Your style is important. Ask yourself every time you buy anything, every time you make anything, or have anything made: Is it in accord with my style? Does it meet the requirements of correct dress for me?
If you live in a little city or a village and suddenly found yourself on Fifth Avenue in New York City, would you feel conspicuous in your clothes? If friends from the fashion centers of America were coming to visit you, would you feel out of place in your costume? You should not. You have the same opportunity to be correctly dressed as any other woman if you will study and persevere toward perfection in dress.
We must realize that we have a style of our own and that we are of a particular type. This is recognized by every fashion authority in the country, and by every fashion publication, for if all women were to adhere to one fashion, one fashion only would be shown in the fashion books instead of twenty, thirty, or fifty different designs.
Look through any fashion book today and you will find round-and-round and up-and-down lines in the same issue–all with the idea of helping women to clothe themselves correctly and of giving suggestions that will help them individually to find appropriate styles.
Establishing a style for yourself and then perfecting it–be it in hats, gloves, shoes, dresses, or suits–will prove economical, and it will not be long before a degree of perfection will be acquired.
A prominent New York business woman, who is one of the most distinctively dressed women that I know, wears the smartest suits and hats and always severely tailor-made gowns. And her neckwear, usually a jabot or a stock, is so smart that you would never for a minute question whether it is authoritatively fashionable. She always wears high shoes on the street, and usually they have light-colored tops, because she is tall and the light tops of the shoes help to break the appearance of height.
One day, this young woman came to visit me. I could not refrain from remarking about the completeness of her costume. I said, “If I saw your shadow, I should know that it was you by the harmony that your silhouette expresses and the very way you carry yourself.”
She said, “Do you know that remarks like yours are what caused me to persevere in acquiring my style of dressing? I used to think I wanted loose, floppy clothes in which I could relax and be just as free and comfortable as if I were in negligee. Once, when in a ferry boat crossing New York harbor, I saw sitting opposite me a line of crumpled-up women apparently enjoying their slovenly posture. Not one of them expressed dignity or pride in her personal appearance. Not one of the women on that boat, I thought, was unusual or had any desire to know better. I then took a little self-inventory. I was ashamed of myself, because I realized I was not very much better dressed than the other women on the boat. I sat up straight and determined right then and there that I would acquire a style becoming and practical for me and would express that style in the most attractive and agreeable way that I could. And that resolution has helped me more than I can say.”
She was frank enough to tell me that she attributed a great part of her success to having wakened up, to having made herself trim and having kept herself so. She always plans to have one good suit or one good dress–just as good as she possibly can afford; she procures a garment that she has to respect, and that will make her “dress up to fit.”
She said, “If I put on a shabby dress, I will allow my shoes to be shabby and will be careless about my personal grooming; but when I have a dress that I have to be particular about, I always have my hair, my shoes, my gloves, my corset–everything–Just right for it, and I always look very much better.”
Living up to your clothes, creating a style, and being equal to an intelligent expression of it are worth many dollars to a woman who wants to be a success in business, in the home, or in social life.