Saturday, February 2, 2013

What To Wear At Home

Dear reader, I don't presume to tell you what you should wear, as it is a matter of individual taste, I just thought it a good idea to share some suggestions from a couple of old books I own. First comes the guide on etiquette written before WWII on what to wear when and not only  it makes for an interesting read but also gives us an insight into the society of that period.

So according to my book, a well-dressed woman will differentiate between morning and afternoon clothes. In the morning she will wear a simple dress without ornaments, a skirt with a pullover, or a casual blouse. The skirt can be made of expensive fabric, if she can afford it, but it will be simple. It can be worn with a woolen cardigan and low heel shoes. Things not to wear in the morning are high heel shoes, extravagant dresses, lace blouses, silk cardigans etc.

If the lady goes out, she will wear a simple coat, or a two pice suit (a skirt and a jacket) and if it's cold she'll add to it woolen gloves and a scarf. If she goes out in the afternoon, she'll wear a long coat, a two piece suit made of silk, a more dressy frock which can be long or half-long, suede gloves and she will carry a suede bag plus she'll put on high heeled shoes.

The hostess should take effort not to look overdressed compared to her guests, especially if they are less well off.

Another book which I have gives the following advice considering clothes for housework: use a woolen skirt for winter months and a cotton one for summer and when buying clothes try to choose them in one basic colour.

The Fascinating Womanhood author Helen Andelin mentions a housedress which is a cotton dress worn with an apron for housework. Helen also advises the ladies to stress the differences between themselves and men and avoid mannish fabrics, colours and styles. "Extreme feminine styles are full skirts, ruffles, puffed sleeves, gathers and drapes. Use them when in style and appropriate. Even a plain dress is feminine, since it's not part of a man's wardrobe." F.W. p249, Bantam Books 1992).

Mrs Andelin also stresses the importance of modesty reminding the reader that despite "...the wordly emphasis on...scanty clothes, decent men don't respect women who expose too much of their bodies in public...Higher types of civilisation have traditionally been modest. It seems to go with itelligence and refinement." (p. 250).

She adds to it that wearing feminine clothes and being well groomed increases the woman's self esteem and I tend to agree. We seem to live in the times when anything goes, and one of the ways to fight entropy is to take extra care to look as well as possible at any occasion.