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Title: Woman as Decoration
Author: Burbank, Emily
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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New York Dodd, Mead and Company 1917
Copyright, 1917
By Dodd, Mead and Company, Inc.

            V. B. G.


    Madame Geraldine Farrar as Thaïs in the opera of that name.
    It is a sketch made from life for this book. Observe the
    gilded wig and richly embroidered gown. They are after
    descriptions of a costume worn by the real Thaïs. It is a
    Greek type of costume but not the familiar classic Greek of
    sculptured story. Thaïs was a reigning beauty and acted in
    the theatre of Alexandria in the early Christian era.

    [Illustration: _Sketched for "Woman as Decoration" by Thelma Cudlipp
    Mme. Geraldine Farrar in Greek Costume as Thaïs_]


WOMAN AS DECORATION is intended as a sequel to _The Art of
Interior Decoration_ (Grace Wood and Emily Burbank).

Having assisted in setting the stage for woman, the next logical step is
the consideration of woman, herself, as an important factor in the
decorative scheme of any setting,--the vital spark to animate all
interior decoration, private or public. The book in hand is intended as
a brief guide for the woman who would understand her own type,--make the
most of it, and know how simple a matter it is to be decorative if she
will but master the few rules underlying all successful dressing. As the
costuming of woman is an art, the history of that art must be known--to
a certain extent--by one who would be an intelligent student of our
subject. With the assistance of thirty-three illustrations to throw
light upon the text, we have tried to tell the beguiling story of
decorative woman, as she appears in frescoes and bas reliefs of Ancient
Egypt, on Greek vases, the Gothic woman in tapestry and stained glass,
woman in painting, stucco and tapestry of the Renaissance, seventeenth,
eighteenth and nineteenth century woman in portraits.

Contemporary woman's costume is considered, not as fashion, but as
decorative line and colour, a distinct contribution to the interior
decoration of her own home or other setting. In this department, woman
is given suggestions as to the costuming of herself, beautifully and
appropriately, in the ball-room, at the opera, in her boudoir, sun-room
or on her shaded porch; in her garden; when driving her own car; by the
sea, or on the ice.

Woman as Decoration has been planned, in part, also to fill a need very
generally expressed for a handbook to serve as guide for beginners in
getting up costumes for fancy-dress balls, amateur theatricals, or the
professional stage.

We have tried to shed light upon period costumes and point out ways of
making any costume effective.

Costume books abound, but so far as we know, this is the first attempt
to confine the vast and perplexing subject within the dimensions of a
small, accessible volume devoted to the principles underlying the
planning of all costumes, regardless of period.

The author does not advocate the preening of her feathers as woman's
sole occupation, in any age, much less at this crisis in the making of
world history; but she does lay great emphasis on the fact that a woman
owes it to herself, her family and the public in general, to be as
decorative in any setting, as her knowledge of the art of dressing
admits. This knowledge implies an understanding of line, colour,
fitness, background, and above all, one's own type. To know one's type,
and to have some knowledge of the principles underlying all good
dressing, is of serious economic value; it means a saving of time,
vitality and money.

The watchword of to-day is efficiency, and the keynote to modern
costuming, appropriateness. And so the spirit of the time records itself
in the interesting and charming subdivision of woman's attire.

One may follow Woman Decorative in the Orient on vase, fan, screen and
kakemono; as she struts in the stiff manner of Egyptian bas reliefs,
across walls of ancient ruins, or sits in angular serenity, gazing into
the future through the narrow slits of Egyptian eyes, oblivious of time;
woman, beautiful in the European sense, and decorative to the
superlative degree, on Greek vase and sculptured wall. Here in rhythmic
curves, she dandles lovely Cupid on her toe; serves as vestal virgin at
a woodland shrine; wears the bronze helmet of Minerva; makes laws, or as
Penelope, the wife, wearily awaits her roving lord. She moves in august
majesty, a sore-tried queen, and leaps in merry laughter as a care-free
slave; pipes, sings and plies the distaff. Sauntering on, down through
Gothic Europe, Tudor England, the adolescent Renaissance, Bourbon
France, into the picturesque changes of the eighteenth century, we ask,
can one possibly escape our theme--Woman as Decoration? No, for she is
carved in wood and stone; as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven gleams in
the jeweled windows of the church, looks down in placid serenity on
lighted altar; is woven in tapestry, in fact dominates all art,
painting, stucco or marble, throughout the ages.

If one would know the story of Woman's evolution and retrogression--that
rising and falling tide in civilisation--we commend a study of her as
she is presented in Art. A knowledge of her costume frequently throws
light upon her age; a thorough knowledge of her age will throw light
upon her costume.

A study of the essentials of any costume, of any period, trains the eye
and mind to be expert in planning costumes for every-day use. One learns
quickly to discriminate between details which are ornaments, because
they have meaning, and those which are only illiterate superfluities;
and one learns to master many other points.

It is not within the province of this book to dwell at length upon
national costume, but rather to follow costume as it developed with and
reflected caste, after human society ceased to be all alike as to
occupation, diversion and interest.

In the world of caste, costume has gradually evolved until it aims
through appropriateness, at assisting woman to fulfil her rôle. With
peasants who know only the traditional costume of their province, the
task must often be done in spite of the costume, which is picturesque or
grotesque, inconvenient, even impossible; but long may it linger to
divert the eye! Russia, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Poland,
Scandinavia,--all have an endless variety of costumes, rich in souvenirs
of folk history, rainbows of colour and bizarre in line, but it is
costuming the woman of fashion which claims our attention.

The succeeding chapters will treat of woman, the vital spark which gives
meaning to any setting--indoors, out of doors, at the opera, in the
ball-room, on the ice--where you will. Each chapter has to do with
modern woman and the historical paragraphs are given primarily to shed
light upon her costume.

It is shown that woman's decorative appearance affects her psychology,
and that woman's psychology affects her decorative appearance.

Some chapters may, at first glance, seem irrelevant, but those who have
seriously studied any art, and then undertaken to tell its story
briefly in simple, direct language, with the hope of quickly putting
audience or reader in touch with the vital links in the chain of
evidence, will understand the author's claim that no detour which
illustrates the subject can in justice be termed irrelevant. In the
detours often lie invaluable data, for one with a mind for
research--whether author or reader. This is especially true in
connection with our present task, which involves unravelling some of the
threads from the tangled skein of religion, dancing, music, sculpture
and painting--that mass of bright and sombre colour, of gold and silver
threads, strung with pearls and glittering gems strangely broken by
age--which tells the epic-lyric tale of civilisation.

While we state that it is not our aim to make a point of fashion as
such, some of our illustrations show contemporary woman as she appears
in our homes, on our streets, at the play, in her garden, etc. We have
taken examples of women's costumes which are pre-eminently
characteristic of the moment in which we write, and as we believe,
illustrate those laws upon which we base our deductions concerning
woman as decoration. These laws are: appropriateness of her costume to
the occasion; consideration of the type of wearer; background against
which costume is to be worn; and all decoration (which includes jewels),
as detail with _raison d'être_. The body should be carried with form (in
the sporting sense), to assist in giving line to the costume.

The _chic_ woman is the one who understands the art of elimination in
costumes. Wear your costumes with conviction--by which we mean decide
what picture you will make of yourself, make it and then enjoy it! It is
only by letting your personality animate your costume that you make
yourself superior to the lay figure or the sawdust doll.


  CHAPTER                                                          PAGE

  FOREWORD                                                           xi


  Rules having economic value while aiming at
  decorativeness.--Lines and colouring emphasised
  or modified by costuming.--Temperaments affect
  carriage of the body.--Line of body affects
  costume.--Technique of controlling the physique.--The
  highly sensitised woman.--Costuming an
  art.--Studying types.--Starring one's own good
  points.--Beauty not so fleeting as is supposed
  if costume is adapted to its changing aspects.--Masters
  in art of costuming often discover and
  star previously unrecognised beauty.--Establishing
  the habit of those lines and colours in
  gowns, hats, gloves, parasols, sticks, fans and
  jewels which are your own.--The intelligent
  purchaser.--The best dressed women.--Value of
  understanding one's background.--Learning the
  art of understanding one's background.--Learning
  the art of costuming from masters of the
  art.--How to proceed with this study.--Successful
  costuming not dependent upon amount of
  money spent upon it.--An example


  Appropriateness keynote of costuming to-day.--Five
  salient points to be borne in mind when
  planning a costume.--Where English, French,
  and American women excel in art of costuming.--Feeling
  for line.--To make our points clear
  constant reference to the stage is necessary.--Bakst
  and Poiret.--Turning to the Orient for
  line and colour.--Keeping costume in same key
  as its settings.--How to know your period; its
  line, colours and characteristic details.--Studying
  costumes in Gothic illuminations

  III HOW TO DRESS YOUR TYPE                                         46

  and colour of costumes to
  bring out the individuality of wearer.--The chic
  woman defined.--Intelligent expressing of self
  in _mise-en-scène_.--Selecting one's colour scheme

  IV THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CLOTHES                                       54

  Effect of clothes upon manners.--The natural
  instinct for costuming, "clothes sense."--Costuming
  affecting psychology of wearer.--Clothes
  may liberate or shackle the spirit of women, be
  a tyrant or magician's wand.--Follow colour
  instinct in clothes as well as housefurnishings


  Woman's line result of habits of a mind controlled
  by observations, conventions, experiences
  and attitudes which make her personality.--Training
  lines of physique from childhood; an
  example.--A knowledge of how to dress appropriately
  leads to efficiency

  VI COLOUR IN WOMAN'S COSTUME                                       74

  Colour hall-mark of to-day.--Bakst, Rheinhardt
  and Granville Barker, teachers of the new
  colour vocabulary.--PORTABLE BACKGROUNDS

  VII FOOTWEAR                                                       85

  Importance of carefully considering extremities.--What
  constitutes a costume.--Importance
  of learning how to buy, put on and wear each
  detail of costume if one would be a decorative

  VIII JEWELRY AS DECORATION                                         94

  Considered as colour and line not with regard
  to intrinsic worth.--To complete a costume or
  furnish keynote upon which to build a costume.--Distinguished
  jewels with historic associations
  worn artistically; examples.--Know what
  jewels are your affair as to colour, size, and
  shape.--To know what one can and cannot
  wear in all departments of costuming prepares
  one to grasp and make use of expert suggestions.
  How fashions come into being.--One of the rules
  as to how jewels should be worn.--Gems and

  IX WOMAN DECORATIVE IN HER BOUDOIR                                111

  Negligée or tea-gown belongs to this intimate
  setting.--Fortuny the artist designer of tea-gowns.--Sibyl
  Sanderson.--The decorative value
  of a long string of beads.--Beauty which is the
  result of conscious effort.--_Bien soiné_ a hall-mark
  of our period

  X WOMAN DECORATIVE IN HER SUN-ROOM                                116

  Since a winter sun-room is planned to give
  the illusion of summer, one's costuming for it
  should carry out the same idea.--The sun-room
  provides a means for using up last summer's
  costumes.--The hat, if worn, should suggest
  repose, not action.--The age and habits of those
  occupying a sun-room dictate the exact type
  of costume to be worn.--Colour scheme

  XI  I. WOMAN DECORATIVE IN HER GARDEN                             124

  In the garden the costume should have a
  decorative outline but simple colour scheme
  which harmonises with background of flowers.--White,
  grey, or one note of colour preferable.--The
  flowers furnish variety and colour.--Lady
  de Bathe (Mrs. Langtry) in her garden
  at Newmarket, England


  One may be a flower or a bunch of flowers
  for colour against the unbroken sweep of green
  underfoot and background of shrubs and trees.--Chic
  outline and interesting detail, as well as
  colour, of distinct value in a costume for lawn.--How
  to cultivate an unerring instinct for
  what is a successful costume for any given occasion


  If one would be a contribution to the picture,
  figure as white or vivid colour on beach,
  deck of steamer or yacht

  XII WOMAN AS DECORATION WHEN SKATING                              134

  Line of the body all important.--The necessity
  of mastering _form_ to gain efficiency in any
  line; examples.--The traditional skating costume
  has the lead

  XIII WOMAN DECORATIVE IN HER MOTOR CAR                            145

  The colour of one's car inside and out important
  factor in effect produced by one's carefully
  chosen costume


  scheme.--Detail with meaning.--Authorities.--Consulting
  portraits by great masters.--Geraldine
  Farrar.--Distinguished collection of
  costume plates.--One result of planning period
  costumes is the opening up of vistas in history.--Every
  detail of a period costume has its fascinating
  story worth the knowing.--Brief historic
  outline to serve as key to the rich storehouse
  of important volumes on costumes and
  the distinguished textless books of costume
  plates.--Period of fashions in costumes developing
  without nationality.--Nationality declared
  in artistry of workmanship and the modification
  or exaggeration of an essential detail according
  to national or individual temperament.--Evolution
  of woman's costume.--Assyria.--Egypt.--Byzantium.--
  Greece.--Rome.--Gothic Europe.--Europe of the
  Renaissance,--seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth
  century through Mid-Victorian period.--Cord tied about
  waist origin of costumes for women and men

  XV THE STORY OF PERIOD COSTUMES                                   172

      A RÉSUMÉ.

  Woman as seen in Egyptian sculpture-relief;
  on Greek vase; in Gothic stained glass; carved
  stone; tapestry; stucco; and painting of the
  Renaissance; eighteenth and nineteenth century
  portraits.--Art throughout the ages reflects
  woman in every rôle; as companion, ruler,
  slave, saint, plaything, teacher, and voluntary
  worker.--Evolution of outline of woman's costume,
  including change in neck; shoulder;
  evolution of sleeve; girdle; hair; head-dress;
  waist line; petticoat.--Gradual disappearance
  of long, flowing lines characteristic of Greek
  and Gothic periods.--Demoralisation of Nature's
  shoulder and hip-line culminates in the Velasquez
  edition of Spanish fashion and the Marie
  Antoinette extravaganzas

  XVI DEVELOPMENT OF GOTHIC COSTUME                                 192

  Gothic outline first seen as early as fourth
  century.--Costume of Roman-Christian women.--Ninth
  century.--The Gothic cape of twelfth,
  thirteenth and fourteenth centuries made
  familiar on the Virgin and saints in sacred
  art.--The tunic.--Restraint in line, colour, and
  detail gradually disappear with increased circulation
  of wealth until in fifteenth century we
  see humanity over-weighted with rich brocades,
  laces, massive jewels, etc.


  Late Middle Ages.--Sovereignty of the Virgin
  as explained in "The Cathedrals of Mont St.
  Michel and Chartres," by Henry Adams.--Woman
  as the Virgin dominates art of twelfth,
  thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries.--The girdle.--The
  round neck.--The necklace, etc.

  XVII THE RENAISSANCE                                              214


  Pointed and other head-dresses with floating
  veils.--Neck low off shoulders.--Skirts part as
  waist-line over petticoat.--Wealth of Roman
  Empire through new trade channels had led to
  importation of richly coloured Oriental stuffs.--Same
  wealth led to establishing looms in
  Europe.--Clothes of man like his over-ornate
  furniture show debauched and vulgar taste.--The
  good Gothic lines live on in costumes of
  nuns and priests.--The Davanzati Palace collection,
  Florence, Italy.--Long pointed shoes
  of the Middle Ages give way to broad square
  ones.--Gorgeous materials.--Hats.--Hair.--Sleeves.--
  draped to develop into panniers of Marie
  Antoinette's time.--Directoire reaction to simple
  lines and materials

  XVII EIGHTEENTH CENTURY                                           233

  Political upheavals.--Scientific discoveries.--Mechanical
  inventions.--Chemical achievements.--Chintz
  or stamped linens of Jouy near Versailles.--Painted
  wall-papers after the Chinese.--Simplicity
  in costuming of woman and man

  XIX WOMAN IN THE VICTORIAN PERIOD                                 241

  First seventy years of nineteenth century.--"Historic
  Dress in America" by Elizabeth McClellan.--Hoops,
  wigs, absurdly furbished head-dresses,
  paper-soled shoes, bonnets enormous,
  laces of cobweb, shawls from India, rouge and
  hair-grease, patches and powder, laced waists,
  and "vapours."--Man still decorative

  XX SEX IN COSTUMING                                               244

  "European dress."--Progenitor of costume
  worn by modern men.--The time when no distinction
  was made between materials used for
  man and woman.--Velvets, silks, satins, laces,
  elaborate cuffs and collars, embroidery, jewels
  and plumes as much his as hers

  XXI LINE AND COLOUR OF COSTUMES IN HUNGARY                        252

  In a sense colour a sign of virility.--Examples.--Studying
  line and colour in Magyar
  Land.--In Krakau, Poland,--A highly decorative
  Polish peasant and her setting

  XXII STUDYING LINE AND COLOUR IN RUSSIA                           265

  Kiev our headquarters.--Slav temperament
  an integral part of Russian nature expressed
  in costuming as well as folk songs and dances
  of the people.--Russian woman of the fashionable
  world.--The Russian pilgrims as we saw
  them tramping over the frozen roads to the
  shrines of Kiev, the Holy City and ancient
  capital of Russia at the close of the Lenten
  season.--Their costumes and their psychology


  Wrapped in a crimson silk dressing-gown
  on a balcony of his Italian villa in Connecticut,
  Mark Twain dilated on the value of brilliant
  colour in man's costuming.--His creative,
  picturing-making mind in action.--Other themes

  XXIV THE ARTIST AND HIS COSTUME                                   283

  A God-given sense of the beautiful.--The
  artist nature has always assumed poetic license
  in the matter of dress.--Many so-called affectations
  have _raison d'être_.--Responding to texture,
  colour and line as some do to music and
  scenery.--How Japanese actors train themselves
  to act women's parts by wearing woman's
  costumes off the stage.--This cultivates the required
  _feeling_ for the costumes.--The woman
  devotee to sports when costumed.--Richard
  Wagner's responsiveness to colour and texture.--Clyde
  Fitch's sensitiveness to the same.--The
  wearing of jewels by men.--King Edward
  VII.--A remarkable topaz worn by a Spaniard.--Its
  undoing as a decorative object through
  its resetting

  XXV IDIOSYNCRASIES IN COSTUME                                     292

  Fashions in dress all powerful because they
  seize upon the public mind.--They become the
  symbol of manners and affect human psychology.--Affectations
  of the youth of Athens.--Les
  Merveilleux, Les Encroyables, the Illuminati.--Schiller
  during the Storm and Stress
  Period.--Venetian belles of the sixteenth century.--The
  _Cavalier Servente_ of the seventeenth
  century.--Mme. Récamier scandalised London
  in eighteenth century by appearing costumed
  à la Greque.--Mme. Jerome Bonaparte, a Baltimore
  belle, followed suit in Philadelphia.--Hour-glass
  waist-line and attendant "vapours"
  were thought to be in the rôle of a high-born
  Victorian miss.--Appropriateness the contribution
  of our day to the story of woman's costuming

  XXVI NATIONALITY IN COSTUME                                       296

  When seen with perspective the costumes of
  various periods appear as distinct types though
  to the man or woman of any particular period
  the variations of the type are bewildering and
  misleading.--Having followed the evolution of
  the costume of woman of fashion which comes
  under the general head of European dress, before
  closing we turn to quite another field, that
  of national costumes.--Progress levels national
  differences, therefore the student must make the
  most of opportunities to observe.--Experiences
  in Hungary

  XXVII MODELS                                                      306

  Historical interest attaches to fashions in
  woman's costuming.--One of the missions of
  art is to make subtle the obvious.--Examples as
  seen in 1917

  XXVIII WOMAN COSTUMED FOR HER WAR JOB                             313

  The Pageant of Life shows that woman has
  played opposite man with consistency and success
  throughout the ages.--Apropos of this, we
  quote from Philadelphia _Public Ledger_, for
  March 25, 1917, an impression of a woman of
  to-day costumed appropriately to get efficiency
  in her war work

      IN CONCLUSION                                                 324

  A brief review of the chief points to be kept
  in mind by those interested in the costuming
  of woman so that she figures as a decorative
  contribution to any setting


      Sketched by Thelma Cudlipp


  III WOMAN IN GREEK ART                                             19

  IV WOMAN ON GREEK VASE                                             29

  V WOMAN IN GOTHIC ART                                              39
      Portrait Showing Pointed Head-dress

  VI WOMAN IN ART OF THE RENAISSANCE                                 49
      Sculpture-relief in Terra-cotta: The Virgin

  VII WOMAN IN ART OF THE RENAISSANCE                                59
      Sculpture-relief in Terra-cotta: Holy Women

  VIII TUDOR ENGLAND                                                 69
      Portrait of Queen Elizabeth

  IX SPAIN--VELASQUEZ PORTRAIT                                       79

  X EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ENGLAND                                       89
      Portrait by Thomas Gainsborough

  XI BOURBON FRANCE                                                  99
      Portrait of Marie Antoinette by Madame Vigée Le Brun

  XII COSTUME OF EMPIRE PERIOD                                      109
      An English Portrait

  XIII EIGHTEENTH CENTURY COSTUME                                   119
      Portrait by Gilbert Stuart

  XIV VICTORIAN PERIOD (ABOUT 1840)                                 129
      Mme. Adeline Genée in Costume

  XV LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY (ABOUT 1890)                           139
      A Portrait by John S. Sargent

  XVI A MODERN PORTRAIT                                             149
      By John W. Alexander

  XVII A PORTRAIT OF MRS. PHILIP M. LYDIG                           159
      By I. Zuloaga


  XIX MRS. CONDÉ NAST IN STREET DRESS                               179
      Photograph by Baron de Meyer

  XX MRS. CONDÉ NAST IN EVENING DRESS                               189

  XXI MRS. CONDÉ NAST IN GARDEN COSTUME                             199

  XXII MRS. CONDÉ NAST IN FORTUNY TEA GOWN                          209

  XXIII MRS. VERNON CASTLE IN BALL COSTUME                          219




  XXVII MRS. VERNON CASTLE--A FANTASY                               259

  XXVIII MODERN SKATING COSTUME--1917                               269
      Winner of Amateur Championship of Fancy Skating

  XXIX A MODERN SILHOUETTE--1917                                    279
      Drawn from Life by Elisabeth Searcy

  XXX TAPPÉ'S CREATIONS                                             289
      Sketched for _Woman as Decoration_ by Thelma Cudlipp


      From Photograph by Courtesy of _Vanity Fair_

      MADAME BUTTERFLY                                              319
      Sketched by Thelma Cudlipp

    "The Communion of men upon earth abhors identity more than
    nature does a vacuum. Nothing so shocks and repels the
    living soul as a row of exactly similar things, whether it
    consists of modern houses or of modern people, and nothing
    so delights and edifies as distinction."


    "Whatever piece of dress conceals a woman's figure, is
    bound, in justice, to do so in a picturesque way."

      _From an Early Victorian Fashion Paper._

    "When was that 'simple time of our fathers' when people were
    too sensible to care for fashions? It certainly was before
    the Pharaohs, and perhaps before the Glacial Epoch."

      W. G. SUMNER, in _Folkways_.



There are a few rules with regard to the costuming of woman which if
understood put one a long way on the road toward that desirable
goal--decorativeness, and have economic value as well. They are simple
rules deduced by those who have made a study of woman's lines and
colouring, and how to emphasise or modify them by dress.

Temperaments are seriously considered by experts in this art, for the
carriage of a woman and her manner of wearing her clothes depends in
part upon her temperament. Some women instinctively _feel_ line and are
graceful in consequence, as we have said, but where one is not born
with this instinct, it is possible to become so thoroughly schooled in
the technique of controlling the physique--poise of the body, carriage
of the head, movement of the limbs, use of feet and hands, that a sense
of line is acquired. Study portraits by great masters, the movements of
those on the stage, the carriage and positions natural to graceful
women. A graceful woman is invariably a woman highly sensitised, but
remember that "alive to the finger tips"--or toe tips, may be true of
the woman with few gestures, a quiet voice and measured words, as well
as the intensely active type.

The highly sensitised woman is the one who will wear her clothes with
individuality, whether she be rounded or slender. To dress well is an
art, and requires concentration as any other art does. You know the old
story of the boy, who when asked why his necktie was always more neatly
tied than those of his companions, answered: "I put my whole mind on
it." There you have it! The woman who puts her whole mind on the
costuming of herself is naturally going to look better than the woman
who does not, and having carefully studied her type, she will know her
strong points and her weak ones, and by accentuating the former, draw
attention from the latter. There is a great difference, however, between
concentrating on dress until an effect is achieved, and then turning the
mind to other subjects, and that tiresome dawdling, indefinite,
fruitless way, to arrive at no convictions. This variety of woman never
gets dress off her chest.

