Lion-woman; Canary-woman: Which Kind Are You? 1913

Anne Dancrey, Lion Woman

Anne Dancrey, Lion Woman

Six Kinds of Woman

Which Kind are You?

By Mlle. Anne Dancrey

Every woman resembles a certain animal and should dress according to that particular type of animal which she resembles. Be not offended, dear madame, or charming mademoiselle, who reads this. Most animals are beautiful, and with beauty which is quite their own. That, permit me to inform you, is a most important point—a beauty quite their own.

They do not try to dress as other animals do. Fancy the rabbit trying to drape himself in a tiger skin. Yet women do quite as absurd things. I have seen tiger women trying to make rabbits of themselves and peacock women trying to masquerade as doves. It is the height of absurdity and the depth of vulgarity. Your women who are over thirty dress charmingly, but up to that time their taste is in most cases atrocious. The young girls try to make themselves look like women of thirty or more, but what is worse, they try to change their type. The dainty little canary-like girl tries to look as though a cat had swallowed her. Wicked waste of beauty! Confession of utter lack of sense or fitness!…

There is the lion woman, long, lithe, calm slumberous. Such women have calm, dark eyes, giving the impression of intense quiet and immense reserve strength. They are never catty, but are fascinating because inscrutable.

Very unlike her, her antipodes in appearance and character, is the tiger woman. She is always of brilliant, showy type. Her eyes are brilliant. Her coloring is striking. The French or Italian blonde, the dark-eyed, fair-haired, fair-complexioned woman, at whom every one looks as she passes, is a tiger woman.

Unlike both, though vaguely suggesting them, as a miniature may suggest a life-sized painting, is the cat woman. She is of the plump, hearthside sort. She has a gentle manner and has naturally luxurious tastes. She seeks the soft places of life as a cat seeks a cushion. She finds light and sunshine as a cat finds the warm place by the fire. While often lacking energy, she has a great deal of womanly charm.

You have all seen the peacock woman. She is always tall and usually slender, though she may be of the ample figure. Generally she is slender enough to be elegant. If not, she tries to starve herself into thinness, of the peacock woman is inevitably vain. She is vainer than the cat woman, for the cat woman is so fond of the good things of the table that sooner or later she permits herself to grow fat. The peacock woman’s keynote is magnificent.

The fifth variety is the dove woman. Watch any group of pigeons and you will recall some woman you know, round, trim, brisk of movement, capable. She is as plump as the cat woman, but more energetic and of trimmer appearance.

Attractive by reason of her tininess and daintiness is the canary woman. Very small, of exquisite neatness and canary-like swiftness, she is the most petable of women, except the cat kind. Her walk is like a hop. Her eyes are small and bright and roving. She nearly always has straight hair that she wears smoothly upon her sleek, little head. She has wee feet and hands. She is alert and tireless, though of small frame and fragile.

Each of these women has a keynote of character and appearance. The lion woman’s is quiet strength. The tiger woman’s a brilliancy and wealth of color. The cat woman’s is slow grace of movement and softness of outlines. The peacock woman is nothing if not magnificent. The dove woman is characterized by a quiet manner and soft tones in dress. The canary girl’s dominant notes are daintiness and quickness…

I, Anne Dancrey, receive more hints on dress from the zoo than from shops. A lion’s cage suggests more to me about my season’s wardrobe than does any shop window in the Rue de la Paix. I am a lion woman….knowing myself to be a lion woman, I always wear one-tone gowns. The combinations that are now the mode are not for me, especially not during the day. For me there exists but three colors by day—black, white and blue. No matter what the season I appear only in one of these on the street or at home by day. By night I permit myself slight shadings of the same color. My model, the lion, seems to be of one color. Scrutinized closely it may be seen that his dark body shades to lighter tones. Therefore, I permit  myself for evening wear “changeable” gowns, the colors sometimes called “clouded,” or “shaded,” as moiré, silk or cloth.

