After WWII, a time when scarcity of fabric had impacted the length of skirts, Christian Dior introduced American women to the "New Look" with cinched waists and long, full skirts. Apparently, some men found this discouraging.The following is an actual letter to the NY Times.
June 30, 1947
To the Editors of The New York Times
To the Editors of The New York Times
I am writing your influential paper in the hope you will publish this letter, to help bring to an end a frumpish fashion. I mean these horrible longer skirts and dresses that the dictatorial fashion experts have brought out. They a definite offense to the gaze and an insult to the Maker who gave women legs to show, not to conceal behind a screen of cloth.
I wouldn't walk two yards with a woman in a long skirt. Why can't women have character and individuality enough to wear what they desire, and not what fashion says? Prudery and narrow-mindnessness are the sinister forces working behind the fashion designers.
American Women, I call on all of you to resist to the utmost a hideous fashion. Wear your skirts as short as you desire in the name of beauty and freedom of movement. How can you move with a horrible old sack of skirt flopping around? It is 1947 not 1847.
EG Hall, Northampton, MA
Love it Mr. Hall. He who demands the gams. Mr. Hall did not yet know the 60's and 70's would bring a whole new meaning to "freedom of movement." And had he lived to today, he would see the shortest of short skirts. And in addition to all the leg he could absorb, he quite often would see the hoo-ha splashed across the pages of tabloid rags. And because of that, I am all for maybe, just maybe, you wear a skirt that covers your pelvic bones. And since Mr. Hall was adamant about dress code, this is a good time to talk about it.
I am by no means advocating for Laura Ashley up to the collar. I am sure if I had cleavage, I would free it a time or two, just never at the office. Believe me, I am familiar with companies enforcing a ban on open-toed shoes. I know this ban. I ignore this ban. And I am all for style, especially individual style, but we don't work at the traveling carnival and most offices still have rules of protocol. For those office, here are some tiny suggestions.
When you have enough cleavage visible that a grown man runs the risk of falling in and disappearing, its a touch inappropriate.
And since skin is so frequently on display now, perhaps I should say to one or two of the college interns in my previous office, Mr. Hall didn't mean it. What might be a comfortable handful of threads at the pool in the summer, is not appropriate for work. Did I see tummy? At the office? Unless I am your parent or your physician, I need not see any part of your torso. EVER.
Oh, and to the girl who has a huge bird tattoo across your chest.
Cover that up. Pronto. Better yet, I have one word for you: turtleneck.
PS: It looks like you had that done in prison.
PPS: With a hot ballpoint pen.
Whoever did it, I am sure it was their first one. Don't get the "starter tat". And don't get the tattoo that is 75% off for _____ sake.
Oh, and woman I used to work with wearing a regular length cardigan sweater that was actually longer than your dress.....mmmm....I am pretty sure you know better. HR doesn't want to have these conversations with women over the age of 35. But they will. Weird you wore that the day the CEO was in town, whom you find attractive. Or, not weird at all.
And bless your heart woman who showed up to interview at my former office wearing a shirt so sheer I could see your veins. When I saw you also toting a pleather purse with a Playboy Bunny icon on it, I pondered how many heart attacks you would initiate. I know John Grisham made it all look so sexy but that's not how we do business here. And a Playboy Bunny purse? Maybe fun for Friday nights (when you are wasted. In Vegas. And on your way to an all-male revue.) But not for 8-5.
In 1947, Mr. Hall was a renegade. A bit before his time then but oh, what would he say now.