No Nice Girl Swears by Alice-Leone Moats – Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Written in 1933, No Nice Girl Swears was a guide for ladies to learn etiquette for the times. Some of the advice is dated, as times and etiquette have changed over the years, but other sections feel timeless, and could still apply in today’s world.

While this book was tauted as an instruction manual for women for its original release, it is a bit tongue-in-cheek at times. The author was quite witty and I found myself laughing with her as I read. I specifically enjoyed the chapter Lunches and Teas; Or, Scarcely Worth the Trouble. I found this one to be quite funny with comments like:

It seems to be the rule for the guests to arrive late, and after the first course girls begin jumping up and saying good-by to their hostess, as they all seem to have something to do at two o’clock or shortly after.

No Nice Girl Swears

In addition to the wit found within this book, there are some pieces of advice that can still apply today. There are topics like How to Deal with a Date that is Drunk and Twice Shy, a section on remarriage. Both segments had advice that would aptly apply in today’s world as well as the 1930s.

To Read or Not To Read:

I would recommend No Nice Girl Swears to anyone that is interested in reading about past etiquette for ladies or looking for some advice that can still apply today.

Where to Find This Book:

No Nice Girl Swears by Alice-Leone Moats is available at these sites.

Amazon Kindle | Amazon | Goodreads | TBD | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | bookshop.org

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No Nice Girl Swears is the original, trailblazing guide to the “new etiquette,” brimming with timeless advice on style, romance, and grace, and finally back in print 90 years after its original release. Forewords by today’s editor in chief of Town & Country and the editor in chief of Vogue from 1914–1952.

Heralded as the go-to guide for soon-to-be debutantes and ladies who’d recently made their debut, No Nice Girl Swears ushered in a “new etiquette” on its release in 1933, much to the shock—and delight—of the high-society crowd of jazz-age America. Today it is equal parts time capsule (how to dress for dinner on your transatlantic voyage) and timeless missive (how to ditch a date who’s had a few too many).

Worldly-wise socialite Alice-Leone Moats advises on everything from style and dating to travel and party throwing, and weeds through the dos and don’ts of weddings, weekend trips, and the workplace. Her wisdom, though steeped in the charm of her time, endures: treat others—and yourself—with respect, always put your best foot forward, and don’t throw a party without champagne. It’s just good manners.

This keepsake volume includes a new foreword from Stellene Volandes, the editor in chief of Town & Country, the original foreword from Edna Woolman Chase, Vogue’s editor in chief from 1914–1952, and a contextualizing preface. It encourages consideration of what etiquette rules we’d like instilled today, and shows how Moats helped usher in a world where women could speak—and act—freely.

“A book of modern etiquette for the modern debutante and sub deb, with an eye on her mother. Definitely keyed to the city and suburban communities, rather than the small town. Humor and commonsense combined in due proportion in answering such questions as: Shall I ask him in? May I call you up some time? What is the technique of being picked up? What should be done if my escort passes out on me? And so on. In addition, the author gives the latest usage in the matter of debutante parties, chaperonage (you’d be surprised!), engagements, weddings, clothes, week-end parties, and other contingencies. In good taste, and yet distinctly smart. The book itself is another experiment in colored stock—yellow this time—but since the books are to be sealed with cellophane wrappers, the prospective buyer wont know what she is getting until the purchase is made.”
—Kirkus Review

“In spite of such reminiscent titles of ‘Shall She Ask Him In?’ and ‘Never Speak To Strangers Unless They Speak to You,’ these chapters contain serious advice—the pragmatism of it all cloaked in a flippant and humor-flecked style.”
—New York Times

  • No Nice Girl Swears by Alice-Leone Moats
  • Page Count: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Apollo Publishers
  • Pub Date: April 7, 2020

Alice-Leone Moats (1908–1989) was an American journalist and author who was born in Mexico to wealthy and socially prominent American parents.

She attended convent schools in Mexico City, Rome and Paris, as well as the Brearley School in Manhattan and the Fermata School for Girls in Aiken, South Carolina.

Publisher Links:

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I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

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One thought on “No Nice Girl Swears by Alice-Leone Moats – Review

  1. Moats completed high school in Mexico and at the Fermata School in Aiken, S.C. She then got admission into Oxford University. However, her stay at Oxford lasted only three days. about a journey through the Far East. She later became a columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer. A political conservative, and Roman Catholic, she contributed to the National Review in the 19.

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