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Title: Dress and Look Slender
Author: Wells, Jane Warren
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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                         Dress and Look Slender

                           JANE WARREN WELLS

                         PERSONAL ARTS COMPANY
                         SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA

                            COPYRIGHT, 1924
                      BY THE PERSONAL ARTS COMPANY
                          ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

                             SCRANTON, PA.


The desire to be attractive, to feel the assurance that one is correctly
if not beautifully dressed is inherent in every woman. With the advent
of the “slim silhouette” the full proportioned woman or girl has had a
problem. It is unfashionable to appear over large—and one cannot help
feeling conspicuous when out of Fashion’s range. But, fortunately, there
is a plan by which the proper selection of dress can actually aid you in
overcoming the handicap of weight.

There is magic in the principles of “optical illusion” and rightly
applied it is a kind of magic that one can make a permanent reality. But
magic is subtle. It requires skill, watchfulness, and a close abiding to
the rules if every “trick” is to be a success.

In reading this book you will find many things that you are advised not
to do, but always you will find substantial instructions as to what to
do. And always principles are provided which you can use and adapt to a
great variety of personal needs.

One of the first essentials of teaching is to start a definite line of
thinking, and if the rules in this book will arouse in you the desire to
compare the points made with illustrations you see of line and color,
both in pictures and on people, and to test their correctness or
incorrectness for yourself, it will indeed be worth while.

You, who have started diets and failed with them, who have tried
exercises and become discouraged, hold to this—read every page of this
book, find the reason back of every rule and apply the principles laid
down. I guarantee that it will be interesting and that the results will
bring you a renewed assurance, confidence and satisfaction with your
personal appearance and with yourself. Is that not enough to commend the
book in its entirety?

                                                       JANE WARREN WELLS



                                CHAPTER I

 WHY WOMEN WANT TO LOOK SLENDER                                        1

   When Fashion Demands Slenderness and Youthfulness                   5

   Business and Social Life Make Slenderness and Youthfulness a
     Necessity                                                         7

   Making the Most of Your Good Points                                 8

                               CHAPTER II

 THE REAL SECRET OF DRESSING TO LOOK SLENDER                          15

   Optical Illusions—Seeing Is Believing                              17

   Lines That Slenderize and Lines That Don’t                         21

   A Simple Trick That Takes Off Twenty Pounds                        28

   Making Yourself Taller Than You Are                                32

   Lines That Slenderize Tunics                                       33

   Apply These Rules to Every Item of Your Attire                     36

   Secrets That Even the Slender Woman Must Know                      37

                               CHAPTER III


   Watch Your Step                                                    39

   What Your Posture Can Do For You                                   41

   Shoes and Stockings Must Be Selected With Care                     43

   Necklines Are Slenderized by Correct Jewelry and Collars           46

   Purses, Fans, and Other Accessories                                47

   Neatness and Cleanliness Are Essential                             48

   Cosmetics Either Add or Detract                                    49

   Think of These Little Things Beforehand                            51

                               CHAPTER IV

 FOUNDATIONS THAT SLENDERIZE                                          55

   The Art of Selecting Your Corset                                   55

   How to Know When Your Corset Fits Exactly                          56

   Which is Your Type of Corset?                                      60

   The Best Kind of Brassiere for You                                 61

   The Importance of Smooth, Perfect Fitting Underthings              65

                                CHAPTER V


   Remodeling Your Present Wardrobe                                   71

   Selecting New Clothes That Will Slenderize You                     76

   The Truth About Surplice Fronts                                    83

   Sleeves for Large Arms                                             85

   Slenderizing Fleshy Shoulders                                      91

   Disguising Weight From the Waistline Down                          92

   Necklines Make a Tremendous Difference                             96

   The Importance of These Slenderizing Trimmings                     98

   Helpful Hints from a Leading New York Designer                    100

                               CHAPTER VI

 ESSENTIAL POINTS IN CUTTING AND FITTING                             103

   The Helpfulness of Darts in Certain Places                        103

   How to Hold the Dress Up on the Shoulders                         106

   What the Long Underarm Does                                       106

   The Bias Center Front                                             107

   How to Add Fullness Without Flare                                 107

                               CHAPTER VII

 FABRICS THAT SLENDERIZE                                             115

   Facts to Know About Materials                                     116

   Why Average “Bargains” Are Not an Economy for You                 120

   Choose These Slenderizing Fabrics                                 120

   Materials You Can Wear                                            123

   How to Look Smart at All Times                                    124

   If You Must Practice Economy                                      125

                              CHAPTER VIII

 COLORS THAT SLENDERIZE                                              129

   What Colors Not to Wear                                           130

   Study Color “Families”                                            132

   Choose Subtle Shades                                              134

   A Color Guide to Aid You in Attaining a Slenderizing Appearance   136

   Rules to Remember                                                 139

                               CHAPTER IX

 THE LINE OF YOUTH AND GRACE                                         143

   When Tailored Clothes Are Smart                                   143

   Youthful Styles You Can Wear                                      146

   Youthful Styles to Avoid                                          149

   Trimness Is Your Goal                                             151

                                CHAPTER X

 THE SMART LINE OF DIGNITY                                           155

   Dress Smartly, No Matter How Old You Are                          156

   If You Are Short and Stout                                        159

   For the Tall Stout Figure                                         161

   Skirts for Dignity                                                161

   Sleeves for Grace                                                 162

   Trimmings to Avoid                                                163

   How the Mature Woman Can Appear Smart, Attractive and Charming    166

                               CHAPTER XI

 HATS AND WRAPS THAT SLENDERIZE                                      171

   Hat Shapes to Wear and Not to Wear                                172

   Hat Colors to Wear and Not to Wear                                176

   Wraps That Slenderize and Those That Do Not                       177

                               CHAPTER XII


   Harmonious Proportions—The Aim of Every Woman                     180

   Simplicity is the First Essential                                 182

   Here Are the 10 Chief Rules in a Nutshell                         183

                             DRESS AND LOOK

                               CHAPTER I
                     WHY WOMEN WANT TO LOOK SLENDER

If there is any one thing in the world that is not wanted it is too much
fat on a woman. In my whole lifetime I have heard only one overweight
woman say she would not be thin if she could. I have always regretted
that I did not ask her why.

Before I tipped the scales so definitely myself, I paid little attention
to the problems of the big woman, for of course I was not vitally
interested in weight reduction or size concealment. But when I found my
own clothes not meeting and the children in the family saying I was
getting fat, I began to take notice. I must have read fifty-odd
advertisements on “How To Get Thin,” and I was hopeful of some of the
methods. We almost had to move from a duplex house because I did
exercises to music and the neighbors could not sleep. I ate
“woe-be-gone” bread. I even tried to melt away in reducing corsets but
almost took the skin with them when I tried to get them off. I read
every book I could find on “What To Eat” and “What Not To Eat,” and I
lost three good cooks in my efforts to reduce the menu to a get-thin

A prominent actress gave me a prescription for reducing. Her husband, on
finding it out, came rushing to see me to tell me that the prescription
was for a drug and that his wife in her eagerness to keep within bounds
demanded by the stage had indulged only to become a hopeless addict.

Then I went to my physician and told him I was tired of bruising myself
with rolling, my fear would not allow me to take drugs and I would have
to leave home if I persisted in the diet. I begged him to give me
something to remove the excess of thirty pounds and he promptly refused,
pointing out to me the illnesses and other bad effects that could come
from abnormal or unnatural reduction. He explained that he could give me
something that would take off the fat but that it would age the tissues
of the body ten to fifteen years. And youth is something that every
woman wants to keep, no matter what her weight.

He explained the thyroid theory but refused to give me an ounce of the
preparation for my relief and very frankly told me to forget my weight
and enjoy the good health that I evidenced. I left his office
crestfallen and disappointed, thinking that if he only knew how much the
heavy woman wants to appear thin enough to wear smart clothes, if he
could only know how she actually longs for the lovely things that
fashion creates for the slender types, he would be more sympathetic. But
he is a very sane and sensible man and all my appeals had no effect.

However, when my friends continued to say, “My, I believe you’re getting
fat” instead of “How stunning you look,” I realized how necessary it was
for me to persist in my determination to dispose of the thirty extra
pounds and at the same time indulge my appreciation for pretty things
which is the right of every woman, fat or thin.

I found my clothes problem daily growing more serious. Several times I
purchased a new dress and after one wearing I would discard it because I
looked heavier and older than I wanted to look. The problem was becoming
increasingly difficult because each time I stepped upon the scales, I
would invariably see recorded two or three pounds more than last time. I
am sure that many of you have meekly slipped off the scales, as I have,
scarcely waiting long enough to see what weight was actually registered,
praying meanwhile that no one saw where the arrow pointed. I simply
could not believe the scales were right, because before each weighing I
was certain within myself that I had climbed enough stairs, done without
enough candy, and touched my hands to the floor often enough to be at
least three pounds lighter.

About this time an inspiration came to me. I would “get even” with my
slender friends. If I could not safely reduce, I would at least give the
_appearance_ of having reduced. If I could not actually take off thirty
pounds, I would make myself _look_ thirty pounds lighter in the eyes of

And, after all, is that not what we are most concerned about? Plumpness
is more often a sign of good health than bad. We could be supremely
happy with our extra weight if only we could _look_ slender. I recalled
the advice of my physician to “go home and enjoy my good health.”

So I started on my campaign to lose thirty pounds _in appearance_. I did
it and so quickly that my friends were amazed at the sudden change. I
was congratulated on my success in reducing. I was told I had never
looked so well. Friends persistently asked me what method of reducing I
had followed. In fact the success of my plans has been so remarkable
that I do want every overweight woman to know about them. And so into
this book I am putting the whole story.


We are all slaves to fashion. For many, many years it was the fashion to
be plump. Venus herself was not slender, but well rounded and full of
figure. Our mothers wore bustles, and bust ruffles if they needed them,
but as for us, well, it is the fashion to look slender, and since it is,
we must strive to keep within the dictates of the mode.

My own work is fashion work. I meet hundreds of fashion folks. The
slender silhouette has been promoted, applauded, appreciated for years,
and as the days and months went by and the youthful outline grew more
important, more prominent, I began to realize what a handicap the stout
woman was under in trying to find attractive clothes. I felt like an
Eskimo on a summer’s day on Fifth Avenue. To go into a smart shop to buy
a new dress only to be looked over and directed to the matron’s
department or that of the stylish stouts was too much for my pride. I
wasn’t willing to put myself in the out-of-fashion class and appear
heavy and elderly wearing fronts and vests that had written all over
them, “built especially for a stout.”

Frequently fashion magazines show suggestions for “length lines”—but
they seem to assume that all overweight women must look matronly. Two,
in particular, that I remember showed the effect of incorrect crosswise
lines and of correct lengthwise lines. I studied them carefully for
information and decided that I would prefer to look round and thirty,
than straight up and down and sixty. Every one of the models, though
satisfactory in design, added 20 to 30 years to the apparent age of the
wearer, doing nothing to overcome one of the most dangerous things with
which the stout has to contend. For although no dignified woman wants to
look like a sixteen-year-old overgrown Susie, still she _does_ want to
look young, modish, and correctly dressed, and no woman is rightly
dressed who by her clothes adds even one year to her age.

However, I now know that it _is_ possible for every woman, whether she
is only slightly too plump in certain places, or decidedly overweight,
to make herself look smart, slender, and many years younger by studying
certain vital rules of dress and adhering to them in planning her


Women, young, mature, or elderly, at home or in business, must always
try to look their best. They must be so pleasingly and so correctly
dressed as always to evidence good taste, for good taste, after all, is
the only real authority in dress. Without it, dress loses all its power
of charm or influence. Especially is this true for women in public life.
The solo singer in the church, the leader of the club or mothers’
meeting, the social worker or politician, all must give evidence of good
taste and be modestly and correctly attired if they are to gain
favorable criticism. No woman who sings should ever allow it to be said
of her, “I adored the song, but the singer’s hat annoyed me so that I
could not listen.”

A woman’s clothes should be beautifully alluring and complimentary. This
is woman’s heritage, and any woman who allows her lack of knowledge to
make her unhappy or unpleasing to see has only herself to blame, for it
doesn’t take money. It does take information, ingenuity, and a little
energy. But oh, how worth while the result will be!


Sometimes we women of over 36 bust become discouraged. There is really
no reason for this because most of us have a great many good points that
we simply do not use to the best of our advantage. We worry so
unnecessarily about our bad points that we forget about the good ones,
but there is much that we can do with little or no effort and the
improvement in our appearance is its own reward. For instance, most big
people have nice hair, and they should keep it. Any big woman who bobs
her hair and leaves it that way hasn’t eyed herself sufficiently in her
mirror. From her neck up she may look ten years younger, but from the
neck down she probably looks ridiculous. For one of the chief rules for
good looks is right balance, poise, and dignity. So why do anything to
hinder these? You have one handicap—too many pounds. You must do
everything you can, therefore, to retain every possible attraction, and
your hair is one of them for it suggests womanliness.

We don’t want our friends to say that we have a great “mother lap” or a
shoulder of Gibraltar to weep on, but we must set out to be substantial
in thought, act, and deed to be attractive. A little slim girl can
giggle and be silly if she wants to—she can even wear mussed up
dresses—but a big girl must be modest, and always immaculate in every
particular. And why not? It’s an effort, yes, to be always striving for
perfection, but it can be made a real hobby. Study the attractive
slender girl who looks well and dresses well. Adapt what you can of her
attire. Oftentimes, you can learn more of the “trick” from the slim
looking girl than from the stout.

As you go through fashion books, don’t discredit all the styles and say
they are planned only for the slim. Study them carefully, find a collar
from one and waist line from another, fabric suggestions from another.
Dress to be fashionable, but learn to discriminate so that you can find
the best for you in the new.

Sometimes I have thought what fun it would be if we big folks could
dress up and reach a point of perfection—so much so that the artist
would have to get a more flexible pencil to express the varying grace of
line that would be manifest. And why not? Isn’t it our own fault if
fashion forgets us? We deserve to be dowdy if we haven’t enough pride,
ingenuity, and perseverance to conceal intelligently and comfortably a
few extra pounds.

If you are tall and large but not fat, consider yourself a full
well-proportioned figure and dress correctly but in plain good quality
fabrics so that neither height nor width will be accentuated.

Don’t try to fool yourself by wearing clothes that are too small for
you. It is said that fat men need the best tailors, and surely all large
women should strive to have perfect fitting clothes.

When I was fourteen I wore on a special Sunday a long skirt and a
bustle, thinking that it was better to look eighteen and “ladylike” than
fourteen and overgrown. Don’t look overgrown in your clothes, but don’t
ever make yourself any older than you are.

If your ankles are large, have your dresses a wee bit longer than
fashion calls for. If your ankles are small and the legs large above the
ankle, have your dress slightly long for the same reason. If the legs
and ankles are correctly proportioned for the rest of the body, remember
that even you need to have the skirt just a little bit longer because
when you sit down you take up some of the skirt length. A fat woman
sitting down with a dress that is too short is not pleasing to see—and
we big women do love to sit down.

And in speaking of sitting down, a sanitary apron is a real protection
to the backs of big folks’ dresses as it prevents wrinkling. Buy one,
try it, and you will realize that the back of your dress looks much
better after you get up from a two-hour sitting. And, besides, you can
console yourself with the fact that if perspiration really reduces, your
apron is serving you twofold—melting the fat and preventing skirt
wrinkles all at the same time.

Don’t ever be tempted to wear frills, ruffles, tassels, or ornaments
that go forward or wave about as you walk. They double your size every
time and must be avoided.

A good plan for those of us who like ruffles, frills, and bright colors
is to put them on our night clothes where no one but our very own selves
can see.

The house, too, lends opportunity for our color appetites and there we
may use color freely and safely. But because we love red, orange, or
King’s blue is no sign we must wear it on our backs for all to see. Buy
a little piece of fabric with just the colors you revel in; put it in
the dresser drawer, or let it ornament a chair back, look at it every
day, and thus satisfy your longing for color. Then wear those very
simple things that you know will be becoming.

One woman whom I know and who looks like a fashion plate in the day time
and like a dream lady at night, always gets everything together on the
bed before she starts to dress. She insists that it takes only a little
longer to do this, that it saves time when she does get ready to dress,
and that she is always better satisfied with the results. She says, “I
know then that I have the right slip, the right stockings, that my
gloves are suitable, and that there are no holes that need attention. In
putting them on the bed, I always make all the little repairs that are
necessary and do all the brushing or freshening that is needed; then
when I am ready to dress I feel a sense of satisfaction that I can find
in no other way.”

And so, why don’t you, who are striving to express yourself more
beautifully, to dress with more satisfaction and peace of mind, try this
simple little plan of thinking about what you are going to wear and
getting it ready before you start to dress? Then, watching always what
you see in your mirror, your fashion books, on the streets, and in the
shops, you will find that which is appropriate, becoming, and wholly
lovely for you.

