The Extra Woman review: a book to toast with a well-mixed cocktail

Marjorie Hillis: the Vogue editor led a generation of women to live alone and like it, according to Joanna Scutts Book Title: In the late summer of 1936, visitors to department stores all over America were greeted by glamorous displays celebrating the work of a woman called Marjorie Hillis. The displays showcased negligees, cosmetics, tea gowns, cocktail shakers – every little luxury an elegant woman could desire. But Hillis wasn’t a designer or the head of a cosmetics empire. She was an editor at Vogue magazine, and the displays were celebrating her new book, an amusing little volume which became one of 1936’s most talked-about bestsellers. The book was called Live Alone and Like It: A Guide for the Extra Woman , and in it Hillis, then aged 46 and unmarried, offered women who lived alone (either by necessity or desire) advice and encouragement on how to create and enjoy the life they wanted – and how to do it in style. Society had always viewed single women as a problem, an embarrassment or a joke. But as Joanna Scutts points out in this fascinating and hugely entertaining book, by 1936, things were changing. The Depression had thrown previous […]

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