Saturday, August 30, 2014

Street Style and The Dilley Act

I wonder what teenaged girls thought of Col. John Dilley.  In 1954, he issued orders that female family members of US Army soldiers stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, dress like ladies.  Banned were shorts, bare midriffs, overalls, and bareback sunsuits.  Yikes!

He also outlawed girls showing up on the street in curlers, unless head and curlers were covered with a scarf or headgear.  Gotta say, curlers in public make me crazy, and I'm not sure that even I went out in them back in the day -- and my thick, wavy hair takes forever to dry.  Going out in public in curlers has never been ok in my book.  A girl has to have standards, after all.  And thank God for curling irons.

Designers were elated.  Harvey Berin declared "what a man!"  He complained about seeng girls on Fifth Avenue in dungarees, saying "my first impulse was to whistle for the police and a paddy wagon, "and get those cowgirls off Fifth Avenue and out of town."   Sally Victor, the famed milliner, wanted him to preach his gospel to every city and town stateside as well.  Her exact words were "The bare midriff.  All that meat - and often potatoes too!"  I guess Ms. Victor didn't like a muffin top.  I'm sure that the late 60s and 70s gave her a serious case of the vapors.

Even Ceil Chapman weighed in, saying that strapless and low cut dresses had no place on the streets.  Her feeling about jeans?  "And tight Levi's on large ladies strain more than the seams, obviously.  First, domestic relations, and now international ones!"  Mollie Parnis declared "if this colonel can abolish grown women in shorts approximately the size of a diaper, he will be hailed as a great humanitarian!"  The Syracuse Post-Standard even offered up that he may be considered for Man of the Year.

Celebrity street style is of interest nowadays, with the paparazzi stalking people of note in parking lots, at the gym, and even ice cream shops.  Celebs get huge sums of money to be seen in a designer's fashions, so dresses are being seen more and more on the street, and jeans less so.  Maybe we should all take a hint from them and dress a bit more for our day.  I'm sure Col. Dilley would approve.