And to these material fundamentals, add your own wholesome pride. Don’t
cheat yourself or those who must see you. Don’t be dowdy. Life is too
short and too real for that. Learn to be proud of yourself and dress so
that even you will feel a sense of security and assurance. After all, we
can be rather selfish about just looking right. Other folks are glad to
see us in pretty clothes—looking our best. A right hat, a right dress,
correctly worn, can really do wonders as a tonic. Try it. It really is a
good prescription.

                               CHAPTER II

“Reducing”—by no matter what method—is too often a snare and a delusion;
for even if, after all your efforts, you _do_ lose some weight, a little
indiscretion in your clothes will make you look as stout as ever.

How to select clothes that are certain to make you _look_ slender is the
most important knowledge a modern woman can have. Surely it is the most
important art in the whole field of fashion. And yet, many designers of
clothes for stout women do not understand its very cardinal principles.
Of course, they do design so-called “slenderizing stouts”—but you know,
perhaps all too well, what they look like. Their long surplice effects
and drab colors say as plainly as words, “I am designed for a stout” and
nine times out of ten they simply call attention to your stoutness.
Besides they are for matronly women—not for those who want to look young
and smart. It seems practically impossible to get youthful and
appropriate clothes for women who wear sizes over 38. Yet it may be only
necessary to change a neckline or remove an ornament or alter the line
of a sleeve in order to transform a “dumpy fat woman’s dress” into a
model of slender grace and youthful charm.

The whole art rests upon a certain scientific principle known to artists
and a few expert designers. It is called the Principle of Optical
Illusion, by which things appear to the eye to be different than they
really are. By understanding and properly using this principle, objects
may be made to _appear_ larger or smaller, taller or shorter. And by
employing this principle in dress any woman can be made to look older or
younger, shorter or taller, stouter or slenderer than she actually is.

For example, just as white shoes make large feet look much larger, so do
certain lines and colors make a large figure look a great deal larger,
while correct lines and colors and subtle touches give the effect of
slenderness, youth and grace.

Every stout woman has, some time in her experience, come by chance upon
a dress which seemed to make her look more slender and younger, and she
has worn and worn that dress almost to shreds, hating to part with it
because there was no telling when she would find another one to give
that same effect.

But there is no reason why you should trust to chance in selecting
becoming clothes. For if you know this simple yet all important
principle of optical illusion, you can plan or make or select every item
of your wardrobe with the certain knowledge that it will have a
slenderizing effect on your appearance.

You can know beforehand that _every_ dress, _every_ coat, _every_ hat,
every garment you wear will be designed to give you height instead of
width, youth instead of matronliness, slenderness and grace instead of
heaviness. It doesn’t matter whether you buy your clothes ready made,
have them made by a dressmaker, or make them yourself—you can _always_
know just what to select to make your particular type of figure look as
slim and well proportioned as possible.


  The two vertical lines are exactly the same length—measure them and
    see. Short lines turned back at either end make one _seem_ short;
    extended lines make the other seem longer.


  These two illusions are almost duplicated in the dresses above. As a
    result one woman looks shorter and heavier, the other taller and
    slenderer than she really is.


You yourself are familiar with many optical illusions, although you may
never have thought of them as such. When you look down the railroad
tracks the rails appear to come together in the distance. No matter how
much you tell yourself that the rails do not actually come together, the
fact remains that they _appear_ to do so. If you put the end of a stick
in water it _appears_ broken, although you know that in fact it is not

The eyes in a certain portrait seem to follow you, no matter where you
may go in the room in which it is hung. This illusion persists, no
matter how much you may tell yourself that the eyes do not actually
move. When you are on a moving train it is only by the constant
succession of passing trees, posts, and landscape that you realize you
are going forward. When these objects are shut off from your view by a
train going in the opposite direction, you seem to be going backward. Or
if you look at a moving picture taken from the front of a rapidly moving
train or motor launch, it is difficult not to get the impression that
you are rushing forward.

All of these are optical illusions, yet we do not think of them as
illusions. They represent the natural and the normal and we make
allowances for them.

The laws of illusion are more easily understood, perhaps, by means of
simple lines than any other way. You will grasp them quickly by studying
the various figures which illustrate this chapter.

Let us take a simple example to begin with having directly to do with
the use of straight lines in dress. You have probably read a thousand
times and heard a hundred times more that stout people must work for
straight line effects and the straight line silhouette. But it is one
thing to know this fact and another actually to accomplish it in your
clothes. You can’t just hang a straight line down from the shoulder like
a carpenter’s plumb on a door sill. You must know just where and just
how to apply the straight line. You must learn to use straight lines so
that they blend in with your costume—so that they give the desired
effect without calling attention to the means by which it is achieved.


  These unbroken parallel vertical lines give the definite impression of
    height. This principle, used in the design of the dress above, lends
    it a pleasing slender appearance because no other lines interfere
    with the straight line effect.


  Here, also, are two vertical parallel lines. They are straight—test
    them—but the other lines radiating from the center, make them appear
    “bowed.” In the dress above a similar design makes the wearer appear
    stouter and heavier than she really is.


It is a popular theory among folks who would dress to look slender that
stripes running up-and-down are the thing to wear, while stripes running
across are to be avoided. This belief, like many another old-fashioned
one, is only half true. For instance, it is true that if the up-and-down
stripes in your material are very fine and unobtrusive they _will_ have
the effect of making you look taller and slimmer. This, however, is not
at all true of broad stripes or of stripes in a definitely contrasting
color—quite the contrary, in fact. Pronounced stripes merely call
attention to themselves and do not create the illusion of slenderness
which is desired.

But this is only one of many points to be taken into consideration when
you plan a dress with stripes or with straight up-and-down lines of any
kind. For instance, the illustrations on pages 18 and 19 show two
up-and-down lines of exactly the same length. Take your ruler and
measure them to convince yourself. Now note the effect on these lines of
the shorter lines added to each end. The inverted arrows added to the
line at the left make it appear _shorter_ than it really is. The
extended lines added to the one at the right make it appear _longer_
than it really is. Now note the two costumes on these same pages in
which these principles have been applied. In the one shown on the left
the figure looks shorter and stouter than it really is, while in
designing the dress on the right the correct use of the optical illusion
has been observed and the result is a slender, graceful appearance. You
can readily see from these pictures how a straight line effect can be
either accentuated or shortened by the lines that run out from it.

There are many ways in which a stout woman who does not know this
principle can easily ruin the effect of a costume. For instance, a woman
who wears a perfectly straight up-and-down dress of quite correct lines
may put a large mushroom shape hat on her head and perhaps a band of fur
around the bottom of her skirt. This has precisely the same effect as
the arrows which are turned the wrong way and therefore shorten and
widen the straight line.

“I cannot understand why I look so short and dumpy,” she wails
despairingly. “My dress is made on perfectly straight up-and-down lines
and yet I look fatter than ever.” Of course she does, because instead of
_extending_ the straight up-and-down line by a small upturned hat of
some sort and an unobtrusive skirt hem, she has broken the line at the
top and bottom and thereby shortened and widened her appearance.


  These two diamond-shaped figures are exactly the same size. The
    crosswise line makes one seem wider, the vertical line makes the
    other seem narrower.


  Now note how these same principles used in the dresses above effect
    the apparent size and weight of those wearing them, making one seem
    much stouter than the other.


Another point to be very careful about is the matter of _uninterrupted_
straight lines. For instance, the small diagrams on pages 22 and 23 show
two pairs of perfectly straight up-and-down parallel lines. This is
probably hard for you to believe, since the lines in the right-hand
figure seem to definitely bulge outwards. However, careful measurement
with your ruler or a pencil will prove to you that the lines actually
are as straight as those in the figure on the left. These latter,
however, _appear_ straight because they are uninterrupted and unbroken.
Those at the right _appear_ to bulge outwards merely because there are
so many radiating lines running through them.

Applying this principle to clothes, you can easily see that the tall,
slender effect you hoped to gain by the straight up-and-down lines of
your costume may be entirely ruined if you apply trimmings of any kind
which radiate outwards toward these lines. The dresses shown on pages 22
and 23 will prove this to you. The woman at the left with her
uninterrupted, harmonious, gracefully flowing up-and-down lines looks
taller, slenderer, more dignified and in every way more pleasing than
the woman at the right, the radiating lines of whose gown make her
figure seem to bulge outwards in a most discouraging manner.

Another striking example of optical illusion showing one reason why some
look stouter than they really are is shown in the illustrations on pages
26 and 27. As in the previous examples, the two figures (diamond shape
figures in this case) are, by actual measurement, exactly the same size.
The horizontal line across the one at the left, however, makes it appear
much wider than the one at the right with the vertical line through the

Now study the clothes of the two women which illustrate these illusions.
Both women are holding their arms so as to give their figures a sort of
diamond shape. The one at the left, however, by her broad, drooping hat,
her large, bulky fur stole, the large-figured material of her tunic, and
especially by the horizontal, or nearly horizontal lines of her neck,
her girdle, and the band of fur on her skirt, gives herself the
appearance of conspicuous stoutness.


  The middle lines in the two small diagrams are the same length. But on
    the left, shorter accompanying lines seem to shorten the one
    between. On the right longer accompanying lines seem to lengthen the
    one between.


  Now see how the woman at the left has unknowingly emphasized her
    stoutness while the one at the right has properly gained a slender
    effect by using trimming in accordance with the principles of these
    optical illusions.

On the other hand, the woman at the right has designed her costume
entirely on the principles of vertical lines. The tall hat with its
appropriate trimming, the long, simple lines of her collar, her
neck-piece, the row of tiny buttons down the front of her dress, and
indeed the lines of the dress itself all conspire to give her the
appearance of height, smartness, and slenderness.


By the illustrations on pages 30 and 31 you may learn the value of
emphasizing a long line by the trick of placing it between two longer
lines rather than between two shorter ones. As in the previous examples,
the middle line in each figure is identically the same length. The one
at the left, however, appears much shorter than the one at the right,
because of a suggestion contained in the parallel lines which surround

In the dresses illustrated here, this principle is strikingly applied.
The _short_ vertical bands of trimming in the figure at the left make
the center band seem _shorter_ than it really is, whereas, the _long_
vertical bands in the figure at the right make the center band seem
_longer_ than it really is. Thus, by the application of this seemingly
unimportant trifle, the woman at the right seems slenderer, taller, and
smarter than the one at the left.

                      LINES THAT SLENDERIZE TUNICS

Just one more example. The figures on pages 34 and 35 show how a longer,
slimmer effect may be created by parallel lines _emphasizing_ an oblique
or slanting line. In the figure on the left the plain oblique line seems
much more horizontal and wider than it does in the figure on the right
where the same line, actually on the same slant, seems much longer and
more graceful because of the parallel lines which break it and thereby
emphasize its length.

This effect is gained by using the simple principle of optical illusion
shown in the small diagram on page 35. The line running down from upper
left to lower right is actually straight—test it and see. But the two
perpendicular lines which break it cause it to seem to drop faster than
it really does. This gives the effect of greater height and less width
to the entire figure.


  Note the diagonal line in the opposite diagram. It is actually
    straight, but the vertical lines which break it give it a
    “going-down-steps” appearance. This principle is used in the dress
    at the right—the two vertical panels of trimming break the line of
    the tunic and give the whole figure a more slender appearance than
    in the figure above.


Dresses planned with this principle in mind will surely be more
successful in their slenderizing effect, as you will see by these
contrasting illustrations. The oblique line at the bottom of the tunic
in the dress at the left seems almost horizontal and much wider than the
same line in the figure at the right which is made to seem longer and
more graceful by the parallel vertical lines of embroidery which
intersect it and so emphasize its appearance of length and grace.


There are dozens of other tricks which our eyes play on us which must be
taken into account by women who want to look slender. A very careful
study, therefore, of the optical illusions in this chapter will repay
you many times in the matter of line, cut and pattern of every dress,
wrap, hat, and pair of shoes that you buy. You must see that the facts
of illusion may either work to produce an appearance of bigness or one
of smallness. Every suggestion in this book is written with the idea of
applying these essential principles of optical illusion to your dress—of
producing in every case the slenderest possible effects.


Not only very stout women, but moderately stout women, and even slender
women should also bear these principles in mind, for even the slender
woman can lose all the advantage of her slender silhouette and may
actually appear stout by failing to dress in accordance with these
optical illusions. An ill-chosen or badly-designed gown or wrap may
easily give her the appearance of being many pounds heavier than she
really is.

When you yourself begin planning your clothes according to these simple,
though magically effective rules, you will very soon begin to find real
artistic pleasure in your clothes, to say nothing of the improvement in
your appearance. I am certain that you will feel about it as I did, that
here at last is the only real and permanent way to look slender. For
even though by strenuous efforts you are able actually to reduce your
weight, it is not pounds, but appearance, that counts. You may know what
the scales say, but other people will weigh you with the eye. Dress so
you look slender and you can stop worrying about your size and weight
and be as healthy, happy, and attractive as any of your slender friends.

                              CHAPTER III

As I told you in Chapter I, the stout woman has a great many good points
which she sometimes neglects in worrying about her main problem. This is
a great mistake because after all the little things _do_ make the big
differences and there are so many little things that you can do with
scarcely any effort at all which help so tremendously in gaining the
effect that you want.

                            WATCH YOUR STEP

For instance, there is the matter of walking. I am not going to give you
any definite exercises, but it is a very easy and splendid practice to
try to walk with a “slipping up” step, that is, practice walking easily
so that you won’t appear to weigh a thousand pounds. If you are light on
your feet people will forget to guess your weight. Don’t let your body
slump down, if you have this tendency. Find some exercises that you can
do happily and comfortably, not to reduce, but to cultivate grace and
ease of motion. When you are all alone in the house and nobody is
looking, trip around lightly and exaggerate a light, easy step. Turn on
the victrola and do your dusting to music. It will help you wonderfully
in gaining that ease of motion which is attractive and pleasing and
encourages youth. Always endeavor to overcome heaviness in step and
movement, for it adds years both to your appearance and to your
feelings. Remember that your attitude has so much to do with your good

Don’t ever stand with your feet apart or your hands limp at your sides.
One foot a little in front of the other gives an easier appearance and
makes you seem less weighty. Make a practice of keeping your hands
comfortably in front of you, never rest them on your hips wash woman
fashion. Such positions broaden the silhouette and give a “set” look
that is most unbecoming. A large woman with her feet spread apart and
arms hanging like burdens always at her sides makes a very heavy and
unattractive picture.

Don’t cross your arms. Two fat arms can look like four, if you are not

Stretch and keep yourself limber. Bend so that you are continually used
to it, then your face won’t get red every time you drop your
handkerchief. And right here it may be well to say that most women use
up more energy than they need to and look much more undignified than
they need to when they stoop to pick things up. It is neither necessary
nor graceful to bend so that your back almost breaks in the middle. It
is a much easier and pleasanter gesture to bend at the knees and go
straight down until you can reach the object you want to pick up. In
doing this you can keep your head straight up all the while and need not
get red in the face at all.

                    WHAT YOUR POSTURE CAN DO FOR YOU

Learn to stand up straight like a soldier. Most fat women seem to have
the idea that they ought to “scrooch” down and disguise their size in
that way. But in this campaign to dress and be thin the back-bone must
be definitely straight. Don’t hunch yourself up and look like a pillow
tied in the middle. Sit straight on your chair and stand straight when
you are up. Hold your head high. A constant practice of chin up makes
you appear taller and erases in the easiest possible way any tendency
towards a double chin.

Dressing up to your weight is good psychology for it keeps you alert.
You hold your head a little higher and grow naturally to observe that
essential rule of standing always just as tall as you possibly can.
Also, your mental alertness is a safeguard against additional fat. I
never knew it to fail—a definite interest in clothes, in looking one’s
best, keeps the fat away. It has a sort of a rabbit-foot charm about it
that really does work.

Remember continually that it isn’t the dress alone that you need watch,
but every detail, for the little things can destroy the big, you know,
and the principles of optical illusion must be adhered to as strictly in
the little things as in the big. For instance, eyeglasses can accentuate
a round face or slenderize it, depending upon their prominence and
shape. Buttons can stick out and look bulky; shirtwaists when worn with
different color skirts can cut you in two; and belts of different color
than skirt or blouse can prove even more treacherous. Gloves or shoes
that are too small give your size away. Lacy stockings emphasize where
they shouldn’t and are as faulty as they are expensive. Before we get
through with this book I hope that I can restore your pride and
self-assurance and that by making the most of these little pointers you
will find your back-bone right where it ought to be. You will then be
able to meet the world with a smile, knowing that at last you not only
feel but look better than you ever have before.


What kind of shoes and stockings do you wear? Not pumps, I hope, because


  Above—Neatly shod feet.

  Left—Low cut pumps and single strap emphasize fat. Heavy shoes have
    too much decoration.

