What Dress Makes of Us
Produced by Stan Goodman, Dave Morgan and the Online Distributed
WHAT DRESS MAKES OF US
I am indebted to the editors of the New York _Sun_ and
New York _Journal_ for kindly allowing me to include in
this book articles which I contributed to their
Did you ever observe, dear comrade, what an element of caricature lurks
in clothes? A short, round coat on a stout man seems to exaggerate his
proportions to such a ridiculous degree that the profile of his manly
form suggests "the robust bulge of an old jug."
A bonnet decorated with loops of ribbon and sprays of grass, or flowers
that fall aslant, may give a laughably tipsy air to the long face of a
saintly matron of pious and conservative habits.
A peaked hat and tight-fitting, long-skirted coat may so magnify the
meagre physical endowments of a tall, slender girl that she attains the
lank and longish look of a bottle of hock.
Oh! the mocking diablery in strings, wisps of untidy hair, queer
trimmings, and limp hats. Alas! that they should have such impish power
to detract from the dignity of woman and render man absurd.
Because of his comical attire, an eminent Oxford divine, whose life and
works commanded reverence, was once mistaken for an ancient New England
spinster in emancipated garments. His smoothly shaven face, framed in
crinkly, gray locks, was surmounted by a soft, little, round hat, from
the up-turned brim of which dangled a broken string. His long frock-coat
reached to just above his loosely fitting gaiters.
The fluttering string, whose only reason for being at all was to keep
the queer head-gear from sailing away on the wind, gave a touch of the
ludicrous to the boyish hat which, in its turn, lent more drollery than
dignity to the sanctified face of the old theologian. Who has not seen
just such, or a similar sight, and laughed? Who has not, with the
generosity common to us all, concluded these were the mistakes and
self-delusions of neighbors, relatives, and friends, in which we had no
I understand how it is with you. I am one of you. Before I studied our
common errors I smiled at my neighbor's lack of taste, reconstructed my
friends, and cast contemptuous criticism upon my enemies. One day I took
a look at myself, and realized that "I, too, am laughable on unsuspected
The humbling knowledge of seeing myself objectively, gave me courage to
speak to the heart of you certain home truths which concern us all, in
homely language which we can all understand.
That you may discern the comicality and waggery in ill-chosen clothes, I
have endeavored to hint to you in these talks some of the ways gew-gaws
and garments make game of us.
May you discover that your dress is not making you a laughable object;
but if, by any chance, you should note that your clothes are
caricaturing you, take heart. Enjoy the joke with the mirth that heals
and heartens, and speedily correct your mistakes.
The lines of your form, the modelling of your face, are they not worthy
of your discerning thought? Truly! Whatever detracts from them detracts
from sculpture, painting, and poetry, and the world is the loser.
A word to the thinking is sufficient.
HOW WOMEN OF CERTAIN TYPES SHOULD DRESS THEIR HAIR
Style for Wedge-Shaped Faces
Style for Heavy Jaws
Style for Eyes Set Too High
Style for Eyes Set Too Low
Style for Long Faces with Long Noses
For Faces with Protruding Noses
HINTS FOR THE SELECTION OF BECOMING AND APPROPRIATE STYLES IN HEAD-GEAR
The Magic of the Bonnet
Style for Women with Broad Face and Heavy Chin
Style for Women with Tapering Chin
Hat for the Chubby Woman
For Women Who Have Sharp and Prominent Profiles
For the Woman with an Angular Face
Women Who should Not Wear Horns
LINES THAT SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED AND CONSIDERED IN MAKING COSTUMES
Style for Tall Slender Women
The Coat the Short Stout Women should Wear
The Cloak or Cape for a Tall Women
HOW PLUMP AND THIN BACKS SHOULD BE CLOTHED
CORSAGES APPROPRIATE FOR WOMEN WITH UNBEAUTIFULLY MODELLED THROATS AND
HINTS ON DRESS FOR ELDERLY WOMEN
HOW MEN CARICATURE THEMSELVES WITH THEIR CLOTHES
WHAT DRESS MAKES OF US.
* * * * *
HOW WOMEN OF CERTAIN TYPES SHOULD DRESS THEIR HAIR.
The pleasing, but somewhat audacious statement of the clever writer who
asserted, "In the merciful scheme of nature, there are no plain women,"
is not as disputable as it may seem. Honest husbands, to be sure, greet
the information with dissenting guffaws; gay deceivers reflect upon its
truth by gallantly assenting to it, with a mocking little twinkle in
their eyes; and pretty women, upon hearing it, remark sententiously
"Blind men and fools may think so." Discerning students of womankind,
however, know that if every woman would make the best of her
possibilities, physically, mentally, and spiritually, it would be
delightfully probable that "in the merciful scheme of nature" there need
be no plain women.
Have we not Lord Chesterfield's word for it, that "No woman is ugly when
she is dressed"?
It is no unworthy study to learn to make the best of, and to do justice
to, one's self. Apropos of this, to begin--where all fascinating
subjects should begin--at the head, it behooves every woman who wishes
to appear at her best, to study the modelling of her face that she may
understand both its defective and perfect lines. By a proper arrangement
of her hair a woman can do much to obscure or soften her bad features,
and heighten the charm of her good ones.
Romancers have written, and poets have sung, of the bewitchment in
nut-brown locks, golden tresses, and jetty curls. Every woman, if so
inclined, may prove for herself the transfiguring effect in a becoming
coiffure. In fact, the beauty of a woman's face and her apparent age are
greatly affected by the way she wears her hair.
A most important detail that too few consider, is, the proper direction
in which to comb the hair. Women literally toss their tresses together
without any attention to the natural inclination of the individual
strands or fibres. They comb their hair "against the grain." Those who
do so never have beautifully and smoothly arranged coiffures. Each
little hirsute filament has a rebellious tendency to go in the direction
nature intended it should, and refuses to "stay where it is put," giving
the head in consequence, an unkempt and what is termed an "unladylike"
appearance. The criss-cross effect resulting from combing and arranging
the hair contrary to "the grain" is conspicuously apparent in the
coiffure of no less a personage than Eleanora Duse, who, as may be seen
from the picture, pays little attention to the natural tendency of the
dark tresses that cover her shapely head. The bang has the dishevelled
appearance of a pile of jack-straws. The side-locks instead of being
combed or brushed to follow the contour of the head, fall loosely and
fly in opposite directions.
[Illustration: NO. 2]
The difference in appearance between the women of the smart sets in
America and those of less fashionable circles is due, in a great
measure, to the beautifully dressed coiffures of the former. A
hair-dresser arranges, at least once a week, the hair of the modish
woman if her maid does not understand the art of hair-dressing. Many
women of the wealthy world have their maids taught by a French coiffeur.
A wise woman will adopt a prevailing mode with discretion, for, what may
be essentially appropriate for one, may be fatally inappropriate for
another. In adjusting her "crown of glory" a woman must consider the
proportions of her face. She should be able to discern whether her eyes
are too near the top of her head or, too far below; whether she has a
square or wedge-shaped chin; a lean, long face, or a round and
bountifully curved one. She should be alert to her defects and study
never to emphasize nor exaggerate them.
Why, through stupidity or carelessness, make a cartoon of yourself,
when with a proper appreciation of your possibilities you can be a
pleasing picture? It is just as glorious to be a fine picture or a poem
as it is to paint the one, or write the other. Indeed, a woman who
harmoniously develops the best within her has the charm of an exquisite
poem and inspires poets to sing; and if by the grace and beauty of her
dress she enhances her natural endowments and makes herself a pleasing
picture, the world becomes her debtor.
In the important matter of becomingly arranging the hair, the following
sketches and suggestions may hint to bright, thinking, women what
styles to choose or avoid.
For Wedge-Shaped Faces.
[Illustration: NO. 3]
[Illustration: NO. 4]
The least-discerning eye can see that the wedge-Shaped face No. 3 is
caricatured, and its triangular proportions made more evident, by
allowing the hair to extend in curls or a fluffy bang on either side of
the head. Women with delicately modelled faces with peaked chins should
avoid these broad effects above their brows.
It is obvious in the sketch No. 4, that the wedge-shaped face is
perceptibly improved by wearing the hair in soft waves, or curls closely
confined to the head and by arranging a coil or high puff just above and
in front of the crown. This arrangement gives a desirable oval effect to
the face, the sharp prominence of the chin being counteracted by the
For Heavy Jaws.
