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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 1 (April 1, 1938.)

Our Women's Section — Timely Notes and Useful Hints

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Our Women's Section
Timely Notes and Useful Hints

Novelties And Fashion-Firsts For Autumn.

Metal slide fasteners are definitely decorative. They sparkle with gold, silver or diamente, and zip up or down with the aid of a tinsel bauble, a tassel, a bunch of charms or of sports tokens. Autumn frocks are zipped right up the front, the zip serving for decoration as well as for use.

Fob watches, set in leather, hang from leather thongs with tassels.

Velvet cravats, usually in contrast colour, are tucked into the necks of autumn frocks. Perhaps a velvet belt accompanies. Sashes, of two- or three-tone combinations, are newer than belts.

Ocelot fur trimmings, rather leopardlike, are used for suit collars, lapels or bandings. And still more of a craze are ocelot fur-coats, usually of three-quarter length.

Black patent-leather collars, cuffs or pocket bandings are used for grey or black suits.

Hats—practically any of the new season's hats can be classed as novelties. If your prospective new hat looks like any hat you've ever worn before, toss it aside—it isn't new. But don't buy just anything. A hat with a deep shovel front may suit you, or, quite conservative, the brim turned up all round. Almost certainly, your hat will be very small. Very likely it will have a veil, but don't put up with the latter, no matter how fascinating, if it impedes eyesight. A rather ladylike sailor has two surprising feathers that make it look like a viking helmet. Hats, by the way, are pushed well off the face, and fit snugly, some of them, to the nape of the neck.

This impudent type of headgear, that London and Paris are offering us, is certainly responsible for the boom in the hairdressing business. Curls frame the face in long rolls. The top of the head is left flat, and the coiffure curves, halfshowing the ear, to a fair length at the back, where it is curled up or under. With a side parting, there may be a fat roll of curl on the opposite temple. Remember that hair is worn longer this winter.

Handbags? Choose a new shape. Patent leather is smart, alone or in combination. Dyed crocodile is showing. Black suede looks well (suede shoes too, of course) with your black cloth coat, or black, velvet tailored suit, or what you will in black. If you aim to follow the leaders of fashion into black, crave for a silver-fox fur. I don't know whether you'll get it, but there are imitation skins, with the silver “points,” to be had.


I am wondering about waistlines. Autumn goods reveal a change. The slim waistline is there, but one notices an emphasising of the hip-line. What we have had in evening tunics, we now notice in woollen sweaters which are now long enough to demand neat hips. Even evening frocks, those of the corselet or cuirass variety, swathe waist and hips slimly, and, from the marked hip-line, sweep out in regal fulness. In some examples the “curiass” effect is aided by the metallic gleam of lame or sequins. So I think we can expect a gradual shifting of emphasis to the hip-line.

Don't consider last year's evening gown out of date. It isn't. There has seldom been a year when so many styles have reigned at once. The slim sheath with slit skirt, perhaps with floating scarves as a contrast, the bouffant, the Grecian draped, are equally à la mode. However, if you want to freshen up a slim gown, add, this season, a richly embroidered jacket, in gold or silver embroidery or in jewel-colours. Another little tip—fur banding is unusual and smart on evening frocks.

Suits are perennial, and, as usual, town suits are slim and perfect fitting, and country suits tweedy and boxy as to jacket. For town, try a velvet blouse. With black, have hat, bag and gloves in black suede.

Overseas, the short fur jacket or the fur cape seems to be even more worn than the full fur coat. Another favourite is the three-quarter coat in camel's hair, tweed or fur.

With your cloth coat, fur may accent the sleeves or the lower front closings. One gorgeous coat in a russet shade is banded with fur on both sides of the front closing. The flare of the fur from the belted waist-line is charming. This style is, I fear, for the tall and slim. On another model, a hidden pleat at each side gives an attractive swing as the wearer walks. With your coat, instead of a fur collar you may wear a detachable fur, or perhaps a cravat of lambskin (the latter popular also for three-quarter coats).

English knitting books have for some time offered companion patterns for jumper and cardigan. I think this an excellent idea, as, in very cold weather, both may be worn over a slim, short skirt. Separately, they are attractive, especially the cardigan over a neatly-tailored shirt blouse.

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Don't forget the dress and jacket, or three-quarter coat, ensemble. Your coat may be smartly banded with fur.

Remember that skirts are shorter and gored, and that bodices are soft, with gatherings or drapings.

Why Hibernate?