  Stockings must always be on straight and well held up, and shoes must
    fit. Straps that hold firmly are more effective than those that are
    narrow and less restraining. Heavy shoes should be plain in design.
    Skirts should always be long enough to cover the largest part of the
    leg below the knee.

weight is too great to be comfortable in them, and besides if you have
studied the principles of optical illusion as carefully as you should
have, you will realize that pumps will not give you the harmonious
effect that you want to achieve in your costume. A bulge is sure to show
at the top which is not only uncomfortable for you but shows in itself
that you are fat. Wear a strap or laced slipper—any kind that is in good
taste, big enough, and not too heavy. Heavy shoes on a stout woman
interfere with lightness of movement which is something for which you
must continually strive.

Unless you have very attractive, well-proportioned feet, do not attempt
to decorate the bottom of your dress, for it will not only shorten you
but will call attention to your feet. If they are very small they make
the body appear larger and if the ankles are large they give an
undesirable heaviness, so that the very best way, in any event, is not
to call attention to them.

Many authorities say that a black sheer stocking is the very best that a
stout woman can wear, that a heavy black or dark colored stocking is
conspicuous, and a light stocking is “taboo” because it breaks the
height and interferes with the straight line effect. So choose sheer
stockings, but don’t hesitate to buy “out” sizes if you need them. If
they are big enough over the knees they will fit better around the
ankles. I know some big women who refuse to buy “out” size stockings
because they are ashamed to go in and ask for them, and I know some
medium slender women who buy them because they think they last longer.
So pretend that you are medium slender and buy them if they are more


  Round necklines emphasize width. Even though tempting, they are taboo
    for those who would slenderize. Long necklines are always pleasing
    and are of many variations. A close study of current fashion books
    will give ideas that can always be accentuated in length without
    outstepping Fashion dictation.


We big women usually have some one who loves us enough to give us
jewelry and we in turn love them enough to want to wear it on every
occasion. If it doesn’t express slenderness—if it’s a big cameo or a
heavy pair of earrings or a string of round marble beads, especially in
dog collar arrangement—put it away and forget where you put it. Wear
such jewelry some morning when no one is looking; have your own little
“revelry” and have it over with, for such jewelry puts on more pounds
than entire boxes of candy and makes us look like jeweled couch
cushions, which we can never afford to do.

A necklace that is slender, well made, and with a tendency to plainness
is a real asset to a stout woman as it helps the collar line,
slenderizes the face, and gives the appearance of length over the front
that is pleasing, but avoid by all means heavy crystals and don’t ever
wear beads unless they give a definitely desirable lengthening effect.

Watch your collars closely. Work for slenderness and becomingness. Avoid
all neck lines that go around or that are conspicuously colored. A cream
collar is always better than a snow white one and a soft piqué or linen
collar is better than a starched one. Remember that long string ribbon
ties can be real friends if you will let them. Tailor your collars or
use soft lace that is not baby looking. We big folks must _always_ keep
away from babyishness, must learn to stand on our own two feet and look
straight ahead toward the goal of slenderness.


  Gloves, purses and necklaces need to be chosen with infinite care to
    aid in slenderizing. Link chains, cords, fine pearls or small oblong
    beads are best as necklaces. Slender flat purses are desirable and
    neat, well-fitting gloves necessary.


Pocketbooks and purse bags must be slender, never round or bulky
looking, and must always harmonize with the dress and never be
conspicuously colored. Remember too, not to let your bag dangle
awkwardly from your hand or add to your width by the way you carry it.
Let it be a part of the line of your costume just as it is in harmony
with the color.

Graceful fans of subdued colors often aid in a pleasing gracefulness,
but little fans allow of an uncomplimentary comparison, just as do
small, gay parasols.

Fat fingers are shortened and made more fat by heavy rings.

Earrings widen the face. Sometimes a slender face accompanies a broad
body. In such a case, earrings are an advantage if they are appropriate
and graceful.

Jeweled belts, conspicuous in ornamentation, must all be given away to
willowy friends, because they could prove helpful to them and a menace
to you.


Once when I was writing a book on dress, a fashion authority and
personal friend insisted that I should not put in a chapter on
cleanliness, which I wanted very much to use, saying that it “put an
ugly frame on an otherwise beautiful picture.” But personal cleanliness
and careful grooming to my mind are so necessary that no book on dress
would be complete without them.

We may not have beautiful clothes, and may grieve that we are not
willowy enough to wear the smart extremes in dress, but our grieving is
totally unnecessary. We can learn truly to be as attractive, as
admirable as our slender sisters if we set out with the will and
determination to express perfection so far as our ability and
intelligence will allow. A fresh bath, some bath talcum, clean,
well-fitting underthings, neat, good-looking shoes, and modest stockings
can give an enhancing foundation for the dress we have so carefully
planned. And when we are spic and span from the inside out we are sure
to dress with more dignity, more poise, than we possibly could


Thick lips should never wear rouge, and black eyebrows should never be
blackened; neither should a pale, grayed face be surrounded by a dull
gray or black hat. This is all out of key and attracts unnecessary
attention. We must express some color tone, just as we do personality,
but it must be subtle or vivacious, discreet or bold, and in both cases
must be individually becoming.

If the eyes are dull in color, do not wear bright colors on your hats
for the eyes lose in comparison, and eyes can always express friendly
happiness and individuality if we surround them properly.

Avoid a shiny nose as you would the Plague.

Beware of oily creams. Remember an astringent reduces and controls and
that 99 cases out of a hundred need oilless creams rather than oily
ones. Beware of rouge. Your face usually will have color enough. If it
hasn’t, use it, oh, so wisely.

Study your face carefully, experiment with color in front of an honest
mirror that is placed in full day light. Rouge and powder rightly
applied can narrow the face and prove very advantageous, so experiment
and put the color just where you need it, but don’t put on any until you
have picked up a couple of things from the floor and walked around the
room quickly at least twice. Work to look immaculate. It is so much more
becoming. Baby faces and full proportioned bodies don’t go well
together, and harmony we must have throughout this program.

If your forehead is low, powder the forehead generously and comb the
hair back as much as becomingness will allow. This will tend to add
height to the body and length to the face.

It is said that a large woman is usually very dainty in her habits just
as a large man invariably has a very tiny, neat signature, so let it be
an asset, and be dainty about your use of cosmetics. It is so much more
pleasing than an extravagant use could ever be.


Buy a few things and have everything right. Think of all of your
wardrobe at one time. Be sure that everything goes together agreeably.
Take care to keep every part of your clothing in good repair and
immaculately clean. Every woman can gain a reputation for being well
dressed if she remembers not to be haphazard in buying, wearing, and
caring for her clothes. If you have any of these habits, come, let us
talk them over confidentially, because I, too, have had to learn by
sheer necessity to overcome, one by one, these very expensive, annoying
tendencies, and the only way I succeeded was to learn, as a matter of
habit, to hang things up carefully when I took them off, to make sure
that dress shields were in place, and to take special care to have
everything in right shape when it was time to dress.

Take very special pains to have all supporters securely fastened,
stockings on straight, and each garment rightly in place, for neatness
in dress is more essential for us than almost any other thing. In fact,
fastidious care of person and clothes is one feature which requires
constant vigilance.

Avoid every tendency toward over dress. Don’t trim yourself too much.
Modesty, simplicity—intricate simplicity perhaps, but a beautiful
simplicity—is a definite part of our program and must be followed out
religiously to conceal at all times an extra 30 or 40 pounds.

Be sure that the brassiere and corset overlap at their joining. The
brassiere should come over the corset a good 2 inches to insure its
holding. If the abdomen is full or stomach high, supporters fastened to
the brassiere at the front are an advantage.

Never allow your shoes to squeak or your gloves to pinch in their
tightness. Never allow a spot to show on any garment. Be immaculate,
work at it, keep at it, for you, you know, have a definite purpose that
must be achieved.

                               CHAPTER IV

Although this is termed the corsetless era, the best dressed women are
still wearing corsets and will continue to wear them because they
realize the necessity of retaining lovely curves and lines. When the
slender woman is careful about her corset, what must the responsibility
be of the large woman? It is just this—that she must wear a corset—that
she must select it with such care and have it fitted with such
perfection that even she can forget it once it is on. No evidence of a
corset is ever seen on a correctly dressed woman.


Wear corsets for comfort and perfection in dress, not with the thought
that they will reduce. Remember that you always need your wits and all
the alacrity of thought you can master and a too tight corset paralyzes

Read with me through this section because here you will get some real
help and be able to _apparently_ reduce your hip measure two inches and
your bust possibly six.

Do you know that when your corset is a 28 waist or over you are counted
by the corset manufacturers in the stout class? That seems absurd. One
would think they would wait at least until the measurement was 30 or 32
before calling one stout, but since this is so, no one need be sensitive
about ordering a size that is right. That means large enough usually,
for you have a long range—26 to 46 waist measurement—so buy a corset
that is big enough, that allows the flesh to rest comfortably yet be
properly controlled. Tight corsets are a menace as are tight brassieres,
and by packing the flesh in a fixed position, grace of movement is
destroyed and you are made to appear actually larger than you are.


Don’t ever let your modesty or your pride keep you from being fitted
properly. All merchants and corsetieres expect to fit the corsets they
sell. They know their stock better than you do, and realize that a
proper corset can definitely and permanently help in correcting line,
moulding it easily and gracefully, making a satisfied customer for them.
A full proportioned figure is ugly only when it runs over. Graceful,
even curves are pleasing to see, and we big folk can make our own curves
graceful if we will.


  Your corset should be long enough to hold the flesh securely and
    evenly. But the front stays must be short enough to allow you to sit
    and bend comfortably.

Always sit down in your corset when it is being fitted to make sure that
the stays in the front are not too long. They may be shortened easily
and are much better, because you cannot comfortably sit rared back as
you must when the stays are too long.


  “A” illustrates a corset long over the hips and with elastic inserts
    at the waistline, suitable for a medium figure.

  “B” shows a heavier type suitable for short figures that require
    considerable support.

  “C” shows a very comfortable and practical corset suitable to medium
    large figures.

  “D” shows the front and back of a girdle corset with elastic inserts.
    This gives a youthful line, particularly suited to the athletic


  Rubber, or silk and rubber corsets or combination corsets and
    brassieres give a smooth outline and often are graceful and
    becoming. When new they reduce the hips two to three inches. Be sure
    to have them fitted properly. If too small, they are very
    uncomfortable; if too large, useless.

  Corsets that lace or fasten in the front give a smoother back and are
    more easy to adjust than are back lace corsets. Their height,
    length, elasticity and weight must be considered in buying and
    fitting, so that your corset when on is in nowise evident to you in
    feeling or to the eye. A corset does not fit correctly if the line
    of either top or bottom is visible when the dress is on. Corsets
    should be kept in perfect repair and discarded when their line is

                     WHICH IS YOUR TYPE OF CORSET?

Some corset folks say there are eleven types of women to fit, others
nine, others six. But, in general, these are the usual types:

Mrs. Brown is big in the hips and small in the bust. For her type of
figure a corset low above the waist, long in the hips—front laced, is
best. Supple corsets, long in the back, are a preventative against a
large back and help to slenderize. They should, therefore, be worn as
long as grace and comfort will allow. If they are too short, a roll of
fat will form around where they terminate and cause you to lose the easy
curve that even big folks can be proud of. Mrs. Brown should also have a
slip to wear over the corset in preference to a brassiere. The slip
should be semifitted, shaped over the hips so that not a wrinkle or line
will show.

Mrs. Jones—another stout type—is normal size but large in the abdomen.
She should have a corset fitted close over the hips, but not tight in
the waist, allowing the fat to drop down in the top of the corset and
find a comfortable resting place. A brassiere that is long in the front
should be worn.

A square shoulder, broad hip type of figure needs a deep girdle—an
elastic one is best—one that is low in the waist, snug and straight over
the hips with an easy fitting boyish form brassiere.


“And what is a boyish form brassiere?” you ask. A straight piece of
material with the darts coming down from the top in the front. You can
make one for yourself in a few minutes. For a fashionable line across
the bust don’t ever dart from the waistline up, as we have been doing in
the past. For when you do, the fullness is pushed up under the chin, as
it were, and actually will add six inches to the bust measure. If you
are small in the waist and large in the hips, you can, by right
corseting and “brassiering” cause some of the fat of the hips and
abdomen to come up slightly, thus acquiring a more slender and better
balanced effect. But as a general rule, let your watchword be:
Distribute the fat comfortably and correctly. Don’t crowd it or push it
here and there. Your face, your disposition, and your figure as well
will show it if you do. You can’t be uncomfortable and be well poised.


  Brassieres are as necessary as corsets. They should never be so tight
    as to bind, but always close enough to give a smooth outer line.
    They must always be high enough to confine the bust perfectly and
    long enough to come down well over the corset so that an unbroken
    waistline is attained.

  Darts at the tops of brassieres give good bust control and hold the
    garment in correct position on the figure.

Hunt for the “large above the waist” figure. If the bust is very low, be
sure to wear a brassiere that lifts up slightly and confines
comfortably. Youth in its greatest perfection can have unconfined busts;
older women, especially large women, should take care that no shaping of
the bust is discernible. If V necks are becoming and the bust is full,
provide a band of ribbon or a double fold of Georgette and wear it over
the brassiere, pinning it tight and high around the figure. This will
conceal the crease between the busts.

Finally, don’t fail, when you are being fitted in your corset, to stand
up in front of a mirror, walk right up and “shoulder arms” and survey
yourself. The corsetiere is sure to be stout. Who ever saw a thin one?
She will sympathize with you and be patient. Try on her best models—not
her silkiest ones, but her best designed ones. Sit down, stand up, bend
over. Buy the one that shows the least red in your face when you bend.
Be sure it has plenty of supporters.


  Left—Corselettes may be worn by large women having firm flesh, the
    “athletic type,” but exercise must go with them to prevent an
    accumulation of flesh that is sure to occur when the body is

  Right—Brassieres for evening wear may have a firm band of ribbon sewed
    tight to the top and this brought around and pinned securely at the
    center back. Drawing this close will insure the garments staying up


Put your corset under your arm, stop and buy 2½ yards of 40–inch
nainsook or crêpe de Chine, go home and make yourself a combination
slip. This is to be worn over your corset and brassiere and will give a
perfectly smooth foundation for your dresses. Remember that your corset,
brassiere, and slip must be so well fitted that no bumps or hangovers
will be evident.

We fat women—and I don’t know why—have a natural hankering for lacy
underwear, and that hankering is just as uncontrollable as our appetite
for luscious bonbons. I do not intend to tell you that you can’t have
lovely undergarments, but you must make sure that the lace or trimming
is put where it cannot bulge out.

Knitted underwear fits best, but you needn’t wear just the most ordinary
kind, because with a little ingenuity a plain, inexpensive piece can be
bought and trimmed attractively with bands or strips of lace, straight
line fashion, so that they will have a dainty, handmade look and yet be
as smooth and straight on the body as can be. Combination suits similar
to those illustrated are suggested for slenderness. If you have ruffles
on any that you have in the dresser drawer, take them off. Press out the
ruffles and stitch the bands on plain. Don’t indulge in ruffles!


  A variety of slips are shown. The one at the left has a 2–inch band of
    fine net at top and bottom. This as a substitute for lace is quite
    as dainty and less bulky.

  For a full bust, the diagonal darts at the right are advantageous, as
    they make possible a straight slim skirt.


  For your slips remember that stripes partially concealed are effective
    yet unobtrusive, as for example, a striped slip under a plain voile
    or georgette dress. If you are broad through the shoulders, shape
    the slip to reduce the width. Deep hems make extra petticoats
    unnecessary. Fulness in a slip is essential, otherwise the garment
    will pull up when you sit down, making you seem stouter than you
    are. An inverted plait at the center back or at the sides is the
    best way to add fulness.


  In selecting underwear, choose light-weight, smooth, close-fitting
    garments—fine knitted ones or those of softest muslin.

  A shirt and bloomers are preferred by some—others, the straight
    combination. Select that which suits you best, but keep in mind the
    essentials of slenderness.

Omit all draw ribbons at the top of lingerie. Use tiny lengthwise darts
to fit the garments close and smooth.

For the same reasons, omit all gathers at the waistline. Fit the garment
so smooth that not a wrinkle or line is visible when the dress is on.

By following these really simple rules in regard to your underthings you
are ready to give your attention to the part of your costume which
shows; namely, dress, wrap, and hat, but don’t make the mistake of
thinking that these are the only things that show. For without smooth,
perfectly fitting underwear, corset, brassiere and slip, your outer
garments cannot possibly give you that appearance of sylph-like
slenderness which is your goal.

                               CHAPTER V

We will now assume that right corsets and slips have been acquired, that
you see and realize the possibilities of optical illusions and that a
keen desire is evident to avoid, overcome, and correct every fault that
hinders a right expression of clothes. I use the word “right” in a broad
sense, because in working to look slender in dress you will necessarily
achieve a happy degree of perfection that will prove quite as much of an
asset as the appearance of slenderness.

