feel was responsible for ruining many women's sense of style. Edith Head's signature was just icing on the cake.

Alright, now that I've got that out of my system, back to the sewing machine.


  1. Here is how you would feel in undergarments such as these (from the Edith Head book): very stable. As a woman who grew up in the 1950's I had girdles with garters and bras (almost aways cotton) that were solid, very similar to those in the picture. There was no jiggling and rear ends were flat. The goal was a high bust, small waist, and no hips.

    They weren't as uncomfortable as you might think since most of the girdles were made of elastic and had few if any stays (heavy seams, but no stays). Stays were usually reseved for waist cinchers or corsets commonly known as a Merry Widow - I had those too. They did help your clothes fit better. I have always believed in good undergarments.

  2. That's it. I'll have to make some 1950's undergarments. Heavy seams is good to know, that will help with my construction methods.