It may readily be seen that a woman with the square, heavy-jawed face
pictured by No. 5, should not adopt a straight, or nearly straight,
bang, nor wear her hair low on her forehead, nor adjust the greater
portion of her hair so that the coil cannot be seen above the crown of
her head. The low bang brings into striking relief all the hard lines of
her face and gives the impression that she has pugilistic tendencies.
[Illustration: NO. 5]
To insure artistic balance to her countenance, and bring out the womanly
strength and vital power of her face, her hair should be arranged in
coils, puffs, or braids that will give breadth to the top of her head as
shown by No. 6. A fluffy, softly curled bang adds grace to the forehead
and gives it the necessary broadness it needs to lessen and lighten the
heaviness of the lower part of the face. A bow of ribbon, or an aigrette
of feathers, will add effectively the crown of braids or puffs which a
wise woman with a square jaw will surmount her brow if she wishes to
subdue the too aggressive, fighting qualities of her strong chin.
[Illustration: NO. 6]
For Short Faces.
The sisterhood who have short, chubby faces should, in a measure,
observe certain rules that apply in a small degree to those who have
As may be observed even with a casual glance, the little short-faced
woman depicted by No. 7, causes her round facial disk to appear much
shorter than it really is by allowing her hair to come so far down on
her forehead. She further detracts from her facial charms by wearing
"water-waves." Water-waves are scarcely to be commended for any type of
face, and they are especially unbecoming to the woman who is
conspicuously "roly-poly." The round eyes, knobby nose, and round mouth
are brought into unattractive distinctness by being re-duplicated in the
circular effects of the hair. This mode of dressing the hair makes a
short face look common and insignificant.
[Illustration: NO. 7]
Do you not see that this type is immensely improved by the arrangement
of the coiffure in No. 8? By combing her hair off her forehead her face
acquires a look of alertness and intelligence, besides being apparently
lengthened. She can wear her bang in soft crimps brushed back from her
brow, if this plain arrangement is too severe.
[Illustration: NO. 8]
For Eyes Set Too High.
A low forehead is supposed to be a sign of beauty in woman. The brows of
the famous Venuses are low and broad. Perhaps for this reason many women
wear their hair arranged low upon their foreheads. Whether the hair
should be worn low on the brow depends chiefly on two things,--"the
setting of the eyes, and the quality of the face."
[Illustration: NO. 8-1/2]
A good rule to observe is the artistic one, to the effect that "the eyes
of a woman should be in the middle of her head." That is, if an
imaginary line were drawn across the top of the head and another below
the chin, exactly midway between the two the eyes should be set.
The Japanese type of woman should carefully observe the foregoing hint.
Observe No. 8-1/2. Nature has not been artistic. The eyes are too near
the top of the head. The defect is exaggerated and emphasized by the
wearing of the hair low on the forehead. In some faces of this type the
face is brutalized in appearance by this arrangement. The expression and
whole quality of the countenance can be greatly improved by arranging
the hair as shown by No. 9, which is the soft Pompadour style. The
Duchess of Marlborough, formerly Consuelo Vanderbilt, frames her naive,
winsome face, which is of the Japanese type, in a style somewhat like
this. Her dark hair forms an aureole above her brow, and brings into
relief the dainty, oval form of her face. Even simply brushing the hair
off the forehead without crimp or roll will improve the appearance of
this type of face and give it a better artistic balance.
[Illustration: NO. 9]
[Illustration: NO. 10]
For Eyes Set Too Low.
Women whose eyes are set too far down in their faces should adopt a mode
of arranging their hair exactly the opposite of those whose eyes are set
too near the top of their heads.
It is apparent that No. 10 exaggerates the distance of her eyes from the
crown of her head, and makes them appear to be set lower than they
really are by building her hair high, and by brushing her bang back so
severely from her brow. A bald forehead is rarely becoming to any
woman. A few stray curls or soft waves lend grace to even the most
perfect of brows.
[Illustration: NO. 11]
By bringing the hair down over the forehead, as suggested in No. 11, a
woman with this type of face can easily improve her appearance. By this
graceful arrangement her face loses the childish and sometimes stupid
expression that is peculiar to the type, as may be discerned in No. 10.
When the hair is properly arranged this element of childlikeness lends a
certain appealing sweetness not unattractive even in the faces of
matured matrons. By dressing the hair low so the coil does not appear
above the crown, as in No. 11, the eyes are apparently properly placed.
For Long Faces with Long Noses.
The woman who wears her silken tresses arranged on either side of her
head, draped like curtains from a central parting, is to be envied if
she can do it and yet look young and pretty. She is the Madonna type and
seems to possess all the attributes of gentleness, modesty, and
meekness, and angelic sweetness that are supposed to characterize the
distinctively feminine woman. This is the ideal style of coiffure much
bepraised by man, because, according to a bright modern Amazon, "it
makes a woman look so meek."
[Illustration: NO. 12]
The only type to which it is really becoming is the Italian. The type
with _matte_ complexion, soft eyes, finely chiselled nose, and
delicately oval chin, look ideally sweet and feminine with the hair
arranged _a la_ Madonna.
[Illustration: NO. 13]
Long faces of the form pictured by No. 12 exaggerate the longness and
leanness of their faces by wearing their locks like looped curtains. A
long nose with two long lines on either side of the cheek seems longer
than it is, as the observer may discern three lines instead of only the
nasal one, and the impression of longness is emphasized. Not only is
the length of the countenance made more noticeable, but years and years
are apparently added to the actual age.
That No. 13, which shows a parting and soft waves that do not come below
the ears, is to be preferred by a woman whose features are of this
character need hardly be explained. The improvement in looks is quite
[Illustration: NOS. 14 AND 15]
No. 14 is an example of a misguided woman of the pudgy type who, for
some inexplicable reason, arranges her hair in the Madonna style. It is
utterly unsuited to her face. Unless her ears are deformed this style of
hirsute lambrequins should not be worn by a full, round-faced woman.
The arrangement sketched in No 15 adds effectively to her appearance,
not only making her look younger, but less inane.
[Illustration: NO. 16]
For Faces with Protruding Noses.
Women with decidedly protruding, or irregular, tip-tilted noses should
be especially careful in arranging their coiffures.
Any woman who arranges her hair as in sketch No. 16 caricatures her
facial defects by increasing the too protuberant lines of her nose. The
distance from the end of her nose and the tip of the topmost knot of
hair is too long for either beauty or intelligence. The shape of her
head acquires idiotic proportions, and her nose is placed entirely "out
of drawing" and is obtrusively conspicuous when seen in profile. This
type of woman is generally classified among the inquisitive, bright, and
energetic. She should aim to modify the unhappy angularity of her
profile as well as to repress her gossipy tendencies. The graduated coil
of hair and waved coiffure, shown by No. 17, are most felicitous in
their effect on this type of face.
[Illustration: NO. 17]
[Illustration: NO. 18]
No. 18 reveals an error in an opposite direction. The snubbed-nose girl,
by fixing her hair in a bun-like coil, gives the impression that her
coiffure is held by invisible strings by her nose, which gets a more
elevated look than it otherwise would have, because of the bad angle at
which the coil is placed.
[Illustration: NO. 19]
No. 19, which is a picturesque variation of the popular coif, manifestly
improves this type of face, and makes the nose appear less obtrusive.
A woman should carefully study the contour of her head from every side;
the modelling of her face; the length and inclination of her nose; the
setting of her eyes; and the breadth and form of her brow, and adopt a
becoming coiffure that will give artistic balance to her face, and never
absolutely change the style whatever the mode in hair-dressing may be.
In England, the court hair-dresser years ago studied the character of
the head and face of the Princess of Wales, and designed a coiffure for
her which she has never varied until recently; then she merely arranged
her fringe lower down on her forehead than she has ever worn it before.
The general style, however, she preserves intact, and wears her hair,
and has for many years, as is shown in the picture--No. 20. Her
daughters, who have faces the same shape as hers, dress their coiffures
similarly. In never changing the style of arranging her hair, the
Princess of Wales owes in no small degree her apparent air of
[Illustration: NO. 20]
NO MATTER WHAT THE PREVAILING STYLE THESE RULES MAY BE PRACTICALLY
HINTS FOR THE SELECTION OF BECOMING AND APPROPRIATE STYLES IN HEAD-GEAR.
