On Street Dress

The season has come to return to the city from the delights of the countryside, if you should have been so lucky as to spend your summer days in a villa or chatelet. The transition from relaxed country clothes to chic city clothes should be thorough, and it is best to do it in one fell swoop, putting together a few complete and well-thought-out ensembles for each of your autumn tasks.

Firstly, give some consideration to the appearance you present on the streets, in business or on errands. It is conceded by all authorities that articles of adornment consisting of or containing jewels or precious stones should never be worn in the street. Exception is made in favor of rings and watches, and some small decorations made of plain metal. The woman who wishes to adopt correct form in dress will never wear any but the simplest little pin to fasten her blouse at the throat, or accent the lapel of her suit, during the morning hours on the street. Diaphanous clothing, even if it extend no farther than the waist, is improper for street wear and business, as are sleeves above the elbow and extremely low necks. To dress artistically one must consider the purpose for which the dress is required, and the purpose of street dress is to appear correct. To show off one’s glittering jewelry on the street is to call attention to the fact that one has no invitations to occasions better suited for them – even if it were true, this is an impression one should most carefully avoid to give. There is no surer mark of vulgarity than over-dressing or gay dressing in the street. Let the materials be of the costliest kind, if you will, but do not wear the exaggerations of the fashion, or conspicuous colors, or anything specifically pertaining to cocktail-hour or later. Let good taste dictate the limits where fashion may rule, and let the colors harmonize well, and be of such tints as not to attack the eye in incongruous combinations.

autumn-coatsStreet clothes, to be in good taste, should indeed be of quiet colors, and never conspicuous. Browns, grey, dark green, navy and other neutral tints, with black and white, make the most dignified and most practical wear for the street. Above all, avoid wearing several bright colors. One may be worn with perfect propriety to take off the sombre effect of a dress of brown or black, but do not let it be too glaring, and wear but little of it. Let the shoes be sufficiently strong and thick to protect the feet from damp or dust, and wear always neat, clean, nicely fitting gloves. A simple hat, whose effect relies on the studied lines and not on a mass of decorations completes the ensemble.

The entire effect of the most tasteful costume will be ruined if attention is not paid to the details of dress. A soiled hat, untidy strings, or torn gloves and collar will utterly spoil the prettiest street costume. I could even go so far as to pronounce it better to appear entirely without gloves than a soiled pair, although I hope you, dear reader, so not need to make such a choice. If one glove is soiled and the other neat, it is possible to wear one glove and to hold the other one in your hand, concealing its sorry state.

Even at the danger of over-emphasis and repetition, I should like to recommend a well-cut, simple, suit for the street wear. Whatever surprises the day may hold in store, woman dressed in a good suit is prepared to face them. Nothing has been invented to exceed over the humble and useful suit, which in a pleasant way cloaks the wearer in a degree of neutral anonymity in the city streets, but for the careful observer reveals the distinction of good fabric, perfect details and unassailable good taste.

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