05 November 2010

looking back with the Duchess


something great is occurring at Harper's Bazaar- recurring I should say- BAZAAR LOOKS BACK, and who better than little augury's resident favorite Duchess-please no comments this time about why- I think I have made that abundantly clear- & if not, go back and read the chronicles of W.at little augury here.

the great Suzy Menkes writes The DUCHESS OF WINDSOR's ROYAL STYLE in the November issue- Menkes starts by imagining some of the things the Duchess might wear in this our fashion world of the 21st century. I've done a bit of that too here and on style.com with a lookbook called what would a Duchess wear? One of the most delightful aspects of the LOOK BACK story  is the addition of the Duchess "talks Clothes with Fleur Cowles" from the 1966 issue: these TWO especially stood out:
When asked about the Fashion shift of today (1966) her reply was this- There never has been such a difference between age and youth. I don't remember thinking I couldn't wear my mother's dress or that I didn't want to.It was right to look exactly like her. - & there was never a more current and astute observation on today's 2010 fashion. No? & following up on that Fleur Cowles asked : Wouldn't the differences have a lot to do with that large bone in the leg called the knee?

this from the Duchess: 'Yes, Indeed! the length of a skirt does help separate age groups; older women simply cannot wear very short skirts. There's nothing new in looking at legs (and there are some perfectly good ones on many an older woman), but that 's not the answer. The whole figure-ending up with the face- must go with the exposed knee. '

too short

 from the November 1966 Harper's Bazaar

I think this is a perfect length.

Wallis, You are so right.
The ladies of New York should listen- recent sitings of the elderly dressed for clubbing in Saks last week tell me so. Well,  for me- I didn't get to wear lots of short skirts when I was growing up-at least not as short as some I saw running about back in the 70's. The return of the short skirt is the most recent tragedy of Fashion today. The short hem does little for the DRESS-forget the leg or the knee. The lines of the dress are ruined. Indeed that trip up a leg- to a shortish hemline- to the dress- to an old face is a tragic way to go. Wallis insisted nothing shorter than at the knee. She got it. Her diminutive figure was never compromised to the trends of fashion- 'that's as high as I'll go and keep my whole figure divided in the right proportion'- and that's everything. My mother told me that- and by the way I always thought she had the prettiest clothes ever and always wanted to look just like her and she never wore her skirts short-though she could have.



  1. First hand insights into her tastes, like that, are wonderful. Sounds like a great article - I will have to get the issue. Thanks!

  2. I agree that the last picture demonstrates the right length.

  3. Hurrah! Well said. And may I add to that pants whose waistlines are too low?

  4. I most certainly agree although as a petite person, I keep my skirts to right above the knee to lengthen the look a bit.

  5. The Duchess was infinitely correct in her assertions regarding older women and the exposed knee. Her comments reminded me of that as I looked at some pictures of our First Lady's attire the past few days as posted in New Yorker magazine. Also, I'll bet The Duchess would not have considered herself "completely dressed" without it including hosiery.

  6. Thank you. I will have to get this issue!

    The three young models (all visions of loveliness and perfection) could still use a bit more fabric. I agree with Wallis. It looks out of balance somehow.


  7. A correction to my previous comment ..... The "New York" magazine, on-line, has a feature in the Fashion Section called the Michelle Obama LookBook. There you will find the First Lady's fashion attire posted on an almost daily basis, beginning from the time BO took office. Thanks.

  8. Dear Gaye, I loved this post. It's a tough one on skirt lengths. I still wear short ish skirts but always with good tights. I'm not keen on hipster trousers though as Janet pointed out above. I can't stand having to keep pulling anything up. I hope you're having a great weekend xx



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