Closely allied to the subject of hair-dressing is that of head-gear.
Indeed many of the hints regarding appropriate coiffures for certain
styles of faces are equally applicable to the selection of suitable hats
and bonnets. The choosing of millinery is the more momentous of the two,
of course, for I need scarcely remind you that Nature left us no choice
in hair. No matter what its color or texture we desire to keep it and if
we are wise we will make the best of it.
In regard to hats we are personally responsible and our follies are upon
our own heads.
The power of caricature being greater in hats than in hair-dressing, is
it not fit that we should give careful and intelligent consideration to
the selection of our millinery that the ugly lines in our otherwise
beautiful faces may not be at the mercy of mocking bunches of ribbons,
comically tilted straws, or floppy bits of lace?
The Magic of The Bonnet.
Once upon a time, I think that was the exact date, there was a man
distinguished in a certain kingdom as the ugliest person in the realm.
According to a blithe romancer, he was so distinctively unpleasing in
form and feature that he challenged the attention of the king who, in
whimsical mood, made him a royal retainer. The man so conspicuously
lacking in beauty enjoyed his eminent position and privileges for some
time. But even ugliness, if it attain distinction, will excite envy in
the low-minded. A former associate of the unbeautiful man in invidious
temper brought the news one day to the king, that there was an old
woman in his domain that was uglier than the lowly-born man who by
kingly favor held so high a place. "Bring her to the court. Judges shall
be called to decide. If she is uglier she shall stay and he shall go,"
was the royal mandate. When the old woman appeared she was easily
decided to be by far the uglier of the two. At the critical moment when
the king was upon the eve of dismissing the man from his retinue, a
friend of the unfortunate shouted, "Put her bonnet on him!" This was
done, and lo! a fearful change was wrought. By unanimous acclamation he
was declared to be "the ugliest creature on earth."
The old woman, true to the instincts of her sex, refused to wear her
bonnet again. Like many of her sisters of modern times, she had not
before discovered the possibilities in a bonnet to enhance the beauty of
the face or decrease its charms.
If woman could see themselves objectively, as did the old woman, they
would keenly realize the necessity of considering the lines of hat or
bonnet in relation to those of their faces, and would learn to obscure
defects and bring into prominence their prettiest features.
As there are a few rules to govern what each type should select, every
one of the fair sisterhood has an equal opportunity to improve her
appearance by selecting in the millinery line the distinctive adornment
suited to her individual style.
[Illustration: NO. 22]
For Women with Broad Face and Heavy Chin.
By a curious law of contrariety the woman with a broad, heavy chin seems
to have an ungovernable penchant for trig little round bonnets, or trim
turbans with perky aigrettes, like that in sketch No. 22. By obeying
this wilful preference she obscures whatever delicacy may be in the
modelling of her features and brings into conspicuous relief the
ugliest lines of her face. Her chin is apparently increased in heaviness
and the broadness of her face is made prominent. She could easily have
restored the artistic balance to her facial lines by wearing a large
hat, rather heavily trimmed, as in No. 23, thus effectively modifying
the strong curves of the chin and signally improving her appearance. If
a woman's face is fairly proportioned, not too short for its breadth,
and she can not afford plumes, this type of woman can still give a
becoming balance to her face by adopting hats that are trimmed with
flamboyant bows that flare horizontally across the hat, diverging from a
central knot in the from.
[Illustration: NO. 23]
For the Woman with Tapering Chin.
[Illustration: NO. 24]
The woman who is the exact opposite of the type with the ample lower
jaw, but whose chief disadvantage lies in her broad, manly brow and tiny
tapering chin, should avoid all horizontal trimmings, bows or broad
hat-brims. It is clear, in No. 24, that such trimmings increase the
wedge-like appearance of the face and give it the grotesque suggestion
of an ordinary flower-pot in which grows a sickly plant. This type can
perceptibly improve upon nature by choosing the style of hat and
neck-gear shown by No. 25.
[Illustration: NO. 25]
The crinkly ovals that form the brim of the hat, and the soft, graceful
arrangement of the hair in front that decreases the too broad effect of
the brow, and the full fluffy ruff snuggled up closely to the chin,
produce a pleasing transformation of the meagre-looking original that
to the uninitiated seems little short of magical. The broad, cravat-like
bows, and the flaring ones known as "incroyables," were beneficently
wedge-like faces and throats that have lost the seductive curves of
Hat for the Chubby Woman.
[Illustration: NO. 26]
That amiable type of woman formed conspicuously upon the circular plan
often unconsciously impresses the fact of her fatal tendency to
rotundity by repeating the roundness of her globular eyes, the disk-like
appearance of her snub nose and the circle of her round mouth, and the
fulness of her face by wearing a little, round hat in the style
portrayed by No. 26.
[Illustration: NO. 27]
The curls of her bang, the feathers in her hat, the high collar of her
jacket make more significant the fact that her lines are not artistic
and that her face is unbeautifully round. She can enhance her charms and
apparently decrease the too spherical cut of her countenance by adopting
the mode illustrated in No. 27. The angular bows on the hat, the
geometric lines of the broad hat-brim, the precise cut of the lapels on
the corsage, the neat throat-band and V-shaped vesture--all insinuate in
a most engaging way a dignity and fine, high-bred poise totally
obliterated by the circular style of dress erroneously adopted by the
misguided woman in No. 26.
[Illustration: NO. 28]
For Women Who Have Sharp and Prominent Profiles.
In buying a hat many of the "unfair sex"--as the modern wag dubs the
progressive sisters who wish to have all man's rights and privileges and
keep their own besides--never seem to consider their heads but from a
front point of view. In consequence, as sketch No 28 hints, a head seen
from the side frequently appears, if not idiotically, very
[Illustration: NO. 29]
Occasionally a hat presents as comical an effect in a from as in a side
view, as may be seen in No. 29. The wearer was an elderly woman with
gray hair which hung down in a half-curled bang on either side of her
thin face. Her hat which was simply "dripping" with feathers suggested a
fanciful letter "T" and exaggerated the thinness of her face in a
remarkably funny way. The feathers overhanging the brim increased the
broadness of the hat, and looked singularly waggish fluttering against
the spriggy-looking projections of gray hair. The rules for the
wedge-shaped face, as may readily be discerned, apply here.
[Illustration: NOS. 30 AND 31]
Women who have sharp and prominently outlined profiles have a curious
tendency to choose hats, the brims of which project too far forward in
front, and turn up too abruptly and ungracefully in the back.
As shown in No. 30 the protruding brim gives the head and face the
unattractive proportions of the capital letter "F." The length of the
nose is emphasized by the line of the hat-rim above it and it appears
unduly obtrusive. The flat arrangement of the hair and the curve of the
hat-brim in the back also exaggerate the obtrusive qualities of the
features. By choosing a hat somewhat similar to the one sketched in No.
31, the unattractive sharpness of the profile is modified, and the
alert, agreeable quality of the face, that was obscured by the
shelf-like brim, becomes apparent. The observer feels, if he does not
voice it, that it is a progressive spirit advancing forward instead of
an ungainly head-piece that looks like a curious trowel.
For the Woman with an Angular Face.
[Illustration: NOS. 32 AND 33]
The woman with the angular features presented in No. 32 should not wear
a sailor-hat or any hat with a perfectly straight rim.
The sailor-hat or any style bordering on it should be selected with
utmost discrimination. This mode is unbecoming to a woman more than
forty; or, to one who through grief or worry prematurely attains a look
of age, or to one whose features are irregular. The straight brim across
the face is very trying. It casts a shadow deepening the "old marks"
and instead of being a frame to set off, it seems to cut off, the face
at an inartistic angle.
The woman with angular features, as may be seen by No. 33, can wear with
impunity, and always should wear, a hat the brim of which is waved,
turned, twisted, or curved in graceful lines. The uneven brim of her hat
makes an effective complement to the angularity of her chin, which is
further softened by the feathery ruff that encircles her throat. The
curves of the ostrich plumes, and the studied carelessness of the
arrangement of her coiffure, subdue the angles of her face which are
brought out in unbecoming prominence by the sailor-hat.
