A Sparkling Vintage Life

Monthly Archives: March 2015

Down to Business: Are you the Executive Type (circa 1943)?


WHO IS SHE That woman always seen lunching at smart restaurants–charmingly unaware of the interest she excites. She’s the woman who has traveled, whose leisure allows her wide cultural activities. She throws her time and energy into drives for her favorite charities, she encourages the opera, the ballet, the symphony, art exhibits. She’s the influence behind the fashions that have carried our designers’ names around the world. SHE’S SO AMERICAN (Lord & Taylor ad from the 1940s, reflecting patriotism of the war years)

From “Personality Plus” by Veronica Dengel:

“The executive type is the brisk, energetic, matter-of-fact woman, entirely capable of handling any situation, Purposeful in every movement and thought, there is no ‘nonsense’ about her. …

In the office, make yourself the girl who is trimmest, neatest, smartest in appearance. You can do it by choosing dark colors, accented with fresh neckwear, simple suits with soft blouses. Two or three basic dresses will see you through several seasons, but vary their appearance. . . . If you are going out socially direct from the office, either bring other clothes with you or else accessories that will dress up your office frock. But do not come to business all dressed up in a cocktail-time dress with the excuse, ‘I’m going to a party.’ You will be out of palce and ill at ease all day, and besides, your employer won’t like it.”

Here are Miss Dengel’s clothing suggestions for the ‘executive type’:

Colors: Clear, cool colors. Black or other dark shades.

Fabrics: Hard surfaces. Heavy “knobby” fabrics in crepes or wools. No chiffons or transparent fabrics.

Necklines: Tailored neckline, high or low. Pique, linen, or hard-surfaced silks.

Underwear: Fine tailored pajamas, initialed. Combination of silk and satin trimmed underwear, or bit of lace.

Shoes: Heavy leathers for daytime; fabric or suede for dress. Medium or low heels.

Hose: Two or three thread. neutral to darker tones.

Sports clothes: Slack suits, matching jacket. Cotton dresses.

Daytime clothes: Fine tweeds, man-tailored suits, severe blouses in broadcloth or silk. Plain, smart wool or crepe dresses.

Dress clothes: Thin wool or crepe ‘dinner dress.’ Preferably black or navy. Occasional pastel wool, tailored.

Coats: Fitted or semi-fitted; dark colors for dress. Fine ‘travel type’ in blended tweeds for sports.

Hats: Extreme; smart lines; very little, if any, trimming. Small, bright colored hat with veil for dress.

Gloves: Suede, leather in dark color. Pigskin or heavy calf for sports.

Furs: Mink, beaver, seal, Persian lamb. Scarves of stone or baum marten [Editor’s note: I had to look this up. “Stone marten” and “baum marten” (another name for “Pine marten“) are WAY too cute to kill and wear. As are most animals, IMO. Just not a fan of fur, I guess]. Silver fox if tall.

Bags: Large envelope type in leather. Pigskin, calf or grained.

What about you? Are you the ‘executive type’? I’m afraid I’m not…but never fear, we’ll be discussion some other ‘types’ in the near future.

Full of Grace and Seasoned with Salt: A Book Review of JESUS OUTSIDE THE LINES by Scott Sauls

Jesus Outside the LinesIn her classic book Etiquette, written in 1922, Emily Post wrote, “Be careful not to let amiable discussion turn into contradiction and argument. The tactful person keeps his prejudices to himself and even when involved in a discussion says quietly ‘No. I don’t think I agree with you’ or ‘It seems to me thus and so.’ One who is well-bred never says ‘You are wrong!’ or ‘Nothing of the kind!’ If he finds another’s opinion utterly opposed to his own, he switches to another subject for a pleasanter channel of conversation.”

Now, most readers of this blog know I’m a big Emily Post fan. That said, I don’t entirely agree with her advice concerning conversation (sorry, Emily!). Yes, I love amiable discussion and am not so fond of contradiction and argument. Yes, I’m all for switching topics if a debate is becoming overly heated. But I think that in ordinary conversation among intelligent, thoughtful people, there’s room for vigorous debate, and even occasionally a removal off the (white kid) gloves, as long as the situation doesn’t devolve into ad hominem attacks, scorn, and rudeness.

The trouble is, nowadays it seems next to impossible for many to keep a civil conversation, well, civil. My personality type is one that does not seek out division and animosity, I get stomachaches sometimes just reading the vitriol that flies past on Facebook or through my e-mail. It’s enough to make a girl reach for the smelling salts.

Thus I was powerfully attracted to read Jesus Outside the Lines by Scott Sauls, a Presbyterian pastor. The subtitle is “A way forward for those who are tired of taking sides.”

“Tired of taking sides.” Does that nail it or what?

Pastor Sauls makes a strong case for learning how to discuss the issues without devolving into shouting matches and flame wars. He breaks the text into these topics:

Red State or Blue State?

For the Unborn or for the Poor?

Personal Faith or Institutional Church?

Saving or Sharing?

Affirmation or Critique?

Accountability or Compassion?

Role Model or Authentic Struggler?

Chastity or Sexual Freedom?

Hope or Realism?

Faith or Questioning

Epilogue: Self Esteem or God Esteem?

I tend to come down on the conservative side of most issues. While I didn’t agree with every single point Pastor Sauls made, I came away from each chapter with much to think about and a firm determination to neither shrink away nor attack, but to speak the truth in love. The boors we will always have with us, but Jesus Outside the Lines offered me renewed hope that wherever smart, thoughtful, caring people gather, we can discuss hot issues without pounding each other to smithereens.

Disclosure: I’ve been given a review copy of this book by the publisher. This generosity, while appreciated, has not biased my review. I also post some of my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

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