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All dressed up: our illustrators don't go back to the fig leaf, but still they cover the clothing question quite well. (The American Illustrators Hall Of Fame).

Call it finery, frippery, gaudery, flashery, bib and tucker, Sunday-go-to-meeting, glad rags, or what you will. We are going to put it all into the simple single word of "clothes."

And when one is so arrayed, we call it not only dressed up, but spruced up, dressed to the nines, dressed fit to kill, in fine feathers, and even (for men only) in tails.

"Any man may be in good spirits and good temper when he's well dressed," according to Charles Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit. "There an't much credit in that."

An ancient saying of my youth went more like this: "All dressed up and no place to go." But it required Isaac Watts, in Against Pride in Clothes, to put the thought in memorable order:

"Let me be dressed fine as I will/Flies, worms, and flowers, exceed me still."

Then along came illustrators in days of yore who gave Post covers credibility not only as treasured keepsakes but memorable works of art as well. We have done our best to select samples to prove our point. And, we hope, to provide a laugh or two as a bonus.

The lady is shopping in terms of tropical breezes and suntan lotions. Her innocent model has a sweater in mind to cope with the upcoming winds of winter and a possible frostbite. The gleam in the salesman's eye represents a possible sale at both ends. Perhaps artist George Hughes should have draped those wallpaper-patterned shorts over a set of bony shanks and knobby knees.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

For his painting of the poor guy pressed into duty as a dress model, illustrator Constantin Alajalov made preliminary sketches in a New York department store. Then he went home and began painting dress goods patterns. It seems the Russian-born artist, when new to this country, had developed a process for painting on cloth, shortly finding himself the surprised boss of 15 fellow artists.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This painting by Constantin Alajalov is of his sister all dressed up with no place to go. Unless it's to her bedroom for the rest of the day, with nothing but crackers and milk for dinner that night. (A commonplace punishment in days of yore, as these were also the days when wedding dresses were worn only once. Still, you never knew.)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Read all about it! Read all about it! A fat chance, when one's scrawny shoulders have been draped with a dress and the man who owns them has been warned to stand straight, shoulders back, while his buxom mate comes as close as she can to adjust for the difference in poundage.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Surprise, surprise! Or could it be shock? Whatever, illustrator Alajalov asked a world-famous hat designer to dream up a unique Easter bonnet "with all the frills upon it." But his first attempt found him getting carried away. The second shot at it brought this reply from the Post art editor: "Too becoming!" This irked the artist to the point where he submitted his original effort--which you are now gazing upon.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Ho-hum. Another morning of Mom seeing her carefully dressed sons trudging off to school, leaving her with the shambles of their tidiness. If artist George Hughes has painted into his picture the hope she has of her boys developing into spic-and-span hubbies, we fail to see it. And poor Mom can continue only to dream.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

All set for the big evening to-do. All she has left to do is adjust an earring that won't stay put. He has somehow managed a shirt and tie. But where does he go from there? Chances are, to his dear wife for help in finishing his dressing.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Lights! ... Camera! ... Action! However, this may not be the case for this scene from Hello, Dolly! If the director doesn't direct a quick "Hold it, Dolly," the action will be that of a director and a cameraman going backwards off their perch and shooting nothing but bright blue sky overhead.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This painting of a bobby-soxer with her first evening gown was accomplished by Rockwell in a studio he had rented for the winter in Southern California. If you have also attempted to escape winter by the same strategy, you know how much sun he got. In fact, he was said to have toted his paintings into the men's washroom, where the visibility was such that he could make out how he was doing.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Everything formal from black tie right down to the shoes--and in this case, that is where formality has ended. Artist George Hughes, perhaps having been caught himself in such a predicament the night of the big graduation shindig, tries to portray the thought that if no one steps on the kid's toes, the shoes remain 'formal" throughout the bash.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The men who can master a bow tie are few. But even a six-year-old of the opposite gender appears to have little trouble doing so. A swish and a swosh, and that cantankerous rag comes out neat and debonair--according to the famed Post artist George Hughes, anyway.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Of course the scarecrow requires a posy for the final touch. Otherwise the crows might not ignore the farmer's corn, but eat it while sitting on the scarecrow's shoulders. And that's a real no-no in scarecrowdom.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
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Article Details
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Author:Stoddard, Maynard Good
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:893
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