1967's The Seventeen Book of Fashion and Beauty might just be the best worst book ever. This pre-Women's Lib guide to girls' style has it all: anorexia tips, unsolicited eyewear criticism, shoe shaming, vocal chord shaming. Ready to feel really, really lucky that the world (and the advice in Seventeen) has changed so much in the last five decades? By all means then, read on:
Tips For Not Being Such a Skank
-"Cross your ankles if you like, but never your knees. Why? Try it in front of a mirror and see."
-"Too much skin, too much leg, too much perfume, too much makeup labels you a girl to be whistled at rather than loved."
-"Nothing is more disenchanting than the sight of a girl frantically yanking at her hem in a futile effort to hide her garters from the public while she sits."
-"Why do you suppose most road signs are printed on shiny white or yellow backgrounds? The better to see the curves. The same thing happens on girls."
-"Swimsuits belong at waterside, not in the street. There’s no excuse for placing oneself on display."
-"Some girls can use nothing but eyeliner, blusher and lipstick and still end up looking like a lady clown."
You're Fat; Stop Being So Fat
-"Meal at a friend’s house? Take a little of everything, but imagine you are a frail 19th century beauty and eat like a bird."
-"What happens when you return from your summer holiday ten pounds heavier? Let us hope the condition is temporary. Meanwhile, you have to dress to minimize."
-"Chinese restaurants are kind to dieters. Have only a half-cup of rice... Dessert? Make it one fortune cookie."
-"These are the basic foods you should eat every day:
6 ounces of meat, poultry, fish, or cheese
2 servings of fruit
3 servings of vegetables, one of them a deep yellow or dark leafy green, one a small potato
3 glasses of milk
3 slices of bread
3 small pats of butter"
-"A pretty figure can do a great deal for a girl, even more than a pretty face."
-"Never underestimate the importance of your girdle."
Your Vocal Chords Should Be Ashamed
-"How pretty do you sound? You can’t expect to charm a royal ball or end up with Rex Harrison with sloppy speech habits."
-"Hold a matchstick in your teeth the next time you phone your best friend. Can she tell it’s there? If so, you need practice."
-"To find the best pitch for your voice, sing do-re-mi-fa-so up the scale, starting on the lowest note you can comfortably sing. The fifth note above this is the place where your voice should sound best—pleasant and rich in tone. At this level, you can raise your voice without sounding harsh or shrill."
-"Good speech is more important than the actual words you say... The sound. The smile. The gentleness, warmth, and vitality. The voice that says, ‘I like people. I like you.'"
-"If your friends can understand you perfectly, but strangers and teachers frequently have difficulty, chances are you don’t really want them to hear you."
Lessons On What's Probably Wrong With Your Terrible Hair
-"Should you ever cut your own hair? No."
-"When should you shampoo your hair? The day before it looks like it needs it."
-"If your hair is so limp it just clings affectionately to the back of your neck, face up to it bravely: you’ll be better off with a short hairdo."
-"Flowers in your hair can create a pretty effect, but beware of overdoing. Keep your touch light or you may remind people of Ophelia [Ed. Note: From Hamlet. Obviously. Because suicide is funny...ha...ha]."
-"It is in poor taste to be seen in town or anywhere else in curlers."
-"If bangs are good on you, hat brims will be, too."
How (And How Not) To Be Pretty
-"Do you get into cars head first? You’ll look prettier if you slide in sideways."
-"Your hands tell a lot about you. Are they pretty to look at, soft to hold? They should be."
-"Are you nearsighted? If so, your glasses’ lenses are making your eyes look smaller."
-"Fresh as a daisy, neat as a pin, pretty as a picture—you could sum it all up in one word: Girl."
-"To keep teeth pretty, never open curler clips or bobby pins with them; don’t chew on pencils, don’t break sewing thread, and don’t grind your teeth."
-"There is only one reliable gauge of what your best colors are: any color that does something for you when you have little or no makeup on is bound to be right."
-"You may be tempted by boldly colored glasses frames… think about it overnight."
Ugh, Stand Up Straighter
-"If a girl slumps her shoulders, it’s a safe bet she hopes nobody will notice anything about her. Probably nobody will."
-"The way you stand and walk shows who you think you are. People who droop and just sort of drift around look like nonentities."
-"Stand with your back against a wall. If your posture is close to perfect, your head, shoulders, and buttocks will be touching the wall."
-"When you walk, point your foot directly ahead and come down on your heel, then shift weight to the ball of your foot."
-"Stand as the models do, one foot turned out a little, the other foot a bit ahead."
You Have No Sense of Style
-"Date bags should always be small and dainty; you wouldn’t want the boy you’re with to think there’s something in the depths that bites if disturbed."
-"The element in fashion which is hardest to define and analyze is good taste. You are most acutely aware of it when it is absent."
-"If hot pink on you makes people want to say: 'Pink, where are you going with that girl?' use it for a scarf or shirt rather than a whole dress."
-"You would be right to wear Bermuda shorts shopping in Bermuda, and wrong, wrong, wrong to wear them shopping in New York."
-"Serious elegance is for the elderly; a strong element of fun enters into young chic."
-"Belts can and should have character."
-"Be wary of blue shoes, unless they’re navy."
-"It is the nature of good taste to be pleasantly unobtrusive."
-"What’s the matter with rich furs? Anything that advertises its astronomical price tag is ostentatious. A raccoon coat—no matter how high its quality—does not flaunt its high price."
-"As in painting, architecture, and theater, you need a single focal point."
-"Don’t bypass the dress with nothing on it; it may need a figure inside to come to life."
"While a trim length of leg has universal masculine approval, many boys confess to intense embarrassment on being confronted with intimate apparel."
Photos by Mathea Millman.