On Absolute Necessities

Study the list of necessary garments below, and correct it to correspond to your actual circumstances and phase of life. The list is necessarily quite general, but all items are there for a reason. If you go to formal parties less than once a year (a regrettable but rather common occurrence these days) you can omit the evening wear from your list and rent the evening dress if necessary. Underwear and stockings are not included, get as many as your washing cycle requires. Boots, mittens, ear-muffs and other winter wear for severe and freezing weather are omitted from the list, since not everyone has need for them – but if the climate in your area requires them, add them to your personal list immediately! Shivering with cold is never appropriate. Sports clothes are also another category to add as need be.

Home wear for morning is the first one on the list, because I wish to stress the importance of how you dress in your own home. It is false economy to get gorgeous things to wear for outsiders to see, and appear at home in shabby and unbecoming clothes. It will reflect on your opinion of yourself and also on your home life quite harmfully. Also, the home wear category is where the day naturally starts, when you climb out of your bed and envelope yourself in a charming morning wrap to greet the dawn.
For preparing and eating breakfast
1. Morning coat for warm weather
2. Morning coat for cold weather
3. Morning cap or some head covering to wear before you have arranged your hair.
4. House slippers for warm weather
5. House slippers for cold weather

For duties at home
6.-7. Washable house dress, quite simple, may be of a happy colour
8.-9. Washable aprons to go with aforementioned dresses and perhaps of same fabric.

Garments for appearing in public
10. Simple and practical dress or skirt and blouse ensemble for going to market or light garden work.
11. Hat for same
12. Shoes for same
13. Market basket
14. Simple dress of good fabric, which can be worn for before-noon social gatherings and for business with simple shoes, hat and bag, and the accessories switched to dressier ones for after-noon. For tight budget a basic dress is recommended, as with clever changes of accessories the same dress can do double duty as an afternoon visiting dress and be transformed with lace collars, clips etc. to look quite different.
15. Suit. A suit in slightly soft lines is as useful as a basic dress, and even if you are not in business, one suit is much recommended.
16. Blouse or shell for suit, in simple lines.
17. Dressy blouse for suit.
18. Light coat for warm weather, to match basic dress.
19. Warm coat to match both basic dress and suit.
20. Simple low-heeled pumps to match both basic dress and suit.
21. Dressier shoes to match both basic dress and suit.
22. Set of collars and cuffs, or other accessories to transform basic dress into an afternoon dress, to wear to afternoon social gatherings, lectures, informal concerts and the like.
23. A simple hat to match both basic dress and suit.
24. A dressy hat to match both basic dress and suit.
25. Simple gloves to match both basic dress and suit.
26. Dressier gloves to match both basic dress and suit.
27. Practical handbag to match both basic dress and suit.
28. Smaller, dressy handbag to match both basic dress and suit.
29. A summer dress for picnics, lawn parties and the like, as pretty as you wish.
30. Summery hat, with as wide brim as suits you.
31. Light summer shoes of such a colour and make as to match your summer dress.
32. A warm wrap or cardigan to match basic dress – not too casual or sporty.
33.-37. A mix-and-match set of evening clothes: A bare sleeveless top, a sleeved top, ballerina length skirt and floor-length skirt, all of the same fabric.
38. Evening wrap or evening coat of for example shantung silk.
39. Evening shoes.
40. Evening bag. It can be either the focal point of your ensemble, for example a gorgeous beaded bag, or it can be a little pouch made from the same fabric as the evening clothes.

For evening and sleep at home
41. A hostess gown, which you can very well wear also for dinner with your own family.
42. A tea gown, as luxurious and whimsical as you can imagine and possibly en traine. In any case it should be long.
43. Luxurious slippers to go with tea gown.
44. A bed jacket for chilly evenings.
45.-46. Light sleeping dresses for warm weather.
47.-48. Warm sleeping dresses for cold weather.
49. A combing cape.

For rainy weather
50. A rain coat or cape with hood.
51. An umbrella.
52. Galoshes or water-proof shoes.

This list is the bare bones of a wardrobe. It will ensure that you are properly dressed for any occasion, but variety is somewhat limited. As the basic dress and suit will see you through all public appearances from 7 in the morning till 7 in the evening, I have omitted afternoon dresses and visiting dresses, but as soon as you can, you should include a few these too to ward off danger of monotony. Meanwhile, various scarves, detachable collars, flowers, hat-ribbons, beads and brooches give different appearance for the basic dress and suit. A light silk suit or dress and coat ensemble would be most useful, if you participate in semi-formal occasions quite often. If your life is more domestic, add house-dresses and matching aprons – perhaps one for each day, so you have always a fresh and clean one to wear. Add as many pretty summer dresses as you have need for, or skirt and top separates if you prefer those. It would also be beneficial for your feet and shoes, if you can get a second pair of everyday shoes, since shoes wear longer if they can rest a day between uses.


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