Travelling with Sally like it’s 1959

Taste for Travel’s agony aunt Sally Slaughter answers queries on travel etiquette and modern manners in her column Ask Sally. Inquiries:

Darlings! I’ve found the most marvellous book issuing the best travel advice since whenever. Well, actually it was published in 1959. You know that modern crap about packing your suitcase the day before, then repacking and taking half the stuff out? Ignore. The Art of the Well Dressed Wife advises you to take at least 20 pairs of shoes! Come travelling with Sally like it’s 1959.

The book was written by Anne Fogarty, an American fashion designer in her prime during that decade. It has been reprinted by the Albert and Victoria Museum, London. Here are some of her travel tips:

What to wear: Most official travel wardrobes ask you to get along with three pairs of shoes. I personally would rather stay home than travel with three pairs. Last year, for a 10-day rest at Boca Raton, I brought 18 dresses and 20 pairs of shoes. Dresses includes everything with a skirt from the little cabana dress I wore on the bus to the beach club, to a lavish evening gown for dancing at night. Shoes included beachwear, pastel pumps and evening satins. I do not believe that the ratio of shoes to dresses was the least bit uneven.

Overweight luggage: If you are flying to your vacation, overweight luggage may be intimidating you into taking a wardrobe like a prison matron’s. If you’re willing to pay for the extra poundage, you can take as much as you like. The added cost should be regarded as a legitimate travel expense. Magical places lose their magic if you know you’re not dressed as you might be because of the weight limit.

What to wear on the plane: It’s perfectly all right to change into a long tailored robe of the kind you might wear before unexpected callers at home – just so long as it is designed to stay closed while you curl up sleeping.

Things to leave at home: Big hats, unless you are going to Ascot. Umbrellas, unless it’s a small foldable one. Household supplies, some people still think you need to take toilet paper, soap and heaven-knows-what to Europe. You’ll find everything you need in most hotels or procurable for you by a willing bellboy.

Dress etiquette: Garden parties and afternoon teas outside the United States generally mean “wear a dress”. Inquire about local customs abroad, as it is inconsiderate to ignore them. I made the mistake by arriving for an informal lunch in the country dressed in beautiful slacks and shirt, only to discover everyone in quite formal luncheon clothes – a forgotten tradition in America. In Paris a black tie is demanded at Maxim’s on a Friday night. In London the famed Cafe de Paris will shunt you to the balcony if you’re not in evening wear.

Motoring holidays: Should the family car go with my wardrobe? In fantasy I see myself with a different car for every ensemble. I think it’s more important for the car to blend in with the natural habitat. It should look well in the drive silhouetted against the color of your house.

What to wear when travel plans are tiring you and you are upset: Find comfort in pet accessories or frivolities such as a soft fur bag or a favorite scarf or false eyelashes.

Happy holidays, and don’t forget to write!


©Taste for Travel 2011 All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “Travelling with Sally like it’s 1959

  1. Thanks to a dodgy software developer, Taste for Travel recently lost over 2000 Facebook likes and other social media sharing, so I will be giving some posts a second life. Sally’s column was consistently very popular with readers, so enjoy!


  2. i am not on Facebook. am i the only person in the world who is not? any how, i liked your advice about 20 pairs of shoes although my husband wouldn’t


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