The catechism of good dressing might be given in some such form as this:
Are you fat? If so, never try to look thin by compressing your figure or
confining your clothes in such a way as to clearly outline the figure.
Take a chance from your size. Aim at long lines, and what dressmakers
call an "easy fit," and the use of solid colours. Stripes, checks,
plaids, spots and figures of any kind draw attention to dimensions; a
very fat woman looks larger if her surface is marked off into many
spaces. Likewise a very thin woman looks thinner if her body on the
imagination of the public _subtracting_ is marked off into spaces
absurdly few in number. A beautifully proportioned and rounded figure
is the one to indulge in striped, checked, spotted or flowered materials
or any parti-coloured costumes.

       *       *       *       *       *

Never try to make a thin woman look anything but thin. Often by
accentuating her thinness, a woman can make an effect as _type_, which
gives her distinction. If she were foolish enough to try to look fatter,
her lines would be lost without attaining the contour of the rounded
type. There are of course fashions in types; pale ash blonds, red-haired
types (auburn or golden red with shell pink complexions), dark haired
types with pale white skin, etc., and fashions in figures are as many
and as fleeting.

Artists are sometimes responsible for these vogues. One hears of the
Rubens type, or the Sir Joshua Reynolds, Hauptner, Burne-Jones, Greuse,
Henner, Zuloaga, and others. The artist selects the type and paints it,
the attention of the public is attracted to it and thereafter singles it
out. We may prefer soft, round blonds with dimpled smiles, but that does
not mean that such indisputable loveliness can challenge the
attractions of a slender serpentine tragedy-queen, if the latter has
established the vogue of her type through the medium of the stage or
painter's brush.

A woman well known in the world of fashion both sides of the Atlantic,
slender and very tall, has at times deliberately increased that height
with a small high-crowned hat, surmounted by a still higher feather. She
attained distinction without becoming a caricature, by reason of her
obvious breeding and reserve. Here is an important point. A woman of
quiet and what we call conservative type, can afford to wear conspicuous
clothes if she wishes, whereas a conspicuous type _must_ be reserved in
her dress. By following this rule the overblown rose often makes herself
beautiful. Study all types of woman. Beauty is a wonderful and precious
thing, and not so fleeting either as one is told. The point is, to take
note, not of beauty's departure, but its gradually changing aspect, and
adapt costume, line and colour, to the demands of each year's
alterations in the individual. Make the most of grey hair; as you lose
your colour, soften your tones.

Always star your points. If you happen to have an unusual amount of
hair, make it count, even though the fashion be to wear but little. We
recall the beautiful and unique Madame X. of Paris, blessed by the gods
with hair like bronze, heavy, long, silken and straight. She wore it
wrapped about her head and finally coiled into a French twist on the
top, the effect closely resembling an old Roman helmet. This was design,
not chance, and her well-modeled features were the sort to stand the
severe coiffure, Madame's husband, always at her side that season on
Lake Lucerne, was curator of the Louvre. We often wondered whether the
idea was his or hers. She invariably wore white, not a note of colour,
save her hair; even her well-bred fox terrier was snowy white.

Worth has given distinction to more than one woman by recognising her
possibilities, if kept to white, black, greys and mauves. A beautiful
Englishwoman dressed by this establishment, always a marked figure at
whatever embassy her husband happens to be posted, has never been seen
wearing anything in the evening but black, or white, with very simple
lines, cut low and having a narrow train.


    Woman in ancient Egyptian sculpture-relief about 1000

    We have here a husband and wife. (Metropolitan Museum.)

    [Illustration: _Metropolitan Museum of Art_
    _Woman in Ancient Egyptian Sculpture-Relief_]

It may take courage on the part of dressmaker, as well as the woman in
question, but granted you have a distinct style of your own, and
understand it, it is the part of wisdom to establish the habit of those
lines and colours which are yours, and then to avoid experiments with
_outré_ lines and shades. They are almost sure to prove failures. Taking
on a colour and its variants is an economic, as well as an artistic
measure. Some women have so systematised their costuming in order to be
decorative, at the least possible expenditure of vitality and time
(these are the women who dress to live, not live to dress), that they
know at a glance, if dress materials, hats, gloves, jewels, colour of
stones and style of setting, are for them. It is really a joy to shop
with this kind of woman. She has definitely fixed in her mind the
colours and lines of her rooms, all her habitual settings, and the
clothes and accessories best _for her_. And with the eye of an artist,
she passes swiftly by the most alluring bargains, calculated to
undermine firm resolution. In fact one should not say that this woman
shops; she buys. What is more, she never wastes money, though she may
spend it lavishly.

Some of the best dressed women (by which we always mean women dressed
fittingly for the occasion, and with reference to their own particular
types) are those with decidedly limited incomes.

There are women who suggest chiffon and others brocade; women who call
for satin, and others for silk; women for sheer muslins, and others for
heavy linen weaves; women for straight brims, and others for those that
droop; women for leghorns, and those they do not suit; women for white
furs, and others for tawny shades. A woman with red in her hair is the
one to wear red fox.

If you cannot see for yourself what line and colour do to you, surely
you have some friend who can tell you. In any case, there is always the
possibility of paying an expert for advice. Allow yourself to be guided
in the reaching of some decision about yourself and your limitations, as
well as possibilities. You will by this means increase your
decorativeness, and what is of more serious importance, your economic

A marked example of woman decorative was seen on the recent occasion
when Miss Isadora Duncan danced at the Metropolitan Opera House, for the
benefit of French artists and their families, victims of the present
war. Miss Duncan was herself so marvelous that afternoon, as she poured
her art, aglow and vibrant with genius, into the mould of one classic
pose after another, that most of her audience had little interest in any
other personality, or effect. Some of us, however, when scanning the
house between the acts, had our attention caught and held by a
charmingly decorative woman occupying one of the boxes, a quaint outline
in silver-grey taffeta, exactly matching the shade of the woman's hair,
which was cut in Florentine fashion forming an aureole about her small
head,--a becoming frame for her fine, highly sensitive face. The deep
red curtains and upholstery in the box threw her into relief, a lovely
miniature, as seen from a distance. There were no doubt other charming
costumes in the boxes and stalls that afternoon, but none so successful
in registering a distinct decorative effect. The one we refer to was
suitable, becoming, individual, and reflected personality in a way to
indicate an extraordinary sensitiveness to values, that subtle instinct
which makes the artist.

With very young women it is easy to be decorative under most conditions.
Almost all of them are decorative, as seen in our present fashions, but
to produce an effect in an opera box is to understand the _carrying
power_ of colour and line. The woman in the opera box has the same
problem to solve as the woman on the stage: her costume must be
effective at a distance. Such a costume may be white, black and any
colour; gold, silver, steel or jet; lace, chiffon--what you
will--provided the fact be kept in mind that your outline be striking
and the colour an agreeable contrast against the lining of the box.
Here, outline is of chief importance, the silhouette must be definite;
hair, ornaments, fan, cut of gown, calculated to register against the
background. In the stalls, colour and outline of any single costume
become a part of the mass of colour and black and white of the audience.
It is difficult to be a decorative factor under these conditions, yet
we can all recall women of every age, who so costume themselves as to
make an artistic, memorable impression, not only when entering opera,
theatre or concert hall, but when seated. These are the women who
understand the value of elimination, restraint, colour harmony and that
chic which results in part from faultless grooming. To-day it is not
enough to possess hair which curls ideally: it must, willy nilly, curl

If it is necessary, prudent or wise that your purchases for each season
include not more than six new gowns, take the advice of an actress of
international reputation, who is famous for her good dressing in private
life, and make a point of adding one new gown to each of the six
departments of your wardrobe. Then have the cleverness to appear in
these costumes whenever on view, making what you have fill in between

To be clear, we would say, try always to begin a season with one
distinguished evening gown, one smart tailor suit, one charming house
gown, one tea gown, one negligée and one sport suit. If you are needing
many dancing frocks, which have hard wear, get a simple, becoming
model, which your little dressmaker, seamstress or maid can copy in
inexpensive but becoming colours. You can do this in Summer and Winter
alike, and with dancing frocks, tea gowns, negligées and even sport
suits. That is, if you have smart, up-to-date models to copy.

One woman we know bought the finest quality jersey cloth by the yard,
and had a little dressmaker copy exactly a very expensive skirt and
sweater. It seems incredible, but she saved on a ready made suit exactly
like it forty dollars, and on one made to measure by an exclusive house,
one hundred dollars! Remember, however, that there was an artist back of
it all and someone had to pay for that perfect model, to start with. In
the case we cite, the woman had herself bought the original sport suit
from an importer who is always in advance with Paris models.

If you cannot buy the designs and workmanship of artists, take advantage
of all opportunities to see them; hats and gowns shown at openings, or
when your richer friends are ordering. In this way you will get ideas to
make use of and you will avoid looking home-made, than which, no more
damning phrase can be applied to any costume. As a matter of fact it
implies a hat or gown lacking an artist's touch and describes many a one
turned out by long-established and largely patronised firms.


    A Greek vase. Dionysiac scenes about 460 B.C.
    Interesting costumes. (Metropolitan Museum.)

    [Illustration: _Metropolitan Museum of Art_
    _Woman on Greek Vase_]

The only satisfactory copy of a Fortuny tea gown we have ever seen
accomplished away from the supervision of Fortuny himself, was the
exquisite hand-work of a young American woman who lives in New York, and
makes her own gowns and hats, because her interest and talent happen to
be in that direction. She told a group of friends the other day, to whom
she was showing a dainty chiffon gown, posed on a form, that to her, the
planning and making of a lovely costume had the same thrilling
excitement that the painting of a picture had for the artist in the
field of paint and canvas. This same young woman has worked constantly
since the European war began, both in London and New York, on the
shapeless surgical shirts used by the wounded soldiers. In this, does
she outrank her less accomplished sisters? Yes, for the technique she
has achieved by making her own costumes makes her swift and economical,
both in the cutting of her material and in the actual sewing and she is
invaluable as a buyer of materials.



That every costume is either right or wrong is not a matter of general
knowledge. "It will do," or "It is near enough" are verdicts responsible
for beauty hidden and interest destroyed. Who has not witnessed the mad
mental confusion of women and men put to it to decide upon costumes for
some fancy-dress ball, and the appalling ignorance displayed when, at
the costumer's, they vaguely grope among battered-looking garments,
accepting those proffered, not really knowing how the costume they ask
for should look?

Absurd mistakes in period costumes are to be taken more or less
seriously according to temperament. But where is the fair woman who will
say that a failure to emerge from a dressmaker's hands in a successful
costume is not a tragedy? Yet we know that the average woman, more
often than not, stands stupefied before the infinite variety of
materials and colours of our twentieth century, and unless guided by an
expert, rarely presents the figure, _chez-elle_, or when on view in
public places, which she would or could, if in possession of the few
rules underlying all successful dressing, whatever the century or

Six salient points are to be borne in mind when planning a costume,
whether for a fancy-dress ball or to be worn as one goes about one's
daily life:

       *       *       *       *       *

First, appropriateness to occasion, station and age;

Second, character of background you are to appear against (your

Third, what outline you wish to present to observers (the period of

Fourth, what materials of those in use during period selected you will

Fifth, what colours of those characteristic of period you will use;

Sixth, the distinction between those details which are obvious
contributions to the costume, and those which are superfluous, because
meaningless or line-destroying.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us remind our reader that the woman who dresses in perfect taste
often spends far less money than she who has contracted the habit of
indefiniteness as to what she wants, what she should want, and how to
wear what she gets.

Where one woman has used her mind and learned beyond all wavering what
she can and what she cannot wear, thousands fill the streets by day and
places of amusement by night, who blithely carry upon their persons
costumes which hide their good points and accentuate their bad ones.

The _rara avis_ among women is she who always presents a fashionable
outline, but so subtly adapted to her own type that the impression made
is one of distinct individuality.

One knows very well how little the average costume counts in a theatre,
opera house or ball-room. It is a question of background again. Also you
will observe that the costume which counts most individually, is the one
in a key higher or lower than the average, as with a voice in a crowded

The chief contribution of our day to the art of making woman decorative
is the quality of appropriateness. I refer of course to the woman who
lives her life in the meshes of civilisation. We have defined the smart
woman as she who wears the costume best suited to each occasion when
that occasion presents itself. Accepting this definition, we must all
agree that beyond question the smartest women, as a nation, are English
women, who are so fundamentally convinced as to the invincible law of
appropriateness that from the cradle to the grave, with them evening
means an evening gown; country clothes are suited to country uses and a
tea-gown is not a bedroom negligée. Not even in Rome can they be
prevailed upon "to do as the Romans do."

Apropos of this we recall an experience in Scotland. A house party had
gathered for the shooting,--English men and women. Among the guests were
two Americans; done to a turn by Redfern. It really turned out to be a
tragedy, as they saw it, for though their cloth skirts were short, they
were silk-lined; outing shirts were of crêpe--not flannel; tan boots,
but thinly soled; hats most chic, but the sort that drooped in a mist.
Well, those two American girls had to choose between long days alone,
while the rest tramped the moors, or to being togged out in borrowed
tweeds, flannel shirts and thick-soled boots.


    Greek Kylix. Signed by Hieron, about 400 B.C. Athenian. The
    woman wears one of the gowns Fortuny (Paris) has reproduced
    as a modern tea gown. It is in two pieces. The characteristic
    short tunic reaches just below waist line in front and hangs
    in long, fine pleats (sometimes cascaded folds) under the
    arms, the ends of which reach below knees. The material is
    not cut to form sleeves; instead two oblong pieces of
    material are held together by small fastenings at short
    intervals, showing upper arm through intervening spaces. The
    result in appearance is similar to a kimono sleeve.
    (Metropolitan Museum.)

    [Illustration: _Metropolitan Museum of Art_
    _Woman in Greek Art about 400 B.C._]

That was some years back. We are a match for England to-day, in the
open, but have a long way to go before we wear with equal conviction,
and therefore easy grace, tea-gown and evening dress. Both _how_ and
_when_ still annoy us as a nation. On the street we are supreme when
_tailleur_. In carriage attire the French woman is supreme, by reason of
that innate Latin coquetry which makes her _feel_ line and its
significance. The ideal pose for any hat is a French secret.

The average woman is partially aware that if she would be a decorative
being, she must grasp conclusively two points: first, the limitations of
her natural outline; secondly, a knowledge of how nearly she can
approach the outline demanded by fashion without appearing a
caricature, which is another way of saying that each woman should learn
to recognise her own type. The discussion of silhouette has become a
popular theme. In fact it would be difficult to find a maker of women's
costumes so remote and unread as not to have seized and imbedded deep in
her vocabulary that mystic word.

To make our points clear, constant reference to the stage is necessary;
for from stage effects we are one and all free to enjoy and learn.
Nowhere else can the woman see so clearly presented the value of having
what she wears harmonise with the room she wears it in, and the occasion
for which it is worn.

Not all plays depicting contemporary life are plays of social life,
staged and costumed in a chic manner. What is taught by the modern
stage, as shown by Bakst, Reinhardt, Barker, Urban, Jones, the
Portmanteau Theatre and Washington Square Players, is _values_, as the
artist uses the term--not fashions; the relative importance of
background, outline, colour, texture of material and how to produce
harmonious effects by the judicious combination of furnishings and

To-day, when we want to say that a costume or the interior decoration of
a house is the last word in modern line and colour, we are apt to call
it à la Bakst, meaning of course Leon Bakst, whose American "poster" was
the Russian Ballet. If you have not done so already, buy or borrow the
wonderful Bakst book, showing reproductions in their colours of his
extraordinary drawings, the originals of which are owned by private
individuals or museums, in Paris, Petrograd, London, and New York. They
are _outré_ to a degree, yet each one suggests the whole or parts of
costumes for modern woman--adorable lines, unbelievable combinations of
colour! No wonder Poiret, the Paris dressmaker, seized upon Bakst as
designer (or was it Bakst who seized upon Poiret?).

Bakst got his inspiration in the Orient. As a bit of proof, for your own
satisfaction, there is a book entitled _Six Monuments of Chinese
Sculpture_, by Edward Chauvannes, published in 1914, by G. Van Oest &
Cie., of Brussels and Paris. The author, with a highly commendable
desire to perpetuate for students a record of the most ancient
speciments of Chinese sculpture, brought to Paris and sold there, from
time to time, to art-collectors, from all over the world; selected six
fine speciments as theme of text and for illustrations.

Plate 23 in this collection shows a woman whose costume in _outline_
might have been taken from Bakst or even Vogue. But put it the other way
round: the Vogue artist to-day--we use the word as a generic term--finds
inspiration through museums and such works as the above. This is
particularly true as our little handbook goes into print, for the reason
that the great war between the Central Powers and the Entente has to a
certain extent checked the invention and material output of Europe, and
driven designers of and dealers in costumes for women, to China and

Our great-great-grandmothers here in America wore Paris fashions shown
on the imported fashion dolls and made up in brocades from China, by the
Colonial mantua makers. So we are but repeating history.

To-day, war, which means horror, ugliness, loss of ideals and illusions,
holds most of the world in its grasp, and we find creative
artists--apostles of the Beautiful, seeking the Orient because it is
remote from the great world struggle. We hear that Edmund Dulac (who has
shown in a superlative manner, woman decorative, when illustrating the
_Arabian Nights_ and other well-known books), is planning a flight to
the Orient. He says that he longs to bury himself far from carnage, in
the hope of wooing back his muse.

If this subject of background, line and colour, in relation to costuming
of woman, interests you, there are many ways of getting valuable points.
One of them, as we have said, is to walk through galleries looking at
pictures only as decorations; that is, colour and line against the
painter's background.

Fashions change, in dress, arrangement of hair, jewels, etc., but this
does not affect values. It is _la ligne_, the grand gesture, or line
fraught with meaning and balance and harmony of colour.

The reader knows the colour scheme of her own rooms and the character of
gowns she is planning, and for suggestions as to interesting colour
against colour, she can have no higher authority than the experience of
recognised painters. Some develop rapidly in this study of values.

If your rooms are so-called period rooms, you need not of necessity
dress in period costumes, but what is extremely important, if you would
not spoil your period room, nor fail to be a decorative contribution
when in it, is that you make a point of having the colour and texture of
your house gowns in the same key as the hangings and upholstery of your
room. White is safe in any room, black is at times too strong. It
depends in part upon the size of your room. If it is small and in soft
tones, delicate harmonising shades will not obtrude themselves as black
can and so reduce the effect of space. This is the case not only with
black, but with emerald green, decided shades of red, royal blue, and
purple or deep yellows. If artistic creations, these colours are all
decorative in a room done in light tones, provided the room is large.

A Louis XVI salon is far more beautiful if the costumes are kept in
Louis XVI colouring and all details, such as lace, jewelry, fans, etc.,
kept strictly within the picture; fine in design, delicate in colouring,
workmanship and quality of material. Beyond these points one may follow
the outline demanded by the fashion of the moment, if desired. But
remember that a beautiful, interesting room, furnished with works of
art, demands a beautiful, interesting costume, if the woman in question
would sustain the impression made by her rooms, to the arranging of
which she has given thought, time and vitality, to say nothing of
financial outlay; she must take her own decorative appearance seriously.


    Example of the pointed head-dress, carefully concealed hair
    (in certain countries at certain periods of history, a sign
    of modesty), round necklace and very long close sleeves
    characteristic of fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

    Observe angle at which head-dress is worn.

    [Illustration: _Metropolitan Museum of Art_
    _Woman in Gothic Art Portrait showing pointed head-dress_]

The writer has passed wonderful hours examining rare illuminated
manuscripts of the Middle Ages (twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries), missals, "Hours" of the Virgin, and Breviaries,
for the sole purpose of studying woman's costumes,--their colour, line
and details, as depicted by the old artists. Gothic costumes in Gothic
interiors, and Early Renaissance costumes in Renaissance interiors.

The art of moderns in various media, has taken from these creations of
mediæval genius, more than is generally realized. We were looking at a
rare illuminated Gothic manuscript recently, from which William Morris
drew inspirations and ideas for the books he made. It is a monumental
achievement of the twelfth century, a mass book, written and illuminated
in Flanders; at one time in the possession of a Cistercian monastery,
but now one of the treasures in the noted private collection made by the
late J. Pierpont Morgan. The pages are of vellum and the illuminations
show the figures of saints in jewel-like colours on backgrounds of pure
gold leaf. The binding of this book,--sides of wood, held together by
heavy white vellum, hand-tooled with clasps of thin silver, is the work
of Morris himself and very characteristic of his manner. He patterned
his hand-made books after these great models, just as he worked years to
duplicate some wonderful old piece of furniture, realising so well the
magic which lies in consecrated labour, that labour which takes no
account of time, nor pay, but is led on by the vision of perfection
possessing the artist's soul.

We know women who have copied the line, colour and material of costumes
depicted in Gothic illuminations that they might be in harmony with
their own Gothic rooms. One woman familiar with this art, has planned a
frankly modern room, covering her walls with gold Japanese fibre,
gilding her woodwork and doors, using the brilliant blues, purples and
greens of the old illuminations in her hangings, upholstery and
cushions, and as a striking contribution to the decorative scheme,
costumes herself in white, some soft, clinging material such as crêpe de
chine, liberty satin or chiffon velvet, which take the mediæval lines,
in long folds. She wears a silver girdle formed of the hand-made clasps
of old religious books, and her rings, neck chains and earrings are all
of hand-wrought silver, with precious stones cut in the ancient way and
irregularly set. This woman got her idea of the effectiveness of white
against gold from an ancient missal in a famous private collection,
which shows the saints all clad in marvellous white against gold leaf.

Whistler's house at 2 Cheyne Road, London, had a room the dado and doors
of which were done in gold, on which he and two of his pupils painted
the scattered petals of white and pink chrysanthemums. Possibly a
Persian or Japanese effect, as Whistler leaned that way, but one sees
the same idea in an illumination of the early sixteenth century; "Hours"
of the Virgin and Breviary, made for Eleanor of Portugal, Queen of John
II. The decorations here are in the style of the Renaissance, not
Gothic, and some think Memling had a hand in the work. The borders of
the illumination, characteristic of the Bruges School, are gold leaf on
which is painted, in the most realistic way, an immense variety of
single flowers, small roses, pansies, violets, daisies, etc., and among
them butterflies and insects. This border surrounds the pictures which
illustrate the text. Always the marvellous colour, the astounding skill
in laying it on to the vellum pages, an unforgettable lesson in the
possibility of colour applied effectively to costumes, when background
is kept in mind. This Breviary was bound in green velvet and clasped
with hand-wrought silver, for Cardinal Rodrigue de Castro (1520-1600) of
Spain. It is now in the private collection of Mr. Morgan. The cover
alone gives one great emotion, genuine ancient velvet of the sixteenth
century, to imitate which taxes the ingenuity of the most skilful of
modern manufacturers.



_A Few Points Applying to All Costumes_

Needless to say, when considering woman's costumes, for ordinary use, in
their relation to background, unless some chameleon-like material be
invented to take on the colour of _any_ background, one must be content
with the consideration of one's own rooms, porches, garden, opera-box or
automobile, etc. For a gown to be worn when away from home, when
lunching, at receptions or dinners, the first consideration must be
_becomingness_,--a careful selection of line and colour that bring out
the individuality of the wearer. When away from one's own setting,
personality is one of the chief assets of every woman. Remember,
individuality is nature's gift to each human being. Some are more
markedly different than others, but we have all seen a so-called
colourless woman transformed into surprising loveliness when dressed by
an artist's instinct. A delicate type of blond, with fair hair, quiet
eyes and faint shell-pink complexion, can be snuffed out by too strong
colours. Remember that your ethereal blond is invariably at her best in
white, black (never white and black in combination unless black with
soft white collars and frills) and delicate pastel shades.


    Fifteenth-century costume. "Virgin and Child" in painted

    It is by Andrea Verrocchio, and now in Metropolitan Museum.
    We have here an illustration of the costume, so often shown
    on the person of the Virgin in the art of the Middle Ages.

    [Illustration: _Metropolitan Museum of Art_
    _Woman in Art of the Renaissance Sculpture-Relief in Terra-Cotta:
    The Virgin_]

The richly-toned brunette comes into her own in reds, yellows and
low-tones of strong blue.

Colourless jewels should adorn your perfect blond, colourful gems your
glowing brunette.

What of those betwixt and between? In such cases let complexion and
colour of eyes act as guide in the choice of colours.

One is familiar with various trite rules such as match the eyes, carry
out the general scheme of your colouring, by which is meant, if you are
a yellow blond, go in for yellows, if your hair is ash-brown, your eyes
but a shade deeper, and your skin inclined to be lifeless in tone, wear
beaver browns and content yourself with making a record in _harmony_,
with no contrasting note.

