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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 3 (July 1, 1933)

A Colour Tonic

A Colour Tonic.

Don't be dull. During the last few years of depression we've had hurled at us from fashion pages, home notes, and women's journals, the advice, “Be economical. Be smart. Study the ensemble. If your purse is shallow, plan your clothes carefully, choosing your colour scheme.” So we have our two-piece, three-piece and four-piece suits, each part so obviously related to every other part, with the skirt material echoed in the pocket flaps of the coat, or the coat lining draping the neckline of the frock—pieces snipped off her and there and slapped on there and here. I say again, don't let's be dull, and patchy.

Cheerfulness is so much a matter of environment, and—with a woman—clothes are certainly 50 per cent. of the surroundings. Psychologists have studied the effect of colour on mental outlook; the warm colours, from the yellow of diluted sunlight to a deep rich crimson, vary as much as the emotions; the cool shades equally well echo moods or form contrasts to them. Women are said to be creatures of moods (and by this is not meant moodiness). Therefore, we require more colour than one to express us. Also, in most cases, our colour expressions may show violent contrasts. We do not meet many who go through life faintly expressing pale saxe or spend the years bringing their friends and relatives to the shrieking point by blatantly asserting a tangerine personality. No; we are, luckily for ourselves, more complex; our natures are woven from contrasting strands.

Here and now, we will decide not to spend a depressing winter in green, while Mabel languishes in blue, perhaps with a touch of red on hat or scarf, and Sybil flaunts her tawnies on a brown base. If we feel happy in May and down-cast in September, a lot of the blame can be cast at the present-day clothes regime. Let's be original and express ourselves properly, deciding that we are not one-colour women for months on end.

Knitwear is smart, bright and cosy. The dark girl can have an orange cardigan, a deep blue pullover, a scarlet jumper, and a black skirt as a base for the three, for less than the price of one ready-made frock or ensemble. In this way we can choose a wardrobe to suit our moods—or to correct them, which is quite as important.

I'm beginning to resent the word “ensemble,” which has ruled the world of fashion too long. Accessories, of course, must match, but our outfits need not be ensembles; when we ring the changes, let it be from one colour to another, not merely the addition of a coat to match, or the taking off of a cape, also to match. There are so many reasonably priced, artistically woven and beautifully coloured materials from which to concoct little extras in the way of tunics, jackets, peasant blouses—fine wools for street and office wear, silks for coy afternoons by your own or your friends' fireside. Recently I saw a charming tunic in maize yellow with a panel seaming which was reflected on the black skirt where it terminated in inverted pleats. The neckline had extensions which crossed and buttoned to the tunic in a smart bow effect. Now, everybody, set to work to investigate the colour possibilities.

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