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Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!

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Posts Tagged ‘fads’

Her Face Looked Like a Sequined Jacket!

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

a fad is attention-gettingQ Dear Miss Abigail:

The other day I heard about a friend of a friend who’d had his tongue forked ~ that’s right, split up the middle. Then yesterday I saw a picture in the paper of a woman with some 200-odd piercings. Her face looked like a sequined jacket. Don’t you think this piercing thing has gone a little too far?

Signed,
Grossed Out

A Dear Grossed Out:

Piercings are one thing, but a forked tongue? Ouch! Miss Abigail is grossed out as well. I was able to track down a few bits of advice that might help those considering a pierce, a fork, or whatever.

In addition to a bit of jewelry etiquette, I’ve included a little test to help us all sort out the differences between fad and fashion (I have a feeling such extreme body alterations may be just a fad). Now I wonder ~ can that tongue be put back together when the fad has passed?

1937: How Many Jewels?

It has always been the rule of the well-bred not to wear too many jewels in public places, because public display is considered bad taste in the first place, and in the second, a temptation to a thief. But with the present vogue for gigantic jewels, the New York smart world has developed a veritable mania for covering itself in public as well as at home with pearls, rubies and emeralds made of ~ glass!

It is a knowing thief this day who can tell whether Mrs. Gilding, junior, is wearing gems worth half a million or ten dollars’ worth of beads. Tilly, the cash girl, can wear a wristful of jeweled bracelets or an eighteen-carat ring ~ and since jewelry is ornamentation after all, glass makes an effective trimming quite as well as gems.

Source: Post, Emily. Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company,1937.
~ p. 705 ~

1969: Fashion or Fad?

What is a fad, and how does it differ from a fashion? A fad, your dictionary will tell you, is a “temporary,” usually “irrational” pursuit which “excites attention.” While fashion is national, even world-wide in scope, a fad is usually confined to a small group, a town, or a geographical section.

A fad is temporary, while a fashion lasts at least a season ~ often longer.

A fad is attention-getting, while true fashion abhors the conspicuous.

Fads can be fun, or, by their extreme nature, they can be so unsightly as to be painful to the beholder. Such fads are usually in the sloppy category. Other fads are so objectionable or harmful that they are actually taboo.

Can You Tell the Difference?

Here is a list of recent fads. Indicate those you think are Fun and harmless (F), Sloppy and unsightly (S), objectionable and Taboo (T).

1. You wear nonprescription, rimless granny glasses. ___
2. You wear your skirts a couple of inches below the knee when everyone else shows several inches of thigh. ___
3. You wear knee socks with date dresses. ___
4. You wear a long Thrift Shop dress to a party when everyone else is in short, shiny dresses. ___
5. You never have your hair trimmed, because you’re proud of its length. ___
6. You paste decals on your legs. ___
7. You wear a sweater so skin-tight that it shows the outline of your bra. ___
8. You wear an army jacket to school. ___
9. You wear a scarf tied above your knee. ___
10. You wear a ring on every finger. ___
11. You wear the shortest of micro skirts, even though you’re over a size 14. ___
12. You wear black tights with stiletto-heeled shoes. ___
13. You wear stretch pants so tight that the outline of your panty girdle shows. ___
14. You wear slogan buttons that are apt to offend minority groups. ___
15. You wear a leather band around your forehead, Indian fashion. ___
16. You wear as many bead necklaces as you can bear. ___
17. You wear black lacy tights to school. ___
18. You wear “his” turtle neck to school, although it’s several sizes too large. ___
19. You wear half a dozen chains, plus keys about your waist as a belt. ___
20. You wear your skirts so short that the tops of your stockings show. ___

Answers: F for 1, 6, 8, 10, 15, 16, 19; S for 3, 5, 11, 18, 20; T for 2, 4, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14, 17. Give yourself five points for each correct answer. A score of 100 means you know a fad from a fashion; 80 or more signifies you’re human after all; 60 to 80 suggests that you’re either too proper or too sloppy in your dress; under 60 is an invitation to try again.

Source: Thomas, Kay. Secrets of Loveliness. New York: Scholastic Book Services, 1969.
~ pp. 26-28 ~