Lessons from Edith Head – How to Dress To Get & Keep the Job

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I’ve been curling up with a few fashion books lately – D.V. by Diana Vreeland and How to Dress For Success by Hollywood costume designer, Edith Head.

When I won this book on Ebay, I thought it would be a funny read – a social shock at how much we have evolved as women when it comes to expectations of beauty and style. Ha! There are some rules that just never change. And considering Ms. Head is one of the most celebrated costume designers and stylists of our time, she ought to know a thing or two about style.

edith head

For the next 13 weeks, I will be posting the chapter summaries for each chapter of How to Dress for Success.

Tim Gunn, move over. We’re about to take some style lessons from the gal that’s been around the catwalk a few times.

In this chapter, Edith Head discusses how to dress appropriately for the type of job you want, but once you get to that rung in the ladder, buck the trends and be yourself. She gives a wonderful anecdote of dressing Sofia Lauren for her role as a poor housekeeper in the film Houseboat. Head says, “Believe me, this took more doing than making Olive Oyl into a sex symbol. It’s harder to make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse than vice versa.”

Here is her Success Formula for How to Dress:

  1. Decide what kind of job you really want and prepare yourself for it.
  2. Decide if you are qualified for it. If not, look for one you can handle.
  3. Find out the “image” of the job – how women in that field or firm look and dress. Ask someone who works there. If you don’t know anyone, go at noontime or at 5 P.M. and watch the women who work there leaving. Find out the general “look” of the employees.
  4. Dress carefully for your appointment in what you have found is the generally accepted look.
  5. Above all, be well groomed and look like a girl or woman who would be a credit to the firm. Then do a good job!
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4 comments

1 Laura { 11.18.08 at 2:35 pm }

Oh I loved D.V. by Diana Vreeland. This book looks fun too. Look forward to the summaries!

2 violetville { 11.18.08 at 5:33 pm }

oh how fun! I’m excited to hear more about this! I just looked her up on imdb.com, and was shocked to find 418 entries for head costume designer! Imagine working on 418 different movies, from 1927 to 1980 ~ that’s crazy!! Talk about finding something you want to do and doing it well…

3 Sandra { 11.18.08 at 9:36 pm }

Laura – I’m loving D.V. She was so fun! I wish I could live a life as colorful as hers. Edith Head is quite a character herself. If you can get your hands on this book, I know you’ll love it.
Violetville – Yes, she had an amazing career. You should read up on the little riff between her and Balenciaga!! Juicy.

4 Debutante Clothing :: The Deblog { 11.25.08 at 6:35 am }

Lessons from Edith Head – How to Dress to Get A Man & Keep Him

Last week I shared a summary of the delightful yet ironically relevant How to Dress For Success book by the insanely talented costume designer, the late Edith Head. This week, Ms. Head gives us a sure fire game plan on…

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