Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pretty Lingerie and natty Clothes Help to Make the Mother, and Not Harm Her

Here is yet another reminder to "put a little pretty in it"!
From Mother's Magazine, 1909

Madame Recamier once said: There may be an excuse for a foolish man, possibly, but for a foolish woman-never! That is why women who fail are never forgiven."

No point in my recent article on lingerie implied extraordinary expense on the part of any mother in making herself attractive; the poorest mother can follow those suggestions, and by the use of a little common sense--a quality innumerable mothers lack--benefit by the advice.

But it seems to be a foregone conclusion with thousands of mothers that if they are not dowdies their maternal characteristics are lost forever.

A philosopher of the past, having made a life study of women, declared his researches led to the conclusion that the knowledge of being well dressed gives a woman contentment. Not only did he say that "dress makes a difference," but that, so far as the majority of womankind is concerned, dress makes all the difference between success and failure--a sense of being properly clothed imparting a repose and confidence that inspires triumph or overcomes defeat.
I believe this. I have sold women pretty clothes and homely clothes too long not to know that the woman who buys pretty lingerie or outer clothing, even if it is inexpensive, has far the better spirits and mind than the woman who clings to "homely" things because they are cheap. They are not cheap, when all considerations are figured out.They cost more in humiliation and self-respect than even then wrong-thinking buyer can imagine.

An eminent nerve specialist has declared lately that "the wearing of becoming clothes is a mental stimulus to men and women alike." According to his theory a good suit of clothes acts as a tonic, and few people can do themselves justice unless they are well dressed. He argues that shabby, ill-fitting clothes are a constant source of worry which frets away one's energies and takes the keen edge off one's wits. In short, if one would scale the heights of victory, it is essential to have the support of good clothes.

There is a great truth of theory upon which tasteful dressing is based.; for what woman, if possessed in the smallest of the instinct of dress, does not recognize the shabby condition of mind and body that is the effect of being badly gowned, carelessly groomed and generally "down at the heel"?

The direct personal influence of dress upon its wearer is answerable for half the fretful discontent and ennui from which thousands of women suffer-a happy, optimistic outlook upon life being incompatible with the dowdy environment of ill-fitting clothes. The woman who delights in dainty things may well fret herself into a fever of discontent if forced to wear unbecoming clothes, but her whole outlook upon life is changed and brightened by the possession of tasteful gowns and dainty accessories. These tend not only to make her infinitely better-pleased with herself and the world, but to endow her with confidence, which inspires vivacity.

The great pity is that the effect of clothes upon one's temperament has not been more generally recognized long ago. Had the matter been more seriously considered, it would have so altered circumstances that instead of being persistently taught, from our youth up, that to be good we necessarily must be shabby and dowdy, we might all have been learning to be amiable, witty, charming, and self-confident.

I have never advocated expensive or extravagant dress. The women who over-dress are as miserable as those who do not know how to dress.

I do insist, however, that one may dress very well for little money, look neat and be attractive without having a bank account, and that the real reason why so many mothers do not do so is because they are grossly ignorant of what constitutes good taste and sane economy in dressing.

-Miss May Meehan

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