I know you are eager for the start to actual rules and formulas, but
first we must acquire enough “feeling” for line, color, and fabric to
use the three wisely. The most economical way to do this is to start
with what you have on hand.


To the closet now.

Take out your big-figured dress. Every large woman owns a figured dress
of some kind. There is something different about you if you haven’t one.
I don’t know why, but evidently we all have felt that we might get lost
in the expanse of the pattern and become less conspicuous.

Take time to put this figured dress on so that you won’t get red in the
face doing it. Yes, you will find it is too short waisted; the sleeves
are too short, the neck is too high, the skirt too full. You hated to
admit that you needed a 44 pattern so used a 42 and allowed a little
extra room across the hips. (I know just how you felt, for I have done
the same thing myself).

Now survey yourself in front of the mirror.

You haven’t any goods like the dress, so you must add something to it.
For a figured dress of Georgette or silk, plain color Georgette is
suggested. See on page 73 how the sleeves are lengthened by a deep cuff,
the collar effect lowered by a scarf, the waist let down and made looser
by means of the excess material in the skirt.


  Here is a large-figured dress remodeled to give it length lines and a
    more slender appearance. The neckline has been changed, the heavy
    prominent girdle removed and a narrow belt substituted, the
    waistline dropped, the sleeves lengthened and a scarf of plain
    material added.

Next, try on that plain tailored dress that you have been planning to
rip up or give away. If it has an out of style waistline or heavily
braided revers, make up your mind to sacrifice them now—to rip apart and
to take off the revers. Consider some black satin if the dress is dark
blue, or some white piqué if white is becoming, and think of the
improvement some long, slim revers and some dainty turn-back cuffs will

Take the belts or waistlines off the separate skirts that you own and
visualize how some plain boyish form brassieres as camisole tops for
these skirts will improve them, joined as shown on page 75 in either one
of the ways suggested. Your blouses may be worn over these. By this
method you may not be able to camouflage the size so readily but you can
decrease the appearance of years by a considerable amount. Isn’t it easy
to see that on page 77 the silhouette on the right is years younger than
that on the left?

Try on all the dresses you have. Consider the tightness of the waist and
the length of it. Look once again at the little figures in Chapter II
that illustrate so well the laws of optical illusion. Remember that if
you are fat in the back your dress must have some kind of a neckline
trimming or scarf collar, long and slim as on page 79. This makes a
lovely addition to any dress.


  Camisole tops are advantageous and will allow a skirt to appear easy
    on the figure.

  For wrap-around skirts always allow fulness by panels or concealed
    plaits so that your skirt will not stretch unshapely when you sit.

After you have had this little seance with yourself in the fittings, get
out your dress form, wrap it with cotton, cloth or soft tissue paper
until it is as big as you are, put a straight line lining over it that
fits you easily and yet perfectly, then put your dresses on it. Loosen
them at the waist, ease the sleeves if necessary and work to add a
little youth, a little smartness, a little trimness by means of
additional materials used in a wholly intelligent way.


Now that we have improved the clothes on hand, let us think about the
purchase or making of new ones.

If you make your own clothes you can work out the points for yourself as
you adopt them. If you have a dressmaker, gain her cooperation. She may
not understand the principles of “optical illusion,” but she will be
delighted to have suggestions that tend to slenderize, and I am sure she
will work with you happily in carrying out the ideas and instructions


  A shirt waist dress, when all of one color, is often becoming, but the
    lines must all point downward and the waist line must be straight
    and easy.

  In remodeling, as you see, a new collar has been provided, the
    shoulder shortened, fulness cut out at the shoulder, cuff narrowed
    to allow the sleeves to be lifted, the belt opened and lined to give
    ease and width.

  The skirt was shortened at the top and attached to a camisole
    brassiere. The fulness of the skirt was brought around and tucked to
    give desired length line.

Before buying a new dress, suit, or wrap, study fashion pictures, dozens
of them, and try to determine how your type should express the “new” in
fashions. Choose what you like best in the new mode, cut out the
pictures from the magazines and fashion publications, go over them
carefully again and again, and determine by study and elimination what
dress and wrap will give the best result for the money spent.

As an aid in obtaining other valuable pointers, when you go into the
shops to try on new dresses, observe the saleswoman very closely.

She may not understand either what you mean by “optical illusion,” but
if you understand the principles you can get a great deal of help from
her for she will let you know at once what is out of proportion in your
figure, what there is about your shape that doesn’t correspond to their
models. She will invariably say, “I am afraid your hips are too big for
that dress,” or “We have only a few dresses that will fit you. You are
too large in the bust for that,” etc. Now, keep your disposition and
listen, then determine to go home and concentrate upon making less
conspicuous the part that strikes her as being out of proportion.
Remarkable improvements may be made in this way and the “hardened”
saleswoman can truly be of service, for she, unlike your friends, is not
inclined to flattery unless she has visions of a sale.


  Even in a surplice waist, length can be attained, as the illustration
    shows. Sleeve trimmings should be avoided that come even with the
    waist line. As you see, they give width where length is needed.
    Heavy stiff trimmings are difficult and must be very smart to be
    attractive. The softer, more slender the trimming, the better
    usually. Skirts should be designed to be free of flare.


  Current fashions are always whimsical but back of every dress or
    underneath it is a foundation that makes the skeleton of the dress.
    This you must observe in every pattern you use or dress you buy. The
    trimming you can vary to suit your needs in slenderness, but your
    foundation lines must be suitable if you use trimming.

  A variety of dresses are given, shown on the opposite page—the waist
    line dress, the narrow panel front, the wide panel front, the draped
    side line, and the tunic line. These represent good foundations and
    are in themselves slenderizing, providing you adhere to the code of
    long lines and simplicity in decoration and ornament.

Only careless persons can afford to buy clothes haphazardly. Even the
slender woman thinks about them and plans about them. And just consider
what a corps of helpers she has! A thousand hands to work to make modish
clothes for the perfect 36, while only a dozen in proportion are working
for us big folk! So it is easy to see why we must learn for ourselves
what we can and cannot wear, what to emphasize and subdue. “We cannot
eat our cake and have it too,” is a line familiar to us all. We can’t
enjoy our pounds unless we work to dress them so that their number is
not even surmised, let alone accurately guessed.

One clever woman I know, capable of making her own frocks and coats as
well, visits the exclusive shops, buys the most becoming, simple dress
that she finds, often paying as much as $200 for it. This she copies in
other shades and materials, developing three or four distinctly becoming
dresses at far less cost than the original gown. By averaging up she has
modestly priced frocks, all smart, in good taste, and wearable.

I have always said that if I should ever go into the dress business, it
would be to make slender dresses for big folks, and I would employ all
big women to sell them, because, as I said about our jolly big friend,
the corsetiere, she has an understanding heart, knows how difficult it
is to find dresses that have enough youth, enough value in line, and are
sufficiently becoming to us who tip the scales to any great degree. And
she would lend aid to the discouraged soul that needs to seek and try,
experiment and insist until she finds that which is becoming.


When the bust is full and the skirt length is short it is wise to use a
panel effect in the front and let the belt or waistline finish extend
around from side to side across the back, thus leaving an unbroken front
line. As a rule, the large figure looks best in a very long waistline,
but this does not apply to such proportions as these.

It is always wise for this type to beware of surplice front dresses. The
mature figure, flat in front, can wear a surplice very well and often it
serves to relieve an undesirable plainness. Many fashion artists, when
they draw full bust figures, take special pains to put in surplice
fronts, but experience will teach that it is very difficult to duplicate
in fabric the easy, smooth curve indicated by the pencil.


  A panel front is always more desirable than a surplice for figures
    full in the bust. The seams provide a good fitting line and make
    darts unnecessary.

Surplice fronts are as difficult for a very full bust as are plain backs
on fat shoulders. If your back is full and round, remember to use tucks,
bands, folds, plaits, or something that will definitely break the width.
Panels also help, so don’t be afraid to use them. Big backs broken in
width are far more pleasing than broad expanses that know no
termination. Remember the panel can befriend you, so keep it close but
only when it can compliment you. If your back is fat and wide looking
after you finish with this book, it is your own fault, for on page 87
you can see six simple ways of creating an optical illusion by lines
that make the back less wide in appearance.

                         SLEEVES FOR LARGE ARMS

If your arms are fat, don’t wear long shoulder dresses or kimono
sleeves. They just aren’t meant for you. From point of style,
becomingness, service, they will fail you all the way. On the other
hand, don’t overdo narrow shoulders. Strike a happy medium.

Upper arms that are larger than the armhole are quite common, and the
mistake is often made of fitting the armhole to the sleeve rather than
the sleeve to the armhole. Have the armhole comfortable and smooth and
set a gusset in the sleeves or increase the seams in cutting from the
armhole to the elbow.


  We can smile and aid our front, our back must always protect us by
    being at least inoffensive and pleasing.

  Here are six ways to slenderize backs of dresses. Study them, find
    that which becomes you best. Once you have found your line, hold to
    it, but trim or effect it differently so that there is interest and
    variety. Observe Fashion illustrations carefully for backs with
    interesting length lines, and don’t allow yourself to forget that
    they are just as important as the front in achieving slenderness.

  Remember that fulness at the hips is advisable, both as a protection
    to the dress and to insure more grace in sitting. A dress that draws
    up on the figure is always to be avoided.

I know a woman who was wearing size 44 dresses that hung on her
unattractively and heavily. She said that she couldn’t get her arms into
the sleeves of size 40 or 42 models. A wise saleswoman ripped the sleeve
seams, inserted gussets and moulded her beautifully into a tailored
frock size 40. Since then she looks 20 pounds lighter, all because of
this little adjustment.

A bias sleeve is sometimes a distinct advantage for a stout arm. Take
flannel or the heavy crêpes. A “tight as the skin” sleeve may be fitted
that has “give” enough for comfort, yet not a quarter of an inch
surplus. This type of sleeve is not suitable to flimsy materials, but
very good for the firmer fabrics and is sometimes economical for
cutting, as often the sleeve pattern can be placed on a true bias grain
to advantage.

There are many details in sleeves to consider when you want to appear
smaller than you actually are. Your success is due largely to your
knowledge and its right application. So watch, look, and listen for
every hint that will aid you in expressing perfection. It is attainable,
and every achievement will stimulate greater desire and effort.

Years ago, in fitting a well-to-do woman, who was very “heavy set” in
mind as well as in body, I remember that she would insist upon drawing
her arms up, crossing them over her ample bosom and saying that the
armhole was too tight and that more and more must be trimmed out until
her waist was unbalanced—narrower across the front than it should be,
wholly deforming the dress. No dress can be beautiful if it is out of
balance; it is contrary to every rule of right design.


  (Left)—A gusset at the under arm (left) is advisable when the arm is
    larger than the armhole.

  (Center)—Sleeves cut on the true bias, as shown, are often
    advantageous when very close-fitting sleeves are desired.

  (Right)—Beware of dresses that are too narrow across the chest. They
    always make the bust appear larger.

I know one clever designer who makes for her larger customers a very
firm net foundation waist with low square neck in front and back and
close-fitting sleeves that extend almost to the elbow. In this she puts
the dress shields. This net foundation, especially the sleeve part,
protects the dress, makes it last a third longer, and has the advantage
of confining the arms slightly.


  Measure and find out if it is your arms or your body you “need to
    treat” in slenderizing. Sometimes very large arms accompany medium
    bust measurements and vice versa. Knowing this makes for a wiser use
    of line.

  If your arms are small in proportion to the bust, as in “A,” use a
    normal shoulder line.

  If they are large in proportion to your bust, as in “B,” cut the
    shoulder high.

  If arms and bust are large, use a length line on the sleeves, as in


  A foundation lining of net that holds the sleeve is often advisable
    for sheer dresses. Elastic should hold it at the waist. The bottom
    of the sleeves and the neck may be bound or picoted.


Large shoulders are a problem because they can appear quite as full as
the bust and by the roundness add years, which, of course, nobody wants.
A collar that is just right in depth, not too deep or too short in the
back, is the first essential. For your individual type, you must make
experiments. Take a piece of muslin or paper and cut out modish collars
that you think would be becoming to you. Then try them on with two
mirrors and view the back, front, and sides, examining well down past
the waistline, because the collar line and belt line must always agree.
Turn under the collar edge, add to it, and after careful observation, do
what your eye tells you is best. Never let your collar be so long as to
look like a cape unless it is a cape; and don’t let it be of a length or
size to lie up on your back like a doily on a table. Attach it—have it
there for a purpose, that of giving a correct and becoming line.


  Let your collar aid you. Beware of collars (like those at the left)
    that widen the shoulders or that cushion the back.

  Fashion often allows of back collar trimmings that are both
    slenderizing and becoming, such as those at the right. Hunt for
    them, then use them wisely.

If you are full in the back, don’t wear shoulder capes or bertha
collars. Never wear heavy collars or babyish lace or ribbon, and avoid
collars of vivid color that contrast definitely in color with that of
your dress.


The first importance for a figure with most of the weight below the
waist is the design and trimming of the sleeves. It is a weakness in
which we must never indulge to plan for what should be graceful flowing
sleeves, but which usually turn out to be a tragedy of adding pounds to
pounds. In summer time and for evening wear, the sleeve may fit easily
but without flare and reach to a point just above the elbow, provided
there is no trimming feature or cuff. For all other types of dresses the
long, close-fitting sleeve is wisest. By adding to or taking from the
length of sleeves, emphasis may be given to any part of the body from
the hip line up, as the bottom of a sleeve is naturally a line which
will attract the eye, so that if this is in the wrong position it is
easy to imagine the result. Experiment with this feature, and convince
yourself of the truth of the statement.

Some big women have a full abdomen like a man, which causes their skirts
to hike out at the bottom like ill-fitting maternity clothes. For this
type, correct maternity line dresses are best. A bodice waist that is
long in the front should be used. The skirt is attached to this quite
low in front, then side panels are applied to give a correct balance and
to widen the figure at the side.

A variation of this figure has the full diaphragm but a flat appearance
just at the front of the hip bones. This type is recognized as difficult
to fit, although it is easily possible to conceal both points

First, the full front figure must mask its size by long collars, panels,
plaits, or some flat trimming, bringing these down so that, if possible,
they may aid the hollow sides. Here again a thorough knowledge of the
laws of optical illusion will stand you in good stead. If your skirt
still pokes out at the hem in the center front, follow the suggestion
given previously and provide a corset that laces in front and that laces
up so that the abdomen is held in, also one that is loose enough at the
waist line to allow the flesh to rest up in it. A few suggestions are
illustrated that may be applied in making a new dress or in correcting
one that you have—or in perfecting a plain dress that you might

Oftentimes, a full abdomen has as an accomplice a sway back. For this, a
panel in the back that hangs from the shoulder and that is caught at or
below the belt line in the back is advantageous. A slightly low belt
line is also desirable.


  When the bust is large and the hips are small, lines as shown at the
    left are becoming. A V-line in the vest may also be used if the bust
    is not too high.

  If the figure is large and evenly proportioned, a definite centered
    lengthwise line, as shown in the second design, will break the

  If the waist is short and the skirt long, length lines, as at the
    right, carried down on the skirt will balance better and detract
    from the short waist. The neck line of this dress allows for a small
    brooch or bar pin.

Frequently, large figures—though this is also common to slender
folk—find that the back skirt length measure is shorter than the front.
Elderly folk, especially, find this trouble where the bust has shrunken
or is small in proportion to the hips. For such types straight line
dresses with a belt line across the back, or a narrow sash belt that
ties at the side, are advisable. Long collars are also efficacious, and
scarf collars particularly so.


In order to counteract the roundness of the face, and provide some
contrast for its fullness, it is usually best to decide upon a neckline
emphasizing angles, not curves. Always have the dress cut well up at the
back but dropping down with straight lines to a deep V or square. It is
wise to have the neckline cut low and fill in the opening with sheer
Georgette, batiste or lace in an inconspicuous color, such as delicate
flesh or deep cream.

The short stout figure with a short neck and medium small head is one
type of stout that can wear a U neck or a slightly rounding neck line
becomingly. Such a neck makes the head and neck appear larger and gives
a good balance.


  For sway backs or figures that curve in definitely at the back
    waistline, a broken panel, as at left, is often advisable. It is
    especially desirable if the figure is tall or very large.

  An interesting lengthwise trimming is shown in the central figure.
    Such a line can be attained in contrasting or harmonizing fabric or
    with embroidery tucking or plain stitching, and is adaptable to
    tailored or sports clothes. Full front figures will find this line
    especially advantageous.

  Very wide or large figures will see merit in side panels that divide
    the front in three, as shown at the right. Such a design allows for
    a close-fitting foundation dress and is especially suited to older


Think long and carefully about trimmings because a misuse of decoration
can mar the lines of an otherwise becoming gown.

