Wednesday, February 3, 2010

On Th' Occasion of The Marriage of Miss Katie Price

The lovely Katie Price has tied the knot. Again. The blushing bride was demure and modest in an appropriate and tasteful white gown.

My intention with this blog post was to write a review of one of the books I have been reading for research, and a great favourite of mine, Regency Etiquette: The Mirror of Graces, 1811 . The author of this work, "a Lady of Distinction", has amused the little cotton socks off me with many of the strict rules and regulations of dress which she has laid down for young ladies to follow.

However, simultaneously, I have been surprised and delighted to find that much of her advice would still translate perfectly in the twenty-first century; and I have to confess that the name of Jordan popped into my mind on more than one occasion when reading it! So I couldn't resist making the lovely Ms Katie Price the subject of this post. I would very much like to introduce her to the "Lady of Distinction".

The "Lady of Distinction" counsels strongly against the excessive use of cosmetics:

"...the occasional use of rouge may be tolerated, yet, my fair friends must understand that it is only tolerated... A violently rouged woman is one of the most disgusting objects to the eye... transforms the elegant lady of fashion into a vulgar harridan."

The author also advises against fighting one's own natural colouring, and altering hair colour, eyelashes, etc.

"For instance, a gold-tressed wig on the head of a brown woman, makes both ridiculous," (Yes, I know Katie is currently a brunette of sorts, but you'll have to allow me that one in memory of her past glories!) and

"Let every woman be content to leave her eyes as she found them... Let them speak this unsophisticated language, and beauty will beam from the orb which affectation would have rendered odious."

The "Lady of Distinction" goes on to advise about the importance of taste and elegance in dress.

"Elegant dressing is not found in expense; money without judgement may load, but never can adorn... it ought not to be very surprising, when opulence, vanity and bad taste meet, that we should find extravagance and tawdry profusion the fruits of the union."

The author further advises against over-exposure of the bosom, as well as moulding it into unnatural shapes;

"...the hips squeezed into a circumference little more than the waist; and the bosom shoved up to the chin, making a sort-of fleshy shelf, disgusting to the beholders, and certainly most incommodious to the bearer."

It must also be born in mind that Ms Price is not as young and fresh as once she was.

"Let the youthful female exhibit without shade as much of her bust as shall come within the limits of fashion, without infringing on the borders of immodesty. Let the fair of riper years appear less exposed."

In light of Ms Price's common modes of dress, one cannot help but wonder as to the character of her new husband, for

"No eye but that of a libertine can look upon so wanton a figure with any other sensations than those of disgust and contempt..."

Hmm. I think I might send my copy of The Mirror Of Graces to Ms Price as a wedding present. I've highlighted all the relevant passages, so that she needn't tax herself by reading too much. Plus, as she pointed out in relation to her own "biography", there are several pictures in it that you can look at, even if you don't read much.

Would she get the message then?

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