Just here let us say that the woman in question must at the very outset
decide whether she would look pretty or chic, sacrificing the one for
the other, or if she insists upon both, carefully arrange a compromise.
As for example, combine a semi-picture hat with a semi-tailored dress.

The strictly chic woman of our day goes in for appropriateness; the
lines of the latest fashion, but adapted to bring out her own best
points, while concealing her bad ones, and an insistance upon a colour
and a shade of colour, sufficiently definite to impress the beholder at
a glance. This type of woman as a rule keeps to a few colours, possibly
one or two and their varieties, and prefers gowns of one material rather
than combinations of materials. Though she possess both style and
beauty, she elects to emphasise style.

In the case of the other woman, who would star her face at the expense
of her _tout ensemble_, colour is her first consideration,
multiplication of detail and intelligent expressing of herself in her
_mise-en-scène_. _Seduisant_, instead of _chic_ is the word for this

Your black-haired woman with white skin and dark, brilliant eyes, is the
one who can best wear emerald green and other strong colours. The now
fashionable mustard, sage green, and bright magentas are also the
_affaire_ of this woman with clear skin, brilliant colour and sparkling

These same colours, if subdued, are lovely on the middle-aged woman with
black hair, quiet eyes and pale complexion, but if her hair is grey or
white, mustard and sage green are not for her, and the magenta must be
the deep purplish sort, which combines with her violets and mauves, or
delicate pinks and faded blues. She will be at her best in shades of
grey which tone with her hair.



Has the reader ever observed the effect of clothes upon manners? It is
amazing, and only proves how pathetically childlike human nature is.

Put any woman into a Marie Antoinette costume and see how, during an
evening she will gradually take on the mannerisms of that time. This
very point was brought up recently in conversation with an artist, who
in referring to one of the most successful costume balls ever given in
New York--the crinoline ball at the old Astor House--spoke of how our
unromantic Wall Street men fell to the spell of stocks, ruffled shirts
and knickerbockers, and as the evening advanced, were quite themselves
in the minuette and polka, bowing low in solemn rigidity, leading their
lady with high arched arm, grasping her pinched-in waist, and swinging
her beruffled, crinolined form in quite the 1860 manner.

Some women, even girls of tender years, have a natural instinct for
costuming themselves, so that they contribute in a decorative way to any
setting which chance makes theirs. Watch children "dressing up" and see
how among a large number, perhaps not more than one of them will have
this gift for effects. It will be she who knows at a glance which of the
available odds and ends she wants for herself, and with a sure, swift
hand will wrap a bright shawl about her, tie a flaming bit of silk about
her dark head, and with an assumed manner, born of her garb, cast a
magic spell over the small band which she leads on, to that which,
without her intense conviction and their susceptibility to her mental
attitude toward the masquerade, could never be done.

This illustrates the point we would make as to the effect of clothes
upon psychology. The actor's costume affects the real actor's psychology
as much or more than it does that of his audience. He _is_ the man he
has made himself appear. The writer had the experience of seeing a
well-known opera singer, when a victim to a bad case of the grippe,
leave her hotel voiceless, facing a matinee of _Juliet_. Arrived in her
dressing-room at the opera, she proceeded to change into the costume for
the first act. Under the spell of her rôle, that prima donna seemed
literally to shed her malady with her ordinary garments, and to take on
health and vitality with her _Juliet_ robes. Even in the Waltz song her
voice did not betray her, and apparently no critic detected that she was

In speaking of periods in furniture, we said that their story was one of
waves of types which repeated themselves, reflecting the ages in which
they prevailed. With clothes we find it is the same thing: the scarlet,
and silver and gold of the early Jacobeans, is followed by the drabs and
greys of the Commonwealth; the marvellous colour of the Church, where
Beauty was enthroned, was stamped out by the iron will of Cromwell who,
in setting up his standard of revolt, wrapped soul and body of the new
Faith in penal shades.

New England was conceived in this spirit and as mind had affected the
colour of the Puritans' clothes, so in turn the drab clothes, prescribed
by their new creed, helped to remove colour from the New England mind
and nature.


    Fifteenth-century costumes on the Holy Women at the Tomb of
    our Lord.

    The sculpture relief is enamelled terra-cotta in white,
    blue, green, yellow and manganese colours. It bears the date

    Note character of head-dresses, arrangement of hair, capes
    and gowns which are Early Renaissance. (Metropolitan

    [Illustration: _Metropolitan Museum of Art_
    _Woman in Art of the Renaissance Sculpture-Relief in Terra-Cotta:
    Holy Women_]

But observe how, as prosperity follows privation, the mind expands,
reaching out for what the changed psychology demands. It is the old
story of Rome grown rich and gay in mood and dress. There were of
course, villains in Puritan drab and Grecian white, but the child in
every man takes symbol for fact. So it is that to-day, some shudder with
the belief that Beauty, re-enthroned in all her gorgeous modern hues,
means near disaster. The progressives claim that into the world has come
a new hope; that beneath our lovely clothes of rainbow tints, and within
our homes where Beauty surely reigns, a new psychology is born to
radiate colour from within.

Our advice to the woman not born with clothes sense, is: employ experts
until you acquire a mental picture of your possibilities and
limitations, or buy as you can afford to, good French models, under
expert supervision. You may never turn out to be an artist in the
treatment of your appearance, instinctively knowing how a prevailing
fashion in line and colour may be adapted to you, but you can be taught
what your own type is, what your strong points are, your weak ones, and
how, while accentuating the former, you may obliterate the latter.

There are two types of women familiar to all of us: the one gains in
vital charm and abandon of spirit from the consciousness that she is
faultlessly gowned; the other succumbs to self-consciousness and is
pitifully unable to extricate her mood from her material trappings.

For the darling of the gods who walks through life on clouds, head up
and spirit-free, who knows she is perfectly turned out and lets it go at
that, we have only grateful applause. She it is who carries every
occasion she graces--indoors, out-of-doors, at home, abroad. May her
kind be multiplied!

But to the other type, she who droops under her silks and gold tissue,
whose pearls are chains indeed, we would throw out a lifeline. Submerged
by clothes, the more she struggles to rise above them the more her
spirit flags. The case is this: the woman's _mind_ is wrong; her clothes
are right--lovely as ever seen; her jewels gems; her house and car and
dog the best. It is her _mind_ that is wrong; it is turned _in_,
instead of _out_.

Now this intense and soul-, as well as line-destroying
self-consciousness, may be prenatal, and it may result from the Puritan
attitude toward beauty; that old New England point of view that the
beautiful and the vicious are akin. Every young child needs to have
cultivated a certain degree of self-reliance. To know that one's
appearance is pleasing, to put it mildly, is of inestimable value when
it comes to meeting the world. Every child, if normal, has its good
points--hair, eyes, teeth, complexion or figure; and we all know that
many a stage beauty has been built up on even two of these attributes.
Star your good points, clothes will help you. Be a winner in your own
setting, but avoid the fatal error of damning your clothes by the spirit
within you.

The writer has in mind a woman of distinguished appearance, beauty,
great wealth, few cares, wonderful clothes and jewels, palatial homes;
and yet an envious unrest poisons her soul. She would look differently,
be different and has not the wisdom to shake off her fetters. Her
perfect dressing helps this woman; you would not be conscious of her
otherwise, but with her natural equipment, granted that she concentrated
upon flashing her spirit instead of her wealth, she would be a leader in
a fine sense. The Beauty Doctor can do much, but show us one who can put
a gleam in the eye, tighten the grasp, teach one that ineffable grace
which enables woman, young or old, to wear her clothes as if an integral
part of herself. This quality belongs to the woman who knows, though she
may not have thought it out, that clothes can make one a success, but
not a success in the enduring sense. Dress is a tyrant if you take it as
your god, but on the other hand dress becomes a magician's wand when
dominated by a clever brain. Gown yourself as beautifully as you can
afford, but with judgment. What we do, and how we do it, is often
seriously and strangely affected by what we have on. The writer has in
mind a literary woman who says she can never talk business except in a
linen collar! Mark Twain, in his last days, insisted that he wrote more
easily in his night-shirt. Richard Wagner deliberately put on certain
rich materials in colours and hung his room with them when composing
the music of The Ring. Chopin says in a letter to a friend: "After
working at the piano all day, I find that nothing rests me so much as to
get into the evening dress which I wear on formal occasions." In
monarchies based on militarism, royal princes, as soon as they can walk,
are put into military uniforms. It cultivates in them the desired
military spirit. We all associate certain duties with certain costumes,
and the extraordinary response to colour is familiar to all. We talk
about feeling colour and say that we can or cannot live in green, blue,
violet or red. It is well to follow this colour instinct in clothes as
well as in furnishing. You will find you are at your best in the colours
and lines most sympathetic to you.

We know a woman who is an unusual beauty and has distinction, in fact is
noted for her chic when in white, black or the combination. She once
ventured a cerise hat and instantly dropped to the ranks of the
commonplace. Fine eyes, hair, skin, teeth, colour and carriage were
still hers, but her effectiveness was lessened as that of a pearl might
be if set in a coral circle.



Woman's line is the result of her costume, in part only. Far more is
woman's costume affected by her line. By this we mean the line she
habitually falls into, the pose of torso, the line of her legs in
action, and when seated, her arms and hands in repose and gesture, the
poise of her head. It is woman's line resulting from her habit of mind
and the control which her mind has over her body, a thing quite apart
from the way God made her, and the expression her body would have had if
left to itself, ungoverned by a mind stocked with observations,
conventions, experience and attitudes. We call this the physical
expression of _woman's personality_; this personality moulds her bodily
lines and if properly directed determines the character of the clothes
she wears; determines also whether she be a decorative object which says
something in line and colour, or an undecorative object which says


    Queen Elizabeth in the absurdly elaborate costume of the
    late Renaissance. Then crinoline, gaudy materials, and
    ornamentations without meaning reached their high-water mark
    in the costuming of women.

    [Illustration: _Metropolitan Museum of Art_
    _Tudor England Portrait of Queen Elizabeth_]

Woman to be decorative, should train the carriage of her body from
childhood, by wearing appropriate clothing for various daily rôles.
There is more in this than at first appears. The criticism by foreigners
that Americans, both men and women, never appear really at home in
evening clothes, that they look as if they felt _dressed_, is true of
the average man and woman of our country and results from the lax
standards of a new and composite social structure. America as a whole,
lacks traditions and still embodies the pioneer spirit, equally
characteristic of Australia and other offshoots from the old world.

The little American girl who is brought up from babyhood to change for
the evening, even though she have a nursery tea, and be allowed only a
brief good-night visit to the grown-ups, is still the exception rather
than the rule. A wee English maiden we know, created a good deal of
amused comment because, on several occasions, when passing rainy
afternoons indoors, with some affluent little New York friends, whose
luxurious nurseries and marvellous mechanical toys were a delight,
always insisted upon returning home,--a block distant,--to change into
white before partaking of milk toast and jam, at the nursery table, the
American children keeping on their pink and blue linens of the
afternoon. The fact of white or pink is unimportant, but our point is
made when we have said that the mother of the American children
constantly remarked on the unconscious grace of the English tot, whether
in her white muslin and pink ribbons, her riding clothes, or
accordion-plaited dancing frock. The English woman-child was acquiring
decorative lines by wearing the correct costume for each occasion, as
naturally as a bird wears its feathers. This is one way of obviating

The Eton boy masters his stick and topper in the same way, when young,
and so more easily passes through the formless stage conspicuous in the
American youth.

Call it technique, or call it efficiency, the object of our modern life
is to excel, to be the best of our kind, and appropriate dress is a
means to that end, for it helps to liberate the spirit. We of to-day
make no claim to consistency or logic. Some of us wear too high heels,
even with strictly tailored suits, which demand in the name of
consistency a sensible shoe. Also our sensible skirt may be far too
narrow for comfort. But on the whole, women have made great strides in
the matter of costuming with a view to appropriateness and efficiency.



Colour is the hall-mark of our day, and woman decoratively costumed, and
as decorator, will be largely responsible for recording this age as one
of distinct importance--a transition period in decoration.

Colour is the most marked expression of the spirit of the times; colour
in woman's clothes; colour in house furnishing; colour on the stage and
in its setting; colour in prose and verse.

Speaking of colour in verse, Rudyard Kipling says (we quote from an
editorial in the Philadelphia _Public Ledger_, Jan. 7, 1917):

"Several songs written by Tommy and the Poilu at the front, celebrate
the glories of camp life in such vivid colors they could not be
reproduced in cold, black, leaden type."

It is no mere chance, this use of vivid colour. Man's psychology to-day
craves it. A revolution is on. Did not the strong red, green, and blue
of Napoleon's time follow the delicate sky-blues, rose and
sunset-yellows of the Louis?

Colour pulses on every side, strong, clean, clear rainbow colour, as if
our magicians of brush and dye-pot held a prism to the sun-beam; violet,
orange and green, magentas and strong blue against backgrounds of black
and cold grey.

We had come to think of colour as vice and had grown so conservative in
its use, that it had all but disappeared from our persons, our homes,
our gardens, our music and our literature. More than this, from our
point of view! The reaction was bound to come by reason of eternal

Half-tones, antique effects, and general monotony,--the material
expression of complacent minds, has been cast aside, and the blasé man
of ten years ago is as keen as any child with his first linen picture
book,--and for the same reason.

Colour, as we see it to-day, came out of the East via Persia. Bakst in
Russia translated it into terms of art, and made the Ballet Russe an
amazing, enthralling vision! Then Poiret, wizard among French
couturières, assisted by Bakst, adapted this Oriental colour and line to
woman's uses in private life. This supplemented the good work of _le
Gazette du Bon Ton_ of Paris, that effete fashion sheet, devoted to the
decoration of woman, whose staff included many of the most gifted French
artists, masters of brush and pen. Always irregular, no issue of the
_Bon Ton_ has appeared of late. It is held up by the war. The men who
made it so fascinating a guide to woman "who would be decorative," are
at the front, painting scenery for the battlefield--literally that:
making mock trees and rocks, grass and hedges and earth, to mislead the
fire of the enemy, and doubtless the kindred Munich art has been
diverted into similar channels.

This Oriental colour has made its way across Europe like some gorgeous
bird of the tropics, and since the war has checked the output of
Europe's factories, another channel has supplied the same wonderful
colours in silks and gauze. They come to us by way of the Pacific, from
China and from Japan. There is no escaping the colour spell. Writers
from the front tell us that it is as if the gods made sport with fate's
anvil, for even the blackened dome of the war zone is lurid by night,
with sparks of purple, red, green, yellow and blue; the flare of the
world-destroying projectiles.


    A Velasquez portrait of the Renaissance, when the human
    form counted only as a rack on which was heaped crinoline
    and stiff brocades and chains and gems and wigs and every
    manner of elaborate adornment, making mountains of poor
    tottering human forms, all but lost beneath.

    [Illustration: _Vienna Hofmuseum_
    _Spain-Velasquez Portrait_]

The present costuming of woman, when she treats herself as decoration,
owes much to the prophets of the "new" theatre and their colour scale.
These men have demonstrated, in an unforgettable manner, the value of
colour; the dependence of every decorative object upon background; shown
how fraught with meaning can be an uncompromising outline, and the
suggestiveness of really significant detail.

Bakst, Rheinhardt and Granville Barker have taught us the new colour
vocabulary. Gordon Craig was perhaps the first to show us the stage made
suggestive by insisting on the importance of clever lighting to produce
atmosphere and elimination of unessential objects, the argument of his
school being that the too detailed reproducing of Nature (on the stage)
acts as a check to the imagination, whereas by the judicious selection
of harmonics, the imagination is stimulated to its utmost creative
capacity. One detects this creed to-day in certain styles of home
decoration (woman's background), as well as in woman's costumes.

_Portable Backgrounds_

The staging of a recent play showed more plainly than any words, the
importance of background. In one of the scenes, beautiful, artistic
gowns in delicate shades were set off by a room with wonderful green
walls and woodwork (mignonette). Now, so long as the characters moved
about the room, they were thrown into relief most charmingly, but the
moment the women seated themselves on a very light coloured and
characterless chintz sofa, they lost their decorative value. It was
lacking in harmony and contrast. The two black sofa cushions intended
possibly to serve as background, being small, instantly disappeared
behind the seated women.

A sofa of contrasting colour, or black, would have looked better in the
room, and served as immediate background for gowns. It might have been
covered in dark chintz, a silk damask in one or several tones, or a
solid colour, since the gowns were of delicate indefinite shades.

One of the sofas did have a dark Chinese coat thrown over the back, with
the intent, no doubt, of serving as effective background, but the point
seemed to escape the daintily gowned young woman who poured tea, for she
failed to take advantage of it, occupying the opposite end of the sofa.
A modern addition to a woman's toilet is a large square of chiffon,
edged with narrow metal or crystal fringe, or a gold or silver flexible
cord. This scarf is always in beguiling contrast to the costume, and
when not being worn, is thrown over the chair or end of sofa against
which our lady reclines. To a certain degree, this portable background
makes a woman decorative when the wrong colour on a chair might convert
her lovely gown into an eyesore.

One woman we know, who has an Empire room, admires the lines of her sofa
as furniture, but feels it ineffective unless one reclines á la Mme.
Récamier. To obviate this difficulty, she has had made a square (one and
a half yards), of lovely soft mauve silk damask, lined with satin
charmeuse of the same shade, and weighted by long, heavy tassels, at the
corners; this she throws over the Empire roll and a part of the seat,
which are done in antique green velvet. Now the woman seated for
conversation with arm and elbow resting on the head, looks at ease,--a
part of the composition. The square of soft, lined silk serves at other
times as a couvrepied.



Footwear points the costume; every child should be taught this.

Give most careful attention to your extremities,--shoes, gloves and
hats. The genius of fashion's greatest artist counts for naught if his
costume may not include hat, gloves, shoes, and we would add, umbrella,
parasol, stick, fan, jewels; in fact every detail.

If you have the good sense to go to one who deservedly ranks as an
authority on line and colour in woman's costume, have also the wisdom to
get from this man or woman not merely your raiment; go farther, and
grasp as far as you are able the principles underlying his or her
creations. Common sense tells one that there must be principles which
underlie the planning of every hat and gown,--serious reasons why
certain lines, colours and details are employed.

Principles have evolved and clarified themselves in the long journey
which textiles, colours and lines have made, travelling down through the
ages. A great cathedral, a beautiful house, a perfect piece of
furniture, a portrait by a master, sculpture which is an object of art,
a costume proclaimed as a success; all are the results of knowing and
following laws. The clever woman of slender means may rival her friends
with munition incomes, if only she will go to an expert with open mind,
and through the thoughtful purchase of a completed costume,--hat, gown
and all accessories,--learn an artist-modiste's point of view. Then, and
we would put it in italics; _take seriously, with conviction, all his or
her instructions as to the way to wear your clothes_. Anyone can _buy_
costumes, many can, perhaps own far more than you, but it is quite
possible that no one can more surely be a picture--a delightfully
decorative object on every occasion, than you, who knows instinctively
(or has been taught), beyond all shadow of doubt, how to put on and then
how to sit or walk in, your one tailored suit, your one tea gown, your
one sport suit or ball gown.


    An ideal example of the typical costume of fashionable
    England in the eighteenth century, when picturesqueness, not
    appropriateness, was the demand of the times.

    This picture is known as THE MORNING PROMENADE: SQUIRE
    HALLET WITH HIS LADY. Painted by Thomas Gainsborough
    and now in the private collection of Lord Rothschild,

    [Illustration: _Courtesy of Braun & Co., New York, London & Paris_
    _Eighteenth Century England Portrait by Thomas Gainsborough_]

If you want to wear light spats, stop and think whether your heavy
ankles will not look more trim in boots with light, glove-fitting tops
and black vamps.

We have seen women with such slender ankles and shapely insteps, that
white slippers or low shoes might be worn with black or coloured
stockings. But it is playing safe to have your stockings match your
slippers or shoes.

Buckles and bows on slippers and pumps can destroy the line of a shoe
and hence a foot, or continue and accentuate line. There are fashions in
buckles and bows, but unless you bend the fashion until it allows
nature's work to appear at its best, it will destroy artistic intention.

Some people buy footwear as they buy fruit; they like what they see, so
they get it! You know so many women, young and old, who do this, that
our advice is, try to recall those who do not. Yes, now you see what we
aim at; the women you have in mind always continue the line of their
gowns with their feet. You can see with your mind's eye how the slender
black satin slippers, one of which always protrudes from the black
evening gown, carry to its eloquent finish the line from her head
through torso, hip to knee, and knee down through instep to toe,--a line
so frequently obstructed by senseless trimmings, lineless hats, and
footwear wrong in colour and line.

If your gown is white and your object to create line, can you see how
you defeat your purpose by wearing anything but white slippers or shoes?

At a recent dinner one of the young women who had sufficient good taste
to wear an exquisite gown of silk and silver gauze, showing a pale
magenta ground with silver roses, continued the colour scheme of her
designer with silver slippers, tapering as Cinderella's, but spoiled the
picture she might have made by breaking her line and enlarging her
ankles and instep with magenta stockings. This could have been avoided
by the use of silver stockings or magenta slippers with magenta

When brocades, in several colours, are chosen for slippers, keep in mind
that the ground of the silk must absolutely match your costume. It is
not enough that in the figure of brocade is the colour of the dress.
Because so distorting to line, figured silks and coloured brocades for
footwear are seldom a wise choice.

To those who cannot own a match in slippers for each gown, we would
suggest that the number of colours used in gowns be but few, getting the
desired variety by varying shades of a colour, and then using slippers a
trifle higher in shade than the general colour selected.



The use of jewelry as colour and line has really nothing to do with its
intrinsic worth. Just as when furnishing a house, one selects pictures
for certain rooms with regard to their decorative quality alone, their
colour with relation to the colour scheme of the room (The Art of
Interior Decoration), so jewels should be selected either to complete
costumes, or to give the keynote upon which a costume is built. A woman
whose artist-dressmaker turns out for her a marvellous green gown, would
far better carry out the colour scheme with some semi-precious stones
than insist upon wearing her priceless rubies.

On the other hand, granted one owns rubies and they are becoming, then
plan a gown entirely with reference to them, noting not merely the shade
of their colour, but the character of their setting, should it be

One of the most picturesque public events in Vienna each year, is a
bazaar held for the benefit of a charity under court patronage. To draw
the crowds and induce them to give up their money, it has always been
the custom to advertise widely that the ladies of the Austro-Hungarian
court would conduct the sale of articles at the various booths and that
the said noble ladies would wear their family jewels. Also, that there
be no danger of confusing the various celebrities, the names of those
selling at each booth would be posted in plain lettering over it.
Programmes are sold, which also inform patrons as to the name and
station of each lovely vendor of flowers and sweets. It is an
extraordinary occasion, and well worth witnessing once. The jewels worn
are as amazing and fascinating as is Hungarian music. There is a
barbaric sumptuousness about them, an elemental quality conveyed by the
Oriental combining of stones, which to the western European and
American, seem incongruous. Enormous pearls, regular and irregular, are
set together in company with huge sapphires, emeralds, rubies and
diamonds, cut in the antique way. Looking about, one feels in an
Arabian Nights' dream. On the particular occasion to which we refer, the
most beautiful woman present was the Princess Metternich, and in her
jewels decorative as any woman ever seen.

The women of the Austrian court, especially the Hungarian women, are
notably beautiful and fascinating as well. It is the Magyar élan, that
abandon which prompts a woman to toss her jewelled bangle to a Gypsy
leader of the orchestra, when his violin moans and flashes out a

But the rule remains the same whether your jewels are inherited and rich
in souvenirs of European courts, or the last work of Cartier. They must
be a harmonious part of a carefully designed costume, or used with
discretion against a background of costumes planned with reference to
making them count as the sole decoration.

We recall a Spanish beauty, representative of several noble strains, who
was an artist in the combining of her gems as to their class and colour.
Hers was that rare gift,--infallible good taste, which led her to
contribute an individual quality to her temporary possessions. She
counted in Madrid, not only as a beautiful and brilliant woman, but as a
decorative contribution to any room she entered. It was not uncommon to
meet her at dinner, wearing some very chic blue gown, often of velvet,
the sole decoration of which would be her sapphires, stones rare in
themselves, famous for their colour, their matching, the manner in which
they were cut, and their setting,--the unique hand-work of some
goldsmith of genius. It is impossible to forget her distinguished
appearance as she entered the room in a princess gown, made to show the
outline of her faultless figure, and cut very low. Against the
background of her white neck and the simple lines of her blue gown, the
sapphires became decoration with artistic restraint, though they gleamed
from a coronet in her soft, black hair, encircled her neck many times
and fell below her waist line, clasped her arms and were suspended from
her ears in long, graceful pendants. They adorned her fingers and they
composed a girdle of indescribable beauty.


