Sunday, 2 October 2011

In Milady's Boudoir

As I acknowledge in History of Men's Fashion (not a title that I ever wanted), the sub-title What The Well Dressed Man Is Wearing derives from P G Wodehouse's Right-ho! Jeeves, in which Bertie Wooster is prevailed upon by his Aunt Dahlia to write an article for her failing magazine Milady's Boudoir. What I did not know until today is that this is a humorous jibe at the magazine The Lady which, in fact, had declined a Wodehouse story.

The fact that I chose this as a sub-title might have been a clue to the fact that the book was written in a spirit of fun but, instead, legion 'i-gents' (i.e. those concerned with exchanging views over the internet on the minutiae of men's dress and early twentieth century etiquette [that word makes me shudder]), have been at pains to criticize the substance as though it were not written tongue firmly in cheek. This is not to say that I did not strive for reasonable accuracy and a promised second edition will iron out the creases (so to speak) but I sometimes wonder what happened to the British sense of humour.

Today's picture is of the current proprietress of The Lady, Mrs Julia Budworth. The magazine has been in family ownership since it was founded by Thomas Gibson-Bowles in the late nineteenth century (along with the original Vanity Fair magazine). Apparently, Boris Johnson's sister Rachel has been taken onboard to introduce "hip in place of hip-replacement" in a revamping of this magazine ("Butler wanted"), so often found in dentists' and doctors' waiting rooms.

'Debo' Mitford is JB's cousin and appears on the copy of the magazine that she is holding.


  1. Gasp! And I wonder what happened to the good old British "s' in criticize?

    Have you embraced the Z now that you have abandoned us?
    S has flounced off in a huff.

    Funnily enough I leafed through The Lady today, oh it's still awfully stodgy and mothbally, the writing is better and I like Rachel Johnson but it still needs a right good airing to rid it of the Stana stair lift connotations.

  2. Oh and people who lack the ability to write a book, will always possess the ability to make a snarky criticism, and do so love to exercise it. Ignore them.

  3. B&P - Err - the full OED gives precedence to 'z' and lists the 's' spelling as an alternative form! Never mind, as everyone tries to convince me otherwise. If anything, becoming an ex-pat makes us into caricatures, rather after the fashion of 'Spy' cartoons! You're certainly right about critics: especially thwarted authors!!

  4. - Oddly enough, Webster's Dictionary gives 'criticise' as an English 'variant' (ahem!) of 'criticize'.