15th of Decmeber: Manners For Women

Manners1Manners2There are a lot of pointless books that have been published (and bought!) in the last few years but none are more pointless than the endless reprints of Victorian advice books. I am specifically thinking of those ‘Advice for Wives/Husbands’ books which we seem to see in their hundreds (and they’re pocket-size! Perfect for on-the-go hilarity). What we have here is an actual non-reprinted copy of ‘Manners for Women’ from 1897 and suddenly I can see the appeal of these things. Maybe it’s just the slightly foxed, unusually thick pages or maybe it’s the comprehensiveness of the advice but there’s something undeniably charming about this book (it’s also just about pocket-size). A good part of the appeal is the absolute certainty of the author. From the section on dressing for weddings: “The bride’s white satin is now often replaced by silk muslin, chiffon or lace. Should she elect to be married in travelling dress, her bridesmaids wear smart visiting costumes instead of the usual white or light-tinted bridemaidenly attire.”

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