On Dress as Art

promenadeA well-dressed woman is one who has learned the art of assembling her costume so that she presents a pleasing and satisfying picture. Now ‘art’ is a term which is not nearly often enough applied to (or even applicable, under current circumstances) to dress.  Some people have the idea that art includes only such things as painting that hangs on the wall, a beautiful church, or a statue on the city park. But that’s a very limited view, neglecting the ephemeral arts and in effect relegating art to something experienced just occasionally, far removed from everyday life. Ephemeral arts, applied arts are with us not only when visiting a museum or paying close attention to a work of art, but every day and every hour of our lives. Dress especially is an important art – and it always has been. It is an extension and manifestation of our inner selves, interacting with our environment – responding to it and cultivating it as well as our selves. Every article of clothing is the personal art expression of those who created it and every outfit a composition of form and colour and meaning. We can elect to never draw a picture, never to compose a sonnet or touch a violin, but the art of dress we must, for better or for worse, participate in. When Dress is a compulsory part of our existence, then why not make the best out of it? It can drag our thoughts and feelings down, but if practiced with best intentions, eagerness, care and thought, it will uplift ourselves and inspire others.
Art in Dress is only achieved with Real clothes – clothes which admit that the first and foremost reason for their existence is ornamental. This does not mean, as my dear reader surely has figured out long time ago, that each one of them should be ornamented. But every piece of clothing she puts on her person should be truthful in expression, graceful and refined in contour, manifesting no coarseness, vulgarity, or obtrusiveness. The resultant ensemble is restful to look at rather than disquieting, in color and design it is alluring and persuasive, not self-assertive; it emphasizes in every possible way the charm and personality of the wearer. Such a costume requires intelligent thought and study, which is more than justified by the result. The final refining touch, which elevates a proper and agreeable costume into Art, expresses the personality of the wearer in the language of Beauty.
Art in dress is the artery through which flows the life of scintillating Beauty.

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