Tuesday, July 29, 2008

5 Tips for Better Posture

Opinions on what exactly defines good posture have changed through the years. But everyone agrees that it is important; tantamount to beauty and grace. Click to enlarge this helpful chart from 1965, which will help you to set your own posture goals, and then sway like a willow, swagger like a drunk, and for God's sake, stand up straight!

5 Tips for Better Posture (through the ages):

1. The woman of larger proportions may safely affect the majestic gait and air; but how absurd it would be for a tall and slender figure to stiffen her joints, throw back her head, and march off with a military air? The character of these light forms corresponds with their resemblances in the vegetable world. The poplar, the willow, and the graceful lily, bend their gentle heads at each passing breeze, and their flexible and tender arms toss in the wind with motions of grace and beauty. Such is the woman of delicate proportions.
--Madame Lola Montez, The Arts and Secrets of Beauty (1853)

2. Nothing is more unfeminine than the straight line of the shoulder. Some mothers make their young folks walk the floor with a pail of water in each hand, to give their shoulders a graceful droop. A substitute may be worn in one's room while at work, in the shape of an outside brace of triple gray linen, having two extra straps buckling around the tip of each shoulder, one long end reaching the belt, with a wedge-shaped lead or iron weight hooked on it. This is a heroic practice but effectual; and its pains are amply compensated by lines of figure which are the surest exponents of high breeding.
--Mrs. Susan C.D. Powers, The Ugly-Girl Papers (1874)

3. Exercise #9 (for posture)
Stand with feet well apart, whole body relaxed, arms hanging loosely. Now shake the body, only gently, using the least possible muscular exertion, until conscious of a feeling of general muscular relaxation and restfulness. This exercise may be varied by walking about, allowing the whole body to sway and sag, as if deeply intoxicated.
--Sarah C. Turner, The Attainment of Womanly Beauty (1900)

4. No garment has done more to destroy the American woman's figure than the combination corset and brassiere one. No one wearing such a garment can attain the correct standing position because of the downward pull of the suspended garters; nor will the wearer ever attain correct posture. The wearer has no shape, no waistline, flabby, protruding hips, forward shoulders, and will find after wearing the garment for a while that abdominal muscles have sagged thus resulting into constipation and other disorders. Throw this garment away immediately and purchase a step-in girdle.
--Lilyan Malmstead, What Everyone Wants to Know (1928)

5. Get all cleaned up. Get healthy. Get your spine straight. Then sit down and write your own book.
--Elizabeth Hawes, Good Grooming (1942)