Women Who should Not Wear Horns.
The velvet horns on either side of a hat, the steeple-like central
adornments that were once much in favor, and the Mercury wings that
ornament the coiffure for evening dress, produce some startling,
disagreeable, and amusing effects not altogether uninteresting to
Faces in which the eyes are set too near the forehead acquire a scared
look by being surmounted by a bonnet upon which the trimming gravitates
to a point in an arrangement not unsuggestive of a reversed fan, horns,
or a steeple.
The most unpleasing developments result from the wearing of the
horn-like trimmings either in velvet or jet. If the face above which
they flare has less of the spiritual than the coarse propensities in it,
the grotesque turns and twists in the head-gear emphasize the animality
in the lines characteristic of low-bred tendencies, and the whole
countenance is vulgarized. One face acquires the look of a fox, another
of a certain type of dog, and so on.
The most amusing exaggerations of distinctive facial lines are produced
by Mercury wings. The good-natured woman of the familiar type depicted
in No. 34 brings every bovine attribute of her placid countenance into
conspicuous relief by surmounting her face with the wings of the
fleet-footed god. The cow-like form and serenity of her features are
made laughably obvious.
[Illustration: NO. 34]
Short, delicately-faced women can adorn their coiffures with Mercury
wings with most charming results. Wings, or perpendicular bows, add
length to the lines of the short face, giving it a certain suggestion
of refinement and distinction that is wholly destroyed by the wearing of
any trimmings that show at the sides.
NO MATTER WHAT THE PREVAILING STYLE THESE RULES MAY BE PRACTICALLY
LINES THAT SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED AND CONSIDERED IN MAKING COSTUMES.
Mme. La Mode, much misrepresented as are all who are embarrassed with
world-wide popularity always considers when designing fashions that
women vary in form, as in mood. She suits all needs, although this fact
has never been cast to her credit. With a beautiful sense of
adjustment--as obvious as that in Nature, that projects the huge
watermelon to ripen on a slender vine on the ground and swings a
greengage plum on the stout stem of a tree to mature in storm or
shine--Mme. La Mode, arbiter of styles, balances her fashions.
Never came the big hat without the small bonnet. Accompanying the long
cloak is the never-failing short cape. Side by side may be found the
long coat and the short, natty jacket. This equilibrium in wearing
apparel may be traced through all the vagaries of fashion.
Everybody's need has been considered, but everybody has not considered
The short, stout woman passes by the long coat better adapted to her
and seizes a short jacket--a homeopathic tendency of like suiting like,
sometimes efficacious in medicine, but fatal in style.
Style for Tall Slender Woman.
The very tall, slender woman frequently ignores a jaunty jacket and
takes a long coat like that shown in No. 36.
To even the sluggish fancy of an unimaginative observer she suggests a
champagne bottle, and to the ready wit she hints of no end of amusing
possibilities for caricature.
The very tall woman should know that long lines from shoulder to foot
give height, and she must discerningly strive to avoid length of line
in her garments until she dons the raiment of the angels.
[Illustration: NOS. 36 AND 37]
Horizontal lines crossing the figure seem to decrease height, and should
be used as much as possible in the arranging and trimming of the tall
By selecting a shorter coat equally modish, as shown by No. 37, the too
tall woman shortens her figure perceptibly.
The belt cuts off from her height in a felicitous way, and the collar,
also horizontal, materially improves the size of her throat. The high
collar, such as finishes the coat, in No. 36, adds to the length. Those
who have too long arms can use horizontal bands on sleeves most
The Coat the Short Stout Woman should Wear.
The short jacket that so graciously improved the appearance of the
slender specimen of femininity is sinister in its effect on the short,
stout woman, in sketch No. 38. It should be the study of her life to
avoid horizontal lines. Length of limb is to be desired because it adds
distinction. Her belt, the horizontal effect of the skirt of the jacket,
the horizontal trimming of the bottom of the skirt, all apparently
shortening her height, tend to make her ordinary and commonplace in
[Illustration: NOS. 38 AND 39]
If her hips are not too pronounced she can wear the long coat, shown in
picture No. 39. The V-shaped vesture gives her a longer waist, and the
long lines of the revers add to the length of her skirt. If her hips are
too prominent, she should avoid having any tight-fitting garments that
bring the fact into relief. She should not wear the long coat, but she
can effectively modify it to suit her needs, by only having a skirt, or
tabs, or finishing straps in the back. If her jacket or basque is
finished off with a skirt effect, it is best to have the little skirt
swerve away just at the hip-line, half revealing and half concealing it.
The front should be made in a jacket effect, finishing just at the
waist-line and opening over a blouse front that will conceal the
waist-line. It is best for the too short, stout woman to obscure her
waist-line as much as possible, to apparently give her increase of
To put the waist-line high up adds to length of limb, and, of course, is
to be desired, but the fact that what is added below is taken from above
the waist, should impel careful discrimination in the arrangement of
this equatorial band.
The Cloak or Cape for a Tall Woman.
The long circular cloak is another graceful garment that can be worn
with charming effect by the woman of classic height, but should never be
in the wardrobe of a very tall woman except for use at the opera, when
its service is chiefly required in the carriage, or when its wearer is
sitting. It is so obvious, in sketch No. 40, that the vertical lines the
folds of the cloak naturally fall into give a steeple-like appearance to
the tall woman it enfolds, that it is scarcely necessary to comment upon
[Illustration: NO. 40]
That her judicious selection should have been the short cape, which
comes, as all capes should, to be artistic, well below the elbows, is
clearly illustrated in picture No. 41. The horizontal trimming very
becomingly plays its part in the generally improving effect.
[Illustration: NO. 41]
The one who can wear the long cloak in an unchallengeable manner is the
short, stout woman, shown in sketch No. 42.
By wearing the short cape with circular, fluffy collarette, sketched in
No. 43, she gives herself the look of a smothered, affrighted Cochin
China chicken; or, as an imaginative school-girl remarked of her mother
who wore a cape of similar style, "she looks as if her neck were
encircled by bunches of asparagus."
[Illustration: NOS. 42 AND 43]
The military dignity she acquires by wearing the long cape is becoming
to a degree, and gives her distinction in form.
By remembering that horizontal trimmings apparently decrease the
height, and that vertical lines add to it, those who desire to appear at
their best will use discernment in dividing their basques with yokes, or
corsage mountings at the bust-line or frills at the hip-line.
A flounce on the corsage at the bust-line, another at the hip-line, and
yet another at the bottom of the shirt, increases the impression of
bulkiness most aggressively and gives a barrel-like appearance to the
form of a stout woman that is decidedly funny, as may be seen in sketch
A study of the lines of the form will not only aid one in adopting a
more becoming style of dress, but will sharpen the artistic
perceptions, thus adding to the joy of life.
[Illustration: NO. 44]
"A beautiful form is better than a beautiful face" and should be clothed
so that its lines may appear at their best, and not be exaggerated and
caricatured. The figure is seen many more times than the face, and the
defects of the former are more conspicuous than those of the latter.
Do not be unjust to your beautiful body, the temple of your soul; above
all, do not caricature it by selecting your clothes with
NO MATTER WHAT THE PREVAILING MODE THESE RULES MAY BE PRACTICALLY
HOW PLUMP AND THIN BACKS SHOULD BE CLOTHED.
She was from the middle-West, and despite the fact that she was married,
and that twenty-one half-blown blush roses had enwreathed her last
birthday cake, she had the alert, quizzical brightness of a child who
challenges everybody and everything that passes with the
countersign--"Why?" She investigated New York with unabashed interest,
and, like many another superior provincial, she freely expressed her
likes and dislikes for its traditions, show-places, and people with a
commanding and amusing audacity.
Her objections were numerous. The chief one that made a deep impression
upon her metropolitan friends was her disapproval of Sarah Bernhardt's
acting. The middle-Westerner, instead of becoming ecstatic in her
admiration, and at a loss for adjectives at the appearance of the divine
Sarah, merely perked at the great French artist for some time and then
demanded, querulously: "What's the matter with her? Why does she play
so much with her back to the audience? I don't like it."
