Vintage View: What Shall I Wear?

coverinfo1What Shall I Wear? The What, Where, When and How Much of Fashion by Claire McCardell, illustrated by Annabrita McCardell (Simon and Schuster, 1956).

Here’s a book that’s definitely worth a look! We recently uncovered this true treasure on a field trip to the Prelinger Library, and we just had to share some of the wise advice (and gorgeous illustrations) contained within. Claire McCardell (1905-1958) was a fundamental fashion designer, largely lauded for crafting the “American look” of smart, sporty separates and casual clothes for the ladies of the 1940s and 1950s. Her tremendous influence is still largely demonstrated in today’s designs. Take a peek through the pages of this classic book — you may find that a lot of her words and philosophies are still pretty relevant! Fundamentally, she explains how it’s most important to find fashion that suits your comfort and personality.

coverinfoGo ahead and judge it by its cover — it’s lovely!

img004“What is fashion?” McCardell tackles the tough questions.

img006More pretty pages.

img008And even more!

ladies4“How to tame a scarf – a sash – a bow”

ladies3“City Kin”

img010“McCardellisms: A glossary of Terms that speak to me of Fashion…and haven’t very much to do with Webster…”

What Shall I Wear? was recently republished by Overlook Press, so that means you can have this gem in your own collection! The original copy we uncovered, however, contained a few extra-special artifacts like the one shown below.

coverinfo2Autographed by the author!

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  1. jackiebrags 07/31/2013 at 7:11 am #

    Very cool book. I can’t believe how non-stuffy it is. And I love the illustrations!

  2. vlele 07/31/2013 at 8:44 am #

    great post – wonderful book, I’ve already requested it from my library!

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