It is, certainly, the dress at home that tells most of the care and character of the wearer. Much regard is given to the dress for other occasions in current ladies’ literature, for better or worse. But here comes the test of delicacy and refinement, the criterion of the individual, sadly often overlooked. In truth, home wear exceeds in importance all street-dresses and ball-gowns, since while the mentioned outfits shape the opinion the outside world holds of you, house-dress is what shapes the opinion of your dearest and nearest. Even when there is no-one to see you at home, what you wear on your own shapes your opinion of yourself. Are you a smart and industrious housewife in a trim house-dress? Are you a lady of luxurious leisure in a trailing tea-gown? Are you an elegant creature of all possible refinements in a négligée of lace and silk? A domestic empress in varied aprons? An aesthetic intellectual in artistic gown, modeled on some historic ideal? A sophisticated little mademoiselle in her pretty and delicious deshabille? Or, are you a lethargic heap, slowly oscillating between the television and microwave oven, in faded, shapeless, and charmless knit-cotton rags? Your home is the microcosm where you may rule as you best see fit – and the entire atmosphere echoes what the mistress of the home has chosen for herself.
Neatness is the first requisite, suitability the second. There is nothing more of an offense to good taste than seeing the delicate fabric, the ribbons, the laces of a once elegant toilet, degraded to the uses of the kitchen, spotted and soiled almost beyond recognition.
Have gowns adapted to the tasks for which they are intended. The neat gingham, the plain wool gown, are pretty and appropriate for the morning wear of any lady who must superintend the workings of her own household and moreso for her who takes care of the housework all by herself. Aprons, gloves, dust caps, which can be quickly doffed and will leave her neat and presentable for the stray morning caller without the necessity, on her part, of a change of costume, and on his, of a tedious waiting.
For afternoon the prettiest of toilets may be worn in the shape of house-dresses, or tea-jackets made of otherwise useless remnants of bright silks, and ribbons may be used to wear with otherwise presentable skirts whose original bodices have been long outworn. Trains, medium, are always pretty in the house, hence tea-gowns, from the richest to the most modest in cost, are always in favor. Avoid very short skirts for the house; they are awkward, and belittle you from a mental as well as a physical standpoint. While there are myriad variations of suitable and lovely house-dress, always choose what is the most feminine and charming, and above all, beautiful.