It was a shock to the adorers of Sarah Bernhardt to hear her so
irreverently criticised. They loyally united in her defence, and sought
to squelch the revolter by loftily explaining that the actress turned
her back so often to the audience because she had such a noble, generous
nature and desired to give the other actors a chance. "She lets them
take the centre of the stage, as they say in the profession," remarked
one of the party, who prided herself upon being versed in the _argot_ of
"But she plays with her back to the audience when she is speaking and
acting, and everybody else on the stage is still but herself,"
petulantly insisted the Western Philistine, showing no signs of defeat.
The situation was not wholly agreeable. The worshippers of Sarah could
say nothing more in justification of her turning her back on them, but,
with true feminine logic, concluded, "If Sarah Bernhardt turns her back
on the audience it is right, and that is all there is to say."
Just at this dramatic moment a voice from the adjoining row
providentially interposed. The voice belonged to a well-known exponent
of physical culture, who was never so happy as when instructing the
intellectually needy. She said: "I will tell you why she plays with her
back towards the audience more than any other actress upon the stage
to-day." The middle-Westerner, no less impressed than her metropolitan
friends, listened eagerly.
The exponent of straight backs and high chests explained didactically:
"The back is wonderfully expressive; indeed it is full of vital
expression. Bernhardt knows this better than any other actress because
she has studied statuary with the passion of a sculptor, and because she
understands that, not only the face, but the entire physical structure,
is capable of expressing dramatic emotions. Strong feeling and action
may be strikingly revealed by the back. Imprecations, denunciations,
even prayers, seem to be charged with more force when an actress
delivers them with her back turned, or half-turned to the audience.
"Bernhardt's back expresses a storm of fury when she imprecates
vengeance," said the voice of authority. "Not only on the stage is the
expression of the back discernible, and a knowledge of its character
valuable, but in every-day life in drawing-room and street. How many
women consider their backs when they dress? Look at the backs here
deformed by laces and fallals," she went on contemptuously. "The
majority of women never look below their chins and I believe not one in
ten ever looks thoughtfully at her back," she said emphatically.
The dramatic value of a well-poised, expressive back may only concern
the thousands of young women who are aspiring to be a Sarah Bernhardt or
a Rachel; but a knowledge of what constitutes a properly and
artistically clothed back should be of interest to all women in
That there is much truth in the assertion that "the majority of women
never look below their chins, and not one in ten ever looks
thoughtfully at her back," every observer of womankind might testify.
[Illustration: NO. 45]
The open placket-hole and sagging waist-band, sketched in No. 45, is an
all too familiar sight that advertises the fact that too few women take
even a cursory look at their backs. Fathers and brothers who wish to
protect their womankind from adverse criticism frequently give impromptu
lectures upon this very subject, as this slovenly arrangement of skirt
and basque is not only seen in Grand Street, Second Avenue, and equally
unfashionable quarters, but in Fifth Avenue where the modish set are _en
evidence_. If the dainty safety-pin displayed in No. 46, goes out of
vogue, the time-honored custom of sewing hooks to the waist-band of the
dress, is always in fashion. Indeed, many women prefer this way of
connecting separate skirt and waist to using a conspicuous pin. This is
almost too trivial a detail to discourse upon, but it is as true that
details make dress as it is that "trifles make life"--and neither life
nor dress is a trifle.
[Illustration: NO. 46]
The offence in No. 45 is more the result of untidiness than of a lack of
artistic discrimination. Nos. 46-1/2 and 47, on the contrary, outrage
the laws of art, and display ignorance of the value and beauty of lines.
No. 46-1/2 might serve to conceal a deformity of the shoulders. That
really seems its only excuse for being. The full, ugly, straight pleat
that falls to just below the waist-line lends neither grace nor style to
the figure. It is too short to give the distinction and dignity that
handsome wraps with long lines almost invariably do, although they seem
to add age to the form. There is a hint of youth in this ungraceful
jacket to be sure, but it is not especially attractive in its suggestion
[Illustration: NO. 46-1/2]
[Illustration: NO. 47]
No. 47, with a line at the neck-band, crossed bands in the centre of the
shoulders, and lines across the back, is obviously inartistic. The back
of a Venus, even, would be detracted from by such criss-crossed effects.
Happy the woman who has so shapely a back she can afford to allow her
waist to fit smoothly and plainly, unbroken by any conspicuous lines. If
bands must be used to remedy the deficiencies of ungenerous Nature, let
them be at the neck and waist; and if the back is unconscionably long, a
band, or fold, or ruffle across the shoulders is to be commended.
[Illustration: NO. 48]
No. 48 reveals a glaring error frequently made by the thin sisterhood. A
tall, slender woman with a long waist, should not emphasize her length
of lines by wearing pointed or V-shaped effects. The V-shaped
arrangement, either in cut or trimmings, apparently increases her
"longness and leanness." She should aim to shorten her waist instead of
lengthening it as the basque finished with a point obviously does. The
drooping sleeves elongate her shoulder-lines, and bring into clearer
relief her meagre proportions. She can easily improve her appearance by
adopting either style of gown portrayed by Nos. 49, or 50. The broad
belt at the waist-line in No. 49, and the flamboyant lace or braided
piece that adorns the shoulders, perceptibly adds to her breadth and
decreases her length.
[Illustration: NO. 49]
[Illustration: NO. 50]
No. 50 is a felicitous cut for a street dress for a slim sister. The
jaunty bloused waist smartly conceals deficiencies in fine points.
The tall, thin sisterhood should eschew pointed effects and study to
attain apparent breadth by using trimmings arranged horizontally. Bands
of velvet, braid in waved lines, ruffles, and not too deeply cut
scallops, may be used effectively by the very slender, who sometimes
appear as if they are "without form and void," as the earth was "in the
[Illustration: NO. 51]
No. 51 is an exposition of the mistake made by the sturdy sisterhood of
stout and pendulous proportions. It is plain to be seen that the fluffy
ruche at the throat-band, and the ruffle at the shoulder, and the
spreading bow at the waist, and the trimmed sleeves, add bulkiness to a
form already too generously endowed with flabby rotundity. Corpulent
women must forego the swagger little basques or any sort of short,
flounced effects below the waist-line.
[Illustration: NO. 52]
[Illustration: NO. 53]
Nos. 52 and 53 are eminently adapted to the matron of ample dimensions.
One observer of beauty-giving effects has not unadvisedly called the
waist-line "the danger-line." A stout sister, above all others, should
not accentuate the waist-line. She should conceal it as much as
possible. The coat back of No. 52 apparently lengthens the waist.
The same effect is produced by the arrangement of ribbons in No. 53, and
by the long-pointed basque. V-shaped effects and long-pointed basques
are as becoming to those burdened with flesh as they are unbecoming to
tall, thin women.
Long, graceful folds and draperies are admirable for the stout
sisterhood, who should avoid short sacques and tight-fitting garments
that give the on-looker an uncomfortable impression; there is too much
in a small space. Very light colors and thin textures that billow and
float should be eschewed by the large, fleshy woman who wishes to give
the impression that she possesses the lines of a finely modelled statue.
She should avoid puffs and any suggestion of the pulpy and clumsy, and
be careful not to sub-divide the body of her dress by plaits or braids
laid on horizontally across or above the bust, or below the hips.
Horizontal lines invariably decrease the height; for that reason stout
women should not wear dresses cut square in the neck, but should adhere
to the graceful V-or heart-shaped cut which has a tendency to give
The rotund woman with a short waist, sketched in No. 54, may improve her
figure, as shown in No. 55, by choosing belts and collars the exact
shade of her shirt-waists in summer, and by not cutting off her height
by any sort of outside belt on winter gowns.
[Illustration: NO. 54]
[Illustration: NO. 55]
Tall, stout women should forego high heels on their shoes, high hats,
and striped dresses. Although stripes increase the effect of height,
they also add to that of breadth. A plain cloth basque and skirt of
striped material make a happy compromise and can be worn with becoming
effect by a stout woman.
[Illustration: NO. 56]
A basque cut high behind and on the shoulders apparently gives height.
A very stout woman should never wear double skirts or tunics or dresses
with large sprawling patterns, such as depicted by cut No. 56, which
suggests furniture stuffs. A large woman who had a fancy for wearing
rich brocades figured with immense floral designs was familiarly called
by her kind friends "the escaped sofa."