The Lion Woman

The Lion Woman

The lion is usually of a tawny (yellowish brown) color, the same from mane to claws, save when the light shines straight upon him, when we see the rich yet delicate shadings of his coat. Stripes or plaids or anything of garish effect would take the lion woman out of her type. She should wear few jewels, and if she wears plumes or flowers on her hat, they should be of soft, dull tones. The lion woman’s dress note is elegance.

The Tiger Woman

The Tiger Woman

The tiger woman, of whom Mary Garden is an example, should dress as the tiger does—showily, in brilliant colors, securing bizarre effects—Stripes, plaids, checks and combinations of contrasting colors (as black and white, brown and gold, red and blue, gray and yellow) she can wear with striking and becoming effect. The three-tone French gown (as the mauve, blue and green dress, the violent, gold and white, or black, copper and green) are as though designed for her. The tiger woman can wear big, flaring hats, slippers with diamond or rhinestone buckles, according to her purse, and shawls and wraps with huge patterns. She is of the Oriental type, and Oriental effects in gowns, wraps and hats are most becoming to her.

The Cat Woman

The Cat Woman

The cat woman looks best in soft materials, as crepe de chines and velvets, and she is never wrong when she selects the cat colors (green, gray, yellow and black) and their combinations. The green should appear in jewels (as matrices, cat’s eyes agates) and, if she is so fortunate as to afford them, emeralds. Her gowns should be gray or of any other of the cat colors. Feathers and furry wraps seem especially her own, as is cloth with a long nap—as velvet or zibeline. Being a cat woman she should accentuate her type and thus furs, velvets and all materials with a soft finish will do.

The Peacock Woman

The Peacock Woman

The peacock woman’s wardrobe should be quite the opposite of that of the lion woman. Opening the closet doors in the lion woman’s apartment you see dull, soft-hued gowns of dark colors. The peacock woman’s closets reveal a very riot and splendour of color. She wears bright colors and masses of them. She should choose hard, brilliant colors, as purples and bright blues, and hard, brilliant fabrics, as shining silks and high lustre satins. Laces, if she wears them, must be of large, bold design, and if heavily embossed or appliqued, the better. She may wear a scarlet velvet wrap to the opera or a cherry-colored cashmere to a dance hall on the East Side, according to her circumstances. But she need have no fear of garish colors. They were made for her.

The Dove Woman

The Dove Woman

The dove woman, of whom you have more, I understand, in Philadelphia than any other city in this country, instinctively wears one-tone garments. A gray gown of one shade, we will say, a gray hat with a wing or plume, two shades darker or richer gray, and boots and stockings of the darker shade, form an ideal garb for this type. The gown of one tone causes her to look taller and slenderer, which is her ambition. Because she is plump, her clothes should lie in close lines along her figure. Her hats should be neither large nor small, but of a size to be symmetrical with her figure.

The Canary Woman

The Canary Woman

The canary woman may with impunity wear any color she fancies. She can wear bright yellows and blues, reds and pink, because she is tiny. No color is denied her except black, which dwarfs her and causes her to look insignificant. She may wear tiny, coquettish turbans, short skirts that disclose her dainty feet, and zouave or Eton jackets. She may load herself with jewels or none at all, according to her tastes and purse. She has more latitude in dress than any of the other types. But she should avoid sombre colors and heavy wrappings, which eclipse her.

For all these types one rule of dressing holds. Follow the lines of your figure and make your figure look as tall and slender as you can.

The Times Dispatch [Richmond, VA] 9 November 1913: p. 56

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: While there is much in what Mlle. Dancrey says, Mrs Daffodil feels that the actress’s animal-woman categories do not go far enough. Where is the vixen? the otter? the gazelle? the horse-faced woman so beloved of the British male?  Mrs Daffodil read this piece aloud in the servant’s hall at tea. There was much mirth (and many animal noises) as the furs and feathers were parceled out to the feminine members of the staff. Cook was declared a “Tiger-Woman,” by the pert housemaids, who fancy themselves “petable.”  Mrs Daffodil exempted herself from the competition. She thinks of herself as more the “Adder” type.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes.

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