Attending "The World of Tomorrow" meant a great deal of planning for the fashion conscious, especially where comfort was concerned.

What – No Rubes?

A terribly concerned Yonkers fairgoer wrote the editors of the New York Sun that standardized schools, accessible transportation and modern electrical devices obviously "eliminated from the national scene those who we once called rubes, hicks, hayseeds." Having visited Flushing Meadows a half dozen times, this worried New Yorker could barely distinguish the out-of-town guests from the local gentry.

The onlooker observed present day fairgoers would never consider dressing as their parents did for Chicago's 1893 Columbian Exposition. Instead the writer bemoaned: "Dress, of course, has changed mightily in the last few years; formalities have fallen before an onslaught of garments designed for comfort."

This national commonality also frustrated the fair's employees whose popular outdoor sport entailed distinguishing native New Yorkers from visitors to the city. The fair gamesters drew the obvious conclusion that style became style simultaneously throughout the country.

However, Floyd Snelson observed: "Clothes, they claim, don't make the man, but in New York, they surely make the woman." Therefore, advice on what to wear to "The World of Tomorrow" filled the world of today's newspapers, especially for women.

Leading stylists suggested a wide range of outfits for the ultra-fashion conscious: a lightweight two-piece woolen tweed suit, a white or colored shirtwaist, or a navy and white silk ensemble. For evening dining at the fair's most fashionable Terrace Club, a black chiffon dress accessorized with a silver fox, white ermine or chunky soft mink jacket was deemed appropriate.

Helen Keyes, however, provided more practical advice for the common fairgoer. The columnist insisted a woman's outfit should fit comfortably, be appropriate for the temperature and resistant to the city's freakish weather. Furthermore, women should "hold their own against the brilliance of the buildings."

Popular columnists suggested fairgoers choose a loose blouse and swing-time skirt in cool, fresh and wrinkle-free silk, cottons, or linen dresses and skirts. Or, they heralded the classic shirtwaist as the ideal "uniform. However, Floyd Snelson advised women to wait until arriving in New York to purchase their ensembles, as the city's stores provided the lowest prices.

Emily Post entered the fray on behalf of the men. Asked if a man should wear a white suit to the fair, the etiquette maven declared a distinct "no" as it would not remain white for long. Instead, she suggested fawn or brick red slacks, a highly colored polo shirt and a thin skeleton coat.

An informal survey of the female fair patron's attire concluded the following. Fresh, clean, cool white accessories remained a necessity (91% of the gloves worn, 42% of the hats, 38% of the shoes and 34% of the handbags). Blue dresses with sleeves above the elbow, for summer comfort, dominated above all others. And more women chose medium beige hosiery than any other shade.

However, not everyone was pleased with many fairgoer's fashion choices. Alice Hughes lamented a third of the skirts "barely kiss the knees." In fact, the informal fashion survey found 78% were 15 - 17 inches from the ground and a shocking 10% were 18 - 19 inches above, the shortest "and most comfortable" since 1927.