Clothes For Various Occasions
( Originally Published 1924 )
"Dresses for breakfasts, and dinners, and balls.
-WM. ALLEN BUTLER.
ALTHO costumes change from year to year, there are, notwithstanding, certain traditional bases or conventions established by long custom on which one can make plans with safety.
The morning costume, whether it be worn at home or on the street, for business or for shopping should be characterized by reserve and simplicity. An overdressed woman is unpleasant to behold. She reminds one of a singer who hasn't proper breath control.
The woman who is in her home a great deal should select simple dresses of washable fabric such as gingham, English print, linen, ratine, Japanese crêpe, crinkled crêpe, percale, or Indian-head.
If she prefers silk, there are many durable wash silks. One of soft taffeta weave, crêpe de Chine, or Canton crêpe, or very heavy Georgette may be worn over a self-colored slip. Wool, wash flannel, or one of the novelty weaves, would be good.
Suits have always been considered correct for morning wear. Tweed, cheviot, and homespun are somewhat masculine in their characteristics, so the same idea should be carried out in the accessories. A shirt with soft attached collar, a four-in-hand tie, the plain felt hat, sturdy leather gloves, and low-heeled oxfords, sport hose, and last but not least, a utility hand-bag. This costume seems to denote a certain type of professional woman not the one who spends her time at her desk, but the physician or social worker.
There are many who prefer morning suits with a less business-like atmosphere. Such a one should -select a modified tailored type, fur-trimmed, or worn with a fur neck-piece. With this should be worn one of the lingerie or costume blouses; a softly draped small hat; a boutonnière, if she fancies it; French kid, or chamois, heavy silk, or fabric gloves; oxfords, Cuban-heeled sandals, or pumps with buckles of nickel, oxidized silver, leather, or wooden batik. Heavy silk hose should match in color the shoes or suit, or they may be of smoke gray or tête de nègre. The handbag should be of tapestry, or soft shiny leather, or suède.
A sudden revelation comes to some women that their erstwhile slim lines are no longer slim, and that the tailored suit does not add attractiveness to their embonpoint. The bisected effect produced by a blouse and skirt of contrasting color, or of even contrasting fabrics, to one whose breadth is expansive, is too painful to dwell upon. To such a person the coat dress is a real acquisition.
The materials for the dress may run the entire gamut of those which have the appearance of endurance, even if things are not what they seem. Wool crêpe is good, and so are kasha and gabardine, with smartly bound pockets, narrow belts, and neat collars. Twilled fabrics are dignified without looking prim; serge and plaids are very popular for they are warm, smart, and practical, and the cut may be one that is so good-looking that Milady can wear it with confidence. The coat dress may be freshened daily with different cuffs and collars, but to be attractive they must be immaculate. A note of distinctive interest may be brought out by a hand-wrought necklace or a good imitation. Pearls, diamonds, and other precious stones do not belong to street apparel.
The hats for morning frocks are akin to those worn with morning suits—small in proportion, head-snuggling, and almost devoid of ornamentation.
Gloves are tailored, and are generally chosen from not too plain but heavy leather, mocha, or suède-like fabrics.
The suit, as well as the coat dress, may some-times be inadequate for warmth, and one needs a coat for protection against the chilling blast. This coat should be all that the word "top-coat" suggests. It should be roomy, jaunty, and service-able. A fur collar adds warmth and distinction, but the plain coat is very attractive, especially if it is one of those delicious Scotch tweeds with their atmosphere of heathered Highlands. The colors in these coats are very suggestive of heather.
The Lady of the Morning limits her choice of accessories to what is utilitarian. She carries neither beaded bag nor jewelry except that which answers a definite need. Her umbrella blends in color with her suit. Her veil, if she wears one, should not be the kind that coquets with wind or person.
A knitted silk-and-wool or a plain wool-cloth scarf may be added for warmth, or as a color note, and look much better than rich and ornate furs.
For winter snows and sleet, galoshes should be worn, not as a fad but as a health measure.
Some general suggestions for morning clothes are: In color—one hue of blending tones is most satisfactory—all browns, all blues, all black, or all grays; these hues should be carried out in dark values. Straight lines and simple designs are best for business and shopping clothes. In street clothes more so than in all others, one's key-note should be smartness. This comes only from the correct selection of little things, such as gloves, veils, shoes, purses, and umbrellas. The fabrics of morning clothes should be characterized by durability, sturdiness and tailored smartness.
At a church service in winter, one sees a great deal of fur in coats and wraps. With the fur coat is worn a little hat of corresponding richness. A three-piece suit (with a dressy costume blouse), fur trimmed or worn with a fur neck-piece, or a dress of silk, wool, or suitable wash fabric, decided upon according to the season, are all conventional. One should always dress for a religious service as inconspicuously as possible. The shoes should be semi-dressy—suède, satin, patent leather, or fine kid. The silk hose should be sheer black, gun metal, tan, or a color to match one's costume. Hats should be somewhat more elegant than those worn for business, but distinctive rather than elaborate. The coat should be of fur or fabric with or without fur, or a silk coat. Gloves should be kid in suède or smooth finish, the color preferably light, rather than white. The mousquetaire, short or long ac-cording to the sleeve, is better than the clasped short glove. A small mesh purse, or a silk or other fabric bag to harmonize with the dress, and simple jewelry should be chosen.