Classic Dates: How To Dress For Each (Glamour, November 1959)

Classic Dates: How To Dress For Each (Glamour, November 1959)

Until 2001, you may have noticed along the spine of Glamour the words in parentheses, "incorporating Charm." When I first noticed this, I didn't know that there was a wonderful magazine from the '40s and '50s called Charm that was geared toward working women. While progressive for its time, it was incorporated into Glamour with the November 1959 issue of Charm, which was considered similar in theme, but in all honesty, was more concerned about putting fashion, beauty, and being attractive to men at the forefront, versus career and independence. This article comes from that first blended issue. After 2001, another influential magazine took the honors of the spine credit when it was rolled into Glamour, the beloved Mademoiselle. Also, if you are not familiar, "Jake" was a pseudonym for a real columnist that would write for Glamour from the male perspective, and to this day, there is still a "Jake" on staff, which I may dedicate a future post to. 

"The secret of dressing to please a man is to care a lot about yourself and a bit about him" - Jake

Here started a twelve-page fashion lesson for all the great dates in your life - from full-blown ball to Friday night movie with your husband. Coming up, advice from our editors about the right kind of clothes to wear for these classic occasions: a dinner party, a cocktail party, a dress-up evening at home, an evening of jazz on the town, an outdoor date (skiing, hiking, or whatever), a ball, the theater, and the movies (read also "evening with friends." other informal dates). The man's point of view on these pages? All, comments from our columnist, Jake Ballamy, who escorted the young women in the photographs on a whirlwind of glamorous dates. We begin with his philosophy of women's clothes: "Clothes should suggest and complement...but never contradict. Men are romantics, so please us with clothes that are gentle and soft and simple. No frothery, no mummery, no distractions, no mickeymouse. And remember - a man is not aware of he details of a costume, only what it does for you.  A woman sees "pretty dress"; a man sees "pretty girl."

#1 The Theater Date

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Jake says: "The Theater is an event...the girl should rise to the occasion."

"Take Miss Bright Eyes. She handles red like she invented it. The fur collar frames her face nicely. Too bad the shirt doesn't fit."

Glamour says: "On a theater date, a red coat rates high."

Ditto for concerts, ballet, opera, any festive public occasion. Strategy: street-length velvet coat, mink collar; skirt of velveteen. Not to Jake: that's not a shirt, it's a silk brocade camisole...and it's not supposed to cling. Fiery lipstick, here, Revlon's new "Flama Grande."

#2 The Movie Date

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Jake says: "Movie date? A girl should look nice...but not dancy." 

"My blonde friend has the right idea. I like the pink of her blouse and the shine of her hair...but I'm lukewarm about that big fuzzy plaid skirt."

Glamour says: "For informal evenings, try surprise colors"

For example, silk broadcloth meticulously tucked, worn with a brilliant wool plaid skirt. (Jake, you'll like that skirt when you're used to it; it's New.) Finishing touches for an informal date outfit: medium-heeled pumps (hers, olive-green calf); short gloves; easy to hang onto purse; memorable but not knock-out jewelry. Silky pink lipstick, Bonne Bell's new "Ginger Peachy."

Notes about movie dates

Movies are getting dressier and dressier. Demi-tasse coffee in the lounges; special "reserved seat" shows; flossier-looking theaters - all point to a new festive era for the flicks. Catering to the after-movie crowd? Splendid little coffee houses, all across the country. In Richmond, there's Capri (also a restaurant); in Washington, D.C., The Gallery (paintings and sculpture thrown in); in St. Louis, the Crystal Palace (featuring satirical skits); in Chicago, Fickle Pickle (folk singer, Will Wright, due to arrive in November); in New York, Orsini's (dim lights, fine coffee, customers worth ogling). 

#3 The Jazz Date

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Jake says: "I like white dresses."

Glamour says: "For an evening on the town, pale flannel dress, gold jewels."

This page, for Jake's sake (our pleasure) a winter-white dress of wool flannel, two little bows at the waist for décor. Note big flashy gold pins. Flashy (hot) jazz going on here: Cozy Cole, Sol Yaged, Tony Parenti - a New York's The Metropole. Dress by Anne Fogarty. Pins, Tiffany & Co. 

Jazz: Websters says it's a type of American music, characterized by melodious themes, subtly syncopated dance rhythms, and varied orchestral colorizing...Glamour recommends it in big doses for great dates. Prescription one: high, wide, and Dixie. Prescription two: low-key and cool.

Dixieland: Wilbur de Paris plays the best "Muskrat Ramble: in Manhattan at Jimmy Ryan's; Barney Bigard provides the Roaring Twenties touch at Pollack's in Los Angeles; that grand old jazzman Earl "Fatha" Hines is at the London House in Chicago. 

Modern: George Shearing plays superb, sophisticated piano at the Champagne Room in Washington; Rex Stewart's swing trumpet sounded cool, muted at New York's The Embers; the bands of Gigi Gryce and Roland Hanna are a cool double threat at New York's Five Spot; Cannonball Adderly is phrasing at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco. 