Trimming, judiciously placed, will add to the appearance of smartness
and may by its position break a wide plain surface into two or perhaps
three spaces, adding with each line another point to our illusion of

It is essential that trimming be placed so as to emphasize length, but
do not make the mistake of applying it indiscriminately, but rather, to
draw attention to a closing, or to finish the edge of a panel or for
some similar useful purpose.

Never use a large figured trimming or a bright colored banding. Plaids,
big polka dots, pronounced stripes, heavily embroidered fabrics or “gew
gaws” are not for the big woman. Strive for distinctive line which is,
in itself, simple. Wear as good quality fabric as your purse can buy,
but be modest about your size and any decoration you employ. Quantities
of string beads are to be avoided, too, as should anything which will
make the wearer conspicuous.

Self fabrics, that is, the material of which the dress is made, is
always good. It may be tucked or plaited and inserted between cut edges,
applied as a band, or it may be used to form a cord, which in turn forms
ornament of various sizes and shapes.

Small patterned laces in the wider widths are appropriate too, and add
richness and dignity to clothes intended for dress up occasions. Lace
should never be shirred because, as I have already told you, the stout
woman can never afford to be frivolous in her dress, and ruffled lace
would certainly make her so.

Plaited panels are good, but these should always be held close to the
dress by the use of a French tuck from two to three inches long.

The groups of vertical lines are always an effective means of increasing
height while the long tab will help to keep the panel from flying out as
one walks.

Ribbon banding is effective both when stretched flat and when used to
form sash ends or ties. Such finishes must be generous in length,
otherwise they will add to, rather than detract from width.


  If foundation linings are used, plan them as carefully as the dress
    itself. They must be easy yet fitted to perfection. They must also
    be designed especially for the dress so that they will support but
    not hinder the outer line at any point.


A designer in one of the big New York houses when asked as to her
success in designing becoming dresses for large women gave these few
valuable rules:

“I never use sheer flimsy material. If I must use lace, I weight it so
that it is as heavy as any fabric.

“I never use coarse stiff material—the softer and weightier the better.

“I rarely use fabrics with luster or with big design.

“I never use pure colors. I use shades chiefly, very seldom a tint,
unless it is a cream tint. I avoid all white for my large customers. We
see enough big men dressed up in white to know how much it increases

“I always make a foundation slip, smooth, sleek and close fitting. In
this I sew the sleeves. My dress is made separate and hangs easier and
straighter than it possibly could if it had the sleeves to hamper it.
Then, too, the dress lasts longer, which is a distinct advantage.

“I give special attention to my customer’s hats, shoes and corsets. All
must be right for her or my dress cannot be a success.

“Often if I find a model that is definitely becoming, I vary it in
different materials and colors, often making madam a half dozen
beautiful gowns from the one block. Why not, if it is most becoming to

                               CHAPTER VI

There are many skilful tricks in dressmaking that are advantageous to
the overweight figure. For instance, the shoulder dart allows ease over
the bust, makes a more comfortable shoulder, and permits of a close
fitting sleeve. It also prevents sagging of the dress at the underarm,
giving a neat good fitting effect. Don’t avoid or “detest” darts; learn
to use them so that you get the greatest possible advantage from them.
Watch an adept dressmaker smooth the material around and slip out the
dart in a line over the bust that fits smoothly and easily. Only
carelessly fitted and stitched darts are unattractive.


The crosswise armhole dart, too, has its advantages but is not good for
a broad shouldered or short figure as it widens the shoulder and cuts
the height, unless it is wisely made on a bias grain to slant down so
that a crosswise line is avoided.


  Darts are necessary for round figures, especially the underarm dart as
    shown at the right center above. They are often advantageous for
    flat figures, as at the left. They can, when wisely used, add much
    to the attractiveness of a garment. Don’t use them, however, unless
    for a specific purpose and slant them so that they give length
    rather than breadth.

  Diagonal or bias lines such as shown at the right often are employed
    for smart effect. They can slenderize, are distinctive and youthful,
    especially if subdued stripes or twilled fabric is used.

  Rounding shoulders often need a few gathers at the neck line in the
    back, as shown in the lower figure. Such gathers eased in insure a
    better fitting, more comfortable collar line.

The underarm dart is often used with a shoulder dart, especially for
very full busts. This helps to shape the material over the bust easily
and to give a smooth, straight underarm seam. Sometimes a dart is used
on the back seam as well as the front in cases where the back is fat and
round. In any event, fit your dress so that the underarm seam does not
drag, and so that the crosswise grain of the material is parallel with
the belt line.

The hip dart helps to fit the skirt by providing a means of lifting the
fabric at the sides. If the hips are straight and not curving to any
extent, only a slight dart, if any, is necessary. But for large figures
a hip dart is desirable, especially for one-piece dresses. It should be
brought up so that the skirt hangs evenly all the way at the bottom.
Arrange the dart so that it comes directly over the hip or under the
narrow belt or waistline trimming. Remember that the larger the hip, the
longer the dart, and the greater the necessity for accurate fitting.


  Plaits rightly employed can give length and are often quite necessary
    in Fashion’s catalog. But make them a part of the dress, surround
    them, make them give length where length is needed.

  For instance, in A you find three forms of decoration, each with a
    purpose. The plaits for length, the embroidery for interest, the tie
    for color.

  In B plaits for length, buttons for finish, necklace for interest.

  In C the tucks must suffice for length, trimming and interest. Often
    embroidery is desired and it can serve to give length if rightly
    used. For instance D, a simple dress, is made pleasing with
    embroidery that helps rather than hinders.

  Draped skirts, as in E, need not be taboo entirely, if the draping is
    used for line emphasis and is soft enough to cling rather than

  Large figures often find a dress broken in line advantageous, as in F.
    If the bust is large and hips small, the skirt should be favored
    with the trimming. The upper waist line should be omitted if the
    figure is in the least short.


If the back is fat and rounding and the neck fairly small, it is
advisable, in order to hold the dress well up on the shoulders, to run a
gathering thread across the back neck line. The fullness thus retained
may be eased in and shrunken out, if wool is used, so that no gathers
are visible but a comfortable neck is secured. Such fullness is not at
all objectionable in silk or cotton fabrics.

                      WHAT THE LONG UNDERARM DOES

In our quest for becoming clothes, we are fascinated by the long
underarm line and feel sure that if we could evidence such a
constructive detail, we could look 20 pounds lighter right away.

To achieve this, consider again what I have said about the corset, its
size and fit. Be sure that your corset has enough supporters to hold it
securely down. A corset that “rides up” or a brassiere that is too short
will definitely prevent a long, easy underarm.

Be sure when your dresses are fitted that the crosswise grain of the
cloth is parallel with the waist line. Be sure that your waistline trim
or belt is placed as low as your dress length will allow—not low enough
to make you look top heavy, but low enough for your own height, size and
type. To find what this is, parade up and down in front of your mirror
with belts, bands, and sashes strung around your waist, one at a time,
of course, until you know which one is placed best for you. Don’t be
faddish, don’t be extreme, but be modish. There is a difference. Work
for becomingness so that the line you finally decide upon will surely be

                         THE BIAS CENTER FRONT

Cutting the center front on the bias may give a “silent” or a pronounced
line, depending on whether plain or striped material is used. It takes a
third more material to cut a dress on the bias, but since it is possible
to develop a very smart dress this way it is often worth considering. It
should be worn only by the type that can wear extreme things well,
however, because a dress cut on the bias is in no wise conservative.


  When styles call for plaits, plaits may be used, but not in widening
    flares as shown above, rather in slenderizing length lines as shown
    on the opposite page.


  Hats and shoes in these two pictures also illustrate incorrect and
    correct choice. The wide hat and prominent straps opposite emphasize
    width and weight; the neat hat and cross-strap slippers above help
    to slenderize.


To allow fullness in walking, two plaits may be placed in the skirt at
the left side seam, one directly over the other, the right side of the
skirt being finished plain. This does not interfere with the slim line
effect, yet gives the desired freedom. Plaitings or panels of self color
that are 5 inches or less in width soften the line of a dress and, if
effectively used, can improve the garment both in line and
attractiveness, especially for the figure that is large above the waist.
An effective use of skirt plaiting can aid greatly in balancing the

If the waist measure is large, keep the skirt as straight and narrow as
fashion will allow, and watch your sleeves to fit them close and plain.
Short, full sleeves and a full skirt must have a small, short waist line
to be effective; they are totally “out of the picture” where the waist
and hips are large.

Plaits aid in line and are youthful, but if fashion decrees straight
skirts we must stitch or press them down straight and slim, for
flared-out plaits are treacherous for us who would be slender. For the
same reason, we must avoid panels that flirt out as we walk.

A corded girdle, sash, or string sash that is long and limp is becoming.

Tunics, if not too full, and if not definitely trimmed at the bottom
edge, are advantageous. They slenderize by making it possible to draw
the skirt in at the bottom, thus giving an appearance of height. This,
of course, is lost if the tunic or the lower skirt is too full. Large
figures should always have tunics and foundations of the same color and
material so as not to break the height.

                              CHAPTER VII
                        FABRICS THAT SLENDERIZE

First of all, buy your clothes with deliberation so that they will look
as though they belonged to you, not as though they were bought in a
hurry. Deliberate buying is the economical way. Emergency buying in
clothes is like food from the delicatessen—it’s a “make shift” and an
expensive one.

Buy for suitability, for smartness, and think of all the uses you can
make of a garment before you buy. If it’s a dress, what wrap or hat will
you wear with it? Does it mean new shoes, new hat, and gloves? If so,
then consider the advisability of purchasing another style which would
look well with the accessories you have and are wearing with another
costume. Buy few clothes if you must, but buy the best quality fabrics
your purse will allow. And buy carefully. Being well-dressed is not so
much a matter of money as it is information, for the well-dressed woman
gives evidence of discriminate deliberation, of knowledge applied to
selection, and of a wise choice of accessories as well as essentials. So
take heed and take your time about every purchase so that everything
harmonizes perfectly with what you have and so that every article, from
shoes to hat, has its part in aiding slenderness rather than in
emphasizing stoutness.

                     FACTS TO KNOW ABOUT MATERIALS

Acquaint yourself with materials, their wearing qualities, their
clinging proclivities, and their color quality. By this latter, I mean
their ability to “take the dye” and be soft and rich in their shades,
because certain shades we must wear, and we don’t want to have them dull
and lifeless, like brownish black or grayish drab. We want them to be
deep and soft like those of beautiful old fabrics that have been ripened
to an inimitable softness by age.

The most becoming colors for us come in good fabrics, so for the average
woman there must be economy in the number of dresses rather than in
their quality. A garment made in good style and of good material is more
of a credit to you when half worn out than a cheap new garment could
possibly be.

It is necessary to remember, too, that materials with a glossy,
brilliant surface or finish, no matter what the color of the fabric may
be, are difficult to wear and are not generally becoming, because the
sheen and, in some instances, the stiffness tend to make the figure
appear larger. Materials of soft finish or dull colors, on the other
hand, will make the figure appear smaller and will attract less

Every fat woman loves pastry and taffeta. We know that before we start.
Pastry you can eat if you study hard to dress correctly, but taffeta you
cannot wear because it sticks out where it shouldn’t and does not cling
as it should. The surest way to have you avoid it is for me to tell you
that it adds 20 pounds, and it truly does. The luster of satin
eliminates it from our list while the conspicuousness of large-figured
fabrics makes them equally inappropriate. When you see lengths of large
figured fabrics in the shops, you may be tempted, but do not buy. They
will thwart your whole purpose of putting into the clothes you wear the
lines that make for slenderness and grace.


  These two pictures illustrate improper and proper choice of fabrics
    for a stout figure. Above, the large-figured material adds size, the
    fur trim shortens, the round beads shorten the neck. All conspire to
    emphasize weight.


  Here a small all-over pattern minimizes size, the plaits and tassels
    lengthen, the necklace adds a slenderizing touch. The appearance as
    a whole is graceful and youthful.


Shun bargains of miscellaneous materials. Unless you are offered a type
of material that will slenderize, don’t buy it. And never stint your
dresses by using remnants. Your dresses should never have an extra inch
visible but likewise they should never in the least appear as though
they were stinted in cutting. And that means that you must always have
plenty of hems and facings and bias sleeves or bands if you want them.
Stingy, scrimpy hems on big folks’ skirts are a “give away.” Always buy
enough material for at least a 3½–inch hem, and more if fashion allows.

It is pitiable to see a big man humiliated and equally so to see a large
woman in cheap flimsy fabric. Save up your pennies and look out for
remnants if you must, but don’t buy cheap materials. The better
materials, too, are an incentive for more careful planning, and as a
result you have a more likeable, wearable dress.


What _can_ you wear to create the illusion of slenderness? In woolens,
everything except firm hard finished weaves, or those in big or definite
designs or colors. If silk is to be purchased, consider the closely
woven heavy ones. They may cost a little more, yes, but they wear
longer, and when you give thought and time to making a perfect dress you
are happy to have it last as long as it will. Some big women delight in
chiffon and Georgette and lace dresses, but these fabrics must not be
used unless a substantial foundation dress is worn under them.

No one needs to use so much care about the foundation of her dress as a
stout woman. It must be wholly non-transparent. It must fit perfectly,
and any dress of lace or sheer material fitted over it must follow the
slip silhouette easily but perfectly. Some designers use two and three
thicknesses as though they were one. They say this softens the line,
weights the fabric, and proves altogether advantageous where grace and
line are desired.

Materials like faille or bengaline, with a definite crosswise grain, are
smart and becoming and are best when cut and made crosswise. They hang
more limply and, therefore, are more graceful and entirely desirable for

Often the mistake is made of choosing a material with wide stripes, due
to the prevalent belief that stripes tend to make a person look slender.
This is generally untrue. The stout woman can wear striped material, but
the stripes, as a rule, must be fine and without definite color or line
when viewed from a short distance. In other words, stripes should be
felt, not seen, except at very close range. Stout women, and, in fact,
most women look better in materials of plain or indistinct design in
harmonizing colors than in those of bold design and of decided color

The heavy silks, striped by means of the weave, and in self color, are
the best for tailored dresses. The heavy crêpe weaves are more
appropriate for draped dresses planned for occasional wear. And the best
quality means the best wear, appearance and general satisfaction. It is
better to have one very good, smart dress and take care of it than two
cheap dresses that you are never quite satisfied with.

In selecting material for skirts, stout women should choose either plain
fabric or fabric with a narrow or indistinct stripe or small figure and
of a texture that is as soft and pliable as Dame Fashion permits.

For summer wear, good quality voiles are better than linens, and the
crêpe de Chines are better than the tub silks, because they cling, and
that, after all is a vital consideration. Swiss, organdie, and ratiné,
like taffeta, are too stiff or bulgy to give slenderness, so these
fabrics must be admired always from a safe distance. Allover lace is
permissible if of small design and heavy enough to hang rather than

For quick and easy reference I have made a complete list of fabrics that
are certain to create a line of slenderness—materials that you can
safely wear with the assurance that if properly used they will do much
toward giving you the slender, fashionable lines for which you are
striving. When all is said and done there is really quite a varied range
of fabrics for you after all.

                         MATERIALS YOU CAN WEAR

                           _Wool for Dresses_

  Charmeen (if not too lustrous)
  Covert Cloth
  Poiret Twill
  Wool crêpe
  Wool velour (light weight)

                            _Wool for Coats_

  Wool Velour (heavy)
  Also fabrics listed for dresses which are suitable for light weight


  Bengaline, Poplin or Faille
  Canton crêpe
  Canton satin (dull side)
  Crêpe de Chine (heavy)
  Crêpe Romaine
  Crêpe Roshanara (plain and self-striped)
  Georgette (heavy)

                              _Wash Goods_

  Gingham (soft quality)
  Handkerchief and plain non-crushable linen, provided the latter is not

                     HOW TO LOOK SMART AT ALL TIMES

Never hesitate about navy blue in fine wool or heavy silk. When
beautifully made, either of these may be irresistibly youthful, and if
care is used in selecting rightly balanced designs, such dresses can be
so interestingly varied as never to be monotonous. For instance, a
change of collars is allowable. One day smart turn cuffs may be worn,
and the next day omitted, all giving variety without deviating from the
path of good taste and slender emphasis. And navy blue is _always_
smart, no matter what the prevailing fashion may be.

Watch for values. Know the kind of wool you want; avoid stiff satins and
taffetas. Remember when buying or planning dresses that wools that fuzz
up and satins that have a stiffness back of their shininess, taffetas
that stick out, and voiles and Georgettes that are over-sheer are to be
avoided. Fortunately, the better grades of these fabrics eliminate these
tendencies by the very quality of the fabric, and to say that shiny
satin is not possible for the large woman is unnecessary, although there
are some qualities of satins soft enough to be wearable, provided the
sheen is not too decided. But the heavy crêpes are always more desirable
because of their weight and lack of luster.

