Adjustment and Shape of the Collar - How High Shoulders may be Apparently Reduced in Height-altering the Slope of the Waist-line - The Correct Hang of a Skirt -Hints as to Choice of Millinery and Hairdressing - Becoming Colours
It is not intended to deal with the prevailing fashions in this article, but the hints here given deal with some of the minor details of dress that will never be out of date, and which make a great difference to a woman's appearance.
Why is it that some women, dressed in the plainest, simplest clothes, look well, while others never look nice, although they spend twice the amount? The reason, probably, is to be found in some such detail as that the first has her waist-line and skirt-edge slightly higher at the back than in the front. There are many other touches of this sort which can be noticed.
For instance, the adjustment of the collar is very important, and can make or mar a costume. The woman with a round face and the hint of a double chin should be very careful as to the height and tightness of her collar; if it is either too high or too tight, it will cause her face to look rounder and fatter than it actually is. On the other hand, it must not be low enough to look slovenly, and, though fitting comfortably, almost loosely, round the neck, it must be very carefully boned and stiffened, so that it stands up as unwrinkled as though it fitted tightly. If, however, a high collar is preferred, it should be hollowed out in front. (See Fig. I.) worn, it should be hollowed
Fig. 1. If a high collar is out in front
It is, perhaps, the best shape of all for the chubby woman, though, even so, it must not fit too tightly.
The fashion of wearing frilling at the top of the collar is a boon to both round and thin-faced women, for in the first case it hides the slight thickness below the chin, and in the second case it gives the look of fluffi-ness and fulness that a thin neck needs. It is so becoming, in fact, that it is never completely given up by women who pay attention to details.
From the neck we come to the shoulders - again a very important point in the whole scheme of dress. Some shoulders are broad, some narrow, some straight, some sloping, and the position in which a sleeve is inserted will tend to accentuate or diminish these characteristics.
If the shoulders are broad and straight, do not have anything that either projects or rises up at the shoulder-line - the last-mentioned, in particular, gives a curious, short-necked appearance. ' (See Fig. 2.) Sleeves should be put in well over the shoulder-joint, and with the fulness kept as flat and plain as possible. (See Fig. 3.)
Narrow, sloping shoulders, on the other hand, should have the sleeves inserted right on the very edge of the shoulder-joint, to give as much breadth as possible, and the sleeves themselves should either be full (see Fig. 4) or, when the fashions forbid fulness at the shoulder, should be inserted under a pleat which projects just beyond the shoulder-line. (See Fig. 5.)
The well-developed woman, on the contrary, should carry the tucks or pleats below the bust-line, as this has a diminishing effect.
A tremendous difference is made to the smartness of a woman's appearance by raising the waist-line slightly at the back, and the woman whose waist is inclined to be large should always wear a shaped, narrow belt, well pulled down in the front. (See Fig. 6.) Compare the effect with that shown in Fig. 7.
Slight figures look their best in pleated skirts, or in those that have some fulness at the back. A woman whose hips are inclined to be stout should be careful to have the front panel of her skirt made narrow. Pleats are not for her, and she should have her skirts stitched or trimmed with the lines running lengthways - never across.
The edge of a smart walking skirt should' be an almost imperceptible trifle higher at the back than at the front; this looks even better than a perfectly level length, and also allows for the inevitable drop which comes with wear. Of course, a droop at the back of a walking-length skirt will quite spoil the appearance of an otherwise well-cut garment.
There are several important points to mention with regard to shoes. Low-heeled shoes never look well with a smart gown; there is nothing injurious about moderately high heels for house-wear, and they give a smart touch which few women can afford to dispense with. Shoes or straps should never be at all tight if the feet are fat.
The same rule applies to gloves, which should fit comfortably over a plump hand. A woman with large hands should avoid light, shiny gloves. If she must wear light coloured gloves, those of suede look smaller than shiny kid ones.
The first word of advice to everyone is: Study your side-face. Some few women are blessed with regular features and profiles that any mode will suit, but for the majority the decision as to style is by no means so simple. When choosing a hat or deciding on a style for dressing the hair, it is most important to remember that the full face is not the only point of view to be considered - the profile must be taken into account.
Fig. 4. For narrow, sloping shoulders, the sleeve should be inserted on the very edge of the shoulder-joint to give an appearance of breadth
Fig. 5. If fashion forbids fulness at the shoulder, the sleeves should be inserted under a pleat that projects beyond the shoulder-line
It has been said that only a face with very regular features should have the hair parted in the middle, but this dictum must not be taken too literally. It is, of course, entirely a matter for individual taste, but often a centre parting gives a very regular face almost too severe an expression, while a face that is not well-marked, or very even, seems to gain regularity by having the hair parted in the middle and softly puffed out at the sides.
Unless the face itself is small, a round-faced person should never wear a tiny pillbox cap, though toques and small hats usually suit such a face. A very small person has rather the appearance of a mushroom when wearing a huge hat. A short-necked woman should never wear a hat with a wide brim that comes down at the back; the effect is as though the hat rested on the shoulders.
And now a word about the choice of colours. Some people say that only such colours should be worn as can be found repeated in the natural colouring of the wearer. This rule, however, would be a difficult one to adhere to by women with sallow complexions, mousecolouned hair, and light brown eyes. What would they do if they were to be limited to such colourings!
Blue in one of its many shades the safest colour; it suits blonde and brunette alike, and is especially the sallow woman's great comfort and stand by - though it should be avoided by those of a too florid complexion. It has always been called the fair girl's colour, and so it is, but a brunette, with not too much colour in her cheeks, also looks her best in the soft shades of blue. Mauve and green are other colours that can be worn equally well by brunette or blonde, but never must they be worn if the face is pale or sallow.
Black is a very difficult colour to wear successfully; it suits fair, auburn, or red-haired folk very well, also those with good complexions, but it should never be worn unrelieved right up to the face.
If all black must be worn for mourning, a little white frilling or stock-collar should be tacked in at the neck. A brunette, especially, should be careful that she is not made to look colourless and dowdy when wearing black.
Fig. 6. The graceful and becoming effect produced by raising the waist-line at the back and bringing it down in front
Fig. 7. The wider and less attractive appearance of a waist-belt that is worn in the usual way
Brown is always considered a brunette colour, but great care is needed in the choice of the shade, as so often a brown dress or hat makes dark brown hair look dull and dead. Speaking generally, brown suits a blonde better than a brunette, and is the colour of all others for the auburn-haired, as it makes the hair look brighter than itself, showing up all the red lights of the tresses. If a brunette does wear brown, she should choose a terra-cotta shade; all shades of terracotta, shrimp pink, and pale orange being particularly becoming to dark people.
Two further colours which, while considered the property of the brunette, suit the blonde equally well are red - especially bright red - and pink, but they must be avoided like poison by the girl with a trace of ruddiness in her locks.
One of the most lovely colours for a dark-haired, dark-eyed girl is "bull-finch" - a kind of mauve-pink. ,
White may be safely worn by all but the very stout woman.
If a woman, who hitherto has given but small heed to the details of her dress, will act on some of the hints here given she will find the slight extra trouble well repaid.