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A One Colour Scheme Tends to Economy - Items of Dress in their Order of Importance - A Green and Grey Combination - The Use of Two Coats to a Skirt - Trimmings that May be Made
Transferable - The Wearing of the Right Clothes
To be well dressed is not entirely a matter of wearing good clothes every day and each day. Nor does it mean an elaborate or expensive wardrobe, furnished with many articles of wearing apparel.
The secret lies in something much more subtle, much more difficult to attain, for it is those who have "clothes judgment" who are the successful dressers. They know how to secure a becoming style without undue expense, and variety by means of accessories, rather than by the larger and more solid portions of the toilette, which cannot be had in great variety without a large expenditure.
Something more is required than a full purse and a clever maid. It is the way in which clothes are worn that is even more important than the garments themselves; the accessories of the dress rather than the dress itself.
It is in these accessories of dress that the woman who wishes to economise may show her intelligence. With care and good taste she may present a far better appearance than many a woman who spends double the amount on her clothes.
A straw hat with a removable velvet trimming, suitable for morning or country wear
One of the best economies is to have all necessities of good quality. The possession of good boots and shoes, and well-cut, well-fitting gloves, gives an assurance which even a nicely-brushed, though much-worn, skirt is powerless to disturb.
Items of dress in their order of importance for the purposes of good dressing may be placed thus:
Boots and shoes. Gloves.
Hat and coiffure. Dress or coat and skirt costume. It is better to have a smart hat, neat neckwear, and belt, with a blouse that has seen some service, than to have a smart new-blouse with a last year's hat and untidy shoes.
No greater economy can be effected than by selecting one or two colours for the season's array of clothes, and keeping to them, even though bargain counters beckon with alluring trifles of other hue, and accessories of undoubted novelty, in the wrong tint, tempt almost beyond all human power of resistance.
Suppose green and grey have been chosen for the colour-scheme on account of a lovely grey corded silk sunshade, which was a birthday present. A whole grey dress, with its ninon tunic will be the very best choice; but there is no reason why the tunic should not be worn sometimes over the soft satin slip of lily-of-the-valley green, whose tiny evening bodice, sewn with steel beads, has one of the attractive grey and steel girdles with heavy tassels.
The same hat, by means of a pretty flora! mount, is transformed into one suitable for afternoon wear
The very best hat may be of grey, with drooping plumes; but should the day be risky for precious feathers, the wide green chip with hawthorn wreath is weatherproof, and will harmonise with the dress just as well. Grey stockings and shoes will be right for indoor wear for either the day or evening dress. If a soft grey chiffon swathe belt be added for wearing with a white lingerie dress for garden-party or cricket-match days, the grey shoes, sunshade, and hat are still the best possible for the occasion.
Green linen for summer mornings - for tennis, backwater punting, or sculling - can do no wrong, though white, butcher-blue, or rose may be used here, as the occasions for neutral-tinted accessories for dressy wear would hardly overlap into morning dress.
The economical plan may be carried out in sporting clothes also; the Harris tweed skirt, with a fleck of powder-blue and brown in it may have brown suede belt and veil; or the powder-blue golf coat of wool or silk would go with a good all-blue tweed skirt or the old short brown one.
This conservative policy with regard to colour is invaluable in such garments, which, having little fashion in them, presumably wear longer than those used more frequently. No one detects it if we wear last year's golfing clothes, if well cut to begin with; and the accessories - belt, tie, veil, and gloves - can be always fresh.
It is a good plan which makes for economy to have a cloth skirt with two coats, a short one for dressy occasions with jabot and flower-wreathed hat, and a long, plainly made coat for chilly days and rougher occasions. If the material of the skirt is not sufficiently utilitarian in weave for the long overcoat it is possible to match it in colour in blanketing, the all to match appearance being maintained; and all items such as hat, belt, and shirt can be used with either.
The transferable floral wreath or feather mount is known to many from whom the exigencies of funds require care; again. space in luggage sometimes makes an expedient of this kind a real boon. We have known a wide Tuscan straw of fine weave to do useful service, simply garnished with Wedgwood-blue velvet, with strings tied cottagewise beneath a piquant chin, and worn on a sunny afternoon up the river; and again to appear with no velvet at all, but a mauve, shading to cardinal and purple, wreath of cactus dahlias, fastened with half a dozen dexterous stitches.
Such a transferable trimming must be made up firmly, and put on all in a piece, when it can be untacked in a moment and repacked in its tissue-paper folds in a separate carton.
A straw toque of more neutral tint may have half a dozen feather, flower, or ribbon rosettes, with safety pins firmly stitched at the back, which can be used alternately on the same headpiece, according to the costume with which it is to be worn.
It is wise to remove quills or feather mounts when strong wind is to be encountered, for they suffer terribly from the elements. A knot of ribbon should be ready to replace the more perishable adornment for the time being.
When a hat or toque first comes home fresh and smart from the milliner it is wise to decide where the hatpins are to be inserted, in order to obtain the desired poise, and, once having made this important decision, to keep to it.
A useful straw toque, which by means of a change of trimming can be adapted to a variety of costumes
Such policy prolongs the freshness of the hat and its trimmings indefinitely, especially if some small band of ribbon or velvet is used for sticking the pins into.
By the addition of some good plumes the simple toque becomes one that is sufficiently elaborate to accompany a smart costume
This section of the trimming can be renewed when it has unsightly pinmarks in it; and the plan of using the same hole?, if possible, minimises the destruction of the shape by the constant stabbing in different places, and prevents ugly pinmarks being widely spread over a surface impossible to repair.
Even the hatpins may now be altered at the wearer's will to suit the particular trimming of the moment, for they are to be had with movable tops in which small pieces of silk, lace, net, or other material can be inserted in turn.
The Right Clothes for Varying Occasions
One of the best ways of effecting economy in dress is to have a sufficiency of clothes to prevent the necessity of wearing things on unsuitable occasions. For instance, if you have a short, stout skirt suitable for country wear, there is no danger of having to walk out in muddy lanes, when staying with friends out of town, in the good cloth skirt of town walking length.
Always have two or more evening dresses in use, so that the diaphanous best one need not stand the strain of theatre or quiet evening wear.
Never sit for long or lounge in a well-cut new cloth skirt. The knee breadth will bag at the knee almost as seriously as a man's trousers. Make, or buy, a pretty rest gown to lounge in : this is not an extravagance, but an economy. No woman can afford to do without a rest gown, be she young or old, to save her street clothes. A Frenchwoman never thinks of trotting about her house in the dress she wears out of doors, she understands her modistic affairs far too well - house dress and walking dress are two separate things in her mind.
Autumn and winter sales are useful to the woman who wishes to economise in dress; that is, if she is able to keep her head sufficiently to select not only what will be useful to her, but to reject everything that she does not really need. No soiled chiffons should be indulged in, but a good length of artistic coloured velveteen or cashmere de soie, with odd bits of embroidery which will go with it, even though a little barbaric in colouring. Paper-patterns of the best cut are to be had cheaply nowadays, and there is nothing to dismay the moderately endowed home worker in the making of a simple rest gown. .
A smart toque can be easily contrived by the help of a transferable floral mount