The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 1 (April 1, 1937)
Our Women's Section — Timely Notes and Useful Hints
If you have a smart skirt, trim and short, in velvet, or a lightweight woollen, by all means obtain a tunic to wear over it. If you are tall, the flaring tunic is your choice. Not owning a suitable skirt, I prefer to invest in a frock as the basis for my tunic. My frock will be black, a woollen with a crepe finish. Its skirt and waist will be slim; the sleeves fitting, except at the shoulder where they will puff slightly; the bodice will have a fullness, either gathered to a yoke or neatly pleated to the neckline and waist; the collar will be detachable, depending for colour on the accent I choose for my frock. I know that the belt will have large and eye-taking clasps, expensive-seeming. The frock unadorned will lie flat and unperceived under my tunic, ready for the time when the tunic fashion will be killed by its very popularity—or rather by the unsuitable people who wear it.
The peplum will not die so easily. The jacket flare and the frock frill continue to vie in attractiveness with the princess silhouette. The latter style, of course, is for the figure-perfect. Those of us who are not so sure of our lines will retain belts and the bodice fullness. With a good foundation garment we dare the hip-fitting gown.
To those who do not care to spend too much on a winter wardrobe, I suggest that frock materials be purchased as reasonably as possible, and that a little extra be spent on accessories—belt buckles, buttons, clips, collar and cuff sets. Regard the dress as a background. Make sure the colour is right, not too obtrusive, but definite, and build up your effect against this. Consider the varied schemes that could be built up against rust, silver grey, petrol blue, or the new brown.
With the increasing beauty of woollens and silks, and also of the synthetic fabrics, no woman need fear that by paying a reasonable amount per yard she is thereby branding her outfit as “cheap.”
Probably winter needs which require special planning are the coat, street frock, and afternoon frock. (House or office wear is more easily decided upon. Evening wear I will discuss at a later date.) To the woman with a small dress allowance I would suggest avoidance of outréA styles. In the coat, avoid extravagant cut or the too lavish use of fur. For the many-purpose coat I suggest tweed with the skirt slightly flared, belted or unbelted, and with a neat turn-down or wrap collar of, say, Persian lamb. Tweed does not crush, and is less affected by rough weather than the smoother-surfaced fabrics. The tall slim girl who never apes the fashionplates, but prefers comfort and sporting clothes, will have warmth and ease in a coat of camel-hair, or teddy-bear cloth. The short girl, or the larger woman, will avoid this type of fabric.
The square-shouldered tweed cape and the short coat of fur fabric are extras which will be considered only if purse and extent of social life advise them.
For the street frock, worn usually in our climate under a long or short coat or cape, I suggest an adherence to the principles enunciated for the black frock above. Make sure that frock and coat require the same accessories—bag, gloves, stockings, shoes. The hat, too, should be right for both.
A word about hats. To many people the new hats, peaked, slashed, tucked, twisted, are becoming—not all of them, but one or two carefully chosen. But please don't buy a style just because it's different and up to the minute. If it lends a new interest to your face, sweeps up or dips at a becoming angle, flattering your eyes and your profile, buy it. But if you can't find just the hat to do that, avoid an extravagant shape. Your friends would far rather see you in a slouch hat, reminiscent of the one you wore so successfully two seasons ago.
For an afternoon gown I suggest satin or velvet, made with elaborate upper sleeves, a draped neckline and a slim skirt flaring to the hem. Your own good taste will suggest the necessity or not of a plastron of flowers on the satin, and the need for leaving the richness of velvet unspoiled by ornament.
Let me just draw your attention to the beauty of the new paisley designs expressed in silk, satin or velvet. To me they suggest scarves, cravats, tunics, short evening coats.
I spied Helen strap-hanging in a five o'clock tram. By twisting my head over my shoulder and by Helen gaining a few inches when the conductor passed, we came within talking distance.
“How are you?”
“Oh, I'm quite well,” said Helen. “So's Peter. Mary is staying with us just now.”
A fat woman rose, and by dint of shoe-horn squeezings managed to reach the door. When we straphangers had resettled ourselves, Helen and I found ourselves at smiling distance again. I thought about Mary, Helen's young sister—a nice child. I hadn't seen her for some time. Helen had been away and I was never accustomed to visiting Helen's people