It’s been too long since we last visited Anne Rodman’s 1939 beauty advice book, “Lady, Be Lovely”.  I decided to turn the page today and see what my favorite beauty authority would have in store.  I was delighted to find information on how to have beautiful bosoms, back, and shoulders.  

  

Anne makes a case for plastic surgery for a woman’s breasts but only if, as she states, it is absolutely necessary.  Her preference is for an uplifting brassiere. Things don’t appear to have changed much since the publication of “Lady, Be Lovely” — women are still pursuing pefect breasts. I believe that Anne would approve of Dita Von Teese’s choice of underpinnings and, like the rest of us, be envious of her incredible form. 

Dita Von Teese in a Wonderbra

 

 And what about the “…youthful contour, after the manner of the Balinese maidens” Anne mentioned? Below are “Two Balinese Maidens” by Theo Meier, and I’d say that “youthful contour” is an understatement. 

Two Balinese Maidens by Theo Meier

Two Balinese Maidens

 

In the 1930s a beautiful back was crucial if a woman wanted to follow the trend in evening gowns.  Bette Davis looked stunning in her frock.  She had the back and shoulds to make the most of it.

Bette Davis

 

According to Ms. Rodman, a woman could achieve a beautiful back by stretching backward over a hassock. 

 

Now, according to a woman’s magazine, we can have a ball! 

 

I’ll see you at the gym!

 

Okay, ladies, drop the bon-bons and step away from the extra helping of pie. I know, it’s holiday time and everyone seems to ignore their diets in favor of partying; but I don’t think that Anne Rodman, author of “Lady, Be Lovely, would approve.

Instead of packing on those extra 5-10 pounds this season, focus on your ideal figure and you will begin the new year svelte and gorgeous!

Here are a few tips for attaining, and maintaining, your ideal figure.

 

See, your mother was right — Stand Up Straight!

 

So, to sum up, don’t eat between meals, and beware those frequent bridge luncheons and cocktail hours! As Anne says, “…you cannot eat as a lumberjack, and still keep slim!”

I have an extensive collection of books on every subject of feminine interest from vintage fashion to cosmetics.  One of my favorites is ”Lady, be Lovely” by Anne Rodman, published in 1939.  According to the introduction Anne worked as a copy writer for some of the leading cosmetics firms in the U.S.  She also had a background in commercial art.  Taking as her inspiration the notion that beauty could be taught to women from the viewpoint of an artist, she began to create “before and after” cartoons so that “a woman could see at a glance how to improve her appearance, just as if she were seated before the mirror of the best salon expert on Fifth Avenue.”  What a wonderful concept!

Anne Rodman’s book reminds me of the film “The Women“. Both the book and the film were released in 1939 and each deals in its own way exclusively with women.

The Women

The Women

The film was based upon a play by Claire Booth Luce, and was adapted for the screen by Anita Loos and Jane Murfin. The sets were glorious — designed by Cedric Gibbons; and the women themselves were utterly divine — dressed by Adrian.  Adrian’s designs were highlighted in a Technicolor fashion show sequence which was frequently cut from modern screenings.  With the exception of the fashion parade the film was shot in B/W. I would love to have seen Norma Shearer’s famously “Jungle Red” fingernails in color, but that is something left to the imagination. There is a NARS lipstick in Jungle Red that may be fun to try.

Because Anne’s book is so delightful, I’m going to share bits of it here on a regular basis. I don’t know about you, but I can always use beauty advice, even if it is 70 years old!  Get ready to ”Kiss and Make Up” — the topic which begins Rodman’s book.