                      IF YOU MUST PRACTICE ECONOMY

If I could have but one dress, I should choose soft, brown Canton crêpe
with a satin side to use as trimming. If I could have just two dresses,
one would be blue cloth and the other brown crêpe because both are
becoming. I say they are becoming despite the fact that a prominent
color specialist says that black, blue, and brown are heavy colors and
not the best for large figures. But the use of such a simple accessory
as a scarf of lace or chiffon can lift out of the ordinary a brown crêpe
dress and can in the quality of its beautiful, smart lines, prove doubly
effective. And fine white linen or piqué collars and cuffs can do
wonders to a simple, correct-fitting one-piece dress of blue cloth.

I know of a certain manufacturer of a very excellent line of dresses for
stouts. Expensive? Certainly, but worth the price, for following the
rules of optical illusion is practically a religion with him. He uses
only navy blue—the darkest navy—in heavy faille, crêpe silks, Poiret
twill, and charmeen. Some are trimmed in white linen or piqué, a few
with net, but the majority are untrimmed, tailored, and pressed “to a
turn,” even when made of silk. Dresses of this type are of a quality
which will permit of one remodeling at least, so that the maximum of
wear may be had from them. When this is possible the material can be
really “worn out” because it was conservative in the first place and did
not lose its style value too rapidly.

The feeling of satisfaction you get from such a costume, even when you
discard the outfit, is much to be preferred to an attempt to wring the
last drop of usefulness from your clothes by wearing them in the home.
Never do this. Rip up, renovate, and make over, but don’t be shabby at
home. There is too much to lose if you do. The stout woman just _must_
get into the habit of looking smart at _all_ times. Once acquired, it is
a habit that brings with it a sense of pride, pleasure, and
self-reliance very much worth cultivating.

                              CHAPTER VIII
                         COLORS THAT SLENDERIZE

In Chapter II we found that certain uses of lines cause objects to
appear larger or smaller than they really are. This same principle of
optical illusion applies to colors. Whether you realize it or not, the
color of an object always _seems_ to affect its size.

In general, dark colors make objects appear to be smaller; light colors
make them seem larger. This is often demonstrated by a woman with large
feet. If she dresses those feet in a pair of white shoes they appear to
be much larger than they really are, whereas shod in a pair of well-made
dull black or dark brown pumps or oxfords, they appear much smaller than
they really are.

Take equal amounts of black crêpe and yellow satin as examples. The
black recedes, while the yellow stands out, fills the eye more
completely, and as a result seems larger.

Look at blue cornflowers and orange poppies in a field. It takes twice
as many of the blue flowers to attract your attention as it does of the
orange, because the latter make a more definite impression on the eye.

If you intend to take your rightful place among well-dressed women you
must watch carefully the color of your dress and hold, in the main, to
the quiet colors or shades, such as seal brown, midnight blue, bottle
green, dull black, blackberry purple, the grays, and the deep tans.
These make outline less definite, help your observers to lose sight of
bulk and thereby make your size inconspicuous. Besides, they are always
smarter than the more conspicuous colors. And this isn’t such a
sacrifice, after all, when you realize how few women there are who are
vivacious, alert, agile enough or clear enough of skin to compete with
active color. Bright colors are suitable chiefly to the great outdoors,
for gala decoration, or for trimming—and the latter you may use if you
do it wisely and discreetly.

                        WHAT COLORS NOT TO WEAR

King’s blue and scarlet, and any colors of their quality, must be “off
your list” completely, for they definitely create the illusion of huge
bulk. Refuse acquaintance with them right now and whatever you do, don’t
yield to their entreaties. You have heard, no doubt, the famous story
about the lecturer, who, when asked by a big woman dressed in red what
color she should wear, said, “Gray, Madam, gray. Nature makes humming
birds red and elephants gray. Follow Nature, Madam.”

Don’t force people to see you bigger than you are by wearing gaudy
designs or colors.

Brilliant, hard, cold colors, or what might be fittingly termed
unrelenting or non-retiring colors should be avoided once a woman is
past her first youth; in fact, not every young woman or young girl can
afford to wear such tones, especially when she is a bit too stout, for
the purer the color the more definite it is to the eye and, therefore,
the larger it makes the wearer seem. Many of the colors that are
launched forth each season as the latest thing are so strong that they
add a third to one’s size and rob the wearer of all the natural color of
skin, hair, and eyes, making even a young, vigorous girl appear devoid
of animation and charm. The use of such colors even as trimming is a
mistake commonly made by women lacking in the fresh, natural color of
skin, hair, and eyes.

                         STUDY COLOR “FAMILIES”

It is well to consider that gray eyes reflect blue or green, and
sometimes brown tints, and that the right shade of blue—usually old
blue—will emphasize the color and brilliancy of blue eyes. It is said
that a girl with hazel eyes and chestnut hair can wear any color
becomingly. Yet one must realize that some colors would naturally be
much more emphatic or subduing than others; therefore, more becoming or
less complimentary. The best rule is to keep to one _family_ of color
shades, as brown, blue, gray, or black. You will find this scheme more
becoming and more economical. Of course, if you wish, you may choose to
use one or two shades lighter of the same color shade, as dark brown and
tan, or perhaps the pleasing combination of midnight blue and gray. Gray
or tan is good with black; white with black only in the very smallest
quantity and then discreetly placed.

But gray, used for an entire costume, is good only for the very young or
the old. Once the hair is white, gray is much better than black for it
will not emphasize face lines; but a woman of forty, big or little,
unless she has white hair and clear skin should choose navy blue or
black in preference to gray. However, we need not wear either

Many designers insist that “color tone” evidenced somewhere is essential
for every well-dressed woman, maintaining that if the individual does
not have it herself it must be provided by means of her dress or
complexion, assuming, of course, that it will always be discreetly and
smartly done. If the hair or eyes are colorless, avoid brown and wear
blue, and use definite color—a bit of braid, an ornamental buckle, a
strap on a purse, a hat trimming—something that has a smart color note.

We look smallest in dull black, but we can look almost as slender in
black that has brightness either in the fabric or the dye, and at the
same time not look so old as with the dull black. For example, observe
the next dear elderly lady you see in dull black. See how it makes every
wrinkle show and gives her a shriveled, meek appearance that is in every
way depressing. We must look young, as well as slender, and, of course,
fashionable too, so we must keep away from any colors that will hamper

                       CHOOSE THESE SUBTLE SHADES

It has always seemed to me that we women who have the opportunity of
making either a pleasing, indifferent, or offending picture of ourselves
in our dress should realize our opportunity, sense fully that we are in
competition with real artists and work to achieve a degree of perfection
that at least would be pleasing to our very own selves and that could
not offend any who might see us.

Those valuable laws of optical illusion teach us always to select colors
that have a tendency to recede, that is, those that are indefinite and
difficult to classify. For instance, the moment rose is added to gray,
or yellow to tan, it takes on light and tends to intensify size rather
than to reduce it, while we can add white to gray, or brown to tan with
the opposite result. So often we see someone who has achieved a
beautiful color plan, change it to satisfy her own desire for variety
and in the changing lose all that she has worked to gain. And so I
insist that once you find the color or combination of colors that is
becoming, that is flattering, as to size and complexion, hair and eyes,
hold to it as a valued possession and have your color variety in other
things rather than your dress.

I have not yet considered white, or rather cream, or old blue, or pastel
green in discussing shades. These many of us can wear. The wearing of
white is a luxurious habit once acquired. The charm of immaculateness
may balance in some minds its tendency to increase size, but if you wish
to look as small as possible, avoid it. Of old blue this is not true. It
can be worn by old and young, is becoming generally, and is almost as
effective as gray in its size reducing propensities. It blends well and
is soft enough not to be distinguished at long range, always a point of
consideration when we are working to look slender. However, neither gray
nor old blue must be worn if the skin is definitely sallow. Pastel green
that has a gray, rather than a yellow cast is often becoming, especially
for summer wear, for in addition to its advantages regarding size, it is
cool looking.


  Type of Woman │     Black     │     Brown     │     Blue      │     Green
  _Pink Blonde_ │               │               │               │
 Fair hair;     │Very good in   │Bronze and warm│Excellent.     │Gray-green
   blue, gray,  │  dull surfaced│  tans, very   │  Greenish and │  good; also
   or brown     │  fabrics.     │  good. Dark   │  navy blue    │  soft
   eyes; white  │               │  tones        │  very good;   │  blue-green
   skin,        │               │  permissible. │  also medium  │  both medium
   moderate     │               │               │  tones to     │  and dark.
   color.       │               │               │  repeat color │
                │               │               │  of blue eyes.│
  _Pale Blonde_ │               │               │               │
 Fair hair;     │May be worn    │Dark red-brown │Excellent in   │Very pale green
   blue, gray,  │  with white or│  permissible. │  dark shades  │  good.
   or brown     │  cream collar.│               │  and old blue.│
   eyes; white  │               │               │               │
   skin with    │               │               │               │
   little or no │               │               │               │
   color.       │               │               │               │
 _Titian Blonde_│               │               │               │
 Fair hair,     │Excellent.     │Dark tones and │Dark tones     │Almond and
   bordering on │               │  bronze good  │  excellent; or│  reseda good;
   red; blue,   │               │  if eyes are  │  medium blue  │  avoid bright
   brown, or    │               │  brown.       │  if eyes are  │  tones.
   gray eyes;   │               │               │  blue.        │
   fair skin,   │               │               │               │
   moderate     │               │               │               │
   color.       │               │               │               │
 _Medium Blonde_│               │               │               │
 Light brown    │Best relieved  │Bronze and     │Very good in   │Dark green and
   hair; blue,  │  by cream     │  medium tan   │  dark and     │  reseda good.
   brown, or    │  color.       │  good.        │  medium tones.│
   gray eyes;   │               │               │               │
   medium       │               │               │               │
   complexion.  │               │               │               │
 _Olive Blonde_ │               │               │               │
 Light brown    │Good, if used  │Very dark tones│Dark tones     │Bottle-green
   hair; brown, │  with         │  may be worn. │  excellent.   │  good.
   blue, or gray│  contrasting  │               │               │
   eyes; skin   │  color.       │               │               │
   inclined to  │               │               │               │
   sallowness.  │               │               │               │
     _Clear     │               │               │               │
    Brunette_   │               │               │               │
 Dark or medium │Excellent,     │Very good for  │Dark tones good│Dark green
   brown hair;  │  especially   │  brown-eyed   │  with bright  │  good.
   dark blue,   │  with white.  │  type; tan    │  trimming.    │  Blue-green
   gray, or     │               │  good.        │  Medium blue  │  for blue-eyed
   brown eyes;  │               │               │  fair.        │  type;
   fair, clear  │               │               │               │  bronze-green
   skin, with   │               │               │               │  for brown
   some color.  │               │               │               │  eyes.
 _Pale Brunette_│               │               │               │
 Medium, dark   │Do not use     │Excellent with │Dark tones very│Dark green
   brown or     │  except with  │  brown eyes;  │  good;        │  excellent.
   black hair;  │  bright color │  warm tan     │  green-blues  │  Blue-green
   brown, gray, │  for trimming.│  good.        │  good.        │  for blue eyes
   or dark blue │               │               │               │  and
   eyes; pale   │               │               │               │  bronze-green
   skin.        │               │               │               │  for brown
                │               │               │               │  eyes.
    _Colorful   │               │               │               │
    Brunette_   │               │               │               │
 Medium brown or│Very good.     │Most browns    │Dark blue      │Very good in
   dark hair;   │               │  excellent for│  excellent;   │  dark tones.
   blue, brown, │               │  brown-eyed   │  green-blue   │  Bronze-green
   or gray eyes;│               │  type.        │  good.        │  excellent
   medium skin, │               │               │               │  with brown
   high color.  │               │               │               │  eyes.
     _Auburn    │               │               │               │
    Brunette_   │               │               │               │
 Brown hair,    │Transparent    │All pure browns│Navy blue and  │Bronze-green
   tinged with  │  black good.  │  that blend   │  green-blues  │  excellent;
   red; brown,  │               │  with hair and│  very good.   │  also, medium
   blue or gray │               │  eyes good.   │               │  reseda.
   eyes; medium │               │               │               │
   skin.        │               │               │               │
     _Olive     │               │               │               │
    Brunette_   │               │               │               │
 Dark brown or  │Permissible if │Mahogany and   │Good in darkest│Bronze-green
   black hair;  │  worn with    │  deepest      │  tones.       │  permissible.
   brown or     │  cream collar.│  browns       │               │
   black eyes;  │               │  moderately   │               │
   olive skin,  │               │  good.        │               │
   some color.  │               │               │               │
                │               │               │               │
 _Gray and Gray_│               │               │               │
 Gray hair;     │Permissible if │               │Good in dark   │Permissible in
   brown, gray, │  worn with    │               │  and medium   │  darkest
   or blue eyes;│  cream collar.│               │  tones. Delft │  tones.
   medium skin. │               │               │  blue good for│
                │               │               │  blue eyes.   │
   _Brown and   │               │               │               │
      Gray_     │               │               │               │
 Grayish, brown │Permissible    │Seal and       │Dull blue, very│Dark tones
   hair; brown, │  with cream   │  chestnut     │  good;        │  moderately
   blue, or gray│  collar.      │  good. Avoid  │  brighter     │  good. Avoid
   eyes; medium │               │  all tans.    │  blues good   │  gray-green.
   skin.        │               │               │  for trimming.│

  Type of Woman │     Gray      │    Purple     │     Pink
  _Pink Blonde_ │               │               │
 Fair hair;     │Dark, blue-gray│Orchid fair;   │Flesh and dull
   blue, gray,  │  very good.   │  also,        │  old rose
   or brown     │               │  blue-violet  │  permissible.
   eyes; white  │               │  in sheer soft│
   skin,        │               │  fabrics. Red │
   moderate     │               │  purple may be│
   color.       │               │  used in small│
                │               │  quantities.  │
  _Pale Blonde_ │               │               │
 Fair hair;     │Dark, blue-gray│Orchid good;   │Flesh, good;
   blue, gray,  │  good.        │  fuchsia, good│  also dull old
   or brown     │               │  for trimming.│  rose.
   eyes; white  │               │               │
   skin with    │               │               │
   little or no │               │               │
   color.       │               │               │
 _Titian Blonde_│               │               │
 Fair hair,     │Stone-gray and │Very dull      │Pastel tones in
   bordering on │  taupe good.  │  orchid good. │  sheer
   red; blue,   │  Blue-gray    │               │  material,
   brown, or    │  good.        │               │  good.
   gray eyes;   │               │               │
   fair skin,   │               │               │
   moderate     │               │               │
   color.       │               │               │
 _Medium Blonde_│               │               │
 Light brown    │Silver-gray    │Moderately good│Flesh and peach
   hair; blue,  │  permissible. │  for trimming │  may be worn.
   brown, or    │               │  if skin is   │
   gray eyes;   │               │  clear.       │
   medium       │               │               │
   complexion.  │               │               │
 _Olive Blonde_ │               │               │
 Light brown    │Very dark taupe│Pinkish tones  │Creamy flesh
   hair; brown, │  good.        │  in sheer     │  and peach
   blue, or gray│               │  material     │  color fair.
   eyes; skin   │               │  permissible. │
   inclined to  │               │               │
   sallowness.  │               │               │
     _Clear     │               │               │
    Brunette_   │               │               │
 Dark or medium │Permissible for│Orchid good;   │Rose
   brown hair;  │  a dress that │  fuchsia may  │  permissible
   dark blue,   │  is smartly   │  be used in   │  as trimming.
   gray, or     │  designed and │  small        │
   brown eyes;  │  trimmed.     │  quantities.  │
   fair, clear  │               │               │
   skin, with   │               │               │
   some color.  │               │               │
 _Pale Brunette_│               │               │
 Medium, dark   │Warm taupe     │Dull orchid;   │Flesh, dull
   brown or     │  permissible. │  also, pink   │  rose and
   black hair;  │               │  tones of     │  peach good.
   brown, gray, │               │  violet.      │
   or dark blue │               │               │
   eyes; pale   │               │               │
   skin.        │               │               │
                │               │               │
    _Colorful   │               │               │
    Brunette_   │               │               │
 Medium brown or│Blue-gray and  │Avoid all      │
   dark hair;   │  taupe good.  │  except bluish│
   blue, brown, │               │  hues.        │
   or gray eyes;│               │               │
   medium skin, │               │               │
   high color.  │               │               │
     _Auburn    │               │               │
    Brunette_   │               │               │
 Brown hair,    │Good, if skin  │Plum color and │Flesh and pale
   tinged with  │  is clear.    │  palest       │  pink good.
   red; brown,  │               │  lavender     │
   blue or gray │               │  permissible. │
   eyes; medium │               │               │
   skin.        │               │               │
     _Olive     │               │               │
    Brunette_   │               │               │
 Dark brown or  │Taupe may be   │Pink lavender  │Dull pink and
   black hair;  │  worn in rare │  in sheer     │  apricot tones
   brown or     │  cases.       │  fabric or    │  good.
   black eyes;  │               │  dahlia in    │
   olive skin,  │               │  small        │
   some color.  │               │  quantities   │
                │               │  fair.        │
 _Gray and Gray_│               │               │
 Gray hair;     │Silver-gray    │Soft           │Flesh and old
   brown, gray, │  good.        │  pink-lavender│  rose very
   or blue eyes;│               │  good; also   │  good.
   medium skin. │               │  dark tones.  │
                │               │               │
   _Brown and   │               │               │
      Gray_     │               │               │
 Grayish, brown │Dark grays     │Avoid unless   │Creamy-flesh
   hair; brown, │  brightened by│  skin is very │  good. Avoid
   blue, or gray│  trimming,    │  clear and    │  rose hues.
   eyes; medium │  permissible. │  hair almost  │
   skin.        │               │  white.       │

All rules may be individually varied and should be for distinctive
effects, so to know the rule of color is to respect it and adeptly apply
it to express yourself beautifully and harmoniously. Play with colors as
you would with a fan. Remember that usually every woman _can_ look
better than she does. It is the age of good-looking women and the right
shade or tone of color has a very great deal to do with the right
emphasis of individual attractiveness.