Now that we're settling down to the near prospect of hot-water bags, woollies, and winter evenings by the fire, we feel a sluggishness pervading our being. It's not only that bed remains desirable till so late in the morning, or that the family circle provides sufficient entertainment for the evening, but that imperceptibly our mental adventurousness is curtailed. We clutch our habits more closely to us, much as a bear settles himself up in a small, familiar den, in which he will sleep until spring. The warmth of habit!

In this settling-down process most of us feel, with the autumn-stricken trees, a touch of age. It is an annual emotion, but none the less, saddening for that. We are slower, less vital, than in warm summer. The very clothes we are buying are heavy, obstructive.

What to do about it? It's an individual problem and must have an individual remedy. If you like going to sleep for the winter, do so by all means. But if you hate hibernation, decide to benefit from what winter offers you.

With my own winter programme in view, I have some suggestions, obvious ones I admit, to make. The key-word is activity. Take stock, first, of your physical capacity. If you are in teens or twenties this is easy. Perhaps you still take part in organised games— hockey, basketball. You may be a golfer, and think thereby that you are getting sufficient exercise. But enough for a woman of fifty is not enough for you. If golf is your only game, at least make sure that you play it energetically. Walk briskly, and with regard to posture, between shots. You'll probably have to wait at the next tee, but that's better than dragging along like a brokendown cart-horse as I have seen some women do on the links. And when standing, do remember to have the weight evenly on both feet, the “tummy” braced in (not to the disadvantage of the posterior) and the head well up.

If you are near a rink, you no doubt skate—a graceful and exhilarating exercise. If you are beginning, it is well worthwhile to learn the fundamentals from an expert.

Dancing, too, is a useful as well as an enjoyable activity, provided that dances are not crowded too closely together to the detriment of rest. To feel the full physical benefit of the dance, correct posture must again be studied. Sit quietly by and watch your friends on the floor. Even among those you regard as “quite good” dancers, you will see some who hold themselves in ridiculously contorted attitudes. While criticising, you will wonder whether you too lean forward from the hips like a sawdust doll with a torn back, or arch way from your partner as though determined to look him straight in the eye and stand no nonsense. Where is your left elbow? Where is the weight of your body during the various movements? To set your mind at rest, dance beside a large wall mirror, or, better still, take a lesson or two from a highly qualified dancing instructor. The consequent improvement in balance will delight you.

In this activity budget of yours you have no doubt seized all available time at week-ends for sports. Very good!

But remember that a little a day is better than a lot in a lump. Walk when you can, and if possible unburdened. This applies specially to the housewife who makes “shopping” count as exercise. Free arm movement and a free stride go together (and don't forget the necessary width of skirt!). Weather conditions need not interfere with walking, as a hot bath and change of clothes on return avert any possibility of chill. A hot bath, of course, must be followed by a cold shower, or, if that is too drastic, by a gradual addition of cold water to the bath.

Week-end tramping is a splendid form of activity. Any constituted club is ready to welcome new members, to provide walks within their scope, and to give suggestions, or rather orders, concerning attire and weights and quantities of food.

For older people, who feel that a tramping club is a very strenuous institution with a predilection for hill-work, flat walking, in comfortable foot-gear and in warm but light clothing, is of great benefit. Get out of that weekend car habit! When I see fat dowagers sitting in closed saloon cars of a Sunday afternoon I am sorry for their doctors.

With physical activity well-planned and under way, you will be awake mentally, and able to take full advantage of concerts, lectures, discussion groups, art and craft courses, which add so much to the amenities of the winter season—and you'll be almost sorry to change later to summer activities.

Ironing Tips.

When ironing men's shirts, do the sleeves before the cuffs, as stiff cuffs make the rest of the sleeve hard to manage.

If you suspect that a frock has artificial silk in its composition, iron it on the wrong side with an iron that is not very hot. Take care that the ironing-blanket is smooth, as a wrinkle may cause a shiny mark on the frock. This may also happen if buttons, seams or pockets are on the underside.

Gored skirts are simple to iron, but remember to iron a seam at the same time as the breadth on each side. Thus one avoids unsightly seam puckerings or fulness.

Health Notes.

Now that we are verging on the treacherous months of the year, the subject of colds, coughs and chills cannot be ignored. Where children are concerned, special care is needed because colds frequently turn to bronchitis, and more serious illnesses are the direct cause of ill-health in later life. It is also necessary to keep children away from infection, as many of the infectious diseases of childhood are ushered in by a common cold.

We cannot emphasise too strongly the beneficial effects of an open-air life, as far as possible, which fits us to withstand the invasion of enemy bacteria. A clean, healthy body makes a poor breeding place for microbes.

