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Title: Appropriate Clothes for the High School Girl
Author: Alexander, Virginia M.
Language: English
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                            College Bulletin

                       COLLEGE OF INDUSTRIAL ARTS
                      THE STATE COLLEGE FOR WOMEN
                             DENTON, TEXAS

                      APPROPRIATE CLOTHES FOR THE
                            HIGH SCHOOL GIRL

                         VIRGINIA M. ALEXANDER
                         DEPARTMENT OF FINE AND
                              APPLIED ART


Some one asked recently, “Why all this agitation on the subject of high
school girls’ dress?” Interest in this subject has certainly increased
during the last several years and the high school girl herself is
directly responsible for this interest.

It has been said that no great evil exists but contains the seeds of its
own cure.

The costumes worn to school by the high school girls of our country have
been gradually going from bad to worse with the years. Mothers and
teachers have striven to do what they could to correct matters but not
until the girls themselves realized that this great weakness existed,
and they resolved to seek a cure, were real results noticeable.

The representative high school girls of our country are making a stand
for good taste and democracy in the clothes they wear to school.

This little bulletin is published with the hope that its suggestions may
be of value to those students who truly desire to raise the standards of
dress among the girls of their school.



F. M. Bralley, _President of the College_.

Virginia M. Alexander, _Director_, Department of Fine and Applied Art.

Lena Bumpas, _Supervisor_, Teacher-Training Vocational Home Economics.

Margaret Gleason, _Director_, Department of Household Arts.

Mamie W. Walker, _Assistant Professor_, Department of English.


Requests for Extension Service should be addressed to

    Lillian Humphries,
    _Secretary_, Department of Extension,
    College of Industrial Arts,
    Denton, Texas.


Issued monthly by the College of Industrial Arts, Denton, Texas.

Entered December 17, 1917, Denton, Texas, as second-class matter, under
Act of Congress, August 24, 1912.


Many a girl feels, when she first enters high school, that she is a
child no longer. She has suddenly become a woman, and she must
demonstrate this fact to the world immediately by her clothes.

Gingham dresses, middies, and low-heel shoes are scorned as belonging to
the days that are gone. Hair once lovely for its natural beauty and
simplicity takes on fearful and wonderful lines. French heels only are
to be considered and a georgette blouse with elaborate camisole or a
silk dress is an absolute necessity. With these acquisitions our young
lady is ready for her new undertaking.

Could she possibly make a greater mistake? The school room is not a
style show, nor a social function, but it is a busy workshop where
material is to be assembled from which to build a life.

In a truly good high school, of all places, a student must do or die,
and there is no time here to be wasted on thoughts of frills and
furbelows. School room walls and blackboards do not make consistent
backgrounds for party clothes.

In the past the high school girl who was considered well-dressed by her
associates was the one who was elaborately dressed. Now, since the girls
of our country are interested in all the big world issues of the day and
have taken efficiency as their watchword the girl who is a leader is the
girl who can _do_, not the girl who can _dress_.

One of the surest tests of good judgment and refinement in a girl is her
selection of clothes.

The overdressed girl does not belong to the wealthiest and most cultured
families as a rule. She is often striving to attain a social goal not
yet realized and the school room and the street offer her only
opportunities to show her fine feathers.

Suggestions for the School Dress

If a girl should not wear fanciful clothes to school just what, then,
should she wear? In a general way I will answer that question.

A high school girl should wear dresses made of good, substantial
material, appropriate for its wearing quality and interesting for its
color and texture.

These dresses should be made on lines becoming to the individual girl
who is to wear the dress, and at the same time designed so that they
will stand the wear and tear to which they will be subjected.

Dangling tassels, sashes, and fluffy ruffles divert the attention of
both the wearer and the observer and by their very inappropriateness
make the owner conspicuous. Above all, the school dress, which is a work
dress, should allow the wearer free use of her limbs and muscles and
should promote her general good health.

A school girl in a dress built on the lines of a Peter Thompson or
Hofflin suit with proper accessories in the way of shoes, stockings, and
coiffure has much more style than her little sister in georgette or
velvet. This type of suit is becoming to almost any girl as the collar,
tie, and belt may be varied to suit each individual, and the design has
become almost as staple as flour and sugar in the pantry. As a result,
these dresses, made of good material, may be worn for several years
without going out of style.