    BRUN, one of the greatest portrait painters of the
    eighteenth century. Here we see the lovely queen of Louis
    XVI in the type of costume she made her own which is still
    referred to as the Marie Antoinette style.

    This portrait is in the Musée National, Versailles.

    [Illustration: _Courtesy of Braun & Co., New York, London & Paris_
    _Bourbon France Marie Antoinette Portrait by Madame Vigée Le Brun_]

Later, the same night, one would meet this woman at a ball, and
discover that she had made a complete change of costume and was as
elegant as before, but now all in red, a gown of deep red velvet or some
wonderful soft satin, unadorned save by her rubies, as numerous and as
unique as her sapphires had been.

There were other women in Madrid wearing wonderful jewels, one of them
when going to court functions always had a carriage follow hers, in
which were detectives. How strange this seems to Americans! But this
particular woman in no way illustrated the point we would make, for she
had lost control of her own lines, had no knowledge of line and colour
in costume, and when wearing her jewels, looked very much like the show
case of a jeweller's shop.

Jewelry must be worn to make lines, continue or terminate lines,
accentuate a good physical point, or hide a bad one. Remember that a
jewel like any other _object d'art_, is an ornament, and unless it is
ornamental, and an added attraction to the wearer, it is valueless in a
decorative way. For this reason it is well to discover, by
experimenting, what jewelry is your affair, what kind of rings for
example, are best suited to your kind of hands. It may be that small
rings of delicate workmanship, set with colourless gems, will suit your
hands; while your friend will look better in the larger, heavier sort,
set with stones of deeper tones.

This finding out what one can and cannot wear, from shoe leather to a
feather in the hat (and the inventory includes even width of hem on a
linen handkerchief), is by no means a frivolous, fruitless waste of
time; it is a wise preparedness, which in the end saves time, vitality
and money. And if it does not make one independent of expert advice (and
why should one expect to be that, since technique in any art should
improve with practice?) it certainly prepares one to grasp and make use
of, expert suggestions.

We have often been told, and by those whose business it is to know such
things, that the models created by great Paris dressmakers are not
always flashes of genius which come in the night, nor the wilful
perversion of an existing fashion, to force the world of women into
discarding, and buying everything new. It may look suspiciously like it
when we see a mere swing of the pendulum carrying the straight sheath
out to the ten-yard limit of crinoline skirts.

As a matter of fact, decorative woman rules the fashions, and if
decorative woman makes up her mind to retain a line or a limit, she does
it. The open secret is that every great Paris house has its chic
clientele, which in returning from the Riviera--Europe's Peacock
Alley--is full of knowledge as to how the last fashions (line and
colour), succeeded in scoring in the rôle designated. Those points found
to be desirable, becoming, beautiful, comfortable, appropriate,
_séduisant_--what you will--are taken as the foundation of the next
wardrobe order, and with this inside information from women who _know_
(know the subtle distinction between daring lines and colours, which are
_good form_, and those which are not), the men or women who give their
lives to creating costumes proceed to build. These are the fashions for
the exclusive few this year, for the whole world the next year.

In conclusion, to reduce one of the rules as to how jewels should be
worn to its simplest form, never use imitation pearl trimming if you are
wearing a necklace and other ornaments of real pearls. The pearl
trimming may be very charming in itself, but it lessens the distinction
of your real pearls.

In the same way rhinestones may be decidedly decorative, but only a
woman with an artist's instinct can use her diamonds at the same time.
It can be done, by keeping the rhinestones off the bodice. An artist can
conceive and work out a perfect adjustment of what in the mind and hand
of the inexperienced is not to be attempted. Your French dressmaker
combines real and imitation laces in a fascinating manner. That same
artist's instinct could trim a gown with emerald pastes and hang real
gems of the same in the ears, using brooch and chain, but you would find
the green glass garniture swept from the proximity of the gems and used
in some telling manner to score as _trimming_,--not to compete as
jewels. We have seen the skirt of French gowns of black tulle or net,
caught up with great rhinestone swans, and at the same time a diamond
chain and diamond earrings worn. Nothing could have been more chic.

We recall another case of the discreet combining of gems and paste. It
was at the Spring races, Longchamps, Paris. The decorative woman we have
never forgotten, had marvellous gold-red hair, wore a costume of golden
brown chiffon, a close toque (to show her hair) of brown; long topaz
drops hung from her ears, set in hand-wrought Etruscan gold, and her
shell lorgnettes hung from a topaz chain. Now note that on her toque and
her girdle were buckles made of topaz glass, obviously not real topaz
and because made to look like milliner's garniture and not jeweler's
work, they had great style and were as beautiful of their kind as the
real stones.


    The portrait of an Englishwoman painted during the
    Napoleonic period.

    She wears the typical Empire gown, cloak, and bonnet.

    The original of this portrait is the same referred to
    elsewhere as having moistened her muslin gowns to make them
    cling to her, in Grecian folds.

    Among her admiring friends was Lord Byron.

    A descendant who allows the use of the charming portrait,
    explains that the fair lady insisted upon being painted in
    her bonnet because her curling locks were short--a result of
    typhoid fever.

    [Illustration: _Costume of Empire Period
    An English Portrait_]



By the way, do you know that boudoir originally meant pouting room, a
place where the ceremonious grande dame of the Louis might relax and
express a ruffled mood, if she would? Which only serves to prove that
even the definition of words alter with fashion, for we imagine that our
supinely relaxed modern beauty, of the country club type, has on the
whole more self-control than she of the boudoir age.

Since a boudoir is of all rooms the most personal, we take it for
granted that its decoration is eloquent with the individuality and taste
of its owner. Walls, floors, woodwork, upholstery, hangings, cushions
and _objects d'art_ furnish the colour for my lady's background, and
will naturally be a scheme calculated to set off her own particular
type. Here we find woman easily made decorative in negligée or tea gown,
and it makes no difference whether fashion is for voluminous, flowing
robes, ruffled and covered with ribbons and lace, or the other extreme,
those creations of Fortuny, which cling to the form in long crinkled
lines and shimmer like the skin of a snake. The Fortuny in question, son
of the great Spanish painter, devotes his time to the designing of the
most artistic and unique tea gowns offered to modern woman. We first saw
his work in 1910 at his Paris atelier. His gowns, then popular with
French women, were made in Venice, where M. Fortuny was at that time
employing some five hundred women to carry out his ideas as to the
dyeing of thin silks, the making and colouring of beads used as
garniture, and the stenciling of designs in gold, silver or colour. The
lines are Grecian and a woman in her Fortuny tea gown suggests a Tanagra
figure, whether she goes in for the finely pleated sort, kept tightly
twisted and coiled when not in use, to preserve the distinguishing fine
pleats, or one with smooth surface and stenciled designs. These Fortuny
tea gowns slip over the head with no opening but the neck, with its silk
shirring cord by means of which it can be made high or low, at will;
they come in black, gold and the tones of old Venetian dyes. One could
use a dozen of them and be a picture each time, in any setting, though
for the epicure they are at their best when chosen with relation to a
special background. The black Fortunys are extraordinarily chic and look
well when worn with long Oriental earrings and neck chains of links or
beads, which reach--at least one strand of them--half-way to the knees.

The distinction which this long line of a chain or string of pearls
gives to the figure of any woman is a point to dwell upon. Real pearls
are desirable, even if one must begin with a short necklace; but where
it can be afforded, woman cannot be urged too strongly to wear a string
extending as near to and as much below the waist-line as possible. A
long string of pearls gives great elegance, whether wearer is standing
or seated. You can use your short string of pearls, too, but whatever
your figure is, if you are not a young girl it will be improved by the
long line, and if you would be decorative above everything, we insist
that a long chain or string of less intrinsic value is preferable to one
of meaningless length and priceless worth. Very young girls look best
in short necklaces; women whose throats are getting lined should take to
jeweled dog-collars, in addition to their strings of pearls or diamond
chains. The woman with firm throat and perfect neck was made for pearls.
For those less blessed there are lovely things too, jewels to match
their eyes, or to tone in with skin or hair; settings to carry out the
line of profile, rings to illuminate the swift gesture or nestle into
the soft, white, dimpled hand of inertia. Every type has its charm and
followers, but we still say, avoid emphasising your lack of certain
points by wearing unsuitable costumes and accessories, and by so doing
lose the chance of being decorative.

Sibyl Sanderson, the American prima donna, whose career was in Paris,
was the most irresistibly lovely vision ever seen in a tea gown. She was
past-mistress at the art of making herself decorative, and the writer
recalls her as she last saw her in a Doucet model of chiffon, one layer
over another of flesh, palest pink and pinkish mauve that melted into
the creamy tones of her perfect neck and arms.

Sibyl Sanderson was lovely as nature turned her out, but Paris taught
her the value of that other beauty, the beauty which comes of art and
attained like all art, only through conscious effort. An artistic
appearance once meant letting nature have its way. It has come to mean,
nature directed and controlled by Art, and while we do not resort to the
artificiality (in this moment) of hoops, crinoline, pyramids of false
hair, monstrous head-dresses, laced waists, low neck and short sleeves
for all hours and all seasons, paper-soled shoes in snow-drifts, etc.,
we do insist that woman be _bien soiné_--hair, complexion, hands, feet,
figure, perfection _par tout_.

Woman's costumes, her jewels and all accessories complete her decorative
effect, but even in the age of powder and patches, hair oil and wigs, no
more time nor greater care was given to her grooming, and what we say
applies to the average woman of affairs and not merely to the parasite



A sun-room as the name implies, is a room planned to admit as much sun
as is possible. An easy way to get the greatest amount of light and sun
is to enclose a steam heated porch with glass which may be removed at
will. Sometimes part of a conservatory is turned into a sun-room,
awnings, rugs, chairs, tables, couches, making it a fascinating lounge
or breakfast room, useful, too, at the tea hour. Often when building a
house a room on the sunny side is given one, two, or three glass sides.
To trick the senses, ferns and flowering plants, birds and fountains are
used as decorations, suggesting out-of-doors.


    Portrait by Gilbert Stuart of Doña Matilda, Stoughton de
    Jaudenes. (Metropolitan Museum.)

    We use this portrait to illustrate the period when woman's
    line was obliterated by the excessive decoration of her

    The interest attached to this charming example of her time
    lies in colour and detail. It is as if the bewitching Doña
    Matilda were holding up her clothes with her person. Her
    outline is that of a ruffled canary. How difficult for her
    to forget her material trappings, when they are so many, and
    yet she looks light of heart.

    For sharp contrast we suggest that our reader turn at once
    to the portrait by Sargent (Plate XV) which is distinguished
    for its clean-cut outline and also the distinction arrived
    at through elimination of detail in the way of trimming. The
    costume hangs on the woman, suspended by jewelled chains
    from her shoulders.

    The Sargent has the simplicity of the Classic Greek; the
    Gilbert Stuart portrait, the amusing fascination of Marie
    Antoinette detail.

    The gown is white satin, with small gold flowers scattered
    over its surface. The head-dress surmounting the powdered
    hair is of white satin with seed-pearl ornaments.

    The background is a dead-rose velvet curtain, draped to show
    blue sky, veiled by clouds. The same dead-rose on table and
    chair covering. The book on table has a softly toned calf
    cover. Gilbert Stuart was fond of working in this particular
    colour note.

    [Illustration: _Metropolitan Museum of Art_
    _Eighteenth Century Costume Portrait by Gilbert Stewart_]

The woman who would add to the charm of her sun-room in Winter by
keeping up the illusion of Summer, will wear Summer clothes when in it,
that is, the same gowns, hats and footwear which she would select for a
warm climate. To be exquisite, if you are young or youngish, well and
active, you would naturally appear in the sun-room after eleven, in some
sheer material of a delicate tint, made walking length, with any
graceful Summer hat which is becoming, and either harmonises with colour
of gown or is an agreeable contrast to it. By graceful hat we mean a hat
suggesting repose, not the close, tailored hat of action. One woman we
know always uses her last Summer's muslins and wash silks, shoes,
slippers and hats in her sun-room during the Winter. In her wardrobe
there are invariably a lot of sheer muslins, voiles and wash silks in
white, mauve, greys, pinks, or delicate stripes, the outline following
the fashion, voluminous, straight or clinging, the bodice tight with
trimmings inset or full, beruffled, or kerchiefed. Her hats are always
entirely black or entirely white, in type the variety we know as
_picturesque_, made very light in weight and with no thought of
withstanding the elements. The woman who knows how, can get the effect
of a picture hat with very little outlay of money. It is a matter of
line when on the head, that look of lightness and general airiness which
gives one the feeling that the wearer has just blown in from the lawn!
The artist's hand can place a few simple loops of ribbon on a hat, and
have success, while a stupid arrangement of costly feathers or flowers
may result in failure. The effect of movement got by certain line
manipulation, suggesting arrested motion, is of inestimable value,
especially when your hat is one with any considerable width of brim. The
hat with movement is like a free-hand sketch, a hat without movement
like a decalcomania.

If the owner of the sun-room is resting or invalided then away with
out-of-door costume. For her a tea-gown and satin slippers are in order,
as they would be under similar conditions on her furnished porch.

If the mistress of the sun-room is young and athletic, one who never
goes in for frou-frous, but wears linen skirts and blouses when pouring
tea for her friends, let her be true to her type in the sun-room, but
always emphasising immaculate daintiness, rather than the
ready-for-sport note. A sheer blouse and French heels on white pumps
will transpose the plain linen skirt into the key of picturesque
relaxation, the hall-mark of sun-rooms. More than any other room in the
house, the sun-room is for drifting. One cannot imagine writing a cheque
there, or going over one's monthly accounts.

We assume that the colour scheme in the sun-room was dictated by the
owner and is therefore sympathetic to her. If this be true, we can go
farther and assume that the delicate tones of her porch gowns and tea
gowns will harmonise. If her sun-room is done in yellows and orange and
greens, nothing will look better than cream-white as a costume. If the
walls, woodwork and furniture have been kept very light in tone, relying
on the rugs and cushions and dark foliage of plants to give character,
then a costume of sheer material in any one of the decided colours in
the chintz cushions, will be a welcome contribution to the decoration of
the sun-room. Additional effect can be given a costume by the clever
choice of colour and line in a work-bag.



In your garden, if you would count as decoration, keep to white or one
colour; the flowers furnish a variegated background against which your
costume of colour, grey or white stands out. The great point is that
your outline be one with pictorial value, from the artist's point of
view. If merely strolling through your garden to admire it, keeping to
the well-made paths, a fragile gown of sheer material and dainty shoes,
with perishable hat or fragile sunshade, is in order. But if yours is
the task to gather flowers, then wear stout linen or pretty, bright
ginghams, good to the eye and easily laundered, while resisting the
briars and branches.

Smocks, those loose over-all garments of soft-toned linens, reaching
from neck half-way to the knees and unbelted, are ideal for garden work,
and to the young and slender, add a distinct charm, for one catches the
movement of the lithe form beneath.

You can be decorative in your garden in a large enveloping apron of
gingham, if you are wise in choosing a colour which becomes you. One
lover of flowers, who has an instinct for fitness and colour, may be
seen on a Summer morning, trimming her porch-boxes in snowy
white,--shoes and all,--over which she wears a big, encircling apron,
extending from neck to skirt hem; deep pockets cross the entire front,
convenient for clippers, scissors and twine. This apron is low-necked
with shoulder straps and no sleeves. The woman in question is tall and
fair, and on her soft curling hair she wears sun hats of peanut straw,
the edges sewn over and over with wool to match her gingham apron, which
is a solid pink, pale green or lavender.

Dark women look uncommonly well in khaki colour, and so do some blonds.
Here is a shade decorative against vegetation and serviceable above all.

Garden costumes for actual work vary according to individual taste and
the amount and character of the gardening indulged in.

Lady de Bathe (Mrs. Langtry) owns one of the most charming gardens in
England, though not as famous as some. It is attached to Regal Lodge,
her place at Newmarket. The Blue Walk is something to remember, with its
walls of blue lavender flanking the blue paving stones, between the
cracks of which lovely bluebells and larkspur spring up in irrelevant,
poetic license.

Lady de Bathe digs and climbs and clips and gathers, therefore she wears
easily laundered garments; a white linen or cotton skirt and blouse, a
Chinese coat to the knees, of pink cotton crêpe and an Isle-of-Jersey
sun-bonnet, a poke with curtain, to protect the neck and strings to tie
it on. So while she claims never to have consciously considered being a
decorative note in her own garden, her trained instinct for costuming
herself appropriately and becomingly brings about the desirable
decorative effect.


    Madame Adeline Genée, the greatest living exponent of the
    art of toe dancing. She wears an early Victorian costume
    (1840) made for a ballet she danced in London several
    seasons ago. The writer did not see the costume and
    neglected, until too late, to ask Madame Genée for a
    description of its colouring, but judging by what we know of
    1840 colours and textures as described by Miss McClellan
    (_Historic Dress in America_) and other historians of the
    period as well as from portraits, we feel safe in stating
    that it may well have been a bonnet of pink uncut velvet,
    trimmed with silk fringe and a band of braided velvet of the
    same colour; or perhaps a white shirred satin; or
    dove-coloured satin with pale pink and green figured ribbon.
    For the dress, it may have been of dove-grey satin, or pink
    flowered silk with a black taffeta cape and one of black
    lace to change off with.

    [Illustration: _Victorian Period about 1840_
    _Mme. Adeline Genée in Costume_]


When on your lawn with the unbroken sweep of green under foot and the
background of shrubs and trees, be a flower or a bunch of flowers in the
colour of your costume. White,--hat, shoes and all, cannot be excelled,
but colour has charm of another sort, and turning the pages of memory,
one realises that not a shade or artistic combination but has scored, if
the outline is chic. Since both outline and colour scheme vary with
fashion we use the word chic or smart to imply that quality in a costume
which is the result of restraint in the handling of line, colour and all
details, whatever the period.

A chic outline is very telling on the lawn; gown or hat must be
appropriate to the occasion, becoming to the wearer, its lines following
the fashion, yet adapted to type, and the colour, one sympathetic to the
wearer. The trimming must accentuate the distinctive type of the gown or
hat instead of blotting out the lines by an overabundance of garniture.
The trimming must follow the constructive lines of gown, or have
meaning. A buckle must buckle something, buttons must be used where
there is at least some semblance of an opening. Let us repeat: To be
chic, the trimming of a hat or gown must have a _raison d'être_. When in
doubt omit trimming. As in interior decoration, too much detail often
defeats the original idea of a costume. An observing woman knows that
few of her kind understand the value of restraint. When turned out by an
artist, most women recognise when they look their best, but how to
achieve it alone, is beyond them. This sort of knowledge comes from
carefully and constantly comparing the gown which is a success with
those which are failures.

Elimination characterises the smart costume or hat, and the smart
designer is he or she who can make one flower, one feather, one bow of
ribbon, band of fur, bit of real lace or hand embroidery, say a distinct

It is the decorative value gained by the judicious placing of one object
so that line and colour count to the full. As we have said in _Interior
Decoration_, one pink rose in a slender Venetian glass vase against a
green silk curtain may have far more decorative value than dozens of
costly roses used without knowledge of line and background. So it is
with ornaments on wearing apparel.


With a background of grey sand, steel-blue water and more or less blue
sky, woman is given a tempting opportunity to figure as colour when by
the sea. That it is gay colour or white which makes decorative effects
on the beach, even the least knowing realise. _Plein air_ artists have
stamped on our mental visions impressions of smart society disporting
itself on the sands of Dieppe, Trouville, Brighton, and where not.
Whatever the period, hence outline, white and the gay colours impress
one. Most conspicuous is white on woman (and man); then each colour in
the rainbow with its half-tones, figures as sweaters, veils, hats and
parasols; the striped marquise and gay wares of the venders of nosegays,
balloons and lollypops. The artist picks out the telling notes when
painting, learn from him and figure as one of these.

On the beach avoid being a dull note; dead greys and browns have no
charm there.

What is true of costuming for the beach applies equally to costumes to
be worn on the deck of a steamer or yacht.



To be decorative when skating, two things are necessary: first, know how
to skate; then see to it that you are costumed with reference to
appropriateness, becomingness and the outline demanded by the fashion of
the moment.

The woman who excels in the technique of her art does not always excel
in dressing her rôle. It is therefore with great enthusiasm that we
record Miss Theresa Weld of Boston, holder of Woman's Figure Skating
Championship, as the most chicly costumed woman on the ice of the
Hippodrome (New York) where amateurs contested for the cup offered by
Mr. Charles B. Dillingham, on March 23, 1917, when Miss Weld again
won,--this time over the men as well as the women.

Miss Weld combined good work with perfect form, and her edges, fronts,
ins, outs, threes, double-threes, etc., etc., were a delight to the eye
as she passed and repassed in her wine-coloured velvet, trimmed with
mole-skin, a narrow band on the bottom of the full skirt (full to allow
the required amount of leg action), deep cuffs, and a band of the same
fur encircling the close velvet toque. This is reproduced as the ideal
costume because, while absolutely up-to-date in line, material, colour
and character of fur, it follows the traditional idea as to what is
appropriate and beautiful for a skating costume, regardless of epoch. We
have seen its ancestors in many parts of Europe, year after year. Some
of us recall with keen pleasure, the wonderful skating in Vienna and
Berlin on natural and artificial ice, invariably hung with flags and
gaily lighted by night. We can see now, those German girls,--some of
them trim and good to look at, in costumes of sapphire blue, deep red,
or green velvet, fur trimmed,--gliding swiftly across the ice, to the
irresistible swing of waltz music and accompanied by flashing uniforms.

In the German-speaking countries everyone skates: the white-bearded
grandfather and the third generation going hand in hand on Sunday
mornings to the nearest ice-pond. With them skating is a communal
recreation, as beer garden concerts are. With us in America most sports
are fashions, not traditions. The rage for skating during the past few
seasons is the outcome of the exhibition skating done by professionals
from Austria, Germany, Scandinavian countries and Canada, at the New
York Hippodrome. Those who madly danced are now as madly skating. And
out of town the young women delight the eye in bright wool sweaters,
broad, long wool scarfs and bright wool caps, or small, close felt
hats,--fascinating against the white background of ice and snow. The
boots are high, reaching to top of calf, a popular model having a seam
to the tip of the toe.

No sport so perfectly throws into relief _command of the body_ as does
skating. Watch a group of competitors for honours at any gathering of
amateur women skaters and note how few have command of themselves--know
absolutely what they want to do, and then are able to do it. One skater,
in the language of the ice, can do the actual work, but has no form. It
may be she lacks temperament, has no abandon, no rhythm; is stiff, or,
while full of life, has bad arms. It is as necessary that the fancy
skater should learn the correct position of the arms as that the solo
dancer should. Certain lines must be preserved, say, from fingers of
right arm through to tip of left foot, or from tip of left hand through
to tip of right foot.


    A portrait by John S. Sargent. (Metropolitan Museum,
    painted about 1890.)

    We have here a distinguished example of the dignity and
    beauty possible to a costume characteristic of the period
    when extreme severity as to outline and elimination of
    detail followed the elaboration of Victorian ruffles,
    ribbons and lace over hoops and bustle; curled hair and the
    obvious cameo brooch, massive bracelets and chains.

    [Illustration: _Metropolitan Museum of Art_
    _Late Nineteenth Century Costume about 1890
    A Portrait by John S. Sargent_]

"Form" is the manipulation of the lines of the body to produce perfect
balance, perfect freedom and, when required, perfect control in arrested
motion. This is the mastery which produces in free skating that
"melting" of one figure into another which so hypnotises the onlooker.
It is because Miss Weld has mastered the above qualifications that she
is amateur champion in fancy skating. She has mastered her medium; has
control of every muscle in her body. In consequence she is decorative
and delightful to watch.

To be decorative when not on skates, whether walking, standing or
sitting, a woman must have cultivated the same feeling for line, her
form must be good. It is not enough to obey the A. B. C.'s of position;
head up, shoulders back, chest out, stomach in. One must study the
possibilities of the body in acquiring and perfecting poses which have
line, making pictures with one's self.

In the _Art of Interior Decoration_ we insist that every room be a
beautiful composition. What we would now impress upon the mind of the
reader is that she is a part of the picture and must compose with her
setting. To do this she should acquire the mastery of her body, and then
train that body until it has acquired "good habits" in the assuming of
line, whether in action or repose. This can be done to an astonishing
degree, even if one lacks the instinct. To be born with a sense of line
is a gift, and the development of this sense can give artistic delight
to those who witness the results and thrill them quite as sculpture or
music, or any other art does.

The Greek idea of regarding the perfectly trained body as a beautiful
temple is one to keep in mind, if woman would fulfil her obligation to
be decorative.

Form means efficiency, if properly understood and carried out according
to the spirit, not the letter of the law. Form implies the human body
under control, ready for immediate action. The man or woman with
_form_, will be the first to fall into action when required, because, so
to speak, no time is lost in collecting and aiming the body.