White, or very light colors, should never be worn by the stout; they
greatly increase the apparent size. Large plaids should also be
eschewed. Small checks and plaids may sometimes be becoming.
Neither the too thin nor the too stout should adopt a style of gown
that caricatures the form as does the voluminous wrapper, finished with
a box-pleat, as shown in No. 57. There is no grace in straight lines.
[Illustration: NOS. 57 AND 58]
No. 58, which accentuates the height of the over-tall, thin woman, is
better adapted to enhance the charms of a woman of finer proportions.
The bony and scrawny, of the type of No. 58, seem to have a perverse
desire to wear what makes their poverty in physical charms only more
conspicuous. A woman of distinction in Boston, who is exceedingly thin
and tall, wore Watteau pleats so frequently, even on reception and
evening gowns that she was dubbed by a wag "the fire-escape," a title
which so strikingly characterized her style, that the term was adopted
by all her friends when they exchanged confidences concerning her.
The garment with the Watteau pleat is not unlike the princesse gown
which is a very trying style except to handsomely proportioned women. A
tall, well-developed woman, such as shown in sketch No. 59, adorns the
princesse gown and attains in it a statuesque beauty. In suggesting
statuary it fulfils the true ideal of dress, which should hint of
poetry, art, sculpture, painting. The massing of colors; the arrangement
of lines, the quality of textures, the grace and poise of the wearer--do
not these hint of picture, statue, music?
CORSAGES APPROPRIATE FOR WOMEN WITH UNBEAUTIFULLY MODELLED THROATS AND
Despite the traditional belief that a decollete corsage is a tyrannous
necessity of evening dress, a woman not graciously endowed with a
beautifully modelled throat and shoulders may, with perfect propriety,
conceal her infelicitous lines from the derisive gaze of a critical
Women are indebted to that gentle genius, La Duse, for the suggestion
that a veiled throat and bust may charmingly fulfil the requirements of
evening dress, and also satisfy that sense of delicacy peculiar to some
women who have not inherited from their great-great-grandmothers the
certain knowledge that a low-necked gown is absolutely decorous.
The women who does not possess delicate personal charms commends herself
to the beauty-loving by forbearing to expose her physical deficiencies.
Unless it is because they are enslaved by custom, it is quite
incomprehensible why some women will glaringly display gaunt
proportions that signally lack the exquisite lines of firm and solid
A throat like a ten-stringed instrument, surmounting square shoulders
that end in knobs that obtrude above unfilled hollows, is an unpleasing
vision that looms up conspicuously too often in opera-box and
[Illustration: NO. 61]
The unattractive exhibition 61, is a familiar sight in the social world.
How insufferably ugly such uncovered anatomy appears in the scenery of a
rich and dainty music-room may be readily imagined by those who have
been spared the unpleasing display. It is so obvious that shoulders
like these should always be covered that it seems superfluous to remark
that this type should never wear any sleeve that falls below the
[Illustration: NO. 62]
The sleeve falling off the shoulder was invented for the classic
contour, set forth in No. 62. Nor ribbons, nor lace, nor jewel are
needed to enhance the perfect beauty of a fine, slender, white throat,
and the felicitous curves of sloping shoulders.
One whose individual endowments are as meagre as are those presented in
No. 61 may improve her defects by adopting either style of corsage,
shown in sketches Nos. 63 and 64.
A woman's throat may lack a certain desirable roundness, and her
shoulders may recede in awkward lines, and yet between these defective
features the curves may have a not unpleasing daintiness and delicacy in
modelling that can be advantageously revealed. A modish velvet
throat-band, such as is shown by No. 63, is one of the most graceful
conceits of fashion. The too slim throat encircled by velvet or
ornamented with a jewelled buckle or brooch is effectively framed. The
unsightly lines of the shoulders are covered, and just enough
individual robustness is disclosed to suggest with becoming propriety
the conventional decollete corsage. The Princess of Wales is as constant
to her velvet or pearl neck-band, as to her especial style of coiffure.
Her throat, in evening dress, never appears unadorned by one or the
other of these beautiful bands that so cleverly conceal defects and
seem to bring out more richly the texture and coloring of handsome bare
[Illustration: NO. 63]
[Illustration: NO. 64]
Those who do not approve of the decollete style of dress, or whose
ungraceful proportions might well be entirely concealed, can wear with
appropriateness and benefit the corsage shown in No. 64. This has much
in its favor for a slender body. The upper part of the waist may be made
of chiffon or crepe, which is beautifully--one might say
benignly--translucent. It has an insinuating transparency that neither
reveals nor conceals too much. The neck-band of velvet or satin, full
and soft, apparently enlarges the throat. The sleeves may be in whatever
style in cut prevails. This costume carries perfectly into effect the
requirements of evening dress, and may be worn with equal fitness to
formal functions or to informal affairs. A coat-sleeve of lace, crepe,
or chiffon, beflounced at the wrist, may be inserted under the short
satin sleeves when the occasion does not require gloves. The soft, white
setting of thin textures around the throat and shoulders clears the
complexion and brings into relief the pretty, delicate lines of a
[Illustration: NOS. 65 and 66]
It is plain to be seen that the unattractive specimen of femininity,
No. 65., with the long, wrinkled neck and sharply lined face is
unbecomingly costumed in the V-shaped basque and corsage which
apparently elongate her natural lankness. A charming and always
fashionable yoke-effect that she can wear to advantage is shown by No.
66. This style of corsage is equally effective for a too thin or a too
muscular neck. The filling is of tulle.
A square-cut corsage is most becoming to the woman whose narrow
shoulders have a consumptive droop. The angular cut apparently heightens
the shoulders and decreases their too steeple-like inclination. The
round cut, if it frames a full throat, is also an effective style for
sloping shoulders. The V-shaped cut is most becoming to the short-necked
woman, whose aim should be to increase the length of her throat.
It is not only the too thin neck that needs to be clothed with
discrimination. Throats and shoulders that are too robust are improved
by being covered. The arms and shoulders, however, are often the chief
beauty of a fleshy woman, and it is to her advantage to give them as
effective a setting as possible.
[Illustration: NO. 68]
[Illustration: NO. 67]
As is obvious in No. 67, the stout woman apparently increases her
breadth by wearing a flamboyant corsage, and she hides the most
exquisite lines of her arm with her sleeves.
The princesse style of gown, in No. 68, gives her apparent length of
waist. The modest lace flounce that falls in vertical folds decreases
her formidable corsage. The knotted twist of silk reveals the full
beauty of her arm.
[Illustration: NO. 69]
In dressing the throat there are a few rules to be remembered. A too
long, stem-like neck may be apparently shortened by a standing ruff or a
full, soft band of velvet. The tight, plain band of velvet should never
be worn by a woman with a very slim neck, as is plainly discernible in
sketch No. 69.
[Illustration: NO. 70]
The plain, military collar emphasizes the thinness of the slender
woman's throat; but the soft crushed fold of velvet apparently enlarges
the pipe-like proportions of the thin woman's neck, as may be seen in
sketch No. 70. The tight-fitting collar should not be worn by the
corpulent woman with a thick neck, as is shown by sketch No. 71.
[Illustration: NO. 71]
The thickness of the throat of the woman pictured in No. 72 may seem due
to the folds of the velvet, which give a pleasing hint of a slender
throat, a delusion not to be despised by the woman burdened with flesh.
[Illustration: NO. 72]
All the sisterhood,--stout, thin, long-throated, or short,--should know
the hour when the withering touch of age begins to shrink the soft,
round curves distinctive of the full, sweet throat of healthful youth.
No regretful vanity should be allowed to glamour their eyes to the fact
that Time has them by the throat, to put it melodramatically. The wise
woman will not please herself with a fatal delusion. She will realize it
is illusion she needs-yards of it--lace or velvet, or any beautifying
texture that will conceal the deadly lines of age.
HINTS ON DRESS FOR ELDERLY WOMEN.
Dress has much to do with a youthful or aged appearance. Shawls and long
mantles that fall from the shoulders give even youthful figures a look
of age, because the lines are long and dignified and without especial
grace. Beautiful wraps, or coats that do not come very far below the
hip-line, can be worn becomingly by elderly ladies, neither emphasizing
their years nor making them appear too frivolously attired. There is a
smack of truth in the maxim, _As a woman grows old the dress material
should increase in richness and decrease in brightness_. Handsome
brocades, soft, elegant silks, woollen textures, and velvets are
eminently suitable and becoming to women who are growing old.
