“Everyone who adds beauty of raiment to goodness of soul makes goodness doubly dear.”
Mere beauty of face and form is not enough. If it is not cultivated and refined to the highest possible level, with all the arts and techniques of dress at our disposal, bodily beauty is not worthy of special note. It is but a blank canvas, wasted and useless unless one employs her artistic hand to decorate it. Whether or not you are beautiful is not as significant as whether you are well-groomed, well-dressed, and whether your appearance is pleasing. Which body you were born in is just a happenstance and mostly meaningless – what you do with you body and above all, how you clothe yourself is what matters. Propriety and beauty must both be observed. The proper dress, you will find, is the one that agrees with your station in life and with the work that is to be done in it or the purpose for which it is intended. Successful business women, society women, and home women appreciate the necessity of wearing appropriate, becoming costumes in order to be able to cope with all duties that confront them. But never, never does propriety require the abandonment of beauty.
Beauty is no trifling matter. To know happiness we must appreciate beauty, and to appreciate beauty we must develop it both outside and within us. A great degree of happiness may be had from a study of dress and its requisites, for, as we study, observe, and apply the rules of beauty, and as we awaken to the art and beauty of dress, our inner selves will develop to such an extent as to give us understanding and appreciation of the beauty of the Universe. Dress has such tremendous possibilities, such far-reaching effect, such power for individual growth and such uplifting effect on the whole society, that no woman can afford not to understand these principles as well as the niceties of dress. Every one admits at once the influence of environment on character – well, dress is one’s closest and most intimate environment, isn’t it? It is practice not preaching that we are considering. Oh, but, it may be said, the fashionably dressed woman is nothing but a doll or a butterfly! Even if this be true, the doll is a source of harmless pleasure, while the butterfly is a symbol of the soul.
It is a woman’s peculiar mission to give more and more poetry to life and she can do this largely through her dress. A beautiful costume is uplifting to everyone whose eyes happen upon it, whether they consciously understand it or not. Without so much as uttering a word, a lady can and does preach of the higher things and prime importance of Beauty with the folds of her dress, the flowers of her hat, arresting ornament of her lace scarf. Indeed, were she to say these things out loud, it would be much less effective. But the elegance of her costume shines a benevolent light on everyone she comes in contact with, and illuminates the Universe. Such is the power of well-chosen dress and such is the pleasure and duty of any lady with healthy sense of Beauty.