>While looking at a 1950s Vogue magazine I happened across advertising for schools and training for proper young ladies… colleges, retail training, fashion designing, and… “charm school.”
I went to Charm School. As a girl I fluctuated between wanting to be a rough and tumble tomboy and wanting to be a Victorian lady. In playing make-believe I never wanted to be the queen or princess- unless she was captured or ran away or did something thrilling. I remember thinking the other folks had much more fun than nobility- but I did like having manners and being proper… until there were adventures to be had, people to be rescued, and plots to uncover.
At roughly 12, or possibly younger, my mom enrolled me in “Charm School”, much to my dismay. It was at fancy department store and while she went off shopping for an hour or so a week I was taught etiquette, how to walk, how to speak, how to set tables, and how to talk to strangers.
I was terribly shy as a child. So shy I could barely look people in the eye. Perhaps my mom thought it would bring me out of my shyness. But what stuck with me most of my time in the charm school was how nasty the other little girls were. They wanted to be the best, the most graceful, the most admired, and the best dressed. Etiquette may have been applicable to grown ups and boys, but younger girls did not at all apply to the rules of when to use your charms and graces!
What I did enjoy out of the whole exercise was putting on a fashion show at the end of our class as a “graduation presentation” of sorts. I walked the catwalk in an outfit chosen for me to a song by Madonna. I was skinny for my age so the outfit hung on me like a paper sack, but it was great fun to put on a show! If I had confidence in myself first I just went out there being who I wanted to be and had a great amount of fun doing it!
I look back at it now and am highly amused at the whole ordeal. It seems in some ways things I went through as a child were the end of an era… Charm School, Home Economics in Junior High- those things seem awfully silly to a new generation of young women. Maybe they are! But it is kind of fun (and laughable at times) to know I went though them.
Maybe if I had Maggie Prescott as a teacher I’d end up more like Jo in Funny Face. I’ve LOVED that movie since I was small. I identify a lot with Jo! And all the clothes… Yum!
Did any of you go through Charm School? Do you remember anything at all from it?
Hope you’re all having a wonderful Thursday!