On Promenading Dress

Although promenade dress as an institution and recognized category of dress waned already a generation or two before the cloud of ugliness descended, I think it would perhaps be worth reviving. The promenade dress is a sort of walking dress, but one which is worn for walks of pleasure, as distinct from going about the town in business or duties of the day. As such, more of richness and stylishness is not only allowable, but is to be desired. Brilliancy of coloring and apparent costliness of material which would be out of place in a regular walking dress are the characteristics of the promenade dress. Women of True Fashion would confer a favor upon their fellow-citizens by venturing, as far as good taste will allow, in selecting cheerful and becoming colours for their promenading costumes. Naturally I do not recommend any vulgar or crude combinations of garish colours, but as the regular walking dress is by practicality usually restrained to neutral tones – black, grays, dull browns, tans etc. – one would do well to pick a livelier tone this time. A promenading dress is not worn so often as to become conspicuous or boring due to an unusual colour.  
As for the accessories, this is the perfect occasion to carry a pretty parasol. Coquettish little hats, without the slights pretense of protecting the head, are nowhere so in their true element as accompaniments to a promenading dress. Collars and cuffs, if worn, must be of finest lace, or most delicate and sheer linen batiste, and if there is any other occasion where gloves in peculiar design and are as appropriate as with a promenading costume, I confess ignorance on the matter. Curious and unusual handbags can be added to this costume if one so wishes and the effect is becoming. But since the whole costume is seen in its entirety by passers-by with one glance,  not a single detail can be overlooked and not a single accessory added as an afterthought without careful study. A pretty parasol will not present to advantage, if it does not match, or contrast in an elegant manner, the dress, cloak or jacket, shoes, bag and hat in style and in colour. All that is worn and all that is carried will either assist or impair the general effect. If you take it upon yourself to go promenading in a promenading dress, do not go about it carelessly. A promenade dress is the chance for you to present the full scope of your skill in arranging a fetching costume, practical considerations being quite minimal. Everything in a promenading dress is designed with less weight placed on serviceability and more to display, although in shoes one will do well to pay attention to comfort. The most leisurely and elegant walk loses all chance of pleasure, if the shoes be too tight.
The promenade dress in its original form was reserved solely for the wealthy leisure classes, and as I assume most of my dear readers, as well as me, do not belong to such a privileged existence, we must balance the desire for a special promenade dress with the practical restraints of our clothing allowances. A promenade dress is a luxury, not a necessity, and can be substituted with perfect propriety by the “Sunday best”. However, if the finances allow for it, and there is actually time to go promenading regularly enough to justify a special ensemble, do go ahead with it. A pleasure walk at a seaside promenade, or at an elegant boulevard, feels twice, or thrice as delightful in a costume designed expressly for this purpose.


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