How to Be the Perfect Woman According to Good Housekeeping in 1964

The August 1964 issue of Good Housekeeping is simply the best period piece to take you back to the modern kitchen of 1964. According to the magazine, the good life is defined by its pages was about expert wifing, mothering, looking good, and cooking. Cigarettes were out, but women never stopped wanting to be Mrs. Veep, Charles Shulz never died, and the skirts hadn’t been cut above the knee yet. Enjoy the pages below, and learn about how marrying the right man makes you look so beautiful that it even erases your scars (physical and psychological.)

Salads are making you fat. 

Enjoying that salad are we? Not so fast. It might not be the kind that helps you be pretty.



Get out of the kitchen… to pass around cold cuts. 

Getting out of the kitchen means you can make yourself useful elsewhere. It will also help you avoid food because you’ll be out of the refrigerator and harm’s way.


Be conspicuous about what you want for your birthday. 

In this snippet, Phoebe offers some pro-tips on how to get what you always wanted out of your husband.

“The Sunday before my birthday I went through the newspapers and cut out an ad. There was a picture of the slip. It was “lavished with lace” and came in sizes 12-18, short, regular or long. It was available in “blushing rose.” I put a red circle around 12 and short, and I sat down beside George who was reading the sports section. I put my head against his shoulder and, not very subtly, held up the ad.

“Now that’s what I call a pretty slip,” I said.

He took the ad and peered at it. “What’s so special about it?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” I murmured. “There’s just something terribly appealing about a pink slip ‘lavished with lace.” When you lift it out of the tissue paper, you feel – you know that when you put it on you’re going to be absolutely irresistible.”

“A man would be an awful fool,” said George, “to put his wife at an advantage like that.” He rattled the paper. “Anyway you’re pretty attractive just as you are. Maybe not ‘absolutely irresistible,” he teased with a grin, “but plenty good enough for me.”

He surprised her with a purple one instead. Phoebe thought it was, “crazy and wild and deliciously wonderful.”


Summer fun is ruining your life. 

Sure, summer’s fun. But it’s wrecking your appearance, so don’t get crazy and enjoy too much pool time. It will make your hair lackluster and brittle. Even at thirty, summer jumpstarts gray hair, and makes your silver strands the dreaded yellow. The sun makes your skin flaky, and it makes your makeup look spotty. Even worse, it gives you new squint lines, and you look older. If the summer is robbing you of your beauty while you laze around on the beach, it’s probably a sign to stop enjoying summer.


Getting married makes you prettier. 

In this swatch of prose by Mary Nutt, you’re treated to an explanation of the big moment for fictional bride Linda Ann Ames. Here’s her path down the wedding aisle narrated:

“A moment of beauty for any woman, and only minutes ago the mirror at home had confirmed that beauty. Happiness had lightened her hazel eyes, brought a new softness to her face, and tilted upward the seirous line of her lips. Even the small scar on her cheek – under the short veil, with the crisp brown curls combed forward scarcely showed. And that other scar, that none but she herself knew? Surely in all this joy, it too must be hidden.”


Quitting smoking is bad for your diet. 

If you’re overeating to compensate for cigarettes, you can talk to a friend, your clergyman, or if absolutely necessary, a shrink. Or just try some of their low-calorie nibblers like one thin slice of angel-food or sponge cake.


Blouses are no laughing matter. 

Good Housekeeping answered all your blouse questions.

1. Stretch garments are not a size free-for-all. You can’t just buy in any size range small, medium or large because it’s stretch.

2. Sheer blouses need to be drip-dried or tumble-dried.

3. Iron facings on the wrong side, then the sleeves, then the collar and trim.

4. Steer clear of tiny buttons, little children don’t know what to do with them.


Fashion don’t: Navigating across a river in something remotely utilitarian. 


Homemakers need stamina.

According to body-positive poet Betty Bird, a homemaker is “someone who starves herself all week to look nice for the weekend dinner party where she stuff herself so everyone will think she has no figure problem.” It’s also someone who probably knows how to make a biscuit without Bisquick. Shortcuts just aren’t good housekeeping.


Related Links:
Weight-Shaming Tips and Other Absurd Advice From This ’60s ‘Charm School’ Handbook

Bustles, Charmers, and Shorteralls: A Visual Ode to Vintage Fashion Catalogs

#TBT: Watch This Groovy ’60s Maidenform Ad

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