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Clothing And Colors To Choose And Avoid

( Originally Published 1924 )

"What meaning lies in Color ? From the soberest drab to the high-flaming scarlet, spiritual idiosyncrasies unfold themselves in choice of Color. If the Cut betoken Intellect and Talent, so does the Color betoken Temper and Heart."—CARLYLE.

THE MAGIC in color is most exemplified in the art of dress. The lines and design of a toilette may be graceful and interesting, the workmanship may be beyond criticism, but if the color is not suitable, the costume is a failure. What, therefore, could be a happier privilege than to be able to recognize and appreciate the true beauty of the colors which one wears? This knowledge then applied to the selection of clothes will give to women a love for their garments based upon appreciation of beauty and an understanding of the principles which determine beauty.

As girls are educated to see beauty, they will express it in that most personal medium of beauty —clothes. Mr. Watts, the painter of Sir Gala-had, once said, "Education is at fault unless it leads to the appreciation of new truth, new goodness, new beauty." Did you ever consider how great is the influence of color in our daily life? For recent example, the sadness and gloom of the Great War's aftermath were made more endurable by the counteracting influence of the brilliant colors in clothing which women adopted in the months following the armistice. We will go into this phase of the subject more deeply later on.

The subject of Color may be approached from a number of view-points, scientific, symbolical, emotional—all are of interest. This simple treatise does not attempt to be learned and scientific, but its aim is to be inspirational and helpful in a practical manner. Each one of us, to a greater or less degree, has color sense and appreciation. But what is needed is an analysis and an application of the principles of colors.


The best teacher of color appreciation is observation. Often a woman on whom we are compelled to gaze will present most emphatically a view of the choice one must not make, and thus stimulate judgment more quickly than the woman who, by her good taste in costuming, is so perfect that she is accepted as a matter of course. In observing, one should study the whole costume as a color composition, disregarding design just as one disregards form in the spectacle of mobile color produced by the color organ. The important points to consider are

What is the relation of the color plan to the face and figure of the wearer?

Are good qualities brought out and poor ones counterbalanced?

How could errors have been avoided?

How could the effect, even as it is, be improved by the removal of some detail in the trimming, a change of color in the hat, or an addition of a color note?

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