Title: NO NICE GIRL SWEARS: Notes on High Society, Social Graces, and Keeping Your Wits from a Jazz-Age Debutante
Author: Alice-Leone Moats foreword by Stellene Volandes
Pub. Date: April 7, 2020
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Goodreads, AmazonKindle, B&N, Kobo, TBD, Bookshop.org


Book Overview

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.

Book Review

This book had a delightful combination of the author’s innate wit and the unintentional hilarity of very dated etiquette. Alice-Leone Moats has written what on the surface appears to be a serious and instructive guide on how one should behave in polite society but in reality, it is a cutting and witty look at the stupidity and ridiculousness of the standards and expectations applied in years past.

I think it’s important to remember the time this was written and to see how far we’ve come from the more rigid societal rules to one that is extremely relaxed in comparison. I would love to see a more up-to-date version of this a book to include our modern-day lifestyle but with the ability to have manners and show respect to one another. Something I constantly find lacking in society as a whole.

This time capsule of a book is interesting and surprisingly funny with greats pops of sarcasm throughout. As a ‘nice girl’ who swears constantly, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.


Giveaway Details

One lucky winner will receive a $10 Amazon Giftcard, (International)


About the Author

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.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Praise for No Nice Girl Swears

“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


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