No Nice Girl Swears: Notes on High Society, Social Graces, and Keeping Your Wits from a Jazz-Age Debutante

Alice-Leone Moats (Author) Stellene Volandes (Foreword by)


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.

Product Details

Price: $18.99  $17.47
Publisher: Apollo Publishers
Published Date: March 17, 2020
Pages: 184
Dimensions: 5.3 X 0.7 X 6.6 inches | 0.5 pounds
Language: English
Type: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781948062428
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Born in Mexico in 1908 as the only child of wealthy and prominent American parents, Alice-Leone Moats was educated at Manhattan's Brearley School and the Fermata School for Girls in Aiken, South Carolina, and was admitted to Oxford University, where she spent three days. As a young woman, Moats, fluent in five languages, danced in debutante balls and mingled with high society.

Moats was commissioned to author No Nice Girl Swears in 1933, which met great acclaim and marked the beginning of her illustrious writing career. She later published prolifically as a foreign correspondent for Collier's magazine in Japan, China, and the former Soviet Union, and was a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Over her lifetime, Moats authored nine books. She died in Philadelphia in 1989 at the age of eighty-one.


"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