One of the great points in the teaching of the late Theodore
Leschetizky, the world's greatest master in the art of piano playing,
was that the hand should immediately assume the correct position for
the succeeding chord, the instant it was lifted from the

The crack regiments of Europe, noted for their form, have for years been
the object of jests in those new worlds where brawn and muscle, with
mental acumen, have converted primeval forests into congested commercial
centers. But that form, so derided by the pioneer spirit, has proved its
worth during the present European war. The United States and the Central
Powers are now at war and military guards have been stationed at
vulnerable points. Only to-day we saw one of Uncle Sam's soldiers, one
of three, patrolling the front of a big armory,--standing in an
absolutely relaxed position, his gun held loosely in his hand, and its
bayonet propped against the iron fence. One could not help thinking;
_no_ form, no preparedness, no efficiency. It goes without saying that
prompt obedience cannot be looked for where there is lack of form, no
matter how willing the spirit.

The modern woman when on parole,--walking, dancing, driving, riding or
engaged in any sport, to be efficient must have trained the body until
it has form, and dress it appropriately, if she would be efficient as
well as decorative in the modern sense of the term. No better
illustration of our point can be found than in the popular sport cited
at the beginning of this chapter.



It is not easy to be decorative in your automobile now that the
manufacturers are going in for gay colour schemes both in upholstery and
outside painting. A putty-coloured touring car lined with red leather is
very stunning in itself, but the woman who would look well when sitting
in it does not carelessly don any bright motor coat at hand. She knows
very well that to show up to advantage against red, and be in harmony
with the putty-colour paint, her tweed coat should blend with the car,
also her furs. Black is smart with everything, but fancy how impossible
mustard, cerise and some shades of green would look against that scarlet

An orange car with black top, mud-guards and upholstery calls for a
costume of white, black, brown, tawny grey, or, if one would be a
poster, royal blue.

Some twenty-five years ago the writer watched the first automobile in
her experience driven down the Champs Elysées. It seemed an uncanny,
horseless carriage, built to carry four people and making a good deal of
fuss about it.

A few days later, while lunching at the Café de Reservoir, Versailles,
we were told that some men were starting back to Paris by automobile,
and if we went to a window giving on to the court, we might see the
astonishing vehicle make its start. It was as thrilling as the first
near view of an aëroplane, and all-excitement we watched the two
Frenchmen getting ready for the drive. Their elaborate preparation to
face the current of air to be encountered en route was not unlike the
preparation to-day for flying. It was Spring--June, at that--but those
Frenchmen wearing very English tweeds and smoking English pipes, each
drew on extra cloth trousers and coats and over these a complete outfit
of leather! We saw them get into the things in the public courtyard,
arrange huge goggles, draw down cloth caps, and set out at a speed of
about fifteen miles an hour!


    A portrait of Mrs. Thomas Hastings of New York painted by
    the late John W. Alexander.

    We have chosen this--one of the most successful portraits by
    one of America's leading portrait painters--as a striking
    example of colour scheme and interesting line. Also we have
    here a woman who carries herself with form. Mrs. Hastings is
    an accomplished horsewoman. Her fine physique is poised so
    as to give that individual movement which makes for type;
    her colour--wonderful red hair and the complexion which goes
    with it--are set off by a dull gold background; a gown in
    another tone of gold, relieved by a note or two of turquoise
    green; and the same green appearing as a shadow on the
    Victory in the background.

    We see the sitter, as she impressed an observer, transferred
    to the canvas by the consummate skill of our deeply lamented

    [Illustration: _A Modern Portrait By John W. Alexander_]

The above seems incredible, now that we have passed through the various
stages of motor car improvements and motor clothes creations. The rapid
development of the automobile, with its windshields, limousine tops,
shock absorbers, perfected engines and springs, has brought us to the
point where no more preparation is needed for a thousand-mile run across
country with an average speed of thirty miles an hour, than if we were
boarding a train. One dresses for a motor as one would for driving in a
carriage and those dun-colored, lineless monstrosities invented for
motor use have vanished from view. More than this, woman to-day
considers her decorative value against the electric blue velvet or
lovely chintz lining of her limousine, exactly as she does when planning
clothes for her salon. And why not? The manufacturers of cars are taking
seriously their interior decoration as well as outside painting; and
many women interior decorators specialise along this line and devote
their time to inventing colour schemes calculated to reflect the
personality of the owner of the car.

Special orders have raised the standard of the entire industry, so that
at the recent New York automobile show, many effects in cars were
offered to the public. Besides the putty-coloured roadster lined with
scarlet, black lined with russet yellow, orange lined with black; there
were limousines painted a delicate custard colour, with top and rim of
wheels, chassis and lamps of the same Nattier Blue as the velvet lining,
cushions and curtains. A beautiful and luxurious background and how easy
to be decorative against it to one who knows how!

Another popular colour scheme was a mauve body with top of canopy and
rims of wheels white, the entire lining of mauve, like the body. Imagine
your woman with a decorative instinct in this car. So obvious an
opportunity would never escape her, and one can see the vision on a
Summer day, as she appears in simple white, softest blue or pale pink,
or better still, treating herself as a quaint nosegay of blush roses,
for-get-me-nots, lilies and mignonette, with her chiffons and silks or
sheerest of lawns.

"But how about me?" one hears from the girl of the open car--a racer
perhaps, which she drives herself. You are easiest of all, we assure
you; to begin with, your car being a racer, is painted and lined with
durable dark colours--battleship grey, dust colour, or some shade which
does not show dirt and wear. The consequence is, you will be decorative
in any of the smart coats, close hats and scarfs in brilliant and lovely
hues,--silk or wool.



Here is a plan to follow when getting up a period costume:

We will assume that you wish to wear a Spanish dress of the time of
Philip IV (early seventeenth century). The first thing to give your
attention to is the station in life which you propose to represent.
Granted that you decide on a court costume, one of those made so
familiar by the paintings of the great Velasquez, let your first step be
to get a definite impression of the _outline_ of such a costume. Go to
art galleries and look at pictures, go to libraries and ask for books on
costumes, with plates.

You will observe that under the head of crinoline and hoop-skirt
periods, there are a variety of outlines, markedly different. The slope
of the hip line and the outline of the skirt is the infallible hall-mark
of each of these periods.

Let it be remembered that the outline of a woman includes hair, combs,
head-dress, earrings, treatment of neck, shoulders, arms, bust and hips;
line to the ankles and shoes; also fan, handkerchief or any other
article, which if a silhouette were made, would appear. The next step is
to ascertain what materials were available at the time your costume was
worn and what in vogue. Were velvets, satins or silks worn, or all
three? Were materials flowered, striped, or plain? If striped,
horizontal or perpendicular? For these points turn again to your art
gallery, costume plates, or the best of historical novels. If you are
unable to resort to the sources suggested, two courses lie open to you.
Put the matter into the hands of an expert; there are many to be
approached through the columns of first-class periodicals or newspapers
(we do not refer to the ordinary dealer in costumes or theatre
accessories); or make the effort to consult some authority, in person or
by letter: an actor, historian or librarian. It is amazing how near at
hand help often is, if we only make our needs known. If the reader is
young and busy, dancing and skating and sleeping, and complains, in her
winsome way, that "days are too short for such work," we would remind
her that as already stated, to carefully study the details of any
costume, of any period, means that the mind and the eye are being
trained to discriminate between the essentials and non-essentials of
woman's costume in every-day life. The same young beauty may be
interested to know that at the beginning of Geraldine Farrar's career
the writer, visiting with her, an exhibition of pictures in Munich, was
amazed at the then, very young girl's familiarity with the manner of
artists--ancient and modern,--and exclaimed "I did not know you were so
fond of pictures." "It's not that," Farrar said, "I get my costumes from
them, and a great many of my poses."


    Portrait of Mrs. Philip M. Lydig, patron of the arts,
    exhibited in New York at Duveen Galleries during Winter of
    1916-1917 with the Zuloaga pictures. The exhibition was
    arranged by Mrs. Lydig.

    This portrait has been chosen to illustrate two points: that
    a distinguished decorative quality is dependent upon line
    which has primarily to do with form of one's own physique
    (and not alone the cut of the costume); and the great value
    of knowing one's own type.

    Mrs. Lydig has been transferred to the canvas by the clever
    technique of one of the greatest modern painters, Ignacio
    Zuloaga, an artistic descendant of Velasquez. The delightful
    movement is that of the subject, in this case kept alive
    through its subtle translation into terms of art.

    [Illustration: _A Portrait of Mrs. Philip M. Lydig.
    By I. Zuloaga_]

Outline and material being decided, give your attention to the character
of the background against which you are to appear. If it is a ball-room,
and the occasion a costume-ball, is it done in light or dark colours,
and what is the prevailing tone? See to it that you settle on a colour
which will be either a harmonious note or an agreeable, hence impressive
contrast, against the prevailing background. If you are to wear the
costume on a stage or as a living picture against a background arranged
with special reference to you, and where you are the central figure, be
more subtle and combine colours, if you will; go in for interesting
detail, provided always that you make these details have meaning. For
example, if it be trimming, pure and simple, be sure that it be applied
as during your chosen period. Trimming can be used so as to increase
effectiveness of a costume by accentuating its distinctive features, and
it can be misused so as to pervert your period, whether that be the age
of Cleopatra, or the Winter of 1917. Details, such as lace, jewels,
head-dresses, fans, snuff-boxes, work baskets and flowers must be
absolutely of the period, or not at all. A few details, even one
stunning jewel, if correct, will be far more convincing than any number
of makeshifts, no matter how attractive in themselves. Paintings, plates
and history come to our rescue here. If you think it dry work, try it.
The chances are all in favour of your emerging from your search
spell-bound by the vistas opened up to you; the sudden meaning acquired
by many inanimate things, and a new pleasure added to all observations.

That Spanish comb of great-great-grandmother's is really a treasure now.
The antique Spanish plaque you own, found to be Moorish lustre, and out
of the attic it comes! A Spanish miracle cross proves the spiritual
superstition of the race, so back to the junk-shop you go, hoping to
acquire the one that was proffered.

Yes, Carmen should wear a long skirt when she dances, Spanish pictures
show them; and so on.

The collecting of materials and all accessories to a costume, puts one
in touch, not only with the dress, but the life of the period, and the
customs of the times. Once steeped in the tradition of Spanish art and
artists, how quick the connoisseur is to recognize Spanish influence on
the art of Holland, France and England. Lead your expert in costumes of
nations into talking of history and we promise you pictures of dynasties
and lands that few historical writers can match. This man or woman has
extracted from the things people wore the story of where they wore them,
and when, and how; for the lover of colour we commend this method of
studying history.

If any one of our readers is casting about for a hobby and craves one
with inexhaustible possibilities, we would advise: try collecting data
on periods in dress, as shown in the art treasures of the world, for of
this there is verily no end.

We warn the novice in advance that each detail of woman's dress has for
one in pursuit of such data the allure of the siren.

There is the pictured story of head-dresses and hats, and how the hair
is worn, from Cleopatra's time till ours; the evolution of a woman's
sleeve, its ups and downs and ins and outs as shown in art; the
separation of the waist from skirt, and ever changing line of both; the
neck of woman's gown so variously cut and trimmed and how the necklace
changed likewise to accord; the passing of the sandals of the Greeks
into the poetic glove-fitting slippers of to-day.

One sets out gaily to study costumes, full of the courage of ignorance,
the joyous optimism of an enthusiast, because it is amusing and looks so
simple with all the material,--old and new, lying about one.

Ah, that is the pitfall--the very abundance of those plates in wondrous
books, old coloured prints and portraits of the past. To some students
this kaleidoscopic vision of period costumes never falls into definite
lines and colour; or if the types are clear, what they come from or
merge into remains obscure.

For the eager beginner we have tried to evolve out of the whole mass of
data a system of origin and development as definite as the anatomy of
the human body, a framework on which to build. If our historical outline
be clear enough to impress the mental vision as indelibly as those
primary maps of the earth did, then we feel persuaded, the textless
books of wonderful and beguiling costume plates will serve their end as
never before. We humbly offer what we hope may prove a key to the rich

Simplicity, and pure line, were lost sight of when overabundance dulled
the senses of the world. We could prove this, for art shows that the
costuming of woman developed slowly, preserving, as did furniture, the
same classic lines and general characteristics until the fifteenth
century, the end of the Middle Ages.

With the opening up of trade channels and the possibilities of easy and
quick communication between countries we find, as we did in the case of
furniture, periods of fashion developing without nationality. Nations
declared themselves in the artistry of workmanship, as to-day, and in
the modification and exaggeration of an essential detail, resulting from
national or individual temperament.

If you ask, "Where do fashions come from,--why 'periods'?" we would
answer that in the last analysis one would probably find in the
conception of every fashion some artist's brain. If the period is a good
one, then it proves that fate allowed the artist to be true to his muse.
If the fashion is a bad one the artist may have had to adapt his lines
and colour or detail to hide a royal deformity, or to cater to the whim
of some wilful beauty ignorant of our art, but rich and in the public

A fashion if started is a demon or a god let loose. As we have said,
there is an interesting point to be observed in looking at woman as
decoration; whether the medium be fresco, bas relief, sculpture, mosaic,
stained glass or painting, the decorative line, shown in costumes,
presents the same recurrent types that we found when studying the
history of furniture.

For our present purposes it is expedient to confine ourselves to the
observation of that expression of civilisation which had root, so far as
we know, in Assyria and Egypt, and spread like a branching vine through
Byzantium, Greece, Rome, Gothic Europe and Europe of the Renaissance, on
through the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, down to
the present time.

Costumes for woman and man are supposed to have had their origin in a
cord tied about the waist, from which was suspended crude implements
(used for the slaying of beasts for food, and in self-defence); trophies
of war, such as teeth, scalps, etc. The trophies suspended, partly
concealed the body and were for decoration, as was tattooing of the
skin. Clothes were not the result of modesty; modesty followed the
partial covering of the human body. Modesty, or shame, was the emotion
which developed when man, accustomed to decoration--trophies or
tattooing--was deprived of all or part of such covering. What parts of
the body require concealment, is purely a matter of the customs
prevailing with a race or tribe, at a certain time, and under certain

This is a theme, the detailed development of which lies outside the
purpose of our book. It has delightful possibilities, however, if the
plentiful data on the subject, given in scientific books, were to be
condensed and simplified.


    Mrs. Langtry (Lady de Bathe) who has been one of the
    greatest beauties of modern times and a marked example of a
    woman who has always understood her own type, to costume it.

    She agrees that this photograph of her, in an evening wrap,
    illustrates a point she has always laid emphasis on: that a
    garment which has good lines--in which one is a
    picture--continues wearable even when not the dernier cri of

    This wrap was worn by Mrs. Langtry about two years ago.

    [Illustration: _Mrs. Langtry (Lady de Bathe) in Evening Wrap_]



_A Résumé_

    "Our present modes of dress (aside from the variations
    imposed by fashion) are the resultant of all the fashions of
    the last 2000 years."

    W. G. SUMNER in _Folkways_.

The earliest Egyptian frescoes, invaluable pre-historic data, show us
woman as she was costumed, housed and occupied when the painting was
done. On those age-old walls she appears as man's companion, his
teacher, plaything, slave, and ruler;--in whatever rôle the fates
decreed. The same frescoed walls have pictured records of how Egypt
tilled the soil, built houses, worked in metals, pottery and sculpture.
Woman is seen beside her man, who slays the beasts, at times from boats
propelled through reeded jungles; and hers is always that rigid
outline, those long, quiet eyes depicted in profile, with massive
head-dress, and strange upstanding ornaments, abnormally curled wig, and
close, straight garments to the feet (or none at all), heavy collar,
wristbands and anklets of precious metals with gems inset, or chased in
strange designs. About her, the calm mysterious poise and childlike
acquiescence of those who know themselves to be the puppets of the gods.
In this naïveté lies one of the great charms of Egyptian art.

As sculptured caryatide, we see woman of Egypt clad in transparent
sheath-like skirt, nude above the waist, with the usual extinguishing
head-dress and heavy collar, bracelets and anklets. We see her as woman,
mute, law-abiding, supporting the edifice; woman with steady gaze and
silent lips; one wonders what was in the mind of that lotus eater of the
Nile who carved his dream in stone.

Those would reproduce Egyptian colour schemes for costumes, house or
stage settings, would do well to consult the book of Egyptian designs,
brought out in 1878 by the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, and available
in the large libraries.

On the walls of the Necropolis of Memphis, Thi and his wife (Fifth
Dynasty) appear in a delightful hunting scene. The man in the prow of
his boat is about to spear an enormous beast, while his wife, seated in
the bottom, wraps her arm about his leg!

Among the earliest portraits of an Egyptian woman completely clothed, is
that of Queen Taia, wife of Amenophis, Eighteenth Dynasty, who wears a
striped gown with sleeves of the kimono type and a ribbon tied around
her waist, the usual ornamental collar and bracelets of gold, and an
elaborate head-dress with deep blue curtain, extending to the waist,

Full of illuminating suggestions is an example of Woman in Egyptian
decoration, to be seen as a fresco in the Necropolis of Thebes. It shows
the governess of a young prince (Eighteenth Dynasty) holding the child
on her lap. The feet of the little prince rest on a stool, supported by
nine crouching human beings--men; each has a collar about his neck, to
which a leash is attached, and all nine leashes are held in the hands
of the child!

The illustrations of the Egyptian funeral papyrus, The Book of the Dead,
show woman in the rôle of wife and companion. It is the story of a
high-born Egyptian woman, Tutu, wife of Ani, Royal Scribe and Scribe of
the Sacred Revenue of all the gods of Thebes. Tutu, the long-eyed
Egyptian woman, young and straight, with raven hair and active form, a
Kemäit of Amon, which means she belonged to the religious chapter or
congregation of the great god of Thebes. She was what might be described
as lady-in-waiting or honorary priestess, to the god Amon. She, too,
wears the typical Egyptian head-dress and straight, long white gown,
hanging in close folds to her feet. One vignette shows Tutu with arm
about her husband's leg. This seems to have been a naïve Egyptian way of
expressing that eternal womanliness, that tender care for those beloved,
that quality inseparable from woman if worthy the name, and by reason of
which with man, her mate, she has run the gamut of human experience,
meeting the demands of her time. There is no dodging the issue, woman's
story recorded in art, shows that she has always responded to Fate's
call; followed, led, ruled, been ruled, amused, instructed, sent her men
into battle as Spartan mothers did to return with honour or on their
shields, and when Fate so decreed, led them to battle, like Joan of Arc.


In Egypt and Assyria the lines of the torso were kept straight, with no
contracting of body at waist line. Woman was clad in a straight
sheet-like garment, extending from waist to feet with only metal
ornaments above; necklace, bracelets and armlets; or a straight dress
from neck to meet the heavy anklets. Sandals were worn on the feet. The
head was encased in an abnormally curled wig, with pendent ringlets, and
the whole clasped by a massive head-dress, following the contour of head
and having as part of it, a curtain or veil, reaching down behind,
across shoulders and approaching waist line. The Sphinx wears a
characteristic Egyptian head-dress.


    Mrs. Condé Nast, artist and patron of the arts, noted for
    her understanding of her own type and the successful
    costuming of it.

    Mrs. Nast was Miss Clarisse Coudert. Her French blood
    accounts, in part, for her innate feeling for line and
    colour. It is largely due to the keen interest and active
    services of Mrs. Nast that _Vogue_ and _Vanity Fair_ have
    become the popular mirrors and prophetic crystal balls of
    fashion for the American woman.

    Mrs. Nast is here shown in street costume. The photograph is
    by Baron de Meyer, who has made a distinguished art of

    We are here shown the value of a carefully considered
    outline which is sharply registered on the background by
    posing figure against the light, a method for suppressing
    all details not effecting the outline.

    [Illustration: _Photograph by Baron de Meyer_
    _Mrs. Condé Nast in Street Dress_]


During the periods antedating Christ, when the Roman empire was
all-powerful, the women of Egypt, Byzantium, Greece and Rome, wore
gilded wigs (see Plate I, Frontispiece), arranged in Psyche knots, and
banded; sandals on their feet, and a one-piece garment, confined at the
waist by a girdle, which fell in close folds to the feet, a style to
develop later into the classic Greek.

The Greek garment consisted of a great square of white linen, draped in
the deft manner of the East, to adapt it to the human form, at once
concealing and disclosing the body to a degree of perfection never since
attained. There were undraped Greek garments left to hang in close,
clinging folds, even in the classic period. It is this undraped and
finely-pleated robe (see Plate XXI) hanging close to the figure, and the
two-piece garment (see Plate IV) with its short tunic of the same
material, extending just below the waist line in front, and drooping in
a cascade of ripples at the sides, as low as the knees, that Fortuny
(Paris) has reproduced in his tea gowns.

An Englishwoman told us recently that her great-great-grandmother used
to describe how she and others of her time (Empire Period) wet their
clothes to make them cling to their forms, à la Grecque!

The classic Greek costume was often a sleeveless garment, falling in
folds, and when confined at waist line with cord the upper part bloused
over it; the material was draped so as to leave the arms free, the folds
being held in place by ornamental clasps upon the shoulders. The fitting
was practically unaided by cutting; squares or straight lengths of linen
being adjusted to the human form by clever manipulation. The adjusting
of these folds, as we have said, developed into an art.

The use of large squares or shawls of brilliantly dyed linen, wool and
later silk, is conspicuous in all the examples showing woman as

The long Gothic cape succeeds it, that enveloping circular garment, with
and without the hood, and clasped at the throat, in which the Mother of
God is invariably depicted. Her cape is the celestial royal blue.

The stained silk gauzes, popular with Greek dancers, were made into
garments following the same classic lines, and so were the gymnasium
costumes of the young girls of Greece. Isadora Duncan reproduces the
latter in many of her dances.

In the chapter entitled "The Story of Textiles" in _The Art of Interior
Decoration_, we have given a résumé of this branch of our subject.

The type of costume worn by woman throughout the entire Roman Empire
during its most glorious period, was classic Greek, not only in general
outline, but in detail. Note that the collarless neck was cut round and
a trifle low; the lines of gown were long and followed each other; the
trimming followed the hem of neck and sleeves and skirt; the hair, while
artificially curled and sometimes intertwined with pearls and other
gems, after being gilded, was so arranged as to show the contour of the
head, then gathered into a Psyche knot. Gold bands, plain or jewelled,
clasped and held the hair in place.

In the Gold Room of the Metropolitan Museum; in noted collections in
Europe; in portraits and costume plates, one sees that the earrings worn
at that period were great heavy discs, or half discs, of gold; large
gold flowers, in the Etruscan style; large rings with groups of
pendants,--usually three on each ring, and the drop earrings so much in
vogue to-day.

Necklaces were broad, like collars, round and made of hand-wrought links
and beads, with pendants. These filled in the neck of the dress and were
evidently regarded as a necessary part of the costume.

The simple cord which confined the Greek woman's draperies at the waist,
in Egypt and Byzantium, became a sash; a broad strip of material which
was passed across the front of body at the waist, crossed behind and
then brought tight over the hips to tie in front, low down, the ends
hanging square to knees or below.

In Egypt a shoulder cape, with kerchief effect in front, broadened
behind to a square, and reached to the waist line.

We would call attention to the fact that when the classic type of
furniture and costume were revived by Napoleon I and the Empress
Josephine, it was the Egyptian version, as well as the Greek. One sees
Egyptian and Etruscan styles in the straight, narrow garment of the
First Empire reaching to ankles, with parallel rows of trimming at the
bottom of skirt.

The Empire style of parted hair, with cascade of curls each side,
riotous curling locks outlining face, with one or two ringlets brought
in front of ears, and the Psyche knot (which later in Victorian days
lent itself to caricature, in a feather-duster effect at crown of head),
were inspired by those curled and gilded creations such as Thaïs wore.

Hats, as we use the term to-day, were worn by the ancients. Some will
remember the Greek hat Sibyl Sanderson wore with her classic robes when
she sang Massenet's "Phédre," in Paris. It was Chinese in type. One sees
this type of hat on Tanagra Statuettes in our museums.

Apropos of hats, designers to-day are constantly resurrecting models
found in museums, and some of us recognise the lines and details of
ancient head-dresses in hats turned out by our most up-to-date

Parasols and umbrellas were also used by Assyrians and Greeks. Sandals
which only covered the soles of the feet were the usual footwear, but
Greeks and Etruscans are shown in art as wearing also moccasin-like
boots and shoes laced up the front.

