This section is from the book "Ideals In Art: Papers Theoretical Practical Critical", by Walter Crane . Also available from Amazon: Ideals in Art: Papers Theoretical, Practical, Critical.
Regarding dress as a department of design, like design, we may consciously bring to bear upon it the results of artistic experience and knowledge of form.
Now, a study of the human figure teaches one to respect it. It does not induce a wish to ignore its lines in clothing it, to contradict its proportions, or to misrepresent its character.
It seems curious, then, that the courses of study from the antique and the life usual at our art schools do not have a greater effect upon taste and choice in costume than they appear to have.
We must remember, however, the many crossing influences that come in, the many motives and hidden causes that bear, in the complexity of modern existence, upon the question, and the stronger social motive powers which determine the forms of modern dress.
Fundamentally, we may say dress is more or less a question of climate.
Pure utility would be satisfied if the warmth is fairly distributed, and the action of the body and limbs is free. The child with a loose tunic, leaving arms and legs bare and free, still represents primitive and classic man; and he also often satisfies the artist.
But the child is free to grow, to get as much joy out of life as it can. It does not feel under the necessity of pleasing Mrs. Grundy, except perhaps when mud-pies are "off."
Primitive, again, and picturesque is the dressof the labourer, ploughman, fisherman, navvy; though purely adapted to use and service. Concessions to aestheticism, if any, only come in by way of a coloured neckerchief, the broidery of a smock frock, or the pattern of knitted jersey.