16 November 2008

Matters of Dress (1892)

I think it's fun to look at the values of a century ago and see how much culture has changed. The following is from a book called "The Correct Thing for Catholics" by Lelia Hardin Bugg written in 1892. Enjoy.

It is the Correct Thing:

To dress according to one's means.

To avoid all extremes and eccentricities in dress.

To remember that neatness, scrupulous cleanliness, and a perfect fit are the fundamentals in a proper attire.

To avoid conspicuous attire on the street.

To dress in society as the occasion demands.

To remember that one of the marks of a lady is to dress as one.

To keep one's clothes in perfect order.

To make a liberal use of soap and water.

To remember that male cranks wear their hair long and female cranks theirs short.

To leave rouge to the green-room where it is a necessary adjunct, and to the women who have no reputation to be compromised.

To remember that tight lacing, and any device of the toilet which injures the health, is not only bad taste, but is a positive sin.

To remember that no lady, to say nothing of a Catholic worthy of the name, will wear a gown cut immodestly low.

To dress becomingly in the home circle.

To remember that the body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, and is therefore worthy of proper care.


It is Not the Correct Thing:

For a woman to spend more than she can afford on dress.

For a woman to spend the greater part of her time shopping, studying fashion-plates, devising costumes, and sewing.

For a woman who can afford better to wear shabby gowns.

To follow an ugly and unbecoming fashion.

For poor women to try to rival rich ones in matters of dress.

To haggle over a reasonable price for dressmaking and sewing.

To show disrespect to a hostess by appearing at her entertainments in unsuitable apparel.

To wear showy and expensive costumes at church.

To wear shabby costumes at church, as if anything were good enough for the house of God.

To wear torn stockings, ripped gloves, shoes with buttons off, gowns in need of dusting and renovating, hats out of date and unbecoming, soiled collars, cuffs, or niching, and to make a liberal use of pins.

To emulate the Indian in his dislike to a bath.

To use rouge on the cheeks, ink on the eyebrows, or blondine on the hair.

To use powder too freely. Its proper use is merely to take the shiny appearance off the face after it has been washed, or when going out in the wind and sun to prevent chapping.

To forget that an immodest gown is a mark of low breeding.

To devote the greater part of one's time to the consideration of clothes.

To think that anything is good enough to wear at home.

For a woman to appear in the home circle in a slouchy wrapper, old slippers, hair dishevelled, bangs in curl-papers, or in a worn-out reception gown sadly in need of repairs.

To forget that art in many instances may remedy the defects of nature.

To let vanity be the motive in taking proper care of the body.

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