Of course, the strapped slippers of the Empire were a version of classic

As we have said, the Greek gown and toga are found wherever the Roman
Empire reached. The women of what are now France and England clothed
themselves at that time in the same manner as the cultured class of
Rome. Naturally the Germanic branch which broke from the parent stem,
and drifted northward to strike root in unbroken forests, bordering on
untried seas, wore skins and crudely woven garments, few and strongly
made, but often picturesque.

Though but slightly reminiscent of the traditional costume, we know that
the women of the third and fourth centuries wore a short, one-piece
garment, with large earrings, heavy metal armlets above the elbow and at
wrists. The chain about the waist, from which hung a knife, for
protection and domestic purposes, is descendent from the savage's cord
and ancestor to that lovely bauble, the chatelaine of later days, with
its attached fan, snuff-box and jewelled watch.


    Mrs. Condé Nast in an evening gown. Here again is a costume
    the beauty of which evades the dictum of fashion in the
    narrow sense of the term.

    This picture has the distinction of a well-posed and finely
    executed old master and because possessing beauty of a
    traditional sort will continue to give pleasure long after
    the costume has perished.

    [Illustration: _Mrs. Condé Nast in Evening Dress_]



To the Romans, all who were not of Rome and her Empire, were
foreigners,--outsiders, people with a strange viewpoint, so they were
given a name to indicate this; they were called "barbarians."

Conspicuous among those tribes of barbarians, moved by human lust for
gain to descend upon the Roman Empire and eventually bring about its
fall, was the tribe of Goths, and in the course of centuries "Gothic"
has become a generic term, implying that which is not Roman. We speak of
Gothic architecture, Gothic art, Gothic costumes, when we mean, strictly
speaking, the characteristic architecture, art and costuming of the late
Middle Ages (twelfth to fifteenth centuries).

But we find the so-called Gothic outline in costume as early as the
fourth century. Over the undraped, one-piece robe of classic type, a
second garment is now worn, cut with straight lines. It usually fastens
behind, and the uncorseted figure is outlined. The neck is still
collarless and cut round, the space filled in with a necklace. The
sleeves of the tunic appear to be the logical evolution of the folds of
the toga, which fall over the arms when bent. They cling to the outline
of the shoulder, broadening at the hand into what is called "angel"
sleeves; in art, the traditional angel wears them.

Roman-Christian women wore their hair parted, no Psyche knot, and
interesting, large earrings. The gowns were not draped, but were in one
piece and with no fulness. A tunic, following lines of the form, reached
below the knees and was _belted_. This garment was trimmed with bands
from shoulders to hem of tunic and kept the same width throughout, if
narrow; but if wide, the bands broadened to the hem. The neck continued
to be cut round, and filled in with a necklace.

The cape, fastening on shoulders or chest, remnant of the Greek toga,
was worn, and veils of various materials were the usual head coverings.

Between the fifth and tenth centuries there are examples of the
overgarment or tunic having a broad stomacher of some contrasting
material, held in place with a cord, which is tied behind, brought
around to the front, knotted and allowed to hang to bottom of skirt.

Byzantine art between 800 and 1000 A. D. still shows women wearing
tunics, but hanging straight from neck to hem of skirt, fastened on
shoulders and opened at sides to show gown beneath; close sleeves with
trimming at the wrists, often large, roughly cut jewels forming a border
on tunic, and the hair worn in long braids on each side of the face; the
coil of hair, which was wrapped with pearls or other beads, was parted
and used to frame the face.

This fashion was carried to excess by the Franks. We see some of their
women between 400 and 600 A. D. wearing these heavy, rope-like braids to
the hem of the skirt in front.

In the fourteenth century the Gothic costume was perhaps at its most
beautiful stage. The long robe, the upper part following the lines of
the figure, with long close sleeves half covering hands, or flowing
sleeves, that touched the floor. About the waist was worn a silk cord
or jewelled girdle, finely wrought and swung low on hips; from the end
of which was suspended the money bag, fan and keys.

The girdle begins now to play an important part as decoration. This
theme, the evolution of the girdle, may be indefinitely enlarged upon
but we must not dwell upon it here.

In some cases we see that the tunic opened in the front and that the
large, square, shawl-like outer garment of Greece now became the long
circular cape, clasped on the chest (one or two clasps), made so
familiar by the art of the Gothic and Renaissance periods. Turn to the
illuminated manuscripts of those periods, to paintings, on wood,
frescoes, stained glass, stucco, carved wood, and stone, and you will
find the Mother of God invariably costumed in the simple one-piece robe
and circular clasped cape.

In most of the sacred art of the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth,
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the Virgin and other saints are
depicted in the current costume of woman. The Virgin was the most
frequent subject of artists in every medium, during the ages when the
Church dominated the State in Europe.

The refurnishing of the Virgin's wardrobe has long been and still is, a
pious task and one clamoured for by adherents to the churches in which
the Virgin's image is displayed to worshippers. We regret to say, for
æsthetic reasons, that there is no effort made on the part of modern
devotees to perpetuate the beautiful mediæval type of costume.

In some old paintings which come under the head of Folk Art, the Holy
Family appears in national costume. The writer recalls a bit of
eighteenth century painting, showing St. Anne holding the Virgin as
child. St. Anne wears the bizarre fête attire of a Spanish peasant; a
gigantic head-dress and veil, large earrings, wide stiff skirts, showing
gay flowers on a background of gold. The skirt is rather short, to
display wide trousers below it. Her sleeves have filmy frills of deep
white lace executed with skill.


    Mrs. Condé Nast in a garden costume. She wears a sun-hat
    and carries a flower-basket, which are decorative as well as

    We have chosen this photograph as an example of a costume
    made exquisitely artistic by being kept simple in line and
    free from an excess of trimming.

    This costume is so decorative that it gives distinction and
    interest to the least pretentious of gardens.

    [Illustration: _Mrs. Condé Nast in Garden Costume_]

To return to the girdle, as we have said, it slipped from its position
at the waist line, where it confined the classic folds, and was allowed
to hang loosely about the hips, clasped low in front. From this clasp a
chain extended, to which were attached the housewife's keys or purse and
the dame of fashion's fan. In fact one can tell, to a certain extent,
the woman's class and period by carefully inspecting her chatelaine.

The absence of waist line, and the long, straight effect produced in the
body of gown by wearing the girdle swung about the hips, gives it the
so-called Moyen Age silhouette, revived by the fashion of to-day.

In the thirteenth century the round collarless neck, low enough to admit
a necklace of links or beads, persists. A new note is the outer sleeve
laced across an inner sleeve of white.

Let us remember that the costume of the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries was distinguished by a quality of beautiful, sweeping line,
massed colour, detail with _raison d'être_, which produced dignity with
graceful movement, found nowhere to-day, unless it be on the Wagnerian
stage or in the boudoir of a woman who still takes time, in our age of
hurry, to wear her negligée beautifully.

In the fourteenth century the round neck continued, but one sees low
necks too, which left the shoulders exposed (our 1830 style).

Another new note is the tunic grown into a garment reaching to the feet,
a one-piece "princess" gown, with belt or girdle. Sometimes a Juliet cap
was worn to merely cover the crown of head, with hair parted and
flowing, while on matrons we see head coverings with sides turned up,
like ecclesiastical caps, and floating veils falling to the waist.

Notice that through all the periods that we have named, which means
until the fourteenth century, the line of shoulder remains normal and
beautiful, sloping and melting into folds of robe or line of sleeve. We
see now for the first time an inclination to tamper with the shoulder
line. An inoffensive scallop appears,--or some other decoration, as cap
to sleeve. No harm done yet!

The fifteenth century shows another style, a long sleeveless
overgarment, reaching to the floor, fastened on shoulders and swinging
loose, to show at sides the undergown. It suggests a priest's robe. Here
we discover one more of the Moyen Age styles revived to-day.

The fourteenth century gowns, with necks cut out round, to admit a
necklace with pendants, are still popular. The gowns are long on the
ground, and the most beautiful of the characteristic head-dresses--the
long, pointed one, with veil covering it, and floating down from point
of cap to hem of flowing skirt behind, continues the movement of
costume--the long lines which follow one another.

When correctly posed, this pointed head-dress is a delight to the eye.
We recently saw a photograph of some fair young women in this type of
Mediæval or Gothic costume worn by them at a costume ball. Failing to
realise that the _pose_ of any head-dress (this means hats as well) is
all-important, they had placed the quaint, long, pointed caps on the
very tops of their heads, like fools' caps!

The angle at which this head-dress is worn is half the battle.

The importance of every woman's cultivating an eye for line cannot be

In the fifteenth century we first see puffs at the elbow, otherwise the
outlines of gown are the same. The garment in one piece, the body of it
outlining the form, its skirts sweeping the ground; a girdle about the
hips, and long, close or flowing sleeves, wide at the hem.

Despite the fourteenth century innovation of necks cut low and off the
shoulders (berated by the Church), most necks in the fifteenth century
are still cut round at the throat, and the necklace worn instead of
collar. Some of the gowns cut low off the shoulders are filled in with a
puffed tucker of muslin. The pointed cap with a floating veil is still

Notice that the restraint in line, colour and detail, gradually
disappears, with the abnormal circulation of wealth, in those
departments of Church and State to which the current of material things
was diverted. We now see humanity tricked out in rich attire and
staggering to its doom through general debaucheries.

Rich brocades, once from Damascus, are now made in Venice; and so are
wonderful satins, velvets and silks, with jewels many and massive.

Sometimes a broad jewelled band crossed the breast from shoulder
diagonally to under arm, at waist.

The development of the petticoat begins now. At first we get only a
glimpse of it, when our lady of the pointed cap lifts her long skirts,
lined with another shade. It is of a rich contrasting colour and is
gradually elaborated.

The waist-line, when indicated, is high.

A new note is the hair, with throat and neck completely concealed by a
white veil, a style we associate with nuns and certain folk costumes. As
fashion it had a passing vogue.

Originally, the habit of covering woman's hair indicated modesty (an
idea held among the Folk), and the gradual shrinking of the dimensions
of her coif, records the progress of the peasant woman's emancipation,
in certain countries. This is especially conspicuous in Brittany, as M.
Anatol Le Braz, the eminent Breton scholar, remarked recently to the

Note the silk bag, quite modern, on the arm; also the jewelled line of
chain hanging from girdle down the middle of front, to hem of
skirt,--both for use and ornament.

To us of a practical era, a mysterious charm attaches to the
long-pointed shoes worn at this period.

In the fifteenth century, the marked division of costume into waist and
skirt begins, the waist line more and more pinched in, the skirt more
and more full, the sleeves and neck more elaborately trimmed, the
head-dresses multiplied in size, elaborateness and variety. Textiles
developed with wealth and ostentation.

In the sixteenth century the neck was usually cut out and worn low on
the shoulders, sometimes filled in, but we see also high necks; necks
with small ruffs and necks with large ruffs; ruffs turned down, forming
stiff linen-cape collars, trimmed with lace, close to the throat or
flaring from neck to show the throat.

The hair is parted and worn low in a snood, or by young women, flowing.
The ears are covered with the hair.


    Mrs. Condé Nast wearing one of the famous Fortuny tea

    This one has no tunic but is finely pleated, in the Fortuny
    manner, and falls in long lines, closely following the
    figure, to the floor.

    Observe the decorative value of the long string of beads.

    [Illustration: _Mrs. Condé Nast in a Fortuny Tea Gown_]

_The Virgin in Art_

When writing of the Gothic period in _The Art of Interior Decoration_,
we have said "... Gothic art proceeds from the Christian Church and
stretches like a canopy over western Europe during the late Middle Ages.
It was in the churches and monasteries that Christian Art, driven from
pillar to post by wars, was obliged to take refuge, and there produced
that marvellous development known as the Gothic style, of the Church,
for the Church and by the Church, perfected in countless Gothic
cathedrals, crystallised glorias, lifting their manifold spires to
heaven; ethereal monuments of an intrepid Faith which gave material form
to its adoration, its fasting and prayer, in an unrivalled art...."

"Crystallised glorias" (hymns to the Virgin) is as concise a defining of
the nature and spirit of this highest type of mediæval art--perfected in
France--as we can find. Here we have deified woman inspiring an art
miraculously decorative.

Chartres Cathedral and Rheims (before the German invasion in 1914) with
Mont Saint Michel, are distinguished examples.

If the readers would put to the test our claim that woman as decoration
is a beguiling theme worthy of days passed in the broad highways of
art, and many an hour in cross-roads and unbeaten paths, we would
recommend to them the fascinations of a marvellous story-teller, one
who, knowing all there is to know of his subject, has had the genius to
weave the innumerable and perplexing threads into a tapestry of words,
where the main ideas take their places in the foreground, standing out
clearly defined against the deftly woven, intelligible but unobtruding
background. The author is Henry Adams, the book, _The Cathedrals of Mont
St. Michel and Chartres_. He tells you in striking language, how woman
was translated into pure decoration in the Middle Ages, woman as the
Virgin Mother of God, the manifestation of Deity which took precedence
over all others during the twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries;
and if you will follow him to the Chartres Cathedral (particularly if
you have been there already), and will stand facing the great East
Window, where in stained glass of the ancient jewelled sort, woman, as
Mother of God, is enthroned above all, he will tell you how, out of the
chaos of warring religious orders, the priestly schools of Abelard, St.
Francis of Assisi and others, there emerged the form of the Virgin.

To woman, as mother of God and man, the instrument of reproduction, of
tender care, of motherhood, the disputatious, groping mind of man agreed
to bow, silenced and awed by the mystery of her calling.

In view of the recent enrolling of womanhood in the stupendous business
of the war now waging in Europe, and the demands upon her to help in
arming her men or nursing back to life the shattered remains of fair
youth, which so bravely went forth, the thought comes that woman will
play a large part in the art to arise from the ashes of to-day. Woman as
woman ready to supplement man, pouring into life's caldron the best of
herself, unstinted, unmeasured; woman capable of serving beyond her
strength, rising to her greatest height, bending, but not breaking to
the end, if only assured she is _needed_.



_Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries_

The marked departure is necks cut square, if low, and elaborate jewelled
chains draped from shoulders, outlining neck of gown and describing a
festoon on front of waist, which is soon to become independent of skirt
to develop on its own account.

As in the fifteenth century, when necks were cut low off the shoulders,
they were on occasions filled in with tuckers.

The skirt now registers a new characteristic; it parts at the waist line
over a petticoat, and the opening is decorated by the ornamental, heavy
chain which hangs from girdle to hem of gown.

One sees the hair still worn coiled low in the neck, concealing the ears
and held in a snood or in Italy cut "Florentine" fashion with fringe on

Observe how the wealth of the Roman Empire, through its new trade
channels opening up with the East (the result of the crusades) led to
the importation of rich and many-coloured Oriental stuffs; the same
wealth ultimately established looms in Italy for making silks and
velvets, to decorate man and his home. There was no longer simplicity in
line and colour scheme; gorgeous apparel fills the frames of the
Renaissance and makes amusing reading for those who consult old
documents. The clothes of man, like his over-ornate furniture, show a
debauched and vulgar taste. Instead of the lines which follow one
another, solid colours, and trimmings kept to hem of neck and sleeve and
skirt, great designs, in satins and velvet brocades, distort the lines
and proportions of man and woman.

The good Gothic lines lived on in the costumes of priests and nuns.

Jewelry ceased to be decoration with meaning; lace and fringe, tassels
and embroidery, with colour combinations to rival the African parrots,
disfigured man and woman alike.

During November of 1916, New York was so fortunate as to see, at the
American Art Galleries, the great collection of late Gothic and early
Renaissance furniture and other art treasures, brought together in the
restored Davanzati Palace of Florence, Italy. The collection was sold at
auction, and is now scattered. Of course those who saw it in its natural
setting in Florence, were most fortunate of all. But with some knowledge
and imagination, at the sight of those wonderful things,--hand-made all
of them,--the most casual among those who crowded the galleries for
days, must have gleaned a vivid impression of how woman of the Early
Renaissance lived,--in her kitchen, dining-room, bedroom and
reception-rooms. They displayed her cooking utensils, her chairs and
tables, her silver, glass and earthenware, her bed, linen, satin damask,
lace and drawn work; the cushions she rested against; portraits in their
gorgeous Florentine frames, showing us how those early Italians dressed;
the colored terra-cottas, unspeakably beautiful presentments of the
Virgin and Child, moulded and painted by great artists under that same
exaltation of Faith which brought into being the sister arts of the
time, imbuing them with something truly divine. There is no disputing
that quality which radiates from the face of both the Mother and the
Child. One all but kneels before it. Their expression is not of this


    Mrs. Vernon Castle who set to-day's fashion in outline of
    costume and short hair for the young woman of America. For
    this reason and because Mrs. Castle has form to a
    superlative degree (correct carriage of the body) and the
    clothes sense (knowledge of what she can wear and how to
    wear it) we have selected her to illustrate several types of
    costumes, characteristic of 1916 and 1917.

    Another reason for asking Mrs. Castle to illustrate our text
    is, that what Mrs. Castle's professional dancing has done to
    develop and perfect her natural instinct for line, the
    normal exercise of going about one's tasks and diversions
    can do for any young woman, provided she keep in mind
    correct carriage of body when in action or repose. Here we
    see Mrs. Castle in ball costume.

    [Illustration: _Mrs. Vernon Castle in Ball Costume_]

That is woman as the Mother of God in art Woman as the mother of man,
who looked on these inspired works of art, lived for the most part in
small houses built of wood with thatched roofs, unpaved streets, dirty
interiors, which were cleaned but once a week--on Saturdays! The men of
the aristocracy hunted and engaged in commerce, and the general rank and
file gave themselves over to the gaining of money to increase their
power. It sounds not unlike New York to-day.

Gradually the cities grew large and rich. People changed from simple
sober living to elaborate and less temperate ways, and the great
families, with their proportionately increased wealth gained through
trade, built beautiful palaces and built them well. The gorgeous
colouring of the frescoed walls shows Byzantine influence. In _The Art
of Interior Decoration_ we have described at length the house furnishing
of that time. Against this background moved woman, man's mate; note her
colour scheme and then her rôle. (We quote from Jahn Rusconi in _Les
Arts_, Paris, August, 1911.)

"Donna Francesca dei Albizzi's cloak of black cloth ornamented on a
yellow background with birds, parrots, butterflies, pink and red roses,
and a few other red and green figures; dragons, letters and trees in
yellow and black, and again other figures made of white cloth with red
and black stripes."

Extravagance ran high not only in dress, but in everything, laws were
made to regulate the amount spent on all forms of entertainment, even on
funerals, and the cook who was to prepare a wedding feast had to submit
his menu for approval to the city authorities. More than this, only two
hundred guests could be asked to a wedding, and the number of presents
which the bride was allowed to receive was limited by law. But wealth
and fashion ran away with laws; the same old story.

As the tide of the Renaissance rose and swept over Europe (the awakening
began in Italy), the woman of the gorgeous cloak and her
contemporaries, according to the vivid description of the last quoted
author, were "subject to their husbands' tyranny, not even knowing how
to read in many cases, occupied with their household duties, in which
they were assisted by rough and uncouth slaves, with no other mission in
life than to give birth to a numerous posterity.... This life ruined
them, and their beauty quickly faded away; no wonder, then, that they
summoned art to the aid of nature. The custom was so common and the art
so perfect that even a painter like Taddeo Gaddi acknowledged that the
Florentine women were the best painters in the world!... Considering the
mental status of the women, it is easy to imagine to what excesses they
were given in the matter of dress." The above assertions relate to the
average woman, not the great exceptions.

The marriage coffers of woman of the Renaissance in themselves give an
idea of her luxurious tastes. They were about six feet long, three feet
high, and two and a half feet deep. Some had domed covers opening on
hinges--the whole was carved, gilded and painted, the background of
reds and blues throwing the gold into relief. Scenes taken from
mythology were done in what was known as "pastille," composition work
raised and painted on a gold background. On one fifteenth century
marriage coffer, Bacchus and Ariadne were shown in their triumphal car
drawn by winged griffins, a young Bacchante driving them on. Another
coffer decorated in the same manner had as decoration "The Rape of

Women rocked their infants in sumptuous carved and emblazoned walnut
cradles, and crimson satin damask covered their beds and cushions. This
blaze of gold and silver, crimson and blue we find as the wake of
Byzantine trade, via Constantinople, Venice, Rome, Florence on to
France, Spain, Germany, Holland, Flanders and England. Carved wood,
crimson, green and blue velvets, satin damask, tapestries, gold and
silver fringe and lace. Against all this moved woman, costumed

Gradually the line of woman's (and man's) neck is lost in a ruff, her
sweeping locks, instead of parted on her brow, entwined with pearls or
other gems to frame her face and make long lines down the length of her
robe, are huddled under grotesque head-dresses, monstrous creations,
rising and spreading until they become caricatures, defying art.

In some sixteenth century Italian portraits we see the ruff flaring from
a neck cut out square and low in front, then rising behind to form a
head covering.

The last half of the sixteenth century is marked by gowns cut high in
the neck with a close collar, and the appearance of a small ruff
encircling the throat. This ruff almost at once increased to absurd

The tightly laced long-pointed bodice now appears, with and without
padded hips. (The superlative degree of this type is to be seen in
portraits by Velasquez (see Plate IX).)

Long pointed toes to the shoes give way to broad, square ones.

Another sixteenth century departure is the absurdly small hat, placed as
if by the wind, at a careless angle on the hair, which is curled and
piled high.

Also we see hats of normal size with many plumes, on both men and women.

Notice the sleeves: some are still flowing, with tight undersleeves,
others slashed to show full white sleeve beneath. But most important of
all is that the general license, moral and artistic, lays its ruthless
hand on woman's beautiful, sweeping shoulder line and distorts it. Anne
of Cleves, or the progressive artist who painted her, shows in a
portrait the Queen's flowing sleeves with mediæval lines, clasped by a
broad band between elbow and shoulder, and then _pushed up_ until the
sleeve forms an ugly puff. A monstrous fashion, this, and one soon to
appear in a thousand mad forms. Its first vicious departure is that
small puffy, senselessly insinuated line between arm-hole and top of
sleeve in garments for men as well as women.

Skirts button from point of basque to feet just before we see them, in
the seventeenth century, parting down the front and separating to show a
petticoat. In Queen Elizabeth's time the acme of this style was reached
by Spanish women as we see in Velasquez's portraits. Gradually the
overskirt is looped back, (at first only a few inches), and tied with
narrow ribbons.


    Mrs. Vernon Castle in Winter afternoon costume, one which
    is so suited to her type and at the same time conservative
    as to outline and detail, that it would have charm whether
    in style or not.

    [Illustration: _Victor Georg--Chicago_
    _Mrs. Vernon Castle in Afternoon Costume--Winter_]

The second quarter of the seventeenth century shows the waist line drawn
in and bodice with skirts a few inches in depth. These skirts are the
hall-mark of a basque.

Very short, full coats flaring from under arms now appear.

After the skirt has been pushed back and held with ribbons, we find
gradually all fulness of upper skirt pushed to hips to form paniers, and
across the back to form a bustle effect, until we have the Marie
Antoinette type, late eighteenth century. Far more graceful and
_séduisant_ than the costume of Queen Elizabeth's time.

The figures presented by Marie Antoinette and her court, powdered wigs
and patches, paniers and enormous hats, surmounting the horsehair
erections, heavy with powder and grease, lace, ribbon flowers and
jewels, are quaint, delightful and diverting, but not to be compared
with the Greek or mediæval lines in woman's costume.

Extremely extended skirts gave way to an interlude of full skirts, but
flowing lines in the eighteenth century English portraits.

The Directoire reaction towards simplicity was influenced by English

Empire formality under classic influence came next. Then Victorian hoops
which were succeeded by the Victorian bustles, pantalets, black velvet
at throat and wrists, and lockets.



The eighteenth century is unique by reason of scientific discoveries,
mechanical inventions and chemical achievements, coupled with the
gigantic political upheaval of the French Revolution.

It is unique, distinguished and enormously fruitful. For example, the
modern frenzy for chintz, which has made our homes burst into bloom in
endless variety, had its origin in the eighteenth century looms at Jouy,
near Versailles, under the direction of Oberkampf.

Before 1760 silks and velvets decorated man and his home. Royal
patronage co-operating with the influence of such great decorators as
Percier and Fontaine gave the creating of beautiful stuffs to the silk
factories of Lyons.

Printed linens and painted wall papers appeared in France
simultaneously, and for the same reason. The Revolution set mass-taste
(which is often stronger than individual inclination), toward
unostentatious, inexpensive materials for house furnishing and wearing

The Revolution had driven out royalty and the high aristocracy who, with
changed names lived in seclusion. Society, therefore, to meet the
mass-desire, was driven to simple ways of living. Men gave up their
silks and velvets and frills, lace and jewels for cloth, linen, and
sombre neck-cloths. The women did the same; they wore muslin gowns and
their own hair, and went to great length in the affectation of
simplicity and patriotic fervour.

