This section is from the book "Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction", by Laura I. Baldt. Also available from Amazon: Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Construction.
It is the custom of many, and should be with all, to make a budget or plan for spending the income, so that a portion may be saved for education, travel, recreation, investment, etc. A certain percentage of the whole is set aside for shelter, food, clothing, and other necessary expenses; the percentage allowed for each varies according to the income, and the tastes and desires of those who plan the spending. In planning a family budget, the amount allowed for clothing is usually 12 to 16 per cent of the total; the percentage slightly increases as the income grows. Ellen Richards proposed an ideal family budget which allows 15 per cent for clothing, 25 per cent for food, 20 for rent, 15 for running expenses, and 25 per cent for the higher interests of life; and 15 per cent for family clothing is a good working rule for a family. When an individual or family budget has been made, and the allowance for clothing set aside, the "spender" should then apportion this allowance so as to provide for the purchase of all necessary garments. The times and methods of purchase must depend upon the "spender's" way of handling the allowance. This problem is worthy of thoughtful consideration, and it is to be hoped that every reader of this book, who may not have had an allowance to spend upon clothing, will seek to have such an arrangement made. The experience of planning a clothing budget will prove valuable in many ways; it enables one to learn not only how to spend well, but also how to dress well. There is no reason that the girl or woman of moderate or limited means should not be as attractively clothed as her affluent sister, if her garments be well-chosen. If one needs to count the cost of each garment, more thought is apt to be put upon the selection of clothing than when one simply yields to every fitful whim of desire.
A certain percentage of wearing apparel must be purchased ready-to-wear; hosiery, knitted underwear, corsets, shoes, slippers, overshoes, sweater, topcoats and suits (usually), raincoat, umbrella, hats, gloves, handkerchiefs and handbag. Consideration must first be given to the number of each article needed, the approximate cost of each; and then distribution of the allowance be made, to meet the payment for these, and also allow for the purchase of other garments, both under and outer, either ready-to-wear, or the materials for their construction, and the accessories, without which the wardrobe would be incomplete. A list of each group is given below:
Middy blouse, cotton, linen or silk shirt, lingerie blouse, cotton and woolen skirts, cotton wash dress, lingerie dress, wool dress for school or street, silk dress for informal occasions, party or evening gown of cotton or silk.