Ready-made suits of this type are quite expensive but patterns are
easily secured and any one who sews may make a successful garment if a
little care is exercised.

Gingham, linen, and percale dresses built on simple lines so that they
may be laundered without becoming stretched and misshapen, are always
satisfactory and pleasing.

In cold weather serge and tricatine make splendid but expensive
substitutes for the washable materials.


The Dress with a Washable Underblouse

The linen or serge jumper dress, made with a washable underblouse, is a
most satisfactory garment for the school dress. It is not only
utilitarian but it is also comfortable and attractive on account of its
many possible variations. It is becoming to almost all types of girls
from the very young girl, often found in the first year of high school,
to the dignified senior.

The dress proper, built on simple lines, will stand hard wear and the
fact that the underblouse may be laundered or changed will give
freshness and variety to the costume.

The very young girl who has not learned to care successfully for her
wristbands will find this feature most valuable. In warm climates or
overheated school rooms the light weight of the underblouse will prove
very comfortable.

This dress made of wool may be worn quite late in the spring and a silk
blouse will be most useful for the winter months. Made of gingham or
linen the dress will be a valuable asset in the summer wardrobe,
particularly in the South.

Georgette crêpe is not an appropriate material for this undergarment or
for any other school garment. Its perishable nature and its transparency
make it prohibited for the school room. A very transparent outer garment
demands a most carefully selected under garment and more often than not
this care is not wisely exercised by the wearer.

A white shirt waist and dark skirt is a very utilitarian combination,
but from an art standpoint it is not considered good design. For a
costume to possess art quality it must have unity; the wearer and her
clothes should create an impression of “oneness.”

The sudden change at the waist line from a light waist to a dark skirt
cuts the figure into two parts, destroying this much-desired quality of


The Proper Use of Line About the Face

The truly well-dressed girl and the one who displays good judgment is
not the girl who slavishly adopts the new styles and fads of the day
regardless of whether they are becoming to her individually or not. This
applies also to the way she dresses her hair.

There is no part of a toilet that influences the effect of the whole
more than the hair. The most becoming gown fails in its function if the
hair is tousled or dressed unbecomingly. Many girls fail to realize how
they may overcome some of Nature’s faults and shortcomings and how they
may counteract the effect of bad features and proportions by the correct
use of line when dressing the hair.

If “ear muffs” become stylish, the little round-faced girl who knows
nothing of art or design as related to herself must bulge her hair over
her ears whether it makes a full moon of her face or not. Girls should
dress in style but styles should be modified to suit each individual.

The hair is a frame for the face. The delicate blonde and the strenuous
athletic brunette may no more wear the same coiffure than they may
safely wear the same colors. A miniature and an oil painting would
certainly not be framed alike.

The slender girl with a narrow face and thin neck should be most careful
with the use of line around her face. Hair combed in on the cheeks and
high and back from the forehead will make more evident her slenderness.
A hard neck line or chains and ties repeating the point of her chin will
make it appear more angular. Soft flowing lines in the hair, worn low on
the forehead and back from the cheeks, should be adopted.

The round-faced girl should conscientiously avoid coiffures which
broaden the proportions of her face, also neck lines and beads that
repeat the curve of her chin.

[Four small illustrations:
  1. Lines of Hair and Neck Increase Point of Face
  2. Flowing Lines for Narrow Face
  3. Face Made Broader by Hair and Neck Line
  4. Successful Coiffure for Broad Face]

Suggestions for the Stout Figure

A girl may not only improve the appearance of her face and head by the
proper use of line but she may do wonders with her figure, as well, if
she knows how to properly design her dresses. A dress wonderfully
becoming to a slender sylphlike girl may become a tragedy on her plump
classmate. Every girl should understand her physical make-up as
thoroughly as she does her disposition, with its strong points and its
weaknesses. She should know the kind of line she may wear successfully
in her dresses, and the colors that are most becoming to her and the
types of materials most suitable for her.

The stout girl should carefully avoid a design in a dress that is too
cut-up or complicated. Tunics, unless long and scant, are unfortunate
usually and the interest created by trimming about the waist line or
elaborate belts should never be indulged in by the stout girl.

Length-producing lines should always be planned and light or colored
collars should always be designed so that interest will not be created
out towards the sides of the figure, creating width, but down the center
front instead.