We hear that, apropos of America having at this moment entered the great
struggle with the Central Powers, simplicity is decreed as smart for the
coming season, and that those who costume themselves extravagantly,
furnish their homes ostentatiously or allow their tables to be lavish,
will be frowned upon as bad form and unpatriotic.

These reactions are inevitable, and come about with the regularity of
_tides_ in this world of perpetual repetition.

The belles of the Directorate shook their heads and bobbed their pretty
locks at the artificiality Marie Antoinette et cie had practised. I fear
they called it sinful art to deftly place a patch upon the face, or make
a head-dress in the image of a man-of-war.

Mme. de Staël's familiar head-dress, twisted and wrapped around her head
à la Turque, is said to have had its origin in the improvisation of the
court hairdresser. Desperately groping for another version of the
top-heavy erection, to humour the lovely queen, he seized upon a piece
of fine lace and muslin hanging on a chair at hand, and twisting it,
wrapped the thing about the towering wig. As it happened, the chiffon
was my lady's chemise!

We begin the eighteenth century with a full petticoat, trimmed with rows
of ruffles or bands; an overskirt looped back into paniers to form the
bustle effect; the natural hair powdered; and head-dress of lace,
standing out stiffly in front and drooping in a curtain behind.

It was not until the whim of Marie Antoinette decreed it so, that the
enormous powdered wigs appeared.

Viennese temperament alone accounts for the moods of this lovely tragic
queen, who played at making butter, in a cap and apron, over simple
muslin frocks, but outdid her artificial age in love of artifice (not
Art) in dress.

This gay and dainty puppet of relentless Fate propelled by varying moods
must needs lose her lovely head at last, as symbol of her time.


    Mrs. Vernon Castle in a summer afternoon costume
    appropriate for city or country and so adapted to the
    wearer's type that she is a picture, whether in action;
    seated on her own porch; having tea at the country club; or
    in the Winter sun-parlour.

    [Illustration: _Mrs. Vernon Castle in Afternoon



The first seventy years of the nineteenth century seem to us
of 1917 absolutely incredible in regard to dress. How our
great-great-grandmothers ever got about on foot, in a carriage or
stage-coach, moved in a crowd or even sat in any measure of serenity at
home, is a mystery to us of an age when comfort, convenience, fitness
and chic have at last come to terms. For a vivid picture of how our
American society looked between 1800 and 1870, read Miss Elizabeth
McClellan's _Historic Dress in America_, published in 1910 by George W.
Jacobs & Co., of Philadelphia. The book is fascinating and it not only
amuses and informs, but increases one's self-respect, if a woman, for
_modern_ woman dressed in accordance with her rôle.

We can see extravagant wives point out with glee to tyrant mates how, in
the span of years between 1800 and 1870 our maternal forebears made
money fly, even in the Quaker City. Fancy paying in Philadelphia at that
time, $1500 for a lace scarf, $400 for a shawl, $100 for the average
gown of silk, and $50 for a French bonnet! Miss McClellan, quoting from
_Mrs. Roger Pryor's Memoirs_, tells how she, Mrs. Pryor, as a young girl
in Washington, was awakened at midnight by a note from the daughter of
her French milliner to say that a box of bonnets had arrived from Paris.
Mamma had not yet unpacked them and if she would come at once, she might
have her pick of the treasures, and Mamma not know until too late to
interfere. And this was only back in the 50's, we should say.

Then think of the hoops, and wigs and absurdly furbished head-dresses;
paper-soled shoes, some intended only to _sit_ in; bonnets enormous;
laces of cobweb; shawls from India by camel and sailing craft; rouge,
too, and hair grease, patches and powder; laced waists and cramped feet;
low necks and short sleeves for children in school-rooms.

Man was then still decorative here and in western Europe. To-day he is
not decorative, unless in sports clothes or military uniform; woman's
garments furnish all the colour. Whistler circumvented this fact when
painting Theodore Duret (Metropolitan Museum) in sombre black
broadcloth,--modern evening attire, by flinging over the arm of Duret,
the delicate pink taffeta and chiffon cloak of a woman, and in M.
Duret's hand he places a closed fan of pomegranate red.



"European dress" is the term accepted to imply the costume of man and
woman which is entirely cosmopolitan, decrying continuity of types (of
costume) and thoroughly plastic in the hands of fashion.

To-day, we say parrot-like, that certain materials, lines and colours
are masculine or feminine. They are so merely by association. The modern
costuming of man the world over, if he appear in European dress (we
except court regalia), is confined to cloth, linen or cotton, in black,
white and inconspicuous colours; a prescribed and simple type of
neckwear, footwear, hat, stick, and hair cut.

The progenitor of the garments of modern men was the
Lutheran-Puritan-Revolutionary garb, the hall-mark of democracy.

It is true that when silk was first introduced into Europe, from the
Orient, the Greeks and early Romans considered it too effeminate for
man's use, but this had to do with the doctrine of austere denial for
the good of the state. To wear the costume of indolence implied
inactivity and induced it. As a matter of fact, some of the master
spirits of Greece did wear silks.

In Ancient Egypt, Assyria, Media, Persia and the Far East, men and women
wore the same materials, as in China and Japan to-day. Egyptian men and
their contemporaries throughout Byzantium, wore gowns, in outline
identical with those of the women. Among the Turks, trousers were always
considered as appropriate for women as for men, and both men and women
wore over the trousers, a long garment not unlike those of the women in
the Gothic period.

Thaïs wore a gilded wig, but so did the men she knew, and they added
gilded false beards.

Assyrian kings wore earrings, bracelets and wonderful clasps with
chains, by which the folds of their draped garment,--cut like the
woman's, might be caught up and held securely, leaving feet, arms and
hands free for action.

When the genius of the Byzantine, Greek and Venetian manufacturers of
silks and velvets, rich in texture and ablaze with colour, were offered
for sale to the Romans, whose passion for display had increased with
their fortunes, and consequent lives of dissipation, we find there was
no distinction made between the materials used by man and woman.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Renaissance spells brocade. Great
designs and small ones sprawled over the figures of man and woman alike.

Lace was as much his as hers to use for wide, elaborate collars and
cuffs. Embroidery belonged to both, and the men (like the women) of
Germany, France, Italy and England wore many plumes on their big straw
hats and metal helmets. The intercommunication between the Orient and
all of the countries of the Western Hemisphere, and the abundance and
variety of human trappings bewildered and vitiated taste.

Unfortunately the change in line of costume has not moved parallel to
the line in furniture. The revival of classic interior decoration in
Italy, Spain, France, Germany, England, etc., did not at once revive the
classic lines in woman's clothes.


    Mrs. Vernon Castle costumed à la guerre for a walk in the

    The cap is after one worn by her aviator husband.

    This is one of the costumes--there are many--being worn by
    women engaged in war work under the head of messengers,
    chauffeurs, etc.

    The shoes are most decidedly not for service, but they will
    be replaced when the time is at hand, for others of stout
    leather with heavy soles and flat heels.

    [Illustration: _Mrs. Vernon Castle Costumed à la Guerre for
    a Walk_]



The idea that man decorative, by reason of colour or line in costume, is
of necessity either masquerading or effeminate, proceeds chiefly from
the conventional nineteenth and twentieth century point of view in
America and western Europe. But even in those parts of the world we are
accustomed to colour in the uniforms of army and navy, the crimson
"hood" of the university doctor, and red sash of the French Legion of
Honour. We accept colour as a dignified attribute of man's attire in the
cases cited, and we do not forget that our early nineteenth century
American masculine forebears wore bright blue or vivid green coats,
silver and brass buttons and red or yellow waistcoats. The gentleman
sportsman of the early nineteenth century hunted in bright blue tailed
coats with brass buttons, scarlet waistcoat, tight breeches and top
hat! We refer to the same class of man who to-day wears rough, natural
coloured tweeds, leather coat and close cap that his prey may not see

In a sense, colour is a sign of virility when used by man. We have the
North American Indian with his gay feathers, blankets and war paint, and
the European peasant in his gala costume. In many cases colour is as
much his as his woman's. Some years ago, when collecting data concerning
national characteristics as expressed in the art of the Slavs, Magyars
and Czechs, the writer studied these peoples in their native settings.
We went first to Hungary and were disappointed to find Buda Pest far too
cosmopolitan to be of value for the study of national costume, music or
drama. The dominating and most artistic element in Hungary is the
Magyar, and we were there to study him. But even the Gypsies who played
the Magyar music in our hotel orchestra, wore the black evening dress of
western Europe and patent leather shoes, and the music they played was
from the most modern operettas. It was not until a world-famous
Hungarian violinist arrived to give concerts in Buda Pest that the
national spirit of the Gypsies was stirred to play the Magyar airs in
his honour. (Gypsies take on the spirit of any adopted land). We then
realised what they could make of the Recockzy march and other folk

The experience of that evening spurred us to penetrate into southern
Hungary, the heart of Magyar land, armed with letters of introduction,
from one of the ministers of education, to mayors of the peasant

It was impossible to get on without an interpreter, as usually even the
mayors knew only the Magyar language--not a word of German. That was the
perfect region for getting at Magyar character expressed in the colour
and line of costume, manner of living, point of view, folk song and
dance. It is all still vividly clear to our mind's eye. We saw the first
Magyar costumes in a village not far from Buda Pest. To make the few
miles quickly, we had taken an electric trolley, vastly superior to
anything in New York at the time of which we speak; and were let off in
the centre of a group of small, low thatched cottages, white-washed,
and having a broad band of one, two or three colours, extending from
the ground to about three feet above it, and completely encircling the
house. The favourite combination seemed to be blue and red, in parallel
stripes. Near one of these houses we saw a very old woman with a long
lashed whip in her hand, guarding two or three dark, curly, long-legged
Hungarian pigs. She wore high boots, many short skirts, a shawl and a
head-kerchief. Presently two other figures caught our eye: a man in a
long cape to the tops of his boots, made of sheepskin, the wool inside,
the outside decorated with bright-coloured wools, outlining crude
designs. The black fur collar was the skin of a small black lamb, legs
and tail showing, as when stripped off the little animal. The man wore a
cone-shaped hat of black lamb and his hair reached to his shoulders. He
smoked a very long-stemmed pipe with a china bowl, as he strolled along.
Behind him a woman walked, bowed by the weight of an immense sack. She
wore boots to the knees, many full short skirts, and a yellow and red
silk head-kerchief. By her head-covering we knew her to be a married
woman. They were a farmer and his wife! Among the Magyars the man is
very decidedly the peacock; the woman is the pack-horse. On market days
he lounges in the sunshine, wrapped in his long sheepskin cape, and
smokes, while she plies the trade. In the farmers' homes of southern
Hungary where we passed some time, we, as Americans, sat at table with
the men of the house, while wife and daughter served. There was one
large dish of food in the centre, into which every one dipped! The women
of the peasant class never sit at table with their men; they serve them
and eat afterwards, and they always address them in the second person
as, "Will your graciousness have a cup of coffee?" Also they always walk
behind the men. At country dances we have seen young girls in bright,
very full skirts, with many ribbons braided into the hair, cluster shyly
at a short distance from the dancing platform in the fair grounds,
waiting to be beckoned or whistled to by one of the sturdy youths with
skin-tight trousers, tucked into high boots, who by right of might, has
stationed himself on the platform. When they have danced, generally a
czardas, the girl goes back to the group of women, leaving the man on
the platform in command of the situation! Yet already in 1897 women were
being admitted to the University of Buda Pest. There in Hungary one
could see woman run the whole gamut of her development, from man's slave
to man's equal.


    Mrs. Vernon Castle in one of her dancing costumes.

    She was snapped by the camera as she sprang into a pose of
    mere joyous abandon at the conclusion of a long series of
    more or less exacting poses.

    Mrs. Castle assures us that to repeat the effect produced
    here, in which camera, lucky chance and favourable wind
    combined, would be well-nigh impossible.

    [Illustration: _Mrs. Vernon Castle_
    _A Fantasy_]

We found the national colour scheme to have the same violent contrasts
which characterise the folk music and the folk poetry of the Magyars.

Primitive man has no use for half-tones. It was the same with the
Russian peasants and with the Poles. Our first morning in Krakau a great
clattering of wheels and horses' hoofs on the cobbled court of our
hotel, accompanied by the cracking of a whip and voices, drew us to our
window. At first we thought a strolling circus had arrived, but no, that
man with the red crown to his black fur cap, a peacock's feather
fastened to it by a fantastic brooch, was just an ordinary farmer in
Sunday garb. In the neighbourhood of Krakau the young men wear frock
coats of white cloth, over bright red, short tight coats, and their
light-coloured skin-tight trousers, worn inside knee boots, are
embroidered in black down the fronts.

One afternoon we were the guests of a Polish painter, who had married a
pretty peasant, his model. He was a gentleman by birth and breeding, had
studied art in Paris and spoke French, German and English. His wife, a
child of the soil, knew only the dialect of her own province, but with
the sensitive response of a Pole, eagerly waited to have translated to
her what the Americans were saying of life among women in their country.
She served us with tea and liquor, the red heels of her high boots
clicking on the wooden floor as she moved about. As colour and as line,
of a kind, that young Polish woman was a feast to the eye; full scarlet
skirt, standing out over many petticoats and reaching only to the tops
of her knee boots, full white bodice, a sleeveless jacket to the waist
line, made of brightly coloured cretonne, outlined with coloured beads;
a bright yellow head-kerchief bound her soft brown hair; her eyes were
brown, and her skin like a yellow peach. On her neck hung strings of
coral and amber beads. There was indeed a decorative woman! As for her
background, it was simple enough to throw into relief the brilliant
vision that she was. Not, however, a scheme of interior decoration to
copy! The walls were whitewashed; a large stove of masonry was built
into one corner, and four beds and a cradle stood on the other side of
the room, over which hung in a row five virgins, the central one being
the Black Virgin beloved by the Poles. The legend is that the original
was painted during the life of the Virgin, on a panel of dark wood.
Here, too, was the marriage chest, decorated with a crude design in
bright colours. The children, three or four of them, ran about in the
national costume, miniatures of their mother, but barefoot.

It was the same in Hungary, when we were taken by the mayor of a Magyar
town to visit the characteristic farmhouse of a highly prosperous
farmer, said to be worth two hundred thousand dollars. The table was
laid in the end of a room having four beds in it. On inquiring later, we
were told that they were not ordinarily used by the family, but were
heaped with the reserve bedding. In other words, they were recognised by
the natives as indicating a degree of affluence, and were a bit of
ostentation, not the overcrowding of necessity.



From Hungary we continued our quest of line and colour of folk costume
into Russia.

Strangely enough, Russia throws off the imperial yoke of autocracy,
declaring for democratic principles, at the very moment we undertake to
put into words the vivid picturesqueness resulting largely from the
causes of this astounding revolution. Have you been in Russia? Have you
seen with your own eyes any phase of the violent contrasts which at last
have caused the worm to turn? Our object being to study national
characteristics as expressed in folk costume, folk song, folk dance,
traditional customs and fêtes, we consulted students of these subjects,
whom we chanced to meet in London, Paris, Vienna and Buda Pest, with the
result that we turned our faces toward southern or "Little" Russia, as
the part least affected by cosmopolitan influences.

Kiev was our headquarters, and it is well to say at once that we found
what we sought,--ample opportunity to observe the genuine Russian, the
sturdy, dogged, plodding son of toil, who, more than any other European
peasant seems a part of the soil, which in sullen persistency he tills.
We knew already the Russians of Petrograd and Moscow; one meets them in
Paris, London, Vienna, at German and Austrian Cures and on the Riviera.
They are everywhere and always distinctive by reason of their Slav
temperament; a magnetic race quality which is Asiatic in its essence. We
recognise it, we are stirred by it, we are drawn to it in their
literature, their music, their painting and in the Russian people
themselves. The quality is an integral part of Russian nature; polishing
merely increases its attraction as with a gem. One instance of this is
the folk melody as treated by Tschaikowsky compared with its simple form
as sung or danced by the peasant.


    A skating costume worn by Miss Weld of Boston, holder of
    the Woman's Figure Skating Championship.

    This photograph was taken in New York on March 23, 1917,
    when amateurs contested for the cup and Miss Weld won--this
    time over the men.

    The costume of wine-coloured velvet trimmed with mole-skin,
    a small close toque to match, was one of the most
    appropriate and attractive models of 1916-1917.

    [Illustration: _Courtesy of New York Herald_
    _Modern Skating Costume 1917 Winner of Amateur Championship
    of Fancy Skating_]

Some of the Russian women of the fashionable world are very decorative.
Our first impression of this type was in Paris, at the Russian Church on
Christmas (or was it some other holy day?) when to the amazement of the
uninitiated the Russian women of the aristocracy appeared at the morning
service hatless and in full evening dress, wearing jewels as if for a
function at some secular court. Their masculine escorts appeared in full
regalia, the light of the altar candles adding mystery to the glitter of
gold lace and jewels. Those occasions are picturesque in the extreme.

The congregation stands, as in the Jewish synagogues, and those of
highest rank are nearest the altar, invariably ablaze with gold, silver
and precious stones, while on occasions the priest wears cloth of gold.

In Paris this background and the whole scene was accepted as a part of
the pageant of that city, but in Kiev it was different. There we got the
other side of the picture; the man and the woman who are really Russia,
the element that finds an outlet in the folk music, for its age-old
rebellious submission. One hears the soul of the Russian pulsating in
the continued reiteration of the same theme; it is like the endless
treadmill of a life without vistas. We were looking at the Russia of
Maxim Gorky, the Russia that made Tolstoy a reformer; that has now
forced its Czar to abdicate.

We reached Kiev just before the Easter of the Greek Church, the season
when the pilgrims, often as many as fifty thousand of them, tramp over
the frozen roads from all parts of the empire to expiate their sins,
kneeling at the shrine of one of their mummied, sainted bishops.

The men and women alike, clad in grimy sheepskin coats, moved like
cattle in straggling droves, over the roads which lead to Kiev. From a
distance one cannot tell man from woman, but as they come closer, one
sees that the woman has a bright kerchief tied round her head, and red
or blue peasant embroidery dribbles below her sheepskin coat. She is as
stocky as a Shetland pony and her face is weather-beaten, with high
cheekbones and brown eyes. The man wears a black astrachan conical cap
and his hair is long and bushy, from rubbing bear grease into it. He
walks with a crooked staff, biblical in style, and carries his worldly
goods in a small bundle flung over his shoulder. The woman carries her
own small burden. As they shuffle past, a stench arises from the human
herd. It comes from the sheepskin, which is worked in, slept in, and,
what is more, often inherited from a parent who had also worn it as his
winter hide. Added to the smell of the sheepskin is that of an unwashed
human, and the reek of stale food, for the poorest of the Russian
peasants have no chimneys to their houses. They cannot afford to let the
costly heat escape.

Kiev, the holy city and capital of Ancient Russia, climbs from its
ancestral beginnings, on the banks of the River Dneiper, up the steep
sides and over the summit of a commanding hilltop, crowned by an immense
gold cross, illumined with electricity by night, to flash its message of
hope to foot-sore pilgrims. The driver of our drosky drove us over the
rough cobbles so rapidly, despite the hill, that we were almost
overturned. It is the manner of Russian drosky drivers. The cathedral,
our goal, was snowy-white, with frescoes on the outer walls,
onion-shaped domes of bronze turned green; or gold, or blue with stars
of gold.

We entered and found the body of the church well filled by peasants,
women and men in sheepskin. One poor doe-eyed creature crouched to press
his forehead twenty times at least on the stone floor of the church.
Eagerly, like a flock of sheep, they all pushed forward to where a
richly-robed priest held a cross of gold for each to kiss, taking their
proffered kopeks.

The setting sun streamed through the ancient stained glass, dyeing their
dirty sheepskin crimson, and purple, and green, until they looked like
illuminations in old missals. To the eye and the mind of western Europe
it was all incomprehensible. Yet those were the people of Russia who are
to-day her mass of armed defenders; the element that has been counted on
from the first by Russia and her allies stood penniless before an altar
laid over with gold and silver and precious stones. Just before we got
to Kiev, one of those men in sheepskins with uncut hair and dogged
expression, who had a sense of values in human existence, broke into
the church and stole jeweled chalices from the altar. They were traced
to a pawnshop in a distant city and brought back. It was a common thing
to see men halt in the street and stand uncovered, while a pitiful
funeral cortege passed. A wooly, half-starved, often lame horse, was
harnessed with rope to a simple four-wheeled farm wagon, a long-haired
peasant at his head, women and children holding to the sides of the cart
as they stumbled along in grief, and inside a rough wooden coffin
covered with a black pall, on which was sewn the Greek cross, in white.
Heartless, hopeless, weary and underfed, those peasants were taking
their dead to be blessed for a price, by the priest in cloth of gold,
without whose blessing there could be no burial.



The public thinks of Mark Twain as being the apostle of _white_ during
the last years of his life, but those who knew him well recall his
delightfully original way of expressing an intense love for _bright
colours_. This brings to mind a week-end at Mark Twain's beautiful
Italian villa in Reading, Connecticut, when, one night during dinner, he
held forth on the compelling fascination of colours and the American
Indian's superior judgment in wearing them. After a lengthy
elaboration--not to say exaggeration--of his theme, he ended by
declaring in uncompromising terms, that colour, and plenty of it,
crimson and yellow and blue, wrapped around man, as well as woman, was
an obligation shirked by humanity. It was all put as only Mark Twain
could have put it, with that serious vein showing through broad humour.
This quality combined with an unmatched originality, made every moment
passed in his company a memory to treasure. It was not alone his theme,
but how he dealt with it, that fascinated one.


    One of the 1917 silhouettes.

    Naturally, since woman to-day dresses for her
    occupation--work or play--the characteristic silhouettes are

    This one is reproduced to illustrate our point that outline
    can be affected by the smallest detail.

    The sketch is by Elisabeth Searcy.

    [Illustration: _Drawn from Life by Elisabeth Searcy_
    _A Modern Silhouette--1917 Tailor-made_]

Mark Twain was elemental and at the same time a great artist,--the
embodiment of extreme contradictions, and his flair for gay colour was
one proof of his elemental strain. We laughed that night as he made word
pictures of how men and women should dress. Next morning, toward noon,
on looking out of a window, we saw standing in the middle of the
driveway a figure wrapped in crimson silk, his white hair flying in the
wind, while smoke from a pipe encircled his head. Yes, it was Mark
Twain, who in the midst of his writing, had been suddenly struck with
the thought that the road needed mending, and had gone out to have
another look at it! It was a blustering day in Spring, and cold, so one
of the household was sent to persuade him to come in. We can see him
now, returning reluctantly, wind-blown and vehement, gesticulating, and
stopping every few steps to express his opinion of the men who had made
that road! The flaming red silk robe he wore was one his daughter had
brought him from Liberty's, in London, and he adored it. Still wrapped
in it, and seemingly unconscious of his unusual appearance, he joined us
on the balcony, to resume a conversation of the night before.

The red-robed figure seated itself in a wicker chair and berated the
idea that mortal man ever _could_ be generous,--act without selfish
motives. With the greatest reverence in his tone, sitting there in his
whimsical costume of bright red silk, at high noon,--an immaculate
French butler waiting at the door to announce lunch, Mark Twain
concluded an analysis of modern religion with "--why the God _I_ believe
in is too busy spinning spheres to have time to listen to human

How often his words have been in our mind since war has shaken our



The world has the habit of deriding that which it does not understand.
It is the most primitive way of bolstering one's limitations. How often
the woman or man with a God-given sense of the beautiful, the fitting,
harmony between costume and setting, is described as poseur or poseuse
by those who lack the same instinct. In a sense, of course, everything
man does, beyond obeying the rudimentary instincts of the savage, is an
affectation, and it is not possible to claim that even our contemporary
costuming of man or woman always has _raison d'être_.

We accept as the natural, unaffected raiment for woman and man that
which custom has taught us to recognise as appropriate, with or without
reason for being. For example, the tall, shiny, inflexible silk hat of
man, and the tortuous high French heels of woman are in themselves
neither beautiful, fitting, nor made to meet the special demands of any
setting or circumstance. Both hat and heels are fashions, unbeautiful
and uncomfortable, but to the eye of man to-day serve as insignia of
formal dress, decreed by society.

The artist nature has always assumed poetic license in the matter of
dress, and as a rule defied custom, to follow an inborn feeling for
beauty. That much-maligned short velvet coat and soft loose tie of the
painter or writer, happen to have a most decided _raison d'être_; they
represent comfort, convenience, and in the case of the velvet coat,
satisfy a sensitiveness to texture, incomprehensible to other natures.
As for the long hair of some artists, it can be a pose, but it has in
many cases been absorption in work, or poverty--the actual lack of money
for the conventional haircut. In cities we consider long hair on a man
as effeminate, an indication of physical weakness, but the Russian
peasant, most sturdy of individuals, wears his hair long, and so do many
others among extremely primitive masculine types, who live their lives
beyond the reach of Fashion and barbers.