Black, and black-and-white, soft white chiffon veiled in lace,
cashmeres, and such refined tissues should be selected by those in "the
first wrinkles of youth." Grays combined with filmy white material, dull
bronzes lightened with cream-tinted lace, are also charmingly
appropriate. Pale blue veiled in chiffon is another grateful
White should be worn more than it is by old ladies. It is so suggestive
of all that is clean, bright, and dainty; and if there is anything an
old lady should strive to be in her personal appearance it is dainty.
Exquisite cleanliness is one of the most necessary attributes of
attractive old age, and any texture that in its quality and color
emphasizes the idea of cleanliness should commend itself to those in
their "advanced youth."
Little old thin women, large ones too, for that matter, who are wrinkled
and colorless, should not wear diamonds. The dazzling white gems with
pitiless brilliancy bring out the pasty look of the skin. The soft glow
of pearls, the cloudlike effects of the opal, the unobtrusive lights of
the moonstone harmonize with the tints of hair and skin of the aged.
Elderly women should not wear bright flowers on their bonnets or hats.
Fresh-looking roses above a face that has lost its first youthfulness
only make that fact more obvious. Forget-me-nots, mignonettes, certain
pretty white flowers, the palest of pink roses, or the most delicate
tint of yellow veiled with lace are not inappropriate for those who do
not enjoy wearing sombre bonnets and hats which are composed only of
rich, black textures. Lace cleverly intermingled with velvet and
jewelled ornaments of dull, rich shades are exceedingly effective on the
head-gear of the old.
Those who are gray-haired--and indeed all women as they grow old--should
wear red above their brows instead of under their chins. A glint of rich
cardinal velvet, or a rosette of the same against gray hair is
Lace! Lace! Lace! and still more Lace for the old. _Lace is an essential
to the dress of a woman more than forty years of age_. Jabots, ruches,
yokes, cascades, vests, and gowns of lace, black or white, are all for
the old. Rich lace has an exquisitely softening effect on the
complexion. Thin women with necks that look like the strings of a violin
should swathe, smother, decorate, and adorn their throats with lace or
gossamer fabrics that have the same quality as lace. These airy
textures, in which light and shadow can so beautifully shift, subdue
roughnesses of the skin and harshness in lines. Old Dame Nature is the
prime teacher of these bewitching artifices. Note her fine effects with
mists and cobwebs, with lace-like moss on sturdy old oaks, the bloom on
the peach and the grape. Nature produces her most enchanting colorings
with dust and age. Laces, gauzes, mulls, chiffons, net, and gossamer
throw the same beautiful glamour over the face and they are fit and
charming accompaniments of gray hair, which is a wonderful softener of
defective complexions and hard facial lines.
Too much cannot be written upon the proper arrangement in the neck-gear
of the aged. The disfiguring wrinkles that make many necks unsightly may
be kept in obeyance by massaging. No matter what the fashion in
neck-gear, the aged must modify it to suit their needs. An old lady
with a thin, pipe-stem neck should adopt a full ruche and fluffy, soft
collar-bands. I cannot forbear repeating that tulle as light as thistle
bubbles, either white or gray or black, is exquisitely effective for
thin, scrawny necks. The fleshy, red neck should be softened with powder
and discreetly veiled in chemisettes of chiffon and delicate net.
Old ladies may keep in the style, thus being in the picture of the hour;
but it is one of the divine privileges of age that it can make its own
modes. Absolute cleanliness, cleanliness as exacting as that proper
nurses prescribe for babies, is the first and most important factor in
making old age attractive. Rich dress, in artistic colors, soft, misty,
esthetic, comes next; then the idealizing scarfs, collars, jabots, and
fichus of lace and tulles. Old people becomingly and artistically
attired have the charm of rare old pictures. If they have soul-illumined
faces they are precious masterpieces.
HOW MEN CARICATURE THEMSELVES WITH THEIR CLOTHES.
Although in the dress of man there are fewer possibilities of caricature
than in that of woman, yet, "the masterpieces of creation" frequently
exaggerate in a laughable--and sometimes a pitiable--way, certain
physical characteristics by an injudicious choice of clothes.
As the fashion in hair-dressing does not grant man the privilege of
enhancing his facial attractions; nor of obscuring his defects by a
becomingly arranged coiffure; and, as the modes in neck-gear are such
that he cannot modify the blemishes of a defective complexion by
encircling his athletic or scrawny throat with airy tulle, or dainty
lace, that arch-idealizer of pasty-looking faces; and as he has forsworn
soft, trailing garments that conceal unclassic curves and uninspiring
lines of nether limbs, it behooves him to be more exactingly particular
even than woman in the selection of his wearing apparel.
Far be it from me, however, to remind man of his many limitations--in
dress. That he can never know the rapture of donning a becoming spring
bonnet, nor the pleasure of possessing "real lace" things, nor the
sensuous charm of being enwrapped in caressing furs, or sleazy, silken
garments as exquisite in color and texture as beautiful, fresh flowers,
only delicate consideration for his feelings constrains me from
expatiating upon at length.
I would rather be able to remind him that he can make his limitations
his advantages, than reveal to him what he misses in not being a woman.
To treat of this important subject adequately and convincingly, one
would require the masterly discernment of a skillful and accomplished
tailor, the experienced knowledge of a well-dressed man, and the alertly
critical perception of a loving woman who, even in the matter of
clothes, wishes the dearest of men to her, to do full justice to himself
and her ideal of him on all occasions.
Although certain of the foregoing qualifications must needs be lacking,
nevertheless this timorous pen, with more trepidation than courage it
must be confessed, begs to call attention to a few obvious details in
masculine attire that caricature, more or less, peculiarities in the
forms and features of men.
To be sure, in the matter of head-gear man is not conspicuously at the
mercy of burlesquing ribbons, flowers, and feathers, and he has fewer
opportunities than women to make himself ridiculous, yet a few
suggestions regarding certain shapes of head-gear for certain types of
faces, applicable to women are equally applicable to him.
The same rule that applies to the women of the wedge-shaped type of face
applies to the man of the wedge-shaped type, as may be seen in sketches
Nos. 75 and 76. It is obvious that the youth depicted in No. 75
detracts from the manliness of his face and emphasizes the pointed
appearance of his countenance by wearing a hat with a broad brim
projecting over his ears. This style of hat appears more frequently in
straw than in any other texture, but the effect of a wide, projecting
rim is the same in any material. No. 76, it is plain, improves the
appearance of the long, slim-faced man. An alpine hat would not be
unbecoming to him, the high oval of the crown forming a balance for the
lower part of the face.
[Illustration: NO. 75]
[Illustration: NO. 76]
The man with a pugilistic chin should endeavor to select a hat that will
not make his heavy jaw as prominent as does the stiff derby, in No. 77.
[Illustration: NO. 77]
A soft alpine hat, or one somewhat of the style of No. 78, improves his
appearance. The high crown and wide, gracefully rolling brim
counter-balance the weight and prominence of the jaw.
[Illustration: NO. 78]
Apropos of the minor details of man's garments, the button as a feature
of clothes has never been fully done justice to. It is a sustaining
thing we know, something we can hang to, fasten to, and even tie to.
That properly placed buttons contribute to our mental poise and
therefore to our physical repose, is hinted in that absurdly engaging
story, anent the smart boy who was the envy of his spelling-class,
because he always stood first. You remember, no doubt, that an envious
but keen-eyed classmate observed that the smart speller worked off his
nervous apprehensiveness by twirling the top button of his coat as he
correctly spelled word after word, day in and day out; and how the
keen-eyed one played the part of a stealthy villain and surreptitiously
cut the button off the coat. And do you remember the dramatic ending?
How the smart one on the fatal day sought to "press the button" and
finding it gone, lost his wits completely and failed ignominiously? Many
of us when we have lost a sustaining button, have we not felt as
ridiculously helpless and wit-benumbed as the smart speller?
