Clothing And Fashion
( Originally Published 1924 )
If every woman dared to express her taste, her principles, her soul in her raiment, how full of charm society would be. Fashion would appear as her willing handmaiden, yet never supersede the woman herself.
Fashion may be Good Style which is any style that satisfies the eye and does not offend good taste. A Fashion may start out with every earmark of good breeding; but gradually it seems to absorb, here and there, a trace of vulgarity, until by the time that its popularity has defeated its prestige it is but a cheap caricature of its original self.
Artists of both high and low degree are interpreting the dress of women of all ages into a comprehensive language for the living woman's expression. This language may exist and never be accepted until it is voiced by some woman who, by inherited social position or charm, has established herself as an authority. When Madame wears a coat which some brilliant Scheherezade festivity has inspired a famous couturière to create, then it becomes established as a mode, and the style is passed downward through the various strata of social life until it has become "so common" that only oblivion awaits it.
Aristocracy in style is like the description given of Edward the Seventh—"He never thought of himself as a gentleman and no one ever thought of him as anything else."