June Dally-Watkins says women should avoid wearing shorts or short skirts. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
June Dally-Watkins says women should avoid wearing shorts or short skirts. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

Etiquette queen: Ladies, these clothes make you look cheap

ETIQUETTE queen June Dally-Watkins wants modern women to ditch shorts, lengthen their hemlines and fix their posture in order to regain some elegance.

The 92-year-old former top model and founder of Australia's first deportment school told The Courier-Mail she disapproved of the way some women dressed, saying wearing shorts, or skirts shorter than an inch above the knee, made them "look cheap".

"I just don't like the way a lot of young girls now - and not only young girls - are wearing very short dresses," Ms Dally-Watkins said. "To go out wearing shorts is wrong. Shorts are meant for the beach.

"I like to see dresses that are about one inch above the knee and that's where it should be.

"I belong to this generation too and I don't want to see ladies or girls who are wearing shorts or short skirts because they look cheap. They think they look fashionable, but they look cheap and I think that to be a lady is very, very important, whatever your age. Be a lady, be elegant."

 

Romana McKnight, 17, and Jessica Rose, 17, pose at South Bank, Brisbane on Thursday, October 3, 2019. June Daly-Watkins claims women should not wear shorts. Picture: AAP Image/Claudia Baxter
Romana McKnight, 17, and Jessica Rose, 17, pose at South Bank, Brisbane on Thursday, October 3, 2019. June Daly-Watkins claims women should not wear shorts. Picture: AAP Image/Claudia Baxter

 

Ms Dally-Watkins established JDW, Australia's first deportment school, in Sydney and Brisbane in 1950 after being named Model of the Year in 1949. Two years later she opened the country's first modelling agency.

Naming the Duchess of Cambridge, Australian actor Nicole Kidman and her friend Audrey Hepburn among those who women should idolise, Ms Dally-Watkins said she was "appalled" by modern models, who she said have bad posture, show no character and "look like a bunch of zombies".

"I believe in being the best you can be in every way and that's what we teach our students, because you know you only live once, and it's very important to live it well and to live it happily, and to make other people happy and smile a lot, have good posture so you can stand tall and straight for your whole life," she said.

"I notice a lot of models now they just walk. They don't parade … and they don't show any expression or character whatsoever, and I'm appalled at the models of today.

"They don't have good posture; they don't care about their posture. They just walk with their shoulders drooped forward and they don't turn beautifully, they just turn around. They look like a bunch of zombies."

 

Sarah-Lee Kairau poses at South Bank. Picture: AAP Image/Claudia Baxter
Sarah-Lee Kairau poses at South Bank. Picture: AAP Image/Claudia Baxter

 

"I want our teachers to keep on teaching our models to be the best they can be and have the Dally stance and the Dally style ... to smile at everyone and to be warm and friendly, to speak well and to have good manners."

With JDW Brisbane, taken over by Chic Group in 2017, now run by her former student Jodie Bache-McLean, Dally-Watkins still attends every graduation, and was in Brisbane this week to attend the latest occasion on Wednesday.

"Some of them (the graduates) were there because their mother graduated and one her grandmother graduated from our JDW school. It's an absolute joy," she said.

"Everywhere, wherever I go now, I'm stopped by ladies and gentlemen who will say, 'Hello Miss Dally, I did your course 20 years ago, remember me?' They are everywhere so I have to always be on my best behaviour."

She was also celebrated at a high tea soiree at the Keri Craig emporium at Brisbane Arcade yesterday, which was attended by some of her former students and past and present names of the modelling and fashion world.

More recently, Ms Dally-Watkins, who is based in Sydney, has been teaching etiquette and modelling in China, returning in November.

"I like to be busy and I don't want to retire. I think that would be boring," she said.