Color has so much to do with the final appearance of any costume, that
you must find _your_ particular color pace. Remember that if you are
stout you cannot stray from the less colorful byways to the brilliant
main road trodden by your slim sisters. Never lose sight of the fact
that true artistry may be expressed in the subtle shades to a _much
greater_ degree than by the use of brilliant colors. As civilization
advances, it is gradually drawing away from pure color. You will find
that practically all of the fabrics shown in the shops are variations of
the foundation or primary colors. Why not carry this to its farthest
point, emphasizing your appreciation of the subtlety of the “between”
shades which can do so much toward making you look smart and slender?

In the selection of shades for becomingness, your size is the first
consideration; your skin the second. Consider carefully both the color
and the texture of your skin, and work to have the shades of your
dresses enhance, harmonize, or subdue, according to the need or
opportunity. The color of your hair and eyes comes third in color
consideration, while your age comes fourth.

In making use of the table I have given you, locate your type in the
first column. If you are a blonde read descriptions of all the blonde
types and decide to which you belong. If you are a brunette, classify
yourself under this heading. Do not feel hampered by the colors
allowable for your particular type, because it very often happens that a
_variation_ of a shade you like will make it becoming to _you_ even
though it would be unsuited to another individual whose description
would correspond with yours.

                           RULES TO REMEMBER

Large figures require subdued colors.

The _dominant_ color in your costume must harmonize with the color and
the texture of your skin.

A contrasting or emphasizing color may be used to enhance the coloring
of your eyes and hair.

Because it is not entirely necessary or desirable to exclude the
lighter, brighter shades from the wardrobe, a few of these have been
listed in the accompanying table. As a general thing, you will look best
in dark colors; but in the warm weather, and for home wear, light colors
are permissible and suitable, too. If the type requires the use of such
shades in the evening, gowns made from them may be worn becomingly,
provided they are properly chosen as to material, design, and trimming.

With the advent of each season’s _new_ colors, search carefully for
_your_ colors, the ones that you know are becoming, bearing in mind all
the while that tones, hues, or tints (light colors) emphasize, and that
shades (dark colors) alone subdue, and then remember that both fabric
and design definitely affect the color; so decide on all three
simultaneously and thereby be wholly safe.

The extent of your attractiveness rests with you and don’t forget ever
how very much a right color can help you. Haunt the shops for the
beautiful, the flattering, the becoming thing. Don’t be satisfied to buy
green, blue, or gray simply because it’s the season’s color—find the
tone or shade of that color that is lovely for you—then you can be
fashionably dressed and becomingly so.

                               CHAPTER IX
                      THE LINE OF YOUTH AND GRACE

There is a distinct difference between the appropriate clothes for the
young stout girl and those for the elderly stout woman. The first must
work to emphasize trim smartness; the second simplicity and
becomingness. Not so much difference in the two, you will say, but think
carefully about it and you will realize that there _is_ a difference.
The whole idea of dress is different at 20, let us say, than it is at
50. If you are 20, you may wear 20–year clothes, but if you are 50, you
may wear 40–year clothes. And you can truly look 40 if you learn to
blend the lines suited to youth and maturity and to do it skilfully.


Work to achieve one of two types—tailored smartness or supple dignity.
Neither need emphasize age and both can reduce the appearance of size.
If you are best as a tailored girl, be one morning and evening. Remember
that the soft wools, charmeen and poiret, are best, and often smart in
stripe effect. One-piece wool frocks are a boon to slenderness and every
season brings smart, simple straight lines especially adaptable to soft,
clinging materials. Watch the length of your suit coat if you are young.
Long Eton effects are often good, and don’t forget the beauty and long
line possibilities in the very long suit coat.

Tend a little to the vampish black in the evenings, if you wish, but
tailor the lines so that they are severely smart. Of course, if you are
18 you may not want to use black and look vampish, but you can, as far
as size goes, wear cream, sky or old blue, or watery green effectively.
In fact, any of these colors are wearable if you choose supple fabrics
and wear them unadorned. If you choose boat necks, be sure to wear a
scarf or necklace to break the line.

But here we are going to talk about the girl who is young, good-looking,
and stout. You needn’t say that you are not good-looking. It’s your own
fault if you aren’t, that’s certain. Read the women’s magazines. Every
month they carry excellent articles on the care of the face, hands, hair
and body, and if you are delightfully clean and follow even the simplest
rules, you can be good to look at even if you weigh more than you would
like to.


  Straight lines can be artistically used in lingerie or negligee, and
    such garments need not be monotonous or unattractive. Beautiful
    simplicity or distinctive smartness should be your aim with such

  At the left is a night dress with pleasing length lines.

  Ribbon trimmings or contrasting bands are desirable in finishing
    dressing gowns, such as shown in the center above, especially if the
    color harmonizes with the predominating color of the fabric.

  Soft crêpe, as at the right, in subdued color, is becoming and
    inexpensive. Effective length line trimmings can be added by
    decorative stitches or bindings.

Fortunately, the flesh on a young stout girl is usually evenly
distributed, thus making the chief consideration in dress one of
choosing line and fabric that are becoming to youth. It is very easy for
a young stout to be well corseted and that is an important essential,
for correct corseting will go a long way toward avoiding additional fat.

                      YOUTHFUL STYLES YOU CAN WEAR

If you are young, don’t be indifferent about _any_ phase of your dress,
and don’t ever show any humiliation because of it. Women who are
continually conscious of their size seem to look fatter than those who
plan to make the least of it and to enjoy it. Emerson says, “Never go to
a man to tell him that you can’t pay a debt when you haven’t any money.
Your whole attitude will cause him to lose confidence in you.”

So it is with stout women. If you yourself tell about it, pity yourself,
evidence it by word as well as by your appearance, then you deserve to
be classed as “that fat Brown girl” instead of “the good-looking Brown

If you prefer short dresses, and short skirts are the vogue, be
extremely careful about your feet. Have them perfectly shod. Wear hose
of a neutral or dress-matching shade so that the height will not be
broken. Severe lines for modish, clear-skinned girls with neat coiffures
are often very effective and they have the additional advantage of
youthfulness which older women must strive for.

Try to learn about your dress from study and observation rather than
from experience. The latter is discouraging and expensive. Visit shops
that specialize in tailored things. Study fashion pictures for line, not
color or trimming, for you know you can vary these to suit your special
slenderizing emphasis. Ice cream, like candy, is tempting to young
folks, as are bright colors and new fads. So eat sparingly, but of the
best, choose the choicest of the fads, the smartest of the new colors.
Invariably they will be in good taste and created of a color and
material or design that you can with discretion adopt.


  Youthfulness is entirely possible with slenderizing lines. These
    illustrations, for instance, are simple to the extreme, yet allow of
    individuality and becomingness. The plaited frill held in place by a
    definite length band is allowable.

  The Tuxedo panels of the black dress are designed as part of the
    collar, in scarf effect, thus giving a youthful line rather than a
    heavy, collar trim and one that can be worn by all but full bust

                        YOUTHFUL STYLES TO AVOID

Don’t be tempted to buy a bright colored cheviot suit when a navy
charmeen or a smart black and white stripe would be much more
distinctive and slenderizing.

Don’t let any one make you look old. Avoid bulk in your clothes, such as
heavy skirts, bulging ornaments, ruffles, frills and flounces. Learn to
delight in slenderizing. Enjoy it. It can become as much a hobby as can
art in pictures or music. Remember you have the responsibility of your
own loveliness. If you are not pleasing to see morning, noon and night,
you can blame nary a soul but yourself. Wholesomeness is beautiful
anywhere, any time, so work to achieve perfection by way of simplicity.
Your responsibility will be less and the result more sure.

Wear trim, one-piece dresses with narrow belts and long, smart collars.
Work yourself into the new fads _wisely_. Enjoy the new in dress but do
it discreetly so that it blends perfectly with size, type and


  Youthfulness demands simplicity. Short coats overcome the appearance
    of heaviness over the hips and are at the same time youthful. In the
    suit above the long revers, the vertical pockets, the broken cuff
    line, and the lap-front skirt, all aid in the “magic” of

  Simplicity and smartness in evening frocks is as essential as those
    for day-time wear.

  The first dress is Georgette with wee pin tucks, the bodice of
    brocade, thus giving length in line and concealed brilliancy
    desirable for evening wear.

  At the right is metallic cloth in inconspicuous design, aided in line
    by the long velvet ribbon trim. The long, link necklace also gives
    length and serves to break the line of the square neck which might
    otherwise be unbecoming.

Don’t wear feathers; they are old and “filling.” Don’t over dress.
Remember the fewer clothes the better—just enough to be respectable!
Never bundle yourself up in clothes—wear them for comfort, beauty, and

Put a double front in your slips and don’t wear petticoats. They pull
you in at the wrong place. Let your slip also suffice for a corset
cover. Use perspiration preventatives rather than dress shields, and
don’t put linings in your dresses. Eliminate even seams that are bulky.

Avoid buttons. They are allowable for little folks and older folks, but
are too matter of fact for smart simplicity. If you wear knickers be
sure that they fit correctly; don’t let them extend too high at the
waist or in wide-cuff effect below the knee. A band just below the knee
is less heavy looking.

                         TRIMNESS IS YOUR GOAL

Watch out if you wear sweaters. A football type, never! Get soft, trim
coat sweaters and button the last two buttons, or choose Tuxedos, which
are best of all. White heavy skirts and bright red heavy sports sweaters
can be your “Waterloo” if you are not careful. You can, however, wear a
neat, white skirt that is soft, not too full, and just right in length,
with a dull, soft blue-green or tan light-weight sweater and look very,
very smart, especially if your shoes and stockings are all white—not cut
up with black and white or sandal-like in shape. And then a perky felt
or milan hat, trimmed at one side, can look a lot better for sports wear
than a drooping wide brim which seems so “comfy” for big folk. Remember,
trimness is your goal—“perfection in simplicity”—so don’t stop short of
it in any detail.


  In choosing clothes for young girls who are large for their age, the
    same rules of optical illusion apply as for adults. For instance, in
    the above picture the length lines are deftly used to emphasize the
    line of youth.

Even in negligee and in night clothes consider every article, because
habit is as big a factor as fat and quite as difficult to reckon with.
In making your night dresses, you can panel them by means of tucks and
make V yokes instead of round, or broad square ones. You may also have
them sleeveless and tailored, all of which will help in making for
slenderness. Soft crêpe night dresses with a woven stripe in self color
are attractive. Stiff materials will never do. Materials that are too
sheer show the body outline too much, and if your material is “bumpy” of
course it, too, is taboo.

Use short shoulders in your negligees and have definite length lines. If
you must have pockets, point them down so that they won’t square the
figure across the hips. And choose soft, easy colors that are becoming.
Changeable taffetas are to be shunned like the measles. Soft crêpes and
small figured silks and stripes are all suitable. In this campaign, even
the bedroom slippers should be of inconspicuous color so as not to take
from the height.

Work for trimness, neatness, preciseness at all times. They all go with
a tailored effect and must be observed to the letter if you wish to
achieve the illusion of slenderness in dress.

                               CHAPTER X
                       THE SMART LINE OF DIGNITY

There comes a time with all of us when we have to admit that we are no
longer youthful, but we never need admit nor should we ever feel that we
are no longer young. Young hearts, young eyes, and young interests can
always keep within us the fountain of youth, and that is our right in
life—to enjoy to the last day our heritage, which means interest in
living, expressing beauty, tenderness, and true womanliness.

When you have reached this stage of development you should be just as
proud and happy about it as when you made your debut thirty years ago.
Your vision can behold much more now than it could then, for you can now
look both forward and backward, and then you could only look forward.

A wise educator says that every woman should have three careers: The
first, of youth and education; the second, of marriage and motherhood;
the third, of activity in business, or in advanced motherhood, or in
social or civic life. So it is for the third career that I want to write
these pages—to you who have a real incentive to be attractive yet have a
definite problem of too much weight.


There is nothing more discouraging than to see a woman become careless
of her appearance as she grows older. Indeed, nowadays no woman with
proper self-respect would be guilty of such a crime, for although
dignity and womanliness are much to be admired in the mature woman,
there is certainly no excuse for a woman to allow herself to look old or
dowdy, no matter what her age may be. On the contrary, the older you
grow, the more urgent is your need for clothes that will make you look
smart and attractive, especially if you are even one pound overweight.
Let your watchword be to dress more smartly each year and to pay more
attention with each succeeding season to the demands of fashion. Dress
to suit your circumstances and needs, of course, but never forget to
dress appropriately to the occasion as well as to your figure and always
with a keen appreciation of youth.


  When dignity is the aim, rich lace is often desirable. The dress above
    has a circular flare apron in the front only, and a lengthwise panel
    in the back, the lace band giving the desired length line in the
    front. Some older women prefer a short sleeve. A lace sleeve cap is
    shown for evening wear. Full length, close-fitting sleeves are
    required for this model for day-time wear.

  In considering these designs, take up a current fashion book, study
    closely the effective length lines, remembering that obtrusive
    breaks in the line are to be avoided. The neckline of the above
    dress is a good example of correctness, also the waistline

  The side line of the suit coat connecting, as it does, with the
    pocket, is another example of subtle harmonious line giving the
    desired length.

Don’t allow salespeople and the family to squelch your desire to look
attractive. I remember a dear mother woman of 55, round and happy
looking, who made her husband’s heart go “pit-pat” as much as it had 30
or 40 years before. She went into a millinery shop one day and was shown
to the case of bonnets for old ladies. Tears came—sincere, tragic tears.
She turned to her daughter and said with a definiteness never to be
forgotten, “If you ever let anybody put one of those hats on me I will
leave home.” And the daughter knew that she meant what she said.

Such a woman is a delight to dress. She is interested, has a
responsibility, and wants to look 45 instead of 55, and so every
available aid should be at hand to help in so worthy a cause.

For her, soft silk dresses are best. They are more nearly in harmony
with kindly good humor than stiff firm fabrics. Blue that is cool and
soft is better for such a type than purple or lavender. Lovely grays are
better than black. Navy blue is best of all.

Every woman should study her temperament and mood along with her type of
figure and work to dress both as perfectly as possible, remembering that
a little frosting is good on any cake, and even the plainest bread is
improved with butter and jam. Don’t be afraid of the smart hat, the new
trimming, or a trim new collar that is fashionable. It may help somebody
to fall in love with you all over again. Keep on the alert for whatever
will add youthful charm, womanly dignity, and lovely smartness, as well
as slenderness.

All the precautions, suggestions, and instructions throughout this book
are even more important for you than they are for younger women. Here
are a few, however, that apply _especially_ to you.

                       IF YOU ARE SHORT AND STOUT

If you are short and stout, select lines definitely lengthwise to aid
height. Lines that extend the full length of the figure are best. Neck
lines, panels, etc., will improve the general effect if they are made to
terminate in a point. Crosswise lines and trimmings on skirts are not
for the short woman, as they emphasize breadth and tend to shorten the
figure. It is particularly important that you give careful study to
those optical illusions which seem to add height and detract width. You
cannot be too particular about applying these rules to every garment
that you either make or buy.


  House or home dresses are as important as those for dress up wear.

  Plain foundation patterns lend themselves to development of good taste
    dresses such as are shown here.

  A—Fine stripes of smart coloring are often effective, especially when
    definitely tailored.

  B—Broken yoke and belt lines are frequently used in sports clothes,
    are youthful, and if right in proportions can be as effective as
    definitely straight lines.

  C—A shirtwaist dress often achieves the slender line by the
    continuance of the double line panel in both blouse and skirt. Note
    that the sleeve is slashed to break the width.