Of course, a healthy body requires to be fed properly—no machinery can work to the best advantage unless it is looked after in a reasonable fashion. A machine that is not taken care of becomes “Junk” before its rightful page 59 span, so we ourselves become second-rate if we do not take care of our own particular machinery.

Simplicity is the keynote of health, and yet from disinclination or laziness we ignore the simple measures necessary for the maintenance of health— fresh air, exercise and nourishing food. Good health adds so much to the enjoyment of life that it is hard to realise how careless we are in endeavouring to keep our health at a high standard.

We all know our bodies require liquids—at a minimum three pints a day—but we neglect through laziness chiefly, to drink except at meal times; they require exercise, but we are really too bored to walk merely for the love of the walking. Fresh air is available to all, but we would no doubt be amazed at the low percentage of time spent in the fresh air.

In the above category we exclude devotees of tennis, swimming, golf, etc., because these pastimes compel them to spend a certain amount of time in the fresh air, but what happens when these games no longer enthral?

Clothing is also another important item. Do not coddle in cold weather, but do not go to the other extreme and court pneumonia in every suotherly gale. The sensible women know that there is a happy medium and invest in lightweight wool undies which are as dainty and slim-fitting as silk. With careful laundering they wear marvellously.

Spring, summer, autumn, winter, all have their particular charm. We are ready to welcome spring after the winter; summer after the vagaries of spring, autumn after the heat of summer, and winter with its cosy fires.

Imagine a winter without the common cold—no people coughing in shops, in trams, in theatres, etc. What is there to equal the enjoyment of frosty nights and mornings, the sense of well-being which arises in us as we breast a buffeting wind? But this is only the enjoyment of a healthy individual.



Soup is most appetising during the colder months—in fact, regardless of the season it adds variety to the menu. It is nourishing, economical and easy to prepare.

To make meat stock, wash the meat and cut it into pieces. Put into cold water allowing about one quart to each pound of meat. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for four or five hours. Odds and ends of meat (cooked or uncooked), bones, ham bones, bacon rinds, etc., may be put into the stock pot.

The stock pot should be cleaned daily. No stock should be left to stand after being cooked. Strain and allow to cool before covering it in the safe. Unused stock should be boiled up every day. Stock for soup should be made the day before it is to be used so that all the fat may be removed.

Vegetables and flavourings should not be used until the soup is required.

Save vegetable water and add to the stock.

Pumpkin Soup.

Peel and slice pumpkin and one large onion. Cover with cold water or stock. Simmer gently until the pumpkin is cooked Remove from fire and mash until the pumpkin is free from lumps. Return to the fire and add one to two cups of milk and thicken with cornflour. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer gently for ten minutes. Just before serving, add one dessertspoon grated cheese. This soup should be the consistency of cream. Marrow may be used instead of pumpkin.

Vegetable Soup.

(1) Cut strips of vegetables about the size of matches and boil until tender. Put in the bottom of a soup tureen and pour the clear soup over them.

(2) Use grated carrots, onions, and parsley with any finely chopped green vegetables. Seasoning. Just cover with water and simmer gently until the vegetables are cooked. Serve without straining.

(3) Cut up vegetables (carrots, onions, etc.), and fry in butter until brown. Put in a saucepan with water and add rice or barley, pepper and salt to taste. Simmer for about two hours till vegetables are quite cooked.


Boil a fowl (an old one will do quite well) in two quarts of water, or white stock, for three or four hours. Wash about six leeks and cut into half-inch lengths, put into the pot with salt and pepper to taste; cook for half an hour. A quarter of an hour before the soup is taken from the fire add eighteen stoned prunes.

Boiled Mutton with Caper Sauce.

1 3/4 lbs. breast mutton, 1 large peeled onion, dumplings, salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 lb. scraped carrots, 3/4 lb. sliced turnips, 1/2 pint caper sauce.

Wash mutton and place in saucepan. Cover with boiling water. Add salt to taste. Cover and boil fast for ten minutes. Simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours.

Uncover. Add sliced carrot, onion and turnip. Bring to a fast boil. Add dumplings. Cover and simmer for half an hour. Arrange meat in a hot dish, with vegetables and dumplings round. Use some of the liquor instead of gravy.


Rub 1/2oz. butter in 6oz. flour sifted with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Add 1/2 teaspoon parsley and 1/2 teaspoon crushed herbs. Mix with water to a stiff dough. Divide into small equal-sized balls, and cook.

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