[Illustration: NO. 79]
We all sub-consciously acknowledge our dependence upon buttons, but not
many of us, evidently, have observed that even buttons have a certain
possibility of caricature in them; and that they may add to, or detract
from, the appearance of manly forms. The consideration of properly
placed buttons may seem trivial to you, but if you will observe sketches
Nos. 79 and 80, you may discern that a thin man may apparently increase
his breadth and add a certain manly touch to his figure, by changing the
buttons at the waist-line of his coat. The buttons placed so near
together, in No. 79, really make his toothpick proportions too obvious.
His back is made to look broader by placing the buttons wider apart, as
shown in No. 80, and changing the cut of his coat-tail.
[Illustration: NO. 80]
That the fat man may also present a more attractive back to his enemies
by considering the placing of his buttons, may be seen in drawings Nos.
81 and 82. The buttons decorating No. 81 are placed so far apart that
they increase in an ungainly way the breadth of the back at the
waist-line. If they are placed nearer together, and the seams graduated
to meet them, they give the illusion of better and more desirable
proportions, as may be seen in No. 82.
[Illustration: NO. 81]
[Illustration: NO. 82]
That the thin man may also present a more imposing and broader front to
the world, is suggested in sketches Nos. 83 and 84. The contracted look
of the coat in No. 83 is somewhat due to the buttons of his
double-breasted coat being placed too closely together. The slender man
who wishes to give the impression of being broad-chested may have the
buttons on his coat placed a little farther apart than fashion may
allow, as shown in sketch 84. The proportions may be easily preserved by
a careful adjustment of the shoulder-seams and the seams under the arms.
[Illustration: NO. 83]
[Illustration: NO. 84]
[Illustration: NO. 85]
The waist-line is not so much "a danger line" to man as to woman, yet
man should not wholly ignore his equator. If he is long-waisted he can
apparently balance his proportions by having his skirt shortened, as in
No. 85, and his waist-line raised the merest bit. If he is too
short-waisted he can lengthen his skirt and lower his waist-line, as
shown in No. 86. In the one he escapes appearing too long and lanky in
body, and in the other he obscures a lack of becoming inches that tends
to give him a dumpy appearance.
[Illustration: NO. 86]
If you study your fellow-men you will observe that few are really
perfectly proportioned. One man will have the body of a viking on the
legs of a dwarf, or one will have the legs of an Apollo supporting the
short body of a pigmy. The man who has a kingly body, too broad in
proportion to his legs, as shown in sketch No. 87, should endeavor to
modify his physical defect by the careful selection of his coats. He
should have his coats cut to give him as much length of leg as possible.
A skilful tailor will know just what subtle changes and adjustments to
make. The improvement in appearance and gain in height is pictured in
sketch 88. The coat being shorter and the waist of the trousers being
raised a trifle, the man's limbs seem longer, which is an improvement.
Long lines tend to give elegance and grace in bearing. Another thing for
the too robust type of man to consider is the style of his trousers. No.
87 hints what he must not choose. Such brazen plaids only make him
appear offensively aggressive in size. Long, fine lines, such as shown
in No. 88, give an impression of length and apparently lessen the width.
[Illustration: NO. 87]
Too long lines, however, are almost as undesirable as too short ones.
Over-tall, thin men sometimes make themselves look like telegraph poles
or flagstaffs by wearing short coats that expose in a graceless way the
whole length of their limbs. They suggest cranes and other fowl that
give the impression of being "all legs."
[Illustration: NO. 88]
When the legs are proportioned more like a stick of macaroni or a lead
pencil than the shapely limbs of an Adonis, they appear exceedingly
funny when surmounted by a short coat, such as pictured in No. 89. A
famous general in the Civil War did not despise cotton as a
fortification to protect him from the onslaught of the enemy. The
over-tall, thin man, who is not unsuggestive of a picket, should not be
ashamed to fortify himself with cotton or any other sort of padding that
intelligent tailors keep in stock. He should build his shoulders up a
bit and be generally, but most carefully and artistically, enlarged. His
coat should be lengthened, as in sketch go, to cut off just as much of
the longness of limb as can possibly be allowed without destroying
artistic proportions. The very tall, thin man who unthinkingly wears a
very short coat should be brave and never turn his back to his enemy.
[Illustration: NO. 89]
If he wears black and white check trousers and a short blue coat, he
should travel with a screen. A man in just such a rig attracted no end
of comment in a fashionable hotel. The caricaturing effect of his
trousers and coat were unspeakably comical. The wearer had a face as
grave as an undertaker's and the air of a serious-minded college
professor; but he had the nondescript look of a scarecrow composed of
whatever available garments could be obtained from the cast-off wardrobe
of summer boarders in a farmhouse.
[Illustration: NO. 90]
Coats assuredly have the power of making cartoons--living, jocular
cartoons--of their wearers. It would hardly seem necessary to call
attention to the fact that a man of huge dimensions should not wear a
short coat, such as shown in sketch No. 91, yet his type is too
frequently seen attired in this style. A man so dressed certainly seems
the living exemplification of the definition of a jug, namely, "a vessel
usually with a swelling belly, narrow mouth, and a handle, for holding
liquors." It cannot be reiterated too often that a large, stout man
should aim to acquire the distinction and dignity given by long lines.
If his body is proportioned so he really has neither length of torso nor
of limb he must pay more attention to the cut of his clothes and attain
length in whatever artistic way he can. The long coat, as may be seen
in sketch No. 92, not only apparently adds length but it conceals too
[Illustration: NOS. 91 and 92]
Of course, character counts far more than clothes, we will all agree to
that, but at first glance it is a man's clothes that impress people.
Clothes affect our behavior somewhat. For instance, "When the young
European emigrant, after a summer's labor puts on for the first time a
new coat, he puts on much more. His good and becoming clothes put him on
thinking that he must behave like people who are so dressed; and
silently and steadily his behavior mends." Of course, there is an
uplifting truth in George Herbert's maxim, "This coat with my discretion
will be brave," yet, I am inclined to think that the majority of men who
will stop to consider will agree with Emerson, who says, "If a man has
not firm nerves and has keen sensibility, it is perhaps a wise economy
to go to a good shop and dress himself irreproachably. He can then
dismiss all care from his mind, and may easily find that performance an
addition of confidence, a fortification that turns the scale in social
encounters, and allows him to go gayly into conversations where else he
had been dry and embarrassed. I am not ignorant,--I have heard with
admiring submission the experience of the lady who declared 'that the
sense of being perfectly well dressed gives a feeling of inward
tranquillity which religion is powerless to bestow.'"
A popular clothier in New York, understanding this trait of his
fellow-men, voices this same sentiment in his advertisement in this
succinct way: "Seriously now. Have you ever stopped to think that if you
wear good clothing it adds much to that independent, easy feeling you
should have when you come in contact with other men?"
I think it was Lord Chesterfield who said: "A man is received according
to his appearance, and dismissed according to his merits." There is a
bit of truth in this we would all admit, I have no doubt, if we studied
the question. Clothes affect our own poise, ease, and attitude toward
others and the expression of others toward us, but, after all, we rely
upon the man or woman instead of upon the impression we receive from the
clothes. The garments, after we have noticed them in a superficial way,
are chiefly interesting to us, because they are arch-betrayers of the
physical and mental poise of the man. No matter what the cut of the
cloth, no matter what _cachet_ of a fashionable tailor a suit may have,
or what its richness of material, the attitude "a la decadence" of No.
93 would make the best clothes in Christendom look shabby and
[Illustration: NO. 93]
This too familiar carriage of the American man makes one wish to have
the power to reverse the faces--as Dante did those of the false
prophets, so those who stand "a la decadence" might see what ridiculous
figures they cut in drawing-room and street. The curved backs and
rounded-out shoulders would make fair-looking chests, and the flat
chests would represent respectable-looking backs.
A man owes it to the spirit within him not to stand or walk in such an
attitude. He should brace up and keep bracing up persistently,
unremittently, until he attains a more manly bearing.
[Illustration: NO. 94]
The wholly alive fellow pictured in sketch No. 94 would make homespun
look elegant. His chest is forward. He does not sag in front at the
waist, protruding his abdomen in not only an inartistic, but an
unhealthy manner; but he strides masterfully forward with an air of
inspiriting "aliveness." The perfect poise of his attitude is not
unsuggestive of the Apollo Belvedere--the model for all men--a picture
of which every college boy should have to place beside the prettiest
girl in his collection of pretty girls, to constantly remind him to
carry himself like a young god.
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