  D—Small figured all-over design materials are allowable if both design
    and coloring are inconspicuous. Note here that the sleeve is short,
    an appropriate length with an untrimmed skirt.

                       FOR THE TALL STOUT FIGURE

The tall mature stout figure should watch her lines so that they will
not overemphasize height. Draped, as well as tunic skirts may be used to
advantage. The possibilities of applying trimming features to garments
for the tall woman are more allowable than for the short woman, but
great care must be used to avoid an upholstered effect that detracts
from her essential dignity.

If the length of the waist is short in proportion to the skirt length,
design and color combinations that do not tend to accentuate this
irregularity should be selected. A very common mistake in such cases is
to wear a skirt with a high waist line or a dark belt with a white or a
light-colored blouse. A short-waisted woman should choose skirts with
regulation waist lines or long-waisted blouse effects.

                           SKIRTS FOR DIGNITY

Skirts, whether full or narrow, that are cut as long as possible without
attracting undue attention to their length or causing discomfort, long
tunic skirts, and plain, straight-plaited skirts are desirable for the
stout woman. She should consistently avoid tiered skirts or skirts with
ruffles, shirring, and excessive or crosswise trimming.


  Straight lines in skirts are always advantageous, especially so if the
    figure is short below the waist. These suggestions are given as aids
    to variety.

The older you are, the more generous you can be in skirt length and
fullness, though in no case should your skirts be noticeably far from
fashion’s dictates.

                           SLEEVES FOR GRACE

The sleeves for the mature stout should be plain and soft in appearance
and have a tendency to cling to the arm. If the forearm is large and
heavy, a sleeve that comes just below the elbow or to a point 3 or 4
inches above the wrist is suitable. Long, bulky sleeves, however, should
never be worn on a heavy forearm. If long sleeves are worn, they should
be made to fit very close below the elbow, and should be finished at the
lower edge with a fold of net or lace or fabric or with a moderately
small, light-weight, flaring cuff. Such finishes will make the hand
appear smaller when a glove is not worn.

The mature stout woman should never expose her shoulders and upper arms
when in evening attire; rather, she should cover the flesh with filmy
lace or chiffon, or she should wear a scarf of tulle, preferably of
black or a silent tone, across the shoulders and the arms. White will
make the arms appear larger than they really are, and black will give
the opposite effect.


  When dignity is the aim, one must always seek to give interest in
    line. Youth can manage severity in line and can wear satisfactorily
    garments that are untrimmed, but with advancing years, there comes a
    greater necessity for variety in detail.

  A coat, for instance, might be boyishly plain for a 20–year-old girl
    weighing 160, but for the same weight at 50 one needs to slip in a
    friendly line or cozy bit of fur to modify the severely tailored.

  The examples shown on the opposite page are worthy of close study, and
    a smart Fashion Book at your right hand will allow you a modish use
    of these correct lines in any current fashion.

                           TRIMMINGS TO AVOID

In choosing the trimmings for your garments, remember that buttons or
trimmings placed in flat patch effect, as in squares, triangles, or
diamonds, will tend to add thickness and destroy dignity, while if they
are arranged in single rows or broken lines they will add dignity and at
the same time give the appearance of length. Harmonizing, rather than
contrasting colors should be selected for trimmings, so that they will
not stand out boldly from the garment. Never should the collar, the
belt, or the finish at the bottom of the skirt be permitted to attract
the eye before the garment itself does, but they should be arranged so
as to be as inconspicuous as possible. Tucks, plaits, and seams should
be made to extend up and down the garment instead of around it. Nowhere
else can the laws of optical illusion be so effectively applied, with
such noticeable results, as in the matter of trimmings. A single
ornament, wrongly placed, can mar an entire costume for the woman who
wants to achieve slenderness.


The mature woman—the woman past her first youth—owes it to herself, her
family, and the world at large to be as becomingly and appropriately
dressed as intelligent effort, skill, and available money will permit.
On her rests the responsibility, example, standard of right living, and
the function of leadership. Also it is her duty not only to attract and
please, but to hold the admiration of those who believe in her, and by
her charming appearance, poise, and dignity to make her particular
sphere, no matter how small or seemingly unimportant it may be, radiate
joy, peace, and progress.

Nearly everybody agrees with the adage that “a woman is as old as she
looks and a man as old as he feels;” at least, there is no doubt that
the mature woman has a big advantage over the mature man. By her dress,
the woman of today can prolong her youth and at the same time she can
take on that poise and dignity which the accumulation of years and
experience generously bestows upon her, provided, of course, she accepts
these years and experiences in the right spirit. Deep down in every
normal woman lies the girl nature, and becoming, appropriate clothes
make possible the return of the girl spirit in a dignified way that
imparts real charm.


  Would you believe that the pattern of these two dresses is exactly the
    same? This illustrates how you can vary a dress once you find the
    foundation lines that are becoming to you. One pattern can suffice
    for both a tailored and an afternoon dress, as you see both effects
    are pleasing in their slenderness.

There is no definite or set period when certain styles of clothes are to
be worn by women of different ages. The age limit for certain styles is
within the control of every woman herself, and, naturally, the woman who
has the most intelligent knowledge and appreciation of herself and her
clothes will generally be the best dressed and will convey that
undeniable pleasure to observers—a well-dressed and dignified

Frequently, a woman does not become noticeably stout until she has
reached the neighborhood of 45 or 46 years. This time of life is usually
the most trying for any woman, for when youth has taken flight it makes
necessary three things if a woman wishes to continue to appear
attractive and pleasing: dignity, careful grooming, and correct
selection of color, lines, and fabric. Correct corseting is, of course,
absolutely essential in order that the entire costume may be in perfect
harmony with her individuality and that she may have the appearance of
absolute comfort and ease.

But there is no reason why a woman of fifty cannot look smartly dressed,
and so she should. It is not only desirable but necessary for her to
keep active and progressive both in mind and in body, and as women’s
clubs and good reading matter help to develop her intelligence in other
respects, so they are aiming also to help her in selecting the best
materials, colors, and styles for her clothes.

Fashion folks need money from all of us to keep their lovely shops
going, so hunt around, find the shop that has things becoming to you,
then buy or copy them as your purse dictates, and study fashion
magazines and shop windows as you would a speller at a “spelling bee.”
Dress up—be gracious and charming! Everybody will love you for doing it
and you will look ten years younger as a result.

                               CHAPTER XI

Don’t wear your hats too small. No big woman should look like a pyramid.
On the other hand, don’t ever allow your hat brims, when you want to
look alluring, to extend beyond your shoulders. Just inside is wide
enough and more becoming. Medium sized hats are best at all times. Pokes
are taboo if your head sets close to your shoulders. Let the facings of
your hats be of a becoming color. This is an ideal way of emphasizing
the color of your eyes. But don’t let the facing show prominently, for
if you do your height will seem to terminate with the bottom of your hat
and you will lose in appearance in consequence.

The evolution in woman’s habits of living has made the enormous hat
perched on top of a high pompadour an utter impossibility, and no woman
needs to move farther away from such a fad than the big woman. Her hat
must fit her perfectly, in head size and in width and height, and at the
same time must be comfortable, smart, and becoming. It is essential that
the hat be worn correctly, “rightly set,” for it is easy to lose dignity
if the hat appears to be hung on a corner of the head instead of being
placed so as to become, apparently, a part of the head.


In the category of shapes we have the flat sailor, with brim from 1 inch
to 5 inches wide; the drooping or mushroom brim; the even roll brim; the
irregular roll; the coronet brim; and the toque. The round plump face
should never be framed with an even rolling brim which suggests the moon
with a ring around it, but should have its roundness lengthened by an
angular curve or broken line that will give height at the side, or a
diadem coronet effect, giving height in the direct front. The crown
should be at least as broad as the cheeks and continue that width, or
spread a little wider at the top, but never assume a cone shape.

The plump woman lives through a period when a sailor line is most
becoming of all. Then comes a time, and she, herself, cannot tell why,
when the sailor proves a disappointment. It is then that she turns to a
larger hat or to a turban type, either of which can prove just as
unflattering as the sailor if it is too large or too small. You need to
watch both size and shape for the big hat can make you look top heavy,
the little hat old.


  These two examples show how even a hat with drooping brim, if not too
    wide, can be worn by the stout person if trimming is adeptly used to
    direct the vision upward and lend an illusion of height.

A short, stout woman should avoid a squatty mushroom hat, because it
exaggerates her lack of height, and adds years in appearance. She should
choose a narrow brim and high crown, calculated to add length of line
and absorb some of the rotundity of her features. The woman who is
proportionately larger than the average will find the drooping mushroom
with rather broad sides and a medium size crown that conforms to the
shape of the head, trimmed in an even compact arrangement, decidedly

The stout woman of medium height can wear this same type of hat with
slight alteration on the brim line; that is, instead of the sides
drooping down midway from the head-size on both sides, the brim assumes
a slight upward curve which continues around the back while the crown
may be from one to two inches taller than ordinarily. This depends upon
the prevailing fashion.

If the chin recedes, never wear a hat that flares up and forward from
the brow, for it would emphasize the line of the chin. A hat with a tiny
brim and a high, straight crown seems the best style. Accordingly, the
large woman with a protruding chin requires a counteracting forward
effect in the brim; therefore, she will find a small hat, with an abrupt
upward turning brim, in the style generally known as the Russian effect,
smart and becoming.


  Here trimming is used on two entirely different types of hats to give
    in each case added height to the figure and help in attaining a
    slenderizing appearance.

  Left—Hats with medium brims and high trimming are often becoming,
    especially if wide enough to avoid the pyramid effect.

  Right—High built trimming and delicate veils are advantageous where a
    double chin is the handicap.

The double chin is another problem that the large woman has found
difficult to solve. For this type, the rather high hat, or a top-heavy
turban, if it conforms to the vogue and is in good taste, is desirable.
A scarf or veil craftily arranged around the neck will do much to hide
this unbecoming roll of flesh. Nowhere is a thorough knowledge of the
laws of optical illusion more necessary than in your selection of hats.
Cheap hats are a false economy, especially for the large woman. Do not,
therefore, spend your good money on any hat unless you are sure it will
add the desired lines to your appearance. This, as you must realize by
this time, is really quite easy to do.


To avoid harsh and trying colors in hats should be the principal aim of
the big woman, for they tend to emphasize the bigness we are trying to
make less conspicuous. The staples, dark navy and black, are always
equally suitable for blondes and brunettes, and carry smartness for
street wear. Grays, too, provided the skin permits them, are in good
taste. Silver-gray, platinum or zinc are good choices for the large
woman. While you need not be overwhelmingly conventional, you must
appreciate your limitations about the extremes in shapes, color, and
trimming arrangement.

Trimmings for our hats should never be heavy nor “bunchy,” but at an
angle and more perky than anything else. Avoid small ornaments, too. A
bow or ornament on a hat can make a great deal of difference in its
height-giving advantages.


First, beware of fur coats. Even though rich and luxurious, they are
bulky and heavy in appearance. Trim, tailored coats are more flattering
and less expensive, so think twice before you buy a fur coat. Buy lovely
soft fabrics that are rich in quality and soft enough to “cling.”
Remember that word and think of it every time you buy anything but hats.
Let your coat be unbroken in line and untrimmed. A big button set on the
stomach can destroy more art than you can plan out in a month. Oblong
buttons at the side or string ties of the material of the coat are best.

Have your coat long or hip length. Watch the line carefully. There is a
point that is becoming in length; make sure you find it.


  As shown here, fasteners for coats should be placed at the side and be
    as inconspicuous as possible.

If you are square shouldered you may find capes very becoming, but
generally they add size rather than reduce it.

Long fur or fabric scarfs are desirable. Ostrich or ruffly scarfs, of
course, are to be looked at with admiration for their softness and
color, but rarely worn by anyone desiring a slenderizing effect.

                              CHAPTER XII

We cannot all be beautiful but we can give pleasure to ourselves and
others by being correctly and pleasingly attired at all times. And it is
necessary, too, this keeping always alert, in this day of competition
and progressive freedom of women. Your responsibility to look well is
greater than ever before. So work, watch, study and persevere and be
happy about it. Good health is the greatest essential. And no matter
what you weigh, you can, by following the rules given you in this book,
look at least 20 to 40 pounds lighter than you are. You can have real
fun and keep off any additional weight by your alertness, interest and
enthusiasm for looking your “slenderest best” all the time.

Of course, women who are decidedly overweight need to know these rules
of slenderizing dress more than those who are only a few pounds above
the normal. But in this imperfect world of ours there are few women
indeed, no matter how much or how little they may weigh, whose
proportions are perfect and satisfactory. Where indeed is the woman or
girl who would not like to be a little slimmer here, a little taller
there, a little more gracefully proportioned one place or another?


I cannot be too emphatic in my assertion that the wrong clothes, or even
a wrong detail in a costume may mar an entire effect and may indeed
create the illusion of ungainliness and dumpiness even in a girl who may
be _underweight_, as far as actual pounds go. Perfect proportions then
are the aim of every woman who wants to make the best of herself and I
am certain that a careful study of these rules of optical illusion and
an intelligent application of them will improve the appearance of
_every_ woman.

Nor is it the moneyed woman who is always the best dressed. Far from it
indeed. Sometimes it is the shop girl whose few dollars have been wisely
and intelligently spent for smartness and becomingness who looks most
charming and most distinguished, for since these girls rarely have rich
furs and jewels they can more simply and more tellingly emphasize beauty
of line and color.

The stout woman improves her position by omission rather than addition.
“Every little bit added to what you have makes just a little bit more”
is all right for Scotch pennies, but not for one who is working to look
30 or 40 pounds lighter. Be slim by being trim; be attractive by being
immaculate; and strive with all your might for grace, ease, and personal
charm. Never yield to a misuse of color, line, or fabric. Never give up
in your determination to dress for slenderness. You must admit right now
that it is far more interesting than diet and much more effective.

And now that you know the rules, study and practice them. Apply them to
perfection so that when dressed you will make a picture of loveliness
such as all may envy and admire.

Whistler says, “A picture is finished when all trace of the means used
to bring about the end has disappeared.

“To say of a picture, as is often said in its praise, that it shows
great and earnest labor, is to say that it is incomplete and unfit to

“The work of the master reeks not of the sweat of the brow—it suggests
no effort.”

So hide the means, let it not be visible to any one that you have
deliberately and with intent worked to achieve slenderness in your
dress. Only in that way will you really achieve it.


As you have read and studied this book you have been told many times
what _not_ to do. This advice has been repeated so frequently because I
have wanted to impress you with the fact that _simplicity_ in dress is
the first essential of Youth, Dignity and Slenderness. So to leave out
of your costume the offensive coloring, line or trimming is of prime

Here are a few points always to be remembered in planning and designing
or in buying clothes for yourself:

Choose fabrics that cling, that are of smooth, soft surface, that are

Choose colors that recede—none that “light up” and “advance” in the eye.

Avoid clothes that are too small.

Avoid a tight, short waist line.

Avoid skirts that are too full, too short, or too long.

Use set-in sleeves rather than kimono sleeves unless the arm is very
attractive. Then the sleeve must be very short or the dress sleeveless.

And here, finally, are ten chief rules that will help you profit to the
utmost by what you have learned from this book and aid you speedily in
attaining that slenderized appearance which is your aim:


1. Whenever you make over an old garment or design, have made, or
purchase a new one always apply to it the rules of optical illusion as
regards line, color, and fabric.

2. When you know what is becoming, try to achieve becomingness in an
_attractive_ way, emphasizing as much smartness and youthful charm in
your dress as age, circumstances and occasion will allow.

3. Consider what is best for you as an individual. Study your type until
you are sure what you can and what you cannot wear—do not try fantastic
experiments unless you have unlimited means.

4. Make it a definite rule to assemble your attire and decide on every
detail before you begin to dress.

5. Aim always to be refreshing, clean, neat, and carefully groomed.

6. Wear neat, good-looking, perfect fitting shoes appropriate to the
size of your feet, and choose trim, sheer stockings that do not contrast
too strikingly, if at all, with the color of your costume.

7. Be sure your corsets are right for you and that they surround you
comfortably, but do not mold or hold your flesh too tightly. Let your
brassiere fit perfectly.

8. Let your slip be of fine, smooth silk or batiste. Have it of the same
color as your dress or of a harmonizing shade. Let the bottom edge come
a trifle shorter than that of the dress, and be sure it fits you without
a wrinkle.

9. When you are dressed, look yourself over carefully in front of your
mirror and improve every detail as much as possible. Before the last
look or the last dab of powder, consider carefully whether you are
overdressed and whether all accessories go together, and especially make
certain that you are not overtrimmed with jewelry, necklaces, or

10. Then, when all is done, put on a smile that expresses the finest
that is in you, that compliments you for doing your best. And if, to
this smile, you add all the kindliness that you can command, all the
happiness that you can summon, your friends and your very own folks will
declare you charming.

                           PRINTED IN U.S.A.


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 2. Archaic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings retained as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

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