Written by Gladys Beattie Crozier
Illustrated from designs by Mr. Percy Anderson
There is no more delightful form of entertainment than a fancy-dress ball, and the fancy-dress carnivals held at the various skating-rinks throughout the Kingdom during the early months of the year have given a fresh impetus to the innate love of "dressing-up" which most people secretly cherish.
The reason for this is not far to seek. A fancy-dress ball is undoubtedly the plain woman's opportunity, for, as a rule, everyone looks his or her best in fancy dress. One must be dull indeed if, with all ages and nations from which to choose, one cannot manage to devise an attractive and becoming garb which will enhance one's good points and hide one's defects.
Suitability Should Determine Choice
It is this plethora of choice, however, which makes the final selection of a character to portray such a hard matter to determine. The first thing to be done is to consider the height, colouring, and general physique of the would-be masquerader, for it is by portraying a character to whom one bears some natural resemblance, or that one is specially fitted by nature to assume, that success "on the night" is assured.
The splendidly-proportioned, breezy, outdoor girl, whose leisure time is divided between hunting and the hockey field, will do well to masquerade with a touch of the masculine in her attire, and will look well as Rosalind, Joan of Arc, Diana, or Viola from "Twelfth Night." If she is tall and stately, the roles of Juno, Ceres, or Cleopatra would become her well.
The small, vivacious damsel will make a splendid Pierrette, Vivandiere, Becky Sharp, or Christmas Cracker; while such characters as those of Elaine, Francesca da Rimini, or Fair Rosamund, should be portrayed by the slender, fragile, delicately feminine type of maiden, who will manage her clinging draperies to perfection. A Wattsau or Dresden China Shepherdess, or a Marie Antoinette, call for another type again, one possessed of the small features and delicate colouring which look so well with patches and powdered hair.
The Cachet of Originality
In compliment to one's hostess, one should endeavour to portray an entirely fresh character at each fancy-dress bill, particularly if given in the country, tor the result is disappointing if half the guests arrive wearing gowns in which everyone there has already met them befoi-.
Expense is an important consideration with many people, and - unless the fete in question be a "calico ball." at which sateen does duty for satin, and art muslin takes the place of chiffon, ninon, or silk gauze, and where half the fun lies in the s
Dress clever dodges and contrivances by which gorgeous effects have been obtained at little cost - it is better to choose some simple yet charming frock, and to carry it out consistently, rather than attempt to portray a famous royal personage, or proud mediaeval dame of high degree, clad in mock ermine and cheap silk and cotton-backed velvet and satin.
Comic, bizarre, and outre dresses are to be avoided, unless under very exceptional circumstances. Clad as an "Egyptian Mummy" one cannot dance, and a feminine "Golliwog" has few chances of partners. An exceedingly pretty and popular girl once spent the dullest of evenings at a fancy ball, carrying a banner and attired in shirt, collar and tie, and short skirt, with spectacles, paint-wrinkled brow, and hard straw hat, as a "Militant Suffragette."
The Puritan Girl's Dress, which was specially designed for Every Woman's Encyclopaedia by Mr. Percy Anderson, has been modified to meet the exigencies of fancy dress, and is a much more becoming affair than an exact replica of the historic garb worn by the maiden of that day. Ball-goers will certainly prefer to copy the dainty wear of the graceful young damsel here portrayed.
The Puritan Girl. A charming conception, specially designed for Every Woman's Encyclopaedia" by Mr. Percy Anderson. Simple though it appears, every detail of the dress is important
The apron is made of soft-falling white muslin, gauged several times across the front below the band, to make it set prettily, and tied with long muslin strings, which encircle the waist and are tied in a double bow in front, ending in long, hanging ends. The white collar and cuffs are cut from stiffly starched, semi - transparent muslin - double book-muslin might answer the purpose - and the cap is contrived from the same material made up on wires. The flat muslin bow across the top of the cap, and the muslin strings tied in a wee bow underneath the chin, are highly becoming, and must on no account be omitted.
Snuff-coloured brown suede shoes and stockings - plain, not. openwork - are worn, and the Puritan girl's hair must be arranged with a parting down the middle exactly like the picture, or the charmingly demure effect will be entirely spoiled.
The underskirt is fashioned of close-clinging crepe de Chine in deep apricot colour. Over this two or three layers of silk gauze in paler apricot and golden shades are posed, one over the other, and looped up at the waist. The hem of the outer layer of gauze is adorned with a conventional weath of tiny green leaves, and a similar wreath outlines the V-shaped bodice.
The overdress is scattered over with entwined bunches of green leaves and coloured flowers. These bunches of flowers become bolder in form towards the hem of the dress, where they are rendered partly in silk embroidery and partly in applique flowers fashioned of chiffon, gauze, and the thinnest silk. The skirts must be cleverly gored to give the swirl effect to the hem.