Contrasting shoes and stockings not only cut from the height of the
figure but help to accent the feet and ankles of the wearer. The girl
who wears white shoes with her dark dress states, by so doing, that she
considers her feet well worth public consideration.

Contrasting materials for sleeves or elaborate cuffs or pockets will add
width to any figure.

The designs in the accompanying illustration are most suitable for the
older school girl when made up of wool or linen materials.

I may safely recommend this type of line in design for the girl of
superfluous weight.


Plaids and Figured Materials

Our stores in the early spring and summer show such fascinating plaid
and figured materials that I feel their use should be considered. Almost
everyone has fallen a victim to a wonderfully colored plaid on display,
to discover later that buying a plaid is a much simpler matter than
making it into a dress. Plaids are fatal for stout people. Area is the
impression always created by them and unless the pattern is very small
and the colors very soft and indefinite, they should be reserved for the
use of children and young girls. There is no colored costume that will
make a woman more conspicuous than one made of a large black-and-white
plaid material.

In selecting a pattern for a girl’s plaid dress care should be used to
secure one with as few seams as possible. Every seam is a danger zone.
Only persons with great poise and power of concentration, if they notice
their surroundings at all, will be able to remain unaffected by a
conspicuous seam when the plaids “don’t hit.” Some plaids are designed
so that it is very difficult to match the pattern in the seams of the
skirt or a stretched selvedge will add to the difficulty. A gored skirt
pattern making bias seams necessary should never be used for plaid
material. Arm holes and shoulder seams should be carefully planned. A
kimona sleeve simplifies the arm-hole problem but will not prove so
satisfactory in a wash dress. Plain material, either white or colored,
makes a happy combination with plaids or figured material.

The accompanying designs are particularly becoming to slender girls. The
wide soft belts and collars and the contrasting materials in the sleeves
will seemingly add weight to slender young figures. In planning tucks
and band trimming for a skirt the result will be much more pleasing if
variety is used in the width of the bands and the spaces between the


Appropriate Clothes for the Street

If the school room is not an appropriate place for elaborate or fanciful
clothes, surely the street is less so. The truly refined woman will
never wear those things on the street that will make her conspicuous.
Here all classes of people meet and mingle, supposedly on business bent,
and the girl who appears in this public place in party clothes shows
either very poor judgment or that she is striving to attract public
attention in the cheapest possible way.

The most stylish girls seen in the city streets are those gowned in
simple well-made dresses or tailored suits. Hats, gloves, and shoes
should be as carefully considered as the dress itself and all should

A simple dark silk dress is almost an essential for street wear in
spring and summer, to replace the heavier suit or serge dress. Taffeta
is an excellent material for this dress and makes a much cooler and more
youthful dress than satin. A taffeta dress needs little trimming, if cut
on interesting lines. Buttons, tucks, and plaited frills of the same
material may be used most effectively. Little bits of hand embroidery or
attractive light collar and cuff sets add much charm to this type of
dress. Bright colors should not appear upon the street. A “loud” color
attracts attention as successfully as a loud noise. Any dark neutral
color becoming to the wearer is well for the street dress. Wool mixtures
and tweeds are particularly good for suits built on box or belted lines.
Sport clothes will give the young girl a wonderful opportunity for the
use of brilliant color. Dresses worn at home and for afternoon and
evening functions permit the use of delicate colors, more elaborate
trimming, and more perishable materials.

Remember that a hat should serve a double function. It should act as a
covering for the head, and its lines and color should enhance the
attractiveness of the wearer.


The Graduation Dress

One of the most important events in the life of every girl is her
graduation, and we shall here consider the dress worn by her when she
has fulfilled all the requirements and that long-anticipated day
arrives. This occasion is not one for splendor and show, and the cue for
the girl graduate is modesty and simplicity. She is not supposed to be a
radiant queen bedecked for a festive occasion, but a charming young girl
equipped and ready to begin life as a young woman.

The simple and beautiful graduation dress of the past has assumed more
elaborate proportions during recent years until it has reached the point
where the students themselves realize that a halt must be called.
Georgettes, chiffons, and expensive nets have supplanted cotton weaves
and elaborate creations of lace and satin are not infrequent. The cost
of the dress itself is increased by such expensive accessories as long
white kid gloves, expensive slippers and stockings.

