Dior’s The Little Dictionary of Fashion | What Stayed the Same and What Changed

The Little Dictionary of Fashion was originally published in 1954 and written by none other than the fashion legend, Christian Dior. This handbook was written to educate every woman on the three elements of fashion: simplicity, grooming, and good taste.

Dior covers every angle of the fashion industry. He discusses colors, cuts, fabrics, patterns and more in this short dictionary.

It was really interesting to look through the dictionary and see what things have changed and what have stayed the same.

A few things that have changed.

Corduroy. Yep, corduroy. Dior opens his section on this dated fabric (?) like this, “Corduroy has been, and still is, always in fashion because of the great quantity of shades and the great convenience of it – it is extremely practical.”

I think we can all agree that corduroy is no longer considered to be in fashion and most certainly not a fashion staple.

Dressing gowns. Coming across this entry reminded me that this was written in 1954 and, to be honest, made me grin. I don’t know anyone who wears a dressing gown every morning as Dior suggests. Maybe we should bring this back? It could be fun to have a flowy chiffon “dressing gown” to sip coffee in.

Hats. Many women still wear hats, but not in the way Dior explains. Dior says, “I think in town, you cannot really be dressed without a hat. It is really the completion of your outfit and in another way, it is very often the best way to show your personality.”

I have a few go-to bad hair day beanies and hats, but I have zero hats to complete an outfit, and I don’t really see many ladies rocking intricate hats on the daily.

Gloves. Dior feels as strongly about gloves as he does hats: “In town you cannot be dressed without gloves any more than you can be dressed without a hat.” I forget to wear gloves when it’s snowing; I’m certainly not wearing them regularly. Amirite?

A few things that have stayed the same.

Color. Specifically, black and red. Black and red were popular colors in 1954 and that holds true today. Dior described black as the most elegant of colors – and the most flattering.  He described red as the perfect accent color, which is flattering for all skin tones. It’s safe to say that these colors are still very much used in fashion.

Leopard. Dior said that leopard was “good for very dressy coats and as nice for the evening and daytime.” Now, we don’t have quite as many limitations on leopard today as he does, but it is a fairly common print used today.

Lace. This one surprised me a little. I would have thought that lace was seen as a more risqué fabric in ’54, but Dior describes it as elegant and tasteful, if used sparingly. That notion is still true today.  A lace cocktail dress or small lace detailing is a glamorous addition to any garment.

From corduroy + dressing gowns to leopard + lace, Dior covers it all in The Little Dictionary of Fashion. What are some current fashion trends you want to stay? Go?