The short hair of the sincere woman artist is to save time at the

There is always a limited number of men and women who, in ordinary acts
of life, respond to texture, colour or line, as others do to music or
scenery, and to be at their best in life, must dress their parts as they
feel them. Japanese actors who play the parts of women, dress like women
off the stage, and live the lives of women as nearly as possible, in
order to acquire the feeling for women's garments; they train their
bodies to the proper feminine carriage, counting upon this to perfect
their interpretations.

The woman who rides, hunts, shoots, fishes, sails her own boat, paddles,
golfs and plays tennis, is very apt to look more at home in habit,
tweeds and flannels, than she does in strictly feminine attire; the
muscles she has acquired in legs and arms, from violent exercise, give
an actual, not an assumed, stride and a swing to the upper body. In
sports clothes, or severely tailored costume, this woman is at her best.
Most trying for her will be demi-toilette (house gowns). She is
beautiful at night because a certain balance, dignity and grace are
lent her by the décolletage and train of a dinner or ball gown. English
women who are devotees of sport, demonstrate the above fact over and
over again.

While on the subject of responsiveness to texture and colour we would
remind the reader that Richard Wagner hung the room in which he worked
at his operas with bright silks, for the art stimulus he got from
colour, and it is a well-known fact that he derived great pleasure from
wearing dressing gowns and other garments made from rich materials.

Clyde Fitch, our American playwright, when in his home, often wore
velvet or brocaded silks. They were more sympathetic to his artist
nature, more in accord with his fondness for wearing jewelled studs,
buttons, scarf-pins. In his town and country houses the main scheme,
leading features and every smallest detail were the result of Clyde
Fitch's personal taste and effort, and he, more than most men and women,
appreciated what a blot an inartistic human being can be on a room which
of itself is a work of art.


    Souvenirs of an artist designer's unique establishment, in
    spirit and accomplishment _vrai Parisienne_. Notice the long
    cape in the style of 1825.

    Tappé himself will tell you that all periods have had their
    beautiful lines and colours; their interesting details; that
    to find beauty one must first have the feeling for it; that
    if one is not born with this subtle instinct, there are
    manifold opportunities for cultivating it.

    His claim is the same as that made in our _Art of Interior
    Decoration_; the connoisseur is one who has passed through
    the schooling to be acquired only by contact with
    masterpieces,--those treasures sifted by time and preserved
    for our education, in great art collections.

    Tappé emphasises the necessity of knowing the background for
    a costume before planning it; the value of line in the
    physique beneath the materials; the interest to be woven
    into a woman's costume when her type is recognised, and the
    modern insistence on appropriateness--that is, the simple
    gown and close hat for the car, vivid colours for field
    sports or beach; a large fan for the woman who is mistress
    of sweeping lines, etc., etc.

    Tappé is absolutely French in his insistence upon the
    possible eloquence of line; a single flower well poised and
    the chic which is dependent upon _how a hat or gown is put
    on_. We have heard him say: "No, I will not claim the hat in
    that photograph, though I made it, because it is _mal

    [Illustration: _Sketched for "Woman as Decoration" by Thelma
    _Tappé's Creations_]

In England, and far more so in America, men are put down as effeminate
who wear jewelry to any marked extent. But no less a person than King
Edward VII always wore a chain bangle on his arm, and one might cite
countless men of the Continent as thoroughly masculine--Spaniards in
particular--who wear as many jewelled rings as women. Apropos of this, a
famous topaz, worn as a ring for years by a distinguished Spaniard was
recently inherited by a relation in America--a woman. The stone was of
such importance as a gem, that a record was kept of its passing from
France into America. As a man's ring it was impressive and the setting
such as to do it honour, but being a man's ring, it was too heavy for a
woman's use. A pendant was made of the stone and a setting given it
which turned out to be too trifling in character. The consequence was,
the stone lost in value as a Rubens' canvas would, if placed in an art
nouveau frame.

Whether it is a precious stone, a valued painting or a woman's
costume--the effect produced depends upon the character of its setting.



Fashions in dress as in manners, religion, art, literature and drama,
are all powerful because they seize upon the public mind.

The Chelsea group of revolutionary artists in New York doubtless
see,--perhaps but dimly, the same star that led Goethe and Schiller on,
in the storm and stress period of their time. We smile now as we recall
how Schiller stood on the street corners of Leipzig, wearing a
dressing-gown by day to defy custom; but the youth of Athens did the
same in the last days of Greece. In fact then the darlings of the gilded
world struck attitudes of abandon in order to look like the Spartans.
They refused to cut their hair and they would not wash their hands, and
even boasted of their ragged clothes after fist fights in the streets.
Yes, the gentlemen did this.

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries there was a cult that wore furs
in Summer and thin clothes in Winter, to prove that love made them
strong enough to resist the elements! You will recall the Euphuists of
England, the Precieuses of France and the Illuminati of the eighteenth
century, as well as Les Merveilleux and Les Encroyables. The rich during
the Renaissance were great and wise collectors but some followed the
fashion for collecting manuscripts even when unable to read them. It is
interesting to find that in the fourth and fifth centuries it was
fashionable to be literary. Those with means for existence without
labour, wrote for their own edification, copying the style of the
ancient poets and philosophers.

As early as the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Venetian women were
shown the Paris fashions each Ascension Day on life-size dolls,
displayed by an enterprising importer.

It is true that fashions come and go, not only in dress, but how one
should sit, stand, and walk; how use the hands and feet and eyes. To
squint was once deemed a modest act. Women of the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries stood with their abdomens out, and so did some in
1916! There are also fashions in singing and speaking.

The poses in portraits express much. Compare the exactly prim Copley
miss, with a recent portrait by Cecilia Beaux of a young girl seated,
with dainty satin-covered feet outstretched to full extent of the limbs,
in casual impertinence,--our age!

To return to the sixteenth century, it is worthy of note that some
Venetian belles wore patines--that is, shoes with blocks of wood,
sometimes two feet high, fastened to the soles. They could not move
without a maid each side! As it was an age when elemental passions were
"good form," jealous husbands are blamed for these!

In the seventeenth century the idle dancing youth of to-day had his
prototype in the Cavalier Servente, who hovered at his lady's side,
affecting extravagant and effeminate manners.

The corrupt morals of the sixteenth century followed in the wake of
social intercourse by travel, literature, art and styles for costumes.

Mme. Récamier, the exquisite embodiment of the Directoire style as
depicted by David in his famous portrait of her, scandalised London by
appearing in public, clad in transparent Greek draperies and scarfs.
Later Mme. Jerome Bonaparte, a Baltimore belle, quite upset Philadelphia
by repeating Mme. Récamier's experiment in that city of brotherly love!
We are also told on good authority that one could have held Madame's
wedding gown in the palm of the hand.

Victorian hoops for public conveyances, paper-soled slippers in
snow-drifts, wigs immense and heavy with powder, hair-oil and furbelows,
hour-glass waist lines producing the "vapours" fortunately are no more.

Taken by and large, we of the year 1917 seem to have reached the point
where woman's psychology demands of dress fitness for each occasion,
that she may give herself to her task without a material handicap. May
the good work in this direction continue, as the panorama of costumes
for women moves on down the ages that are to come.



When seen in perspective, the costumes of various periods, as well as
the architecture, interior decoration and furnishings of the homes of
men appear as distinct types, though to the man or woman of any
particular period the variations of the type are bewildering and
misleading. It is the same in physical types; when visiting for the
first time a foreign land one is immediately struck by a national cast
of feature, English, French, American, Russian, etc. But if we remain in
the country for any length of time, the differences between individuals
impress us and we lose track of those features and characteristics the
nation possesses in common. To-day, if asked what outline, materials and
colour schemes characterise our fashions, some would say that almost
anything in the way of line, materials and colour were worn. There is,
however, always an epoch type, and while more than ever before the law
of _appropriateness_ has dictated a certain silhouette for each
occasion,--each occupation,--when recorded in costume books of the
future we will be recognised as a distinct phase; as distinct as the
Gothic, Elizabethan, Empire or Victorian period.


    Costume of a Red Cross Nurse, worn while working in a
    French war hospital, by Miss Elsie de Wolfe, of New York. An
    example of woman costumed so as to be most efficient for the
    work in hand.

    Miss de Wolfe's name has become synonymous with interior
    decoration, throughout the length and breadth of our land,
    but she established a reputation as one of the best-dressed
    women in America, long before she left the stage to
    professionally decorate homes. She has done an immeasurable
    amount toward moulding the good taste of America in several
    fields. At present her energies are in part devoted to
    disseminating information concerning a cure for burns, one
    of the many discoveries resulting from the exigencies of the
    present devastating war.

    [Illustration: _Miss Elsie de Wolfe in Costume of Red Cross Nurse_]

As we have said, in studying the history of woman decorative, one
finds two widely separated aspects of the subject, which must be
considered in turn. There is the classifying of woman's apparel
which comes under the head of European dress, woman's costume affected
by cosmopolitan influences; costumes worn by that part of humanity
which is in close intercommunication and reflecting the ebb and flow of
currents--political, geographical and artistic. Then we have quite
another field for study, that of national costumes, by which we mean
costumes peculiar to some one nation and worn by its men and women
century after century.

It is interesting as well as depressing for the student of national
characteristics to see the picturesque distinguishing lines and colours
gradually disappear as railroads, steamboats and electric trolleys
penetrate remote districts. With any influx of curious strangers there
comes in time, often all too quickly, a regrettable self-consciousness,
which is followed at first by an awkward imitation of the cosmopolitan

We recall our experience in Hungary. Having been advised to visit the
peasant villages and farms lying out on the püstas (plains of southern
Hungary) if we would see the veritable national costumes, we set out
hopefully with letters of introduction from a minister of education in
Buda Pest, directed to mayors of Magyar villages. One of these planned a
visit to a local celebrity, a Magyar farmer, very old, very prosperous,
rich in herds of horses, sheep and magnificent Hungarian oxen, large,
white and with almost straight, spreading horns, like the oxen of the
ancient Greeks. There we met a man of the old school, nearly eighty, who
had never in his life slept under cover, his duty being to guard his
flocks and herds by night as well as day, though he had amassed what was
for his station in life, a great fortune. He had never been seen in
anything but the national costume, the same as worn in his part of the
world for several hundred years. And so we went to see him in his home.
We were all expectation! You can imagine our disappointment, when, upon
arrival, we found our host awaiting us, painfully attired in the
ordinary dark cloth coat and trousers of the modern farmer the world
over. He had donned the ugly things in our honour, taking an hour to
make his toilet, as we were secretly informed by one of the household.
We tell this to show how one must persevere in the pursuit of artistic
data. This was the same occasion cited in _The Art of Interior
Decoration,_ when the highly decorative peasant tableware was banished
by the women in the house, to make room, again in our honour, for plain
white ironstone china.

The feeling for line accredited to the French woman is equally the
birthright of the Magyar--woman and man. One sees it in the dash of the
court beauty who can carry off a mass of jewels, barbaric in splendour,
where the average European or American would feel a Christmas tree in
the same. And no man in Europe wears his uniform as the Hungarian
officer of hussars does; the astrachan-trimmed short coat, slung over
one shoulder, cap trimmed with fur, on the side of his head, and
skin-tight trousers inside of faultless, spurred boots reaching to the
knees. One can go so far as to say there is something decorative in the
very temperament of Hungarian women, a fiery abandon, which makes _line_
in a subtle way quite apart from the line of costume. This quality is
also possessed by the Spanish woman, and developed to a remarkable
degree in the professional Spanish dancer. The Gipsy woman has it
too,--she brought it with her from Asia, as the Magyar's forebears did.

Speaking of the Magyar, nothing so perfectly expresses the national
temperament as the czardas--that peasant dance which begins with calm,
stately repression, and ends in a mad ecstasy of expression, the rapid
crescendo, the whirl, ending when the man seizes his partner and flings
her high in the air. Watch the flash of the eyes and see that this is
genuine temperament, not acting, but something inherent in the blood.
The crude colour of the national costume and the sharp contrast in the
folk music are equally expressions of national character, the various
art expressions of which open up countless enticing vistas.

The contemplation of some of these vistas leads one to the conclusion
that woman decorative is so, either as an artist (that is, in the
mastery of the science of line and colour, more or less under the
control of passing fashion), or in the abandonment to the impulse of an
untutored, unconscious, child of nature. Both can be beautiful; the art
which is so great as to conceal conscious effort by creating the
illusion of spontaneity, and the natural unconscious grace of the human
being in youth or in the primitive state.



An historical interest attaches to fashions in women's costuming, which
the practised eye is quick to distinguish, but not always that of the
novice. Of course the most casual and indifferent of mortals recognises
the fact when woman's hat follows the lines of the French officer's cap,
or her coat reproduces the Cossack's, with even a feint at his cartridge
belt; but such echoes of the war are too obvious to call for comment.


    Madame Geraldine Farrar as _Carmen_.

    In each of the three presentations of Madame Farrar we have
    given her in character, as suggestions for stage costumes or
    costume balls. (By courtesy of _Vanity Fair_.)

    [Illustration: _Courtesy of Vanity Fair_
    _Mme. Geraldine Farrar in Spanish Costume as Carmine_]

It is one of the missions of art to make subtle the obvious, and a
distinguished example of this, which will illustrate our theme,--history
mirrored by dress,--was seen recently. One of the most famous among the
great couturières of Paris, who has opened a New York branch within two
years, having just arrived with her Spring and Summer models, was
showing them to an appreciative woman, a patron of many years. It is not
an exaggeration to say that in all that procession of costumes for cool
days or hot, ball-room, salon, boudoir or lawn, not one was banal, not
one false in line or its colour-scheme. Whether the style was Classic
Greek, Mediæval or Empire (these prevail), one felt the result, first of
an artist's instinct, then a deep knowledge of the pictorial records of
periods in dress, and to crown all, that conviction of the real artist,
which gives both courage and discretion in moulding textiles,--the
output of modern genius, to the purest classic lines. For example, one
reads in every current fashion sheet that beads are in vogue as
garniture for dresses. So they are, but note how your French woman
treats them. Whether they are of jet, steel, pearl or crystal, she
presses them into service as so much _colour_, massing them so that one
is conscious only of a shimmering, clinging, wrapped-toga effect, à la
Grecque, beneath the skirt and bodice of which every line and curve of
the woman's form is seen. Evidently some, at least, are to be gleaming
Tanagras. Even a dark-blue serge, for the motor, shopping or train, had
from hips to the bust parallel lines of very small tube-like jet beads,
sewn so close together that the effect was that of a shirt of mail.

The use of notes of vivid colour caught the eye. In one case, on a black
satin afternoon gown, a tiny nosegay of forget-me-not blue, rose-pink
and jessamine-white, was made to decorate the one large patch-pocket on
the skirt and a lapel of the sleeveless satin coat. Again on a
dinner-dress of black Chantilly lace, over white chiffon (Empire lines),
a very small, deep pinkish-red rose had a white rose-bud bound close to
it with a bit of blue ribbon. This was placed under the bertha of cobweb
lace, and demurely in the middle of the short-waisted bodice. Again a
robe d'interior of white satin charmeuse, had a sleeveless coat of blue,
reaching to knees, and a dashing bias sash of pinkish-red, twice round
the waist, with its long ends reaching to skirt hem and heavily

Not at once, but only gradually, did it dawn upon us that most of the
gowns bore, in some shade or form, the tricolour of France!



Every now and then a sex war is predicted, and sometimes started,
usually by woman, though some predicted that when the present European
war is over and the men come home to their civilian tasks, now being
carried on by women, man is going to take the initiative, in the sex
conflict. We doubt it. Without deliberate design to prove this
point,--that a complete collaboration of the sexes has always made the
wheels of the universe revolve, many of the illustrations studied showed
woman with man as decoration, in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and during later

The Legend of Life tells us that man can not live alone, hence woman;
and the Pageant of Life shows that she has played opposite with
consistency and success throughout the ages.

The Sunday issue of the Philadelphia _Public Ledger_ for March 25,
1917, has a headline, "Trousers vs. Skirts," and, continues Margaret
Davies, the author of the article:

  "This war will change all things for European women.
  Military service, of a sort, has come for them in both
  France and England, where they are replacing men employed in
  clerical and other non-combatant departments, including
  motor driving. The moment this was decided upon in England,
  it was found that 30,000 men would be released for actual
  fighting, with prospects of the release of more than 200,000
  more. What the French demand will be is not known as I
  write, but it will equal that of England.

  "How will these women dress? Will they be given military
  uniforms short of skirt or even skirtless? Of course they
  won't; but the world on this side of the ocean would not
  gasp should this be done. War industry already has worked a

  "Study the pictures which accompany this article. They are a
  new kind of women's 'fashion pictures'; they are photographs
  of women dressed as European circumstances now compel them
  to dress. Note the trousers, like a Turkish woman's, of the
  French girl munitions workers. Thousands of girls here in
  France are working in such trousers. Note the smart liveries
  of the girls who have taken the places of male carriage
  starters, mechanics and elevator operators, at a great
  London shop. They are very natty, aren't they? Almost like
  costumes from a comic opera. Well, they are not operatic
  costumes. They are every-day working liveries. Girls wear
  them in the most mixed London crowds--wear them because the
  man-shortage makes it necessary for these girls to do work
  which skirts do not fit. All French trams and buses have

  "The coming of women cabmen in London is inevitable--indeed,
  it already has begun. In Paris they have been established
  sparsely for some time and have done well, but they have not
  been used on taxis, only on the horse cabs.

  "I have spent most of my time in Paris for some months now,
  and have ridden behind women drivers frequently. They drive
  carefully and well and are much kinder to their horses than
  the old, red-faced, brutal French cochérs are. I like them.
  They have a wonderful command of language, not always
  entirely or even partially polite, but they are
  accommodating and less greedy for tips than male drivers.

  "At Selfridge's great store--the largest and most
  progressive in London, operated on Chicago lines--skirtless
  maidens are not rare enough to attract undue attention. The
  first to be seen there, indeed, is not in the store at all,
  but on the sidewalk, outside of it, engaged in the gentle
  art of directing customers to and from their cars and cabs
  and incidentally keeping the chauffeurs in order.

  "An extremely pretty girl she is, too, with her frock-coat
  coming to her knees, her top-boots coming to the coat, and
  now and then, when the wind blows, a glimpse of loose
  knickers. She tells me that she's never had a man stare at
  her since she appeared in the new livery, although women
  have been curious about it and even critical of it. Women
  have done all the staring to which she has been subjected.

  "Within the store, many girls engaged in various special
  employments, are dressed conveniently for their work, in
  perfectly frank trousers. Among these are the girls who
  operate the elevators. There is no compromise about it.
  These girls wear absolutely trousers every working hour of
  every working day in a great public store, in a great
  crowded city, rubbing elbows (even touching trousered knees,
  inevitably) with hundreds of men daily.


      Madame Geraldine Farrar. The value of line was admirably
      illustrated in the opera "Madame Butterfly" as seen this
      winter at the Metropolitan Opera House. Have you chanced to
      ask yourself why the outline of the individual members of
      the chorus was so lacking in charm, and Madame Farrar's so
      delightful? The great point is that in putting on her
      kimono, Madame Farrar kept in mind the characteristic
      silhouette of the Japanese woman as shown in Japanese art;
      then she made a picture of herself, and one in harmony with
      her Japanese setting. Which brings us back to the keynote of
      our book--_Woman as Decoration_--beautiful _Line_.

      [Illustration: _Sketched for "Woman as Decoration" by
      Thelma Cudlipp_
      _Mme. Geraldine Farrar in Japanese Costume as Madame Butterfly_]

  "And they like it. They work better in the new uniforms than
  they used to in skirts and are less weary at each day's end.
  And nobody worries them at all. There has not been the
  faintest suspicion of an insult or an advance from any one
  of the thousands of men and boys of all classes whom they
  have ridden with upon their 'lifts,' sometimes in dense
  crowds, sometimes in an involuntary tête-à-tête.

  "Other employments which girls follow and dress for
  bifurcatedly in this great and progressive store are more
  astonishing than the operation of elevators. A charming
  young plumber had made no compromise whatever with
  tradition. She was in overalls like boy plumbers wear,
  except that her trousers were not tight, but they were well
  fitted. A little cap of the same material as the suit,
  completed her jaunty and attractive costume. And cap and
  suit were professionally stained, too, with oil and things
  like that, while her small hands showed the grime of an
  honest day's competent, hard work.

  "The coming summer will see an immense amount of England's
  farming done by women and, I think, well done. Organisations
  already are under way whereby women propose to help decrease
  the food shortage by intelligent increase of the chicken and
  egg supply, and this is being so well planned that
  undoubtedly it will succeed. Eggs and chickens will be
  cheap in England ere the summer ends.

  "I have met three ex-stenographers who now are at hard work,
  two of them in munition factories (making military engines
  of death) and one of them on a farm. I asked them how they
  liked the change.

  "'I should hate to have to go back to work in the old long
  skirts,' one replied. 'I should hate to go back to the old
  days of relying upon some one else for everything that
  really matters. But--well, I wish the war would end and I
  hope the casualty lists of fine young men will not grow
  longer, day by day, as Spring approaches, although everybody
  says they will.'

  "Mrs. John Bull takes girls in pantaloons quite calmly and
  approvingly, now that she has learned that if there are
  enough of them, dad and the boys will pay no more attention
  to them in trousers than they would pay to them in skirts."

We have preferred to quote the exact wording of the original article,
for the reason that while the facts are familiar to most of us, the
manner of putting them could not, to our mind, be more graphic. Some
day, when the Wateaus of the future are painting the court ladies who
again dance pavanes in sunlit glades, wearing wigs and crinoline, such
data will amuse.

That the women of Finland make worthy members of their parliament does
not prove anything outside of Finland. That the exigencies of the
present hour in England have made women equal to every task of men so
far entrusted to them, proves much for England. Women, like men, have
untold, untried abilities within them, women and men alike are
marvellous under fire--capable of development in every direction. What
human nature has done it can do again, and infinitely more under the
pressure of necessity which opens up brain cells, steels the heart,
hardens the muscles, and like magic fire, licks up the dross of
humanity, aimlessly floating on the surface of life, awaiting a leader
to melt and mould it at Fate's will into clearly defined personalities,
ready to serve. This point has been magnificently proved by the war now
waging in Europe.

Let us repeat; that from the beginning the story of woman's costuming
proves her many-sidedness, the inexhaustible stock of her latent
qualities which, like man's, await the call of the hour.


The foregoing chapters have aimed at showing the decorative value of
woman's costume as seen in the art of Egypt, Greece, Gothic Europe,
Europe of the Renaissance and during the seventeenth, eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries. To prove the point that woman is a telling note in
the interior decoration of to-day, the vital spark in any setting, we
have not dwelt upon the fashions so much as decorative line,
colour-scheme and fitness for the occasion.

It is costume associated with caste which interests us more than folk
costume. We have shown that it is the modern insistence on efficiency
that has led to appropriate dress for work and recreation, and that our
idea of the chic and the beautiful in costume is based on
_appropriateness_. Also we have shown that line in costumes is in part
the result of one's "form"--the absolute control of the body, its
"carriage," poise of the head, action of legs, arms, hands and feet, and
that form means successful effort in any direction, because through it
the mind may control the physical medium.

It is the woman who knows what she should wear, what she can wear and
how to wear it, who is most efficient in whatever she gives her mind to.
She it is who will expend the least time, strength and money on her
appearance, and be the first to report for duty in connection with the
next obligation in the business of life.

Therefore let us keep in mind a few rules for the perfect costuming of

  Appropriateness for each occasion so as to get efficiency,
  or be as decorative as possible.

  Outline.--Fashion in silhouette adapted to your own type.

  Background.--Your setting.

  Colour scheme.--Fashionable colours chosen and combined to
  express your personality as well as to harmonise with the
  tone of setting, or, if preferred, to be an agreeable
  contrast to it.

  Detail.--Trimming with _raison d'être_,--not meaningless

It is, of course, understood that the attainment of _beauty_ in the
costuming of woman is our aim when stating and applying the foregoing

The art of interior decoration and the art of costuming woman are
occasionally centred in the same individual, but not often. Some of the
most perfectly dressed women, models for their less gifted sisters, are
not only ignorant as to the art of setting their stage, but oblivious of
the fact that it may need setting.

Remember, that while an inartistic room, confused as to line and
colour-scheme can absolutely destroy the effect of a perfect gown, an
inartistic, though costly gown can likewise be a blot on a perfect room.

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