More jazz notes: To augment Webster's (and give you a talking point on great dates) here's what two jazz experts, Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer (executives at Riverside Records) say: Dixieland is a blend of New Orleans marching bands, gospel song, ragtime, and blues...Modern jazz (which claims some of today's most astute musicians) is musically more sophisticated, takes the jazz beat and harmonies, hones them to precision. Result: there's more turn-of-the-century Creole to Dixieland jazz, more 18th century music room in modern. 

Rule of the road: Don't judge a jazz spot by its outward appearance. Example: The Five Spot in New York is an oldish, slightly seedy-looking place. Pass it by, and you miss some of the newest and classiest modern jazz that transforms the room into a place of great dignity. 

#4 The Date at Home

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Jake says: "Long skirts at home? Maybe..."

"My pretty hostess looks as if she were dressed by her decorator. But that's not bad...name the man who doesn't like red velvet."

Glamour says: "Velveteen, silk, a ransom of beads: very princess."

Long velveteen skirt, classic silk shirt - everything lit with brilliant jewels (pearls, bright stones). Lipstick, Cutex "Slightly Scarlet."

Tablecloth for Two (you and Jake , maybe?) - stitch together dinner napkins in a checkerboard pattern (pink and orange linen ones, say), or as a "patchwork quilt" of assorted colors...fine ground for white plates.

Q: What is the new fashionable, all-purpose glass?

A: The Burgundy glass (biggest, widest, roundest of the wine glass shapes), classic. Besides Burgundy, it's great for serving champagne, sherry, Martinis-on-the-rocks; can give a glamorous look filled with quickie desserts - sliced bananas and whipped cream or defrosted fruit salad; makes a pretty container for after dinner mints or (newer) chocolate-filled candy oysters wrapped in colored foil. 

Knowing Hostesses Are...using place cards at any dinner party for more than eight...giving one-wine dinners (serving a rosé that goes with the Veal Strogonoff and the Strawberry Mousse)...serving French bread instead of finger rolls...arranging low, see-across centerpieces, combining flowers and candles in one arrangement (gone the huge bouquet flanked by candelabra...bringing color to the table (e.g.purple and blue flowered napkins on a cornflower blue tablecloth). 

Hors d'Oeuvre Special: Serve Jake (or his stand-in) antipasto on a plastic-coated paper plate that his his name "engraved" in gold. How? With a glitter pen. Time-saver tip: Arrange plates ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator. 

Nightcaps: Demitasse coffee with ½ ounce cognac, whipped cream; or mocha (half coffee, half cocoa) with almond extract. 

Candlelight: Take it for granted - is a great party prop. Try lighting a room entirely with candles. Mixed up candle holders permissible. Or, you can fix (with melted wax) candles into stemmed goblets, glass apothecary jars (lids off), saki cups, metal coasters, saucers with candies around the base. The more, the better - men like to see. 

#5, 6, and 7: Cocktail Parties, Balls, and Dinner Dates

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Jake Says: "Cocktail dresses should be black."

Glamour Says: Try a sweater top, chiffon skirt. 

Slinky new cocktail-party dress - classic black, in a new covered up look.

Jake Says: "The green dress is sheer class"

Glamour Says: A grand ball, a long dress.

Classic ball gown, with the poise and authority only long dresses give. With it, traditional formal gloves (white kid, sixteen button), and newsy jewels ("emeralds" and "diamonds").

Jake Says: "For dinner (or any) dates I like little waists."

Glamour Says: Newsy dinner dress - rich brown or white. Jake-approved dress with uncomplicated (also beautiful) bodice, short full skirt - more belled than bouffant. A hint for dancing after dinner. 

#8 Ski and Outdoor Dates

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Jake Says: "Hoods are fine. The long pants? On girls they make me uneasy."

Stretch ski pants don't count. They occupy a sweet and unassailable realm all their own. I'll admit that Little Grey Riding-hood looks better than most in long trousers. 

Glamour Says: For slim pants, bulky tops...in fur, bright wool.

Hooded jacket of Norwegian silver seal (not grey, Jake), stretch pants (O.K. Jake?) of wool/nylon blend, spiffy tan suede boots. 

This year's amateur ski score keeper knows that: Squaw Valley, California (45 miles from Reno; altitude, 6,200 feet), is host to the Eighth Olympic Winter Games (they take place every 4 years; our last go was at Lake Placid in 1932). Every day for 11 days (February 18 through 28), 1,000 athletes from 33 countries will perform for 35,000 spectators in an Olympic Village that costs $10,000,000 to build. Below them - an average of 96 inches of snow; around them - air at an average 26 degrees Fahrenheit. The official schedule lists 22 figure skating and ski events (watch jumps for fabulous new close-arm Finnish technique), 8 speed skating competitions, 32 hockey games. And at the end of the day while sports reporters telephone in their stories from 70 booths, the multitude will climb into its 12,000 cars and drive to 481 neighborhood motels and hotels to await the dawn of another thrilling 24 hours of sport. 

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