For the woman of moderate means to be well dressed entails no insurmountable hardships, for dignified economy and good taste invariably go hand in hand. This being said, one does not automatically arrive at a stylish wardrobe on limited means. It requires self-control and good planning. Any person whose allowance for clothes is limited should always endeavor to spend every penny to the best advantage. The lady of lean purse can not afford to make foolish purchases.
It would be most beneficial for her to learn the sewing skill. The use of the needle goes a long way in ensuring a neat, pretty and suitable appearance, and allows for variation which otherwise would be out of bounds. Right here I want to caution you about the buying of bargain materials. They can be tempting at the fabric shop, but nothing is a bargain that cannot be used to advantage. No matter how pretty and delightful a remnant of fabric might be, if it cannot be turned into something wearable, it is a foolish purchase. Make sure the bargain fabric is of good quality, that the possible faults are such that do not cause difficulties in sewing or wearing, and above all that it can be used intelligently to benefit your wardrobe. A piece of excellent wool suiting, which would make a really smart skirt, but is five inches too short for that use, is worth nothing. Now, perhaps it after all could be used to trim the revers of your last years suit – but you must figure this out before opening your purse, and also allocate enough time for the work from your other duties.
Colour co-ordinating is very important when on a tight budget – the lady bound by her clothing budget simply can not afford to get clothes which do not work harmoniously together. In practical terms this means one should adopt a base colour, which out of necessity must be a somewhat unremarkable tone, and one which is easily available. It can’t be apple green, or light fuchsia, or a particular tone of orange, or any colour which is difficult to match and easy to remember. So, it must be either black, or brown, or grey, or navy, or tan – pick one which is the most flattering to you. Personally I find black to be quite trying on most complexions, and recommend dark grey instead, if you have even the slightest suspicion of the becomingess of black. When you have chosen your base colour, you only need one set of accessories (shoes, purse, gloves and hat) which will match with all your publicly worn clothes. If this list of colours sounds austere and even boring, remember that you can balance this necessary somberness of out-of-home attire with the colours you wear at home. Those you can pick as you prefer and be as bright and flower-like as your fancy dictates. Your house-dresses can be sky-blue or yellow, tea-gown may very well be of purple and pink shot silk, and hostess gown of a lively pattern combining sea-green, white and teal, or any other colour which suits and delights you. As you will not be wearing these clothes at the same time, they need not follow the same colour plan (as long as they match the interior of your home!).
Well-chosen clothes surround you as with a halo of smartness, indefinable as to any distinction of outstanding detail but perfect as a setting for you and your own individual expression as to the living of beautiful and productive life. This can be achieved as well with a slim purse as a full one, if one sets her mind and resources to the task.