Nina Daniels



Wednesday, March 3, 1948

There is considerable talk in the papers about the New Look. As a matter of fact, it is not new at all. If you have some old albums or daguerreotypes, compare them with a new Sears and Roebuck, or better still, a Harper's Bazaar, and you will find the same voluminous skirt, pinched in the waist and exposed in the neck and shoulders. A Godey's magazine also produces much the same styles for the female form. The bustie has been revived somewhat.

The New Look of itself is not so remarkable as the fact that the athletic, emancipated American woman will submit to such nonsense willingly. Will she, who has played tennis in shorts, swam in next to nothing, killed deer in trousers and a heavy jacket, again sheathe her unbridled form in stiff stays, trail along five-yard-around skirts about the street? Underneath her skirt will be several heavy petticoats. Perhaps the ballerina style will be becoming for evening wear, but it is unthinkable that village and country American women will bow to the decree of an insignificant French dressmaker and load themselves down again with heavy clothing. And this is to say nothing of the high cost of dress goods.

But women find it hard to be out of fashion, and after the first flurry of excitement, we see many longer skirts. That part of the New Look is all right. Not every woman should wear extremely short skirts.

A certain writer form India who made a long stay in this country said he found himself longing for the sarong worn by the women of his country, as he was tired of abbreviated dresses on American women. A recent magazine article stated that the French dressmaker who introduced the New Look had just removed one inch from his skirts. It is likely, foolish as it may seem, that the styles are changed (I must see about my best gown, I am afraid it will not do this season).

As a matter of fact, there have been few new fashions in history. They all resemble something that was fashionable a long time before.

I can think, however, of one New Look which was really different, very much different from our grandmother's styles. That was the faded blue jeans turned half-way up the leg and worn with a man's shirt flying on the outside. There we had a new fashion, ugly and unbecoming. And this with the shops full of dainty dresses for girls. If a girl must wear men's clothing, by all means wear slacks; the old jeans are hideous. This is, after all, just one person's idea.

The Snows of Yesteryear

One quiet, winter's day when deep snow enveloped the earth dazzling white, when no sound was heard save a woodpecker over in the pasture, when the river was in a sleep so deep it seemed as though it could never awaken, when the leafless trees seemed holding their breath waiting the touch of Spring's magic wand, and the world breathed of peace and relaxation, one's thoughts turned to the idea of a lasting quiet.

There is so much action and turmoil in this 20th century. Huge vehicles tear through the land. Great droning, machine-driven birds fly above our heads, and inside the houses radios hammer on one's eardrums the livelong day. The farmer, abandoning his ancient friends, the ox and horse, drives his great machine across his acres, plowing, sowing the seed, harvesting the crops thereof, housing them into the barns finally with a clatter and grinding of machinery, unmusical and unimaginative.

Remember the "Whoa," and "Giddap" of olden times? Remember the cheerful sharpening of the old scythe? Remember when the corn was cut, the stalks tied by hand and left like sentinels in the field? But, someone says, think how much time was required to do those old jobs and the back-breaking labor. That is true, but the old times, the old ways were so peaceful, so leisurely, so unhurried, so unworried that those who knew them in their uncomplicated happiness occasionally long to have them back. The whole planet with its cares and tribulations seems to depend on us to drag it out of a slough of despondency.

Thus tearing around over the atom, over Communism, over what the Russians are up to, over improving this and that, over new types of everything we built the day before yesterday is mighty wearing. Let's stop all the telephones on the Earth, all the telegraph instruments, all the airplanes, all the radios, all the everlasting talking, and relax for a week and just forget the terrible things Drew Pearson prophesied. Let's go back to primitive living and restful thinking, devoid of suspicion and fear. But where can we go now to "get away from it all?"

The Spice of Life

The culinary profession as practiced by the ordinary housewife has its pitfalls. How often with my recipe in hand have I essayed to prepare a delectable dish for my family only to come up against a stone wall of the lack of proper ingredients. Joyfully getting ingredients together recently for a soup, my ambitions suddenly grew faint. "Season with a blade of mace, salt, pepper and one bay leaf." Or once a new salad appealed to me, "rub the inside of the bowl with a clove of garlic" stopped that operation at once. My neighbors had neither mace, bay leaves nor cloves of garlic. My home-town grocers were blissfully unaware of them. Hastily I appealed by telephone to O. P. Benson's and the big A and P stores. None were to be found. My ardor for new dishes was dampened. Must I leave my mountain retreat and go forth into the world in search of a blade of mace, one bay leaf and a clove of garlic? No, I shall use onions, nutmeg and lettuce.



North Country