What is the girl whose parents possess only moderate means to do under
these conditions? Perhaps she is graduating with honors. Is she to be
embarrassed by having to play a Cinderella rôle by the side of her
gorgeously attired classmates or shall she strain the family bank
account and spend money for this ornate apparel that should be spent for
the education or maintenance of other members of her family?

Surely this is a time when the American girl may show her real spirit of
democracy. Instead of selecting a handsome dress, which she often
excuses by saying she wishes to use it afterwards for an evening dress,
she will choose a really more charming one made of less expensive
material, which will give her an opportunity to show her originality,
and make her personal charms more appreciated.

[Illustration: (No. B 820) ORGANDY GRADUATION DRESS (No. B 822)]

Patterns for these dresses may be secured at the College of Industrial Arts.

In many high schools the unfairness of an expensive graduation dress has
been so much appreciated by the students that a price limit has been set
for the graduation outfit, and the girl who violates this understanding
is considered a real offender. The girls who have initiated this have
been, in many cases, those girls who could best afford the expensive
garments and by such acts they have demonstrated that they are to make
the splendid American women of the future, who will lead in those
movements that bring about the greatest good to the greatest number.

I feel that organdy leads all other materials as desirable for the
graduation dress. It is a trifle more expensive than some other possible
materials but its sheerness and crispness give character to the dress,
making little trimming necessary. A dress of this material may be worn
for quite a while, as a little pressing always revives its freshness.
There are some qualities of flaxon that rival organdy as a desirable
material, and a dress of this may be laundered with perfect safety.

If lace is used on the graduation dress, do not sacrifice quality for
quantity. A small amount of good lace skillfully used will make a much
handsomer garment than one festooned with rows of a cheap quality. A
self-trimmed organdy dress is very distinctive. Dainty little frills and
pin tucks may be used in many interesting ways, and they may be planned
so as to be becoming to almost any figure.

Daintiness should be the characteristic quality of the graduation dress.
It is always disappointing to see elaborate jewelry worn with these
charming frocks. In many cases the most valued possessions of the family
have been collected for the occasion and this borrowed finery always
makes a discordant note in the harmony of the young wearer’s costume.
Under no consideration substitute imitation jewelry for the genuine

[Illustration: (No. B 824) ORGANDY GRADUATION DRESS (No. B 833)]

Patterns for these dresses may be secured at the College of Industrial Arts.

How to Secure Patterns of These Dresses

The College of Industrial Arts, in its efforts to be of service to the
girls and women of Texas, has made it possible for those desiring
patterns of the graduation dresses illustrated in this bulletin to
secure them through the Department of Extension of the College.

The original designs of these dresses were made by highly trained
artists at the College, whom we feel appreciate the particular needs of
Texas girls and women. The patterns were cut from these original designs
by the Vogue Pattern Company of New York, and are sold at thirty cents
each, their exact cost to the College. An illustration, material
requirement, and approximate cost are given with each pattern, and they
are cut in sizes 14, 16, and 18. When ordering patterns state the number
of the pattern and the size desired.

The quaint little design B 820 will appeal to the young girl who likes a
touch of originality in her clothes. The becoming fichu and full skirt
of this design seem to belong to the Colonial days with powdered hair
and patches. This design, created of organdy, should cost from $5.00 to
$8.00 according to the material selected. No. B 822 will prove more
expensive on account of the lace trimming, the approximate cost being
from $9.00 to $12.00. If interesting materials are chosen, this loose
peplum and snug ribbon girdle will make quite a distinctive costume,
becoming to stout figures.

The long-waisted design B 824 is decidedly original and its dainty
frills and ribbons appeal to young girls. A dress may be made by this
pattern of good materials for $8.00.

Design B 826 shows a clever interpretation of the narrow skirt so
popular today. The tiny tucks and frills make a dainty and inexpensive
trimming, and the costume should cost from $4.00 to $6.00.

No. B 828 demonstrates that vertical ruffles may be used successfully.
This dress is beautiful when sheer material is used and the ruffles are
picoted and plaited. It should cost about $6.00.

The slender girl who is not too thin through the bust is charming in
design B 833. The organdy sash and flounced peplum are designed
particularly for her. From $6.00 to $8.00 should buy the material for
this dress.

