In dress there should be but one prevailing colour, to which all others should be adapted, either by harmonising with it, or by contrast; in the latter case the relieving color should be in small quantity, or it would overpower the other in effect, as a general rule, sombre negative colours show off a woman to the greatest advantage, just as the beauties of a painting are enhanced by being set in a dull frame; still, there are some occasions with which the gayer tints accord better, and as propriety and fitness are matters of high consideration, the woman of taste must be guided in the selection of her apparel by the knowledge of the purport for which it is intended, always endeavouring to fix on that shade of colour which best becomes her complexion.
Effect of Diet on Complexion.
As the color of the skin depends upon the secretions of the rete mucuosum, or skin, which lies immediately beneath the epedirmis, or scarf skin, and as diet is capable of greatly influencing the nature of these secretions, a few words respecting it may not be here entirely misplaced.
All that is likely to produce acrid humours, and an inflamatory or impoverished state of the blood, engenders vicious secretions, which nature struggles to free herself from by the natural outlet of the skin, for this organ is fitted equally, to excrete and secrete. Fermented and spirituous liquors, strong tea and coffee should be avoided, for they stimulate and exhaust the vital organs, and interrupt the digestive functions, thereby producing irritation of the internal linings of the stomach, with which the skin sympathises. Water, on the other hand, is the most wholesome of all beverages, it dilutes and corrects what is taken into the stomach, and contributes to the formation of a perfect chyle.
Milk is very nutritious, it produces a full habit of body, and promotes plumpness, restores vigour and freshness, besides possessing the property of calming the passions, and equalising the temper.
Eggs are, in general, considered bilious, except in a raw state, when they are precisely the reverse; this is a fact, now so universally acknowledged, that they are always recommended in cases of jaundice and other disorders of the bile.
Spices, and highly seasoned meats import a dryness to the skin, and render the body thin and meagre.
Animal food taken daily requires constant exercise, or it is apt to render the appearance coarse and gross. It should be combined with farinaceous and vegetable food, in order to correct the heating effects of a concentrated animal diet.
Excess as to quantity should be strictly guarded against. When the stomach is overloaded it distributes a badly digested mass throughout the system, which is sure to be followed by irritation and disease, and by undermining the constitution, is one of the most certain methods of destroying beauty.