In France, where the most magnificent clothes are made, women seem to be ageless. The great couturiers think in terms of the mature woman-the matron rather than the adolescent girl. In 1951 clothes were of the character to enhance a woman’s figure-important gowns, day ensembles created for the woman of mature years.
A study of history reveals that a woman does not always dress to suit her age. For instance when, during the early part of the nineteenth century, the Empire style-white, short-waisted, low neckline-was dominant, British women of slight as well as those of ample proportions wore this style. Again in the 1920’s die “flapper look,” a straight-line sheath originally for a slender young figure, was universally adopted. Accepted fashions do not always make women fashion appear attractive, yet the force of fashion is so powerful that most women conform to current style rather than cling to a silhouette perhaps attractive to them personally but obsolete. The few hardy individuals who in 1950 wear the street-length garb of pre-War I days are stared at with laughter in the streets. Only a woman as popular and beloved as Queen Mary of England can wear a dated hat or costume and not be considered ridiculous.
The mature woman requires material in texture, color, and hand suitable for her years and designs that conceal figure and posture faults. Fabrics too youthful in character have an unkind effect on the older woman. Organdy, dimity, brilliant plaids, exotic and vivid prints, bright colors, are best worn by the younger person. Silk and rayon crepes, solid-color woolens and worsteds, muted tweeds, velvet, brocades, chiffon, solid or self-patterned linen, are all suitable for the older person. The older person should try to achieve a beautiful or sophisticated rather than an ingénue appearance.
DRESSING AND PERSONALITY
a popular magazine story compares the faces and figures of men h their dogs. Some men have a bulldog look; others, the friendly aspect of a collie; another man may have the tense alert look of a terrier, while a small ultra fastidious man may give the appearance of a French poodle. Personalities of women likewise may be compared to flowers. Two women of the same size, build, age, and coloring may require entirely different clothing. One may be an extrovert and the other an introvert: one, outspoken, unafraid; the other, shy, timid, and retiring. A slender girl with regular features and pleasing coloring may remind one of a rose; another girl with plain features may suggest a shasta daisy; a tall sophisticated woman may be compared to a tiger lily or an orchid.
One retail store, noted for outstanding success in the promotion and selling of misses’ and women’s ready-to-wear, always has suitable merchandise for five personality types: the pretty blonde, the fashionable, the country resident, the average, and the college type.
The pretty blonde is the type having hair, eye, and complexion distinguished by delicate, beautiful, or unusual coloring-the person who wants to look pretty regardless of current fashions.
The fashionable type is eager for new and striking merchandise. She is willing to change her coiffure to suit a new hat silhouette. She enjoys being among the first to wear a new fashion. Frequently this type of person is sophisticated and poised, regardless of age. Her features may be plain, but she gives the appearance of elegance and attractiveness.
The woman who lives in the country, no matter what her size, needs warm, comfortable, durable clothing, so tweeds, sweaters, casual jersey, wool, and cotton dresses are available for her. Slacks, even to size 42, are worn for country gardening and leisure wear. Shoes are sturdy and comfortable for walking through the fields and along country roads. Hats are soft. Seldom is black used for an entire outfit for country wear. Rather, browns, greens, taupe, beige, and reds are chosen.
The average woman likes merchandise neither too new nor too old. She rather prefers current successes. She follows the predictions of her favorite fashion magazine.
The college type, the woman who is youthful in age or spirit, enjoys blouses, sweaters and skirts, casual dresses, odd jackets, and softly tailored suits. College girls as well as high-school girls love fads-new ways of doing their hair or wearing their jewellery, belts, or bracelets. .College clothes are those requiring a minimum of upkeep-clothes that can be worn several times without pressing, blouses that are easily laundered, and so on.
A well-dressed person is poised and assured for she knows that the clothes she wears suit her size, coloring, and personality. An unhappy appearance results when women ignore their type. For instance, a person who weighs 240 pounds can hardly “get away” with being “cute” or “kittenish.” A woman of this size should not dress like a college girl. One who is angular in features and body should avoid repeating sharp angles in clothing. Sharp lines in the hat or coat lapel that repeat a sharp nose or chin line are not pleasing. In any large city it is apparent that many older women make themselves conspicuous by refusing to change the character of their clothing as their husbands’ financial and business status changes. Thus, while a man buys better clothing, more distinguished shirts, ties, hats, and topcoats, his wife clings to an out-of-date type of country apparel. Proper clothes can improve the appearance of any person, especially those advanced in years. The intelligent salesperson is an advisor and friend to her customers.