If one dress has to meet more than one kind of need, plan for a basic dress. A basic dress is one which is simple enough in line and and neutral enough in colour to become a background for the accessories worn with it. This type of costume is more or less dressy, depending upon the choice of accessories. Basic dress and mix-and-match accessories make it possible to have more ensembles with fewer purchases.
To serve many purposes let the dress be of some plain wool goods, tastefully made, with simple lines and devoid of frills, buttons and other furbelows. When chosen and made well, of a neutral tint, it will end up as the most trusted member of your wardrobe, and you’ll end up loving it like a sister. Add a hat and gloves harmonizing in tint, the whole outfit will bear the imprint of the true lady and is suitable for any occasion requiring dignified restraint. For a change of character, choose a slightly frivolous hat and pin a few silk roses or a sweet bow on the neckline, and you are charmingly garbed for cocktails or a date. Again with a cardigan and walking shoes the dress reveals itself perfectly suited to spectator sports or walking in the country. At the same time the entire outfit will have cost no more than one dearly-purchased silk gown that left no margin for hat, gloves, or shoes, and must be worn on every occasion, suitable or unsuitable, to the discomfort of the wearer and the ruin of the gown.
The colour of a basic dress should preferably not be black, but some other neutral colour. Brown, navy, and grey, and all their shades and tints, are suitable for the purpose – choose whichever is the best for your complexion.
Endless variety of effects can be had with collars, cuffs, pieces of lace, belts and scarves, which are all found at second-hand establishment for pennies. This should be an inspiration to the woman of small means. She has it within herself to present always an attractive appearance.