Indifference and inattention to dress is a defect of character rather than virtue, and often denotes indolence and slovenliness. Every woman should aim to make herself look as well as possible with the means at her command. Among the rich, a fondness for dress promotes exertion and activity of the mental powers, cultivates a correct taste and fosters industry and ingenuity among those who seek to procure for them the material and designs for dress. Among the middle classes it encourages diligence, contrivance, planning and deftness of handiwork, and among the poorer classes it promotes industry and economy. A fondness for dress, when it does not degenerate into vain show, has an elevating and refining influence on society.
To dress appropriately is another important matter to be considered. Due regard must be paid to the physical appearance of the person, and the dress must be made to harmonize throughout. An appropriate dress is that which so harmonizes with the figure as to make the apparel unnoticeable. Thin ladies can wear delicate colors, while stout persons look best in black or dark grey. For young and old the question of appropriate color must be determined by the figure and complexion. Rich colors harmonize with brunette complexions or dark hair, and delicate colors with persons of light hair and blonde complexions.
Gloves are worn by gentlemen as well as ladies in the street, at an evening party, at the opera or theatre, at receptions, at church, when paying a call, riding or driving; but not in the country or at dinner. White should be worn at balls; the palest colors at evening parties and neutral shades at church.
EVENING DRESS FOR GENTLEMEN.
The evening or full dress for gentlemen is a black dress-suit—a “swallow-tail” coat, the vest cut low, the cravat white, and kid gloves of the palest hue or white. The shirt front should be white and plain; the studs and cuff-buttons simple. Especial attention should be given to the hair, which should be neither short nor long. It is better to err upon the too short side, as too long hair savors of affectation, destroys the shape of the physiognomy, and has a touch of vulgarity about it. Evening dress is the same for a large dinner party, a ball or an opera. In some circles, however, evening dress is considered an affectation, and it is as well to do as others do. On Sunday, morning dress is worn and on that day of the week no gentleman is expected to appear in evening dress, either at church, at home or away from home. Gloves are dispensed with at dinner parties, and pale colors are preferred to white for evening wear.