Hats and Gloves – November 1898

Men often remark that the average woman is not so careful and fastidious about the details of her dress as a man.

That same critical man probably has his clothes and his linen attended to by some careful woman. If he had the shirts and collars to dress he would more often ruminate that perhaps a busy public will not take note that his cuffs are slightly soiled, and would be hopeful that his coat collar hides a provoking switch (tress of hair).

It is undeniable that women — those who have not a laundry maid at command — are often to be seen wearing collars that ought to be in the wash-tub. If you cannot have clean linen, wear something which does not show the dirt.

As regards gloves, it is a nice problem how to be nicely gloved — if you go out much — on a dress allowance of something under £20 a year. It can be done, and must be done if you wish to appear well dressed, for shabby or ill-fitting gloves spoil the whole appearance. It is, fortunately, not de rigeur always to wear suede or dressed kid, which are so expensive if they are to look and wear well.

There is quite a large variety of cheaper material for both summer and winter use — so cheap that there is no excuse for not being always gloved in a lady-like manner. And yet one occasionally sees a girl otherwise well dressed wearing kid gloves with worn and frayed finger tips. Her brother would have better taste.

We must have hats for all the four seasons, and two at a time are scarcely sufficient to keep us decent, and we are good contrivers, indeed, if they can be reproduced in a presentable form next year. The same rule applies to head gear as to our more substantial garments — if we have not much money to spend, let it not be gay or of ephemeral material. The bicycle is making the simple sailor hat universal on all but dressy occasions, for which we can be thankful.

It ought to be superfluous to advise all who cultivate a good appearance to be particular about all flimsy accessories, such as veils, laces, etc. They are an abomination if they are not dainty and fresh. Undeniably, they are expensive trifles. A veil very speedily loses the slight stiffness which makes it sit nicely round the chin and up the back of the head. As soon as it begins to get soft and pull unevenly over the face, pop it in the fire unless you keep it for a wet or wild day, to be worn for the special purpose of keeping the hair tidy.

This period of short skirts tells tales about the ankles. One man I know is an admirer of skirts reaching only to the ankles; but, he remarks, after a day in town, ladies do not always have their stockings pulled taut, and how slovenly that looks!

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