Clothing For The Medium Sized Woman
( Originally Published 1924 )
One who wishes to shun mediocrity should not accept with unconcern the fact that she is a "perfect thirty-six, thirty-eight, or forty," but should know that congratulations are not due her until she has given attention to line which will make her distinctive. Self-satisfaction may lead to drabness and an uninteresting expression in clothes.
Truth lies in a well—and also in a full-length mirror. Barter your spring prospects for bonnets, if you must, but possess that which will help you to get a broader vision. You must "see big things big, and little things little." Does the hat seem to be walking off with the lady? There is something wrong with your design. It is top-heavy. The hat should be smaller. Does your roundness seem uncannily rounder? Perhaps the huge curve of the sleeve snuggling the huge curve of the hip is the guilty culprit. Does the torso seem to have been elastic and drawn out by some mischievous power ? The waist-line has wandered too far down in its path and needs to be converted and directed on an upward course. Do people make a gesture of disgust when they see your back turned to them? Even if you don't look but run away, you'll have to see another day the mistakes behind you—hair, sash lines which make the figure look deformed. One must be a picture all around, not just a false-front, to succeed in perfecting one's design.
If one accepts her silhouette as the basis of her design, she must study the blessings and maledictions from all angles. Decoration should follow structural lines of the figure and give emphasis where it is required. It should have, or at least appear to have, some function—a row of buttons may add to length of line, but they should have button-holes to give them an excuse for existing other than just to create an illusion. Nothing that is obvious appeals as does the subtle thing which produces effect without parading the intent. No decoration should begin or end at the place of an articulation of bones, as the wrist, the elbow. Lines of decoration or design always move upward toward the left shoulder, to leave the right arm free, as in Greek drapery.
Clothing should be designed to bring out the good points of the wearer so that she is seen first and remembered longest.