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Secrets of Mid-Century Charm: Get Real With Yourself

You have already discovered two important assets which you have to your credit–your femininity and your intelligence.

The next step consists of thoroughly analyzing your other beauty blessings–and studying the points about yourself which you may consider liabilities.  Sit down with a pad and pencil and write them out so that you can begin to put them into proper perspective.  Include both your appearance and your personality for they are of equal importance in your charm. ~John Robert Powers, Secrets of Poise, Personality, and Model Beauty, 1961.

Today we are going to “get real with ourselves” so that we can objectively analyze our good features and those that need attention to help us achieve the famous mid-century charm.  So, as Mr. Powers instructs us to do, get out a pad and a pencil and stand in front of a full-length mirror.  Warning: Avoid the tendency to just jot down all of your flaws.  We’re getting real and that includes acknowledging the good attributes, too!

Here are some prompts to help you get started.  Feel free to add more than what is here:

Physical Aspects: How well do you really know your own figure?

  • Underweight, overweight, or just right?
  • Weight distribution–Well proportioned or top or bottom heavy?  “Beer belly?”
  • Toned or needs to be toned?

Body Alignment: What is your posture like?

(You may need to look at photos or videos of yourself to accurately assess your body alignment)

  • Erect?
  • Slumped?
  • Swayback?
  • Round shoulders?
  • Wing-backed shoulders?

Face: What haven’t you noticed before?

  • Shape?
  • Complexion?
  • Features?
  • Lips smooth or chapped?
  • Teeth healthy and white or in need of dental care?

Hair: Is it your crowning glory?

  • Style?
  • Color?
  • Healthy?

Wardrobe: What image are you trying to project?

  • Becoming and tasteful?
  • Fallen into a rut?
  • Fit?
  • Age appropriate?

Grooming Habits: Mr. Powers says, “Fastidious grooming is a definite beauty asset.”

  • Manicured/pedicured nails (either by you or a salon)?
  • Smooth elbows, knees, and heels?
  • Frequency of personal routines such as bathing, shaving and hair care?
  • Clean, neat, and pressed clothes with everything intact (mended, if needed)?

Voice: Is it music to others’ ears?

  • Pleasant in tone or shrill and rasping or sing-song-y
  • Is your diction good or do people frequently ask you to repeat yourself?

Poise: Do you have a real interest in other people?

  • Are you at ease with others or are you shy and feel strange?
  • Are your contributions to discussions interesting?
  • Are you punctual or habitually late?

Talents: Both big and small!

  • Do you play a musical instrument or sing?
  • Do you have dramatic abilities?
  • Do you dance well, paint, write, sketch, or sculpt?
  • What about your sports abilities?
  • Can you play bridge, sew, arrange flowers?
  • Are  you good with children, animals, and older adults?
  • Are you a good cook and creative in the kitchen?
  • Do you have a garden that others envy?

Mr. Powers concludes his self-assessment lesson by saying,

A list like this will give you a clear-cut, inside-outside picture of yourself.  Chances are you will discover a lot of features about yourself that you hadn’t realized existed.  And you have dug up some weaknesses that you had forgotten were there, too.  That’s fine, for once you admit to them, it is an easy matter to weed them out.

In our next charm school lesson, we will learn what to do with this list!

Was there anything that surprised you?  What are your best physical and personality features?

To your fabulous Technicolor charm!

Dr. Julie-Ann

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  1. I love the Cashmere Bouquet add!! I used to use it in high school. I loved how it came in different colors and it smelled so good. Whenever I used it people used to me I smelled nice (thank goodness! 😉 ). They used to sell it at a local grocery chain up until around 2000. Now the only place I can find it is in the Vermont Country Store catalog.

  2. What a marvelously interesting post, thank you very much for putting this piece together. Enough importance is no longer placed on posture. I wonder when that element of our personal upkeep fell to the wayside?

    Thank you very much for your lovely comment on my post about Stella’s birthday, I sincerely appreciate it (as does Stella :D).

    Wishing an utterly marvelous September, sweet gal!

  3. So what are you supposed to do if you have a grating voice? Because some people have HORRID voices.
    The rest of it kind of makes sense.

  4. Lisa~I’m glad you liked the ad. My only recollection of Cashmere Bouquet were the tiny bars of soap in places like the Holiday Inn when it was still moderately priced.

    Jessica! Thanks for stopping by!

    Lindsey~ Truthfully, I don’t know the answer to your question, yet. I’m hoping Mr. Powers will help us out later in the book (it’s in the other room and I’m feeling way to comfortable to get up and check it out). Because of breathing/speech problems in my childhood, I am soft spoken and breathy. For the last few years of his life, my grandfather couldn’t hear me at all, even if I was shouting. So, I’ve been a bit self-conscious of my voice even though I have stood in front of thousands of people throughout my teaching career.

  5. Pingback: 1950s Charm School: Stop Thinking, Talking, Weeping and Wailing About Your Weight « Modern Retro Woman

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