4/6 What Fashion Tells You - an Interview with Christian Dior: On Budget & Aging

This is by far one of my favorite sections in this article by Dior.  I won't spoil it for you, but I was quite surprised at the modernity of his statements, and he said this in 1953!  I think I had the idea that Dior was a snob, that he would want women to drop lots of money on the latest fashions and to attempt to stay forever young, corseted, and trendy.... but that's not what he believed at all!
 I hope you, too, will be encouraged to embrace aging and a small budget with resourcefulness and pride rather than the fear and dread our culture often promotes to us women in particular.

What Fashion Tells You: an Interview with Christian Dior

Budgeting Resourcefulness

The real talent for all women is to select from each season's new fashions the style that will last.  If you choose well you will not tire of wearing what you know is both good and becoming.

I am sure that it is far easier for a woman to keep herself well groomed if she doesn't try to have too many clothes.  It is really better to have a minimum but complete wardrobe of the best quality that you can possibly buy.  

That is to say, one outfit which is suitable for each of the usual occasions of your life.  And keep what would be turned in business a "turnover" by replacing different garments with new ones each year.

Once you have discovered what does suit you, do keep to it.  When you have found a new style of dress which suits you, it is often a good plan to have it copied in another color. 

A Limited Wardrobe

But you must never buy an odd garment which will not go with the clothes you already own.  And to keep your wardrobe under control, and for the greatest effect, limit your choice of colors.

One of the biggest advantages of a limited wardrobe is that it avoids the awful danger of being overdressed.  The worst way to spend money is to buy many clothes at cheaper prices.  The temporary pleasure in wearing a garment simply because it is new soon wears off and you are left with a dress or suit which quickly loses its shape and character.  To be chic is not at all necessary to keep on changing your clothes--to wear something different every day.

If you notice carefully, you will see that most well-dressed women go on wearing last year's clothes.  Never be afraid of doing that.  If it was good it will remain good--until the actual material wears out.

Versatility with Uniqueness

I do not advise women to stick too closely to what are called "classic" styles.  To be eternally classic is deadly dull!  A sense of proportion is all that is needed.  Avoid the eccentric, but be brave enough to adopt anything new that is obviously flattering and makes you feel your best.

I do not advise slavishly following fashion or trying to look like the cover girl on a fashion journal each new season.  But I do say watch the new ideas each season.  The simple adjustment of the neckline of a shirtwaist blouse will often give you the fresh outline where it shows most.

Advice for the Young Woman

Youth must be simple, never overdressed!  A cotton dress or a blouse with a pleated skirt accentuates a girl's unspoiled freshness.  She looks her best in a tailored suit or simple shirtwaist dress.  Furs are not for the very young, nor elaborate glittering jewelry.  Let her remember that youth is its own adornment.  A young girl who tries to seem older generally succeeds in looking rather ridiculous.

For the Thirty-something

At thirty, surprisingly enough, the little touch of sophistication makes her look much younger.  What is "sophistication"?  It is the well-cut suit, the smart hat, the neat tidy handbag, impeccable gloves.  It is not a lot of clothes; it is well-pressed cleanliness--in short, grooming.

From about thirty on, a woman should amuse herself by using all the tricks and ideas that fashion designers can create for her.  By forty, a woman must change again, taking those lines that flatter: soft collars and high silk scarves.  The wrong angles to the lapels of a suit can accentuate the downward lines of the face.  The soft wide-open shirt is very kind; and slim skirts to suits are elegant.

For Forty and Up

This may be the most glamorous period of a woman's life.  In France we think women under forty rather unimaginative.  Almost the only general rule for "being your age" in the middle years is this: as you grow away from you itself, you must be better and better groomed each year.

For Sixty and Older

I have seen women of sixty and more still ageless and young, because they had the courage and wisdom to adapt themselves.  All the conventional ideas of clothes for older ladies should be avoided.  If one has the luck to remain fairly slim, let her return to almost "college girl" simplicity.  Once more the soft shirt tops and pleated skirts.  But no fluffy hair; that must be neat and tidy.

The larger woman can also wear simple clothes, avoiding lace, heavy materials and light pastel colors.

Staying Young at Heart

I think it necessary for women to have an interest outside their home life in order to keep young, gay, and active.  Nor should youth or age ever renounce the spirit of coquetry, or the habit of taking care of one's appearance.  If you have the heart to do so, you can keep young always.

I LOVE Dior's thoughts on aging and making the most of your budget in this section.  They sound so modern, don't they?  He's basically fighting fast fashion, advocating for capsule wardrobes, and promoting feminist ideals!  What are your thoughts?  What is some of your favorite advice from this section?


  1. "The worst way to spend money is to buy many clothes at cheaper prices."

    Sadly, with the advent of fast fashion, most people seem to have forgotten this one! But it's such a good rule.

  2. This is a fantastic article. I really ought to take more of Dior's advice in my approach to my own wardrobe.

  3. I love this! No wonder Dior is timeless; he had the right idea about fashion. It is interesting to note, although I did already know to some degree like you said, the idea of "fast fashion" is a relatively new one. People really did use to invest in their clothes, like Dior advocated.
    Thanks so much for sharing all these articles with us. They have been so fun to read, and the tips are definitely ones I am going to be using in my wardrobe!
    The Artyologist