10 crazy suggestions for women from the earliest advice columns in old magazines

By: Start TV Staff    Posted: February 7, 2023, 11:30AM

Image: SeventeenVintage Everyday

Magazines have been a staple of American culture for decades. Fashion, parenting, beauty and lifestyle magazines were beloved reading material, especially for women, since their inception in the early 1900s. The medium really took off in the midcentury, however, as women began writing in to columnists for advice. This advice proved to be useful to women of all ages, all over the country.

It was the start of a cultural phenomenon, but as times change, it's so easy for these magazines to become outdated.

This is especially true of industries like fashion and beauty, which are constantly evolving. Here are some of the funniest examples of outdated or just downright silly counsel offered by old magazines at the very beginnings of earnest folks writing into advice columns.


Shut up and dance

"Careless women never appeal to gentlemen. Don't talk while dancing, for when a man dances he wants to dance."

- Parade Magazine, 1938

Image: iStock


Flatter your date

“Don’t talk about clothes or try to describe your new gown to a man. Please and flatter your date by talking about the things he wants to talk about.”

- Click Magazine, 1938

Image: Click Magazine / Pinterest


Cake is fine, but maybe not German chocolate

“Do not give your baby tea, coffee, beer, or wine of any kind, fried foods, pickles, pie, lollipops, candy of any kind, nuts, pancakes, berries, ice cream cones, rich cakes, puddings or meat gravies.”

- Best Wishes Magazine, 1965

Image: iStock


Stay away from those musicians and poets!

“Similarly, girls who will be happy in marriage enjoy teaching children and have a fondness for old people. They are not strong admirers of musicians and poets though they may like good music or poetry.”

- Modern Bride, 1952

Image: Modern BrideWorthpoint


Glue your ears to your head

“Ears that stick out can be made to lie close to the head. Get a kit that contains a harmless liquid adhesive and follow the instrictions for flattening the ear.”

- Montgomery Ward’s Charm School Handbook, 1965

Image: iStock


Be a good counterfeiter

“To remain eligible, a woman must have youth or successfully counterfeit youth.”

- Cosmopolitan, 1964

Image: Cosmopolitan / La Calda Vita


You don't want to be invisible

“The way you stand and walk shows who you think you are. People who droop and just sort of drift around look like nonentities.”

- Seventeen Book of Fashion and Beauty, 1967

Image: iStock


Just feel your way around

“Are you nearsighted? If so, your glasses’ lenses are making your eyes look smaller.”

- Seventeen Book of Fashion and Beauty, 1967

Image: Seventeen / Goodreads


When in doubt, go all blue

“Try to coordinate the colors on your face with your outfit so that you present a total picture.”

- 20 Stunning Make-Up Ideas, 1982

Image: iStock


Ask a ghost how your outfit looks

"It sorta keeps you in touch with the outer world — all you do is touch it and a mysterious message is spelled out. GO ON — TRY IT! Ouija can also keep you in touch with the spiritful world of fab fashion!"

- Teen Magazine, 1968

Image: Teen Magazine / xoJane