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A Dainty Frock of Black Taffetas for Spring 1912

A Dainty Frock of Black Taffetas Is Finished with a Fine White Lawn Jabot and Frills on the Sleeves, and a Velvet Bow and Buckle at the Neck.

A Dainty Frock of Black Taffetas Is Finished with a Fine White Lawn Jabot and Frills on the Sleeves, and a Velvet Bow and Buckle at the Neck. The Illustrated London News (6 April 1912) p. 514. GGA Image ID # 105aced918

Never do our new clothes seem more acceptable, even indispensable, than in the spring. It is not only that one wants to lighten the weight and lessen the warmth of the costume, but the return of the bright sun shows up all the wear-and-tear of past wintry weather;  and things that looked still quite respectable in the dull light of winter’s short days are found to be painfully dingy and dirty in the bright sunshine of the early spring.

The fewer clothes one indulges in, the more careful must be the choice, so it is not the part of wisdom to rush forth to buy without due consideration; if the garment will have to serve for a good time, whether it pleases or not, better wait awhile, till Fashion’s voice is distinctly heard proclaiming her intentions as to the season’s cut and style.

But the new materials are all ready, and the owner of a reasonable dress allowance naturally seeks her first new supply for spring with joy, as soon as the weather admits of doffing winter wear, as we may now hope is the case.

It is not only the cut of a costume that deserves to receive from the intending wearer an impartial personal study, but color demands individual thought also, to harmonize the dress with the complexion, the hair, and the eyes.

It is as real a blunder to select a color for one’s wear because it is "fashionable" as it is to follow an unsuitable outline. An eye for color seems to be a somewhat rare endowment: or perhaps it is that taste is not cultivated adequately in early life by observation, and by being surrounded by beautiful things.

Some colors may suit a face when used in small quantities, as in bows, trimming lines, or vests, and even in hats, that would have the reverse effect if the entire gown were made of the same tint. White of a creamy tone suits almost all complexions; there is a blue-white, however, that is becoming only to clear complexions, whether of the rosy or the olive type.

The golden-haired blonde with a pink-tinted complexion has the most comprehensive choice in colors; for her, white in all its tones, blue and green in all their shades, golden yellow, rose-pink, all shades of purple, grey or black brightened with pink, each and all enhance the appearance, and red is the only color that to this type is probably unbecoming.

Brown hair and eyes and a brunette skin should avoid the lighter tones of blue and green, but the deeper shades of these colors will probably suit them if the skin is clear.

Brown and dark blue in fabrics with deep lights and shadows, such as velvet, will suit brunettes excellently; but vivid reds, rich pinks, amber, tan and cream-white, are their best colors; purple is uncertain, it suits some brunettes, but most do well to eschew it.

Easy to suit with harmonious tints is the medium blonde type of beauty which is, perhaps, the most characteristically English—blue or clear grey eyes, hair appearing brown in the mass but well lit up by high lights of gold, a clear, fair complexion without very vivid color in the cheeks.

This type is " flattered’’ as the French say, by blue above all. A delicate yellow, from that of ripe corn to the deep creamy tone of a Gloire-de-Dijon rose, is also very becoming.

Green of a rather vivid shade, Lincoln, moss, willow, and lime green, especially when worn with a touch of pink, even only a pink bow or a rose, is very becoming.

Black relieved a little with white, or with pink or blue, is also excellent wear for the medium blonde with good skin.

Auburn hair is often unbecomingly treated by its owner, who ought to be pleased to possess it; but too often she has also a freckled and sallow complexion. 

Olive-green, dark red, pale brown and tan and, with a good complexion, light blue and really pale shades of pink and yellow, are all possible, but generally, the auburn-haired woman docs best with the dark shades just mentioned.

It is interesting to note the revival of taffetas— the olden-time favorite—and, as a variety in make-up, the smart dressmakers are sending out taffetas tailor-made costumes in various colors; but we think taffetas in this form will not take the popular fancy, although it will be a useful and dainty material to wear.

For the spring, the three-piece schemes, giving a complete frock when the coat is removed, will be made up of serge or whipcord, and not a few will choose the hopsack which resembles Turkish toweling in make, and this combined with a blouse in charmeuse or taffetas will make up a smart affair for afternoon wear.

Another pretty fancy is the net blouse, with veiled medallions of thick lace, and worn over a plain taffetas slip to match the skirt. The lace jabot is always with us, but we are now to wear it with a difference, and one of the most becoming styles is to outline the front of the dress to the waist with a tastefully arranged cascade of lace, its scanty folds caught by long jeweled lace pins.

Petticoats are to be decidedly pretty this season, and one we saw the other day, which formed part of a trousseau, was made of thin muslin or cambria, with a good deal of lace insertion in stripes down the front, while the flounce was edged with hand-embroidered rose-buds and scallops. Indeed, it was almost pretty enough for a dress.

Of course, such a petticoat is made à la Princesse, so that the trimming extends in an unbroken line from bust to top of scanty flounce to meet the requirements of the one-piece dress, for although rumor has it that skirts are to be more extensive this season, still modistes are not allowing much flow in the underskirt, which would considerably spoil the set of the sheath-like skirt with its straight outline and carefully swathed draperies.

Much has been said about the new hairdressing, and the unanimous verdict has been that "Beauty unadorned is adorned the most,” and the Goddess of Fashion has decreed that additional puffs and curls are to be abandoned, and ladies will appear much more attractive and stylish in the natural simplicity of their own shining tresses.

For evening wear, dainty curls will fill in the nape of the neck, and a jeweled filet is to encircle the crown, holding in front or at side an osprey, with its stem buckled by a sparkling ornament.

"Ladies' Page," in The Illustrated London News, New York: The International News Company, Vol. 50, No. 1300, Saturday, 6 April 1912, p. 514.

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