Who is Miss Abigail?

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

Find me on…

Get the feed


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!


Posts Tagged ‘feet’

Sock Tips for Men

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

never underestimate the importance of your socksQ Dear Miss Abigail:

Why is white socks with black pants a no-no? I mean, if you are wearing some really expensive good-looking (dark) shoes, then wouldn’t it be a good idea to put on white socks to draw attention to those shoes? And what is the dress-code for black pants? It doesn’t seem to be a problem wearing white shirt with black pants. Isn’t that illogical?

BTW: Why isn’t there a simple page on http://www.kreative.net/timewarp/ (your old site), which points to your new site? My face almost turned white, as I thought you might have passed away, or something horrible had happened, when I didn’t find your page. Glad you’re still here.

Morten, the color-confused

A Dear Morten:

First things first: I did have a pointer page at the old address for about nine months after getting my own URL, but I had to take it down when I switched ISPs and could not pay for the kreative.net site in addition to my new account. Apologies for your moment of horror, but so glad you found me again.

Now onto the show. I located this excerpt about socks in Alice Bell and Pert Wall’s The Magic Power of Grooming in a Man’s World, picked up on a recent trip to the Croatan Book Store in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

1965: Socks

One of the most important factors in good grooming is good taste in selecting and wearing socks. Unimportant as it may seem, socks play an important role, not only as an addition to your wardrobe, but as a fundamental basis for proper attire. For example, any time you are wearing a tie, you should wear dressy socks that will extend over the calf, and stay there. It is inexcusable to tug constantly at either your socks or your tie. When sitting, no part of your bare leg should be visible. Strangely enough, the type of socks you wear may reveal your personality. . . .

Here are the answers to the questions that usually arise:

1. Are socks and ties supposed to match?
Ans. They may, but it is not necessary. Your socks may match your suit, your shoes, or your tie, if your tie is dark.

2. What types of socks does a man wear who is troubled with his feet?
Ans. Undyed socks, but dark socks over those.

3. Are white socks correct for street or business wear?
Ans. No! One never wears white socks with dark suits. However, in resort or suburban areas where white suits and shoes are worn, it is then permissible to wear white socks.

4. Are white socks worn by teen-agers?
Ans. Yes. In Junior High School boys generally wear white socks, but after that, they would not think of it.

5. What determines the size of the sock?
Ans. If the socks are even sized, they are usually marked from 10 to 13, although many manufacturers size their socks to 14 and 14 1/2. The sock is generally 1 1/2 sizes larger than the shoe size. For example, should you wear a size 10 shoe, you would wear a sock sized 11 1/2.

6. What determines the size of the stretch sock?
Ans. This sock will fit any foot unless the man is unusually tall or stout, in which case it would be advisable to buy the king size, which will take up the added volume. Actually, size is not a very important factor, since approximately 80% of all men’s socks sold today are the stretch type.

7. How important are Argyles or fancy socks?
Ans. These are out of fashion today, although bright socks may be used for sporting activities, or for relaxing around the house.

8. What type of sock is used for formal or evening wear?
Ans. Black, over-the-calf stretch nylons, cottons, or wools, depending upon the time of year.

9. What about support hose?
Ans. Day by day this type of hose is gaining in popularity with the man who is on his feet most of the time. He finds that they give him added support, and his feet do not tire so easily.

10. How should socks by laundered?
Ans. In washing machines or by hand.

11. Why do socks fade?
Ans. Improper drying, harsh detergents, bleach or exposure to the sun may cause fading. Socks should never be hung in the sun to dry since the sun acts as a bleaching agent.

12. What is the most popular in the ribbed socks?
Ans. The rib may vary in width from narrow to wide, but the most popular in the dress style is the 6 x 3 medium.

13. What types of socks are used for beach, tennis, boating, or with walking shorts?
Ans. The crew, or casual, above-the-knee socks. They may even match the shorts you are wearing.

Never underestimate the importance of your socks in relationship to your good grooming. Socks are often one of the most neglected, yet essential elements of correct dress. Improper coordination can so easily spoil a handsome picture. Allow your wardrobe to include a varied selection of hose that will inevitably help all of your socks last longer.

Source: Bell, Alice and Pert Wall. The Magic Power of Grooming in a Man’s World. Charleston, S.C.: Walker, Evans & Cogswell, 1965.
~ pp. 203, 205-7 ~

Tightness in Shoes

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

exceedingly ridiculousSo I’ve got this weird thing ~ I’m easily irritated by the sound of loud shoes on the sidewalk behind me when walking down the street. I don’t know why, maybe it has something to do with my dislike of high heels. Ya think that could be it? Anyway, I found this little gem when reading Mrs. A. Walker’s Female Beauty: As Preserved and Improved by Regimen, Cleanliness and Dress. While she doesn’t actually agree with my theory that all women should wear flat shoes ~ they’ve just got to be better than those pointy beasts! ~ Mrs. Walker does make some valuable observations.

1840: Tightness in Shoes

Ladies are very apt to torture their feet, to make them appear very small. This is exceedingly ridiculous: a very small foot is a deformity. True beauty of each part consists in the proportion it bears to the rest of the body.

A tight or ill-made shoe not only destroys the shape of the foot, it produces corns and bunions; and it tends to impede the circulation of the blood. Besides, the foot then swells and appears larger than it is, and the ankles become thick and clumsy.

The pernicious effect of tight or ill-made shoes is evident also in the still and tottering gait of these victims of a foolish prejudice: they can neither stand upright, walk straight, nor enter a room properly.

To be too short, is one of the greatest defects a shoe can have; because it takes away all chance of yielding in that direction, and offering any compensation for tightness in others, and, in itself, it not only causes pain and spoils the shape of the foot by turning down the toes and swelling up the instep, but is the cause of bad gait and carriage.

Very bright coloured shoes, except in full dress, are in very bad taste, and make the foot appear large.

Wearing slippers down at the heel, is a slovenly habit, exposes the heel to cold, and causes an unbecoming development of it.

Source: Walker, Mrs. A. Female Beauty, as Preserved and Improved by Regimen, Cleanliness and Dress. New York: Scofield and Voorhies, 1840.
~ pp. 345-46 ~