[Illustration: (No. B 828) ORGANDY GRADUATION DRESS (No. B 826)]

Patterns for these dresses may be secured at the College of Industrial Arts.

Lingerie for the Graduation Dress

The garment worn directly under the graduation dress has much to do with
the effect of the dress itself. This garment should not be picked up at
random but the fullness of its skirt and the design around the neck
should be planned to suit the particular dress pattern selected.

Underwear is to the dress what the foundation is to a house, and it
should be built just as skillfully. It is impossible to secure a dainty
graceful effect in a dress when it is worn with a clumsy petticoat.
Styles change in underwear just as they do in dresses and the silhouette
of the outer garment must decide what the lines of the under one shall
be. For the present styles soft yielding materials are absolutely
necessary for underwear and few flounces should be used about the bottom
of the skirt if the clinging effect around the ankles and knees is
desired in the dress.

Elaborate lace trimmings are neither in good taste nor stylish, and
handwork constitutes the decoration on many of the most attractive of
these garments. Colored lingerie and bright-colored ribbons should be
worn only when the dress is not transparent. Bright pink and blue
ribbons in a camisole or chemise will always look a bit garish when
viewed through a thin blouse.

Color has a magnetic attraction for the eye and wherever placed
immediately attracts attention to that spot. I am sure refined girls do
not wish to invite public interest in their lingerie through the use of
bright colors in their ribbons. The most delicate tints are permissible,
but should be used only in small quantities. White only should be used
with the graduation dress.

Since several petticoats are apt to prove clumsy, great care must be
exerted in selecting the material for this undergarment, to avoid too
much transparency when worn under the very sheer organdy dress.


Corsets and Posture

The envelope chemise and knickerbockers are very comfortable
undergarments and are quite popular with most young girls of today. They
may be made most attractive when soft dainty materials are used and the
needlework is carefully executed. These garments should be kept quite
simple. If lace is used it should be in limited quantities and of a kind
that may be laundered often. Little bits of dainty feather stitching and
hand embroidery will add individual charm to these undergarments.

Style depends not only upon the proper selection of clothes but very
largely upon the way these clothes are put on and worn. Many girls
wearing beautiful clothes are decidedly “not stylish.” Their clothes
look as though they had fallen upon their owners. This is caused by the
fact that the wearer does not carry herself well, or has not good poise.
Nothing is so vitally necessary for good health and good looks as good
posture. The slouchy, humped-over girl is unattractive enough when
young, but when she develops into a misshapen woman with superfluous
flesh about the abdomen and shoulders the most skillful artist will be
unable to disguise her deformities. The girl with the débutante slouch
or the one who “sits in her corsets” is rarely graceful. The uncorseted
figure is the popular one today but if corsets must be worn they should
be most carefully selected. Fortunately the long, unyielding coats of
mail of several years ago are now rarely seen on girls, and soft,
flexible girdles leaving the figure with its natural lines and grace,
have appeared as substitutes. A well-shapen brassiere is often necessary
with these low-busted girdles.

A stylish girl has good poise. This means that she stands well, walks
well, carries her head high, her shoulders back, and looks the world in
the face. The clothes worn by this girl will take the correct swing.


Shoes and Feet

[Illustration: "Shoes and Feet" showing an image of "Good unspoiled
American feet," and "A bunion is in the bone."]

All organizations and publications keenly interested in the welfare of
young women are making a strenuous effort to produce better American
feet, and this is to be done directly through the shoes worn by our
girls. The Y. W. C. A. during the war discovered that lack of endurance
among girls could be traced back directly to misshapen feet, flattened
arches, weak backs and abdominal muscles. In almost every case these had
been caused by wearing high-heel shoes.

The human body is built and strung so that a person may walk and stand
with natural grace and ease. When the equilibrium of this delicate
mechanism is disturbed by inserting a spindle heel directly under that
point responsible for most of the human weight, it is not surprising
that physical ails result that must be carried through life.

A French or spindle heel is absolutely inconsistent for any occasion
when walking or standing is to be done and is certainly not artistic
when worn with a tailored dress or suit. Vanity, gratified by a foot
that seemingly is a bit smaller, should not compensate for the loss of
good health, good sense, natural grace and efficiency. An elaborate
evening dress may call for a higher heel than the one worn on the
street, but it will not excuse the wabbly spindle heels sold girls by
many ruthless concerns.

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