with the motion of a waveletI’m just back from a weekend trip to Nags Head, N.C., where I picked up some more books at a favorite shop on the Outer Banks. I also tested out a few of the tips listed here, from John Robert Powers and Mary Sue Miller’s Secrets of Charm. Well, ok, I didn’t really try these, but my friends and I looked pretty dang cute lounging on our towels nonetheless.

1954: Mermaidiana

There is more to looking like a Lorelei in a bathing suit than just having a good figure. As at no other time, the secret of allure is good posture.

A sprawl looks even gawkier when you wear bathing dress than when you wear evening dress. More of it shows! Good posture and a few special advices on sitting and lying beside the water’s edge provide every figure with mermaid enchantment.

Whenever you seat yourself on the ground, sand or grass, hold your back and head erect. Otherwise your spine curves and your shoulders droop to make a shambles of your figure that not even a winter coat could hide.

Take extra care about the pose of your legs. Never spread them. Placed straight out in front of you, close together with the ankles crossed, they will form an attractive, curving line. Or draw both forelegs around to the side, keeping the knees together, the ankles arched and the toes pointed.

Only the very young women who are slim as reeds can arrange their appendages in ‘tailor’ or ‘jackknife’ fashion and achieve anything but an aging pose.

When you want to stretch out supine to ‘tan’ or snooze, never crumple like a rag doll. To lie on your back, start from an erect sitting position with the legs stretched out in front of you and touching. Then lower your back, pressing it firmly against the ground and retract your abdomen. Relax the arms close in at your sides or cradle your head in your hands with the arms nested on the ground.

To tan the back, you naturally must turn over. There will be no unattractive turning if, pulled tall, you do this with the motion of a wavelet and not a storm-tossed sea. Pull out of a prone position by rolling over on your back and coming up to your original sitting position.

After a tryout at home, you will stand out to the beach as Neptune’s own favorite daughter!

Source: Powers, John Robert and Mary Sue Miller. Secrets of Charm. Philadelphia: John C. Winston Company, 1954.
~ pp. 111-12 ~