Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
In the 1930s, when dealing with women, the Post had trouble looking beyond lace-trimmed frippery. Back then, being voted onto the Best-Dressed List was celebrated with the sort of front-page enthusiasm now reserved for, say, winning Olympic gold. The Best-Dressed List continues to be published, but now it's regarded with a mere shrug and a sigh. An excerpt from The Post of Dec. 21, 1934:
New York, Dec. 20 (AP) --
The critical eye of American fashion designers surveyed the style scene today and selected the country's best dressed women, heading the list with Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt. ...
Mrs. Roosevelt was selected as the best dressed American woman in public life. Here are the others:
Kay Francis, best dressed film actress.
Mrs. Robert H. McAdoo, smartest dressed society matron.
Mrs. William Woodward, most fashionable dowager.
Elsa Maxwell, most tastefully clad party hostess.
Ina Claire, best dressed actress on the stage.
Mrs. John Hay Whitney, best attired sportswoman.
Gladys Swarthout, best dressed singer.
Amelia Earhart, smartest dresser in aviation.
Georgia O'Keeffe, most fashionably dressed painter.
Fannie Hurst, best dressed writer.
Betty Morris, of Park avenue, most chic debutante.
And the baby? John Drayton Cochran, blue-eyed scion of Mr. and Mrs. Drayton Cochran of New York.
The best dressed baby lives simply as befits any 2-month-old infant. He affects woolly and pink sweaters and soft white muslin, sometimes with a wisp of lace. His grandmother is Princess Hohenlome Schillingfurst, widow of Gifford Cochran, millionaire turfman.
Mrs. Roosevelt dresses with admirable taste for her manifold activities. Her clothes are conservative, but of excellent materials. ...
Amelia Earhart has flawless sports clothes, and designs them herself. So has Mrs. John Hay Whitney, the great horsewoman.
The best dressed "deb," the blue-eyed daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gouveneur Morris, has light brown hair, chic but fairly simple clothes, and a frank, open face.
This series is in a book that can be purchased online at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/2000/collectors.htm or by calling 1-888-819-8879