Candidly Speaking – Clothes can't sub for well-fed feeling (5-5-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (May 5, 1941)


Clothes can’t sub for well-fed feeling

By Maxine Garrison

It seems that someone has conducted a poll – yes, another one – asking women whether they would rather be well-dressed or well-fed. The majority answered, without battling an eyelash:


Personally, I think they were being a bit hasty. I recognize, however, that my own alarming weakness for food might have something to do with my decision. One look at a luscious pie or pineapple upside down cake, and I have a way of forgetting clothes completely.

Fun’s fun and all that, but well, really! Think it over. You can be undernourished, and that means being at least a little bit hungry all the time, and look like a store window mannequin. Or you can look a bit seedy outside, but have the inner woman cozily purring. And you would prefer to be well-dressed? Sister, someone’s been kidding you!

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There is no denying that a great many women haven’t been well-fed at all during the last 20 years, ever since the vogue for slimness took over fashion. Those are the poor things who have dieted not wisely but too well. By subsisting on raw carrots and juices or some equally horrifying combination, they have kept themselves down to what they consider the proper poundage. But did you ever notice the disposition of a chronic starvation diet addict?

Not knowing the meaning of the word, “well-fed,” these undernourished sisters would of course answer:


Sound feminine reasoning

I will grant too, that one bit of typical feminine reasoning – the kind that looks roundabout but actually gets right down to cases – supports the majority answer. By this line of thought, if a woman is well-dressed, she won’t have to worry about the well-fed part. It will take care of itself if her appearance is really knockout. It has happened that way more than once.

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Still and all, I have my doubts about the wisdom of the butterfly creed. I think the question might have been worded more strongly to obtain full forcefulness.

For instance, a mink coat is about the best-dressed thing a woman can imagine. But would you want a mink coat if you knew that as long as it lasted you must live on a diet of bread and water, or coffee and Melba toast? To find out your honest answer, you’d have to try such a diet for a few days.

Merit would be seen

I think you might decide that there was something to this business of being well-fed after all, once you find out what it was like not to be well-fed.

I’m not running down the great American custom of dressing well. It’s a fine idea, and when women en masse make as attractive a picture as ours do these days, they’re a great morale-builder for others as well as themselves.

But we still have room for that old motto:

A place for everything and everything in its place.

If we make a habit of putting smart clothes before such elemental matters as good food, we point a finger at the vanity of the early Roman Empire in its heyday, or the foolishness of the appallingly artificial life at the French court of Louis XVI. For if such becomes the case, we will have more than our share of both faults.

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