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« 1920s Etiquette - Bad Form in Dress | Main | 1920s Etiquette - What a Gentleman Never Does »

1920s Etiquette - Who Carries Her Cloak?

This third entry in the Art Deco Etiquette series, gives a wonderful summary of what was expected of men when in the company of the new women of the 1920s. It, like the others, is from the "Conduct and Common Sense" column in Vogue and the Washington Post, by Anne Singleton. This article comes from December 9th, 1926.

I confess to a dislike to seeing men burdened with too much domestic-looking hamper. I have always objected to the too domesticated man. I don't mean that a man should be a sheik, a caveman, or a red Indian, stalking along ahead of his laden squaw, but I do like him to be smart and swaggery and I don't think he looks so when overdraped with feminine fripperies.

Of course, this doesn't apply to a man who picks up and carries the cloak a woman has dropped or is just going to put on; it is rather directed against the woman who assumes a man is likely to regard it as a favor to be loaded indefinitely with her belongings. I should expect a man to offer to carry a heavy coat for me, but if he already had one of his own, I should certainly prefer to carry mine. I should expect him to offer to carry any heavy package, but I don't like seeing men hung over with packages and I'd rather keep my fair share.

I suppose this, like everything else, is a matter of the custom of the times. Before they began to lead the active lives they do today, women's clothes were much more elaborate and also more hampering. Men, then, could be imagined squiring their bustled and beflounced lady-loves in a thousand ways that are unnecessary in this age of freedom of movement and equality of spirit. To follow a flowing skirt with an armful of wraps was not as incongruous as it would be today to follow untrammeled legs with the same sort of wrap-bearing. Anything a woman expects a man to do in this way, he should do, of course, why not? But the "spoilt beauty" attitude in women has so gone out that very few require much of this kind of service.