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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 2 (May 1, 1940.)

Day and Night

Day and Night.

The exigencies of war-time economy and war-time work have caused a swift change in day-time wear among the smart women of Britain and France. Before war jerked us into reality, fashion was glancing dreamily backward, and drifting into another romantic era. Now, an almost masculine plainness has ousted the fulness and the fripperies. Women dress the part as they face up to war-time tasks. Clothes consciousness is apparent only in the cut of a garment, and in unobtrusive accessory touches.

But at evening the dream returns in a flow of colour, of billowing silks and laces. Extravagances of yardage as well as of style make up for the severe restrictions of the day.

The corset, laced and boned, is a necessary foundation for the newest gowns, but those of us who prefer a wasp-waist in appearance, rather than in reality, simulate the effect by means of padded hips and a cleverlycut mid-section both in gnwn and slip.

Such shirrings and drapings as bodices show, must tax the ingenuity of a multitude of designers. What variety!—and what flattery! No ornament is needed, but often the lily is gilded by bunched flowers, an ornamental pin, a series of bows or buttons.

Then the waist, the dainty waist, achieved in an Empire gown with or without a draped girdle, or by a long, tight basque (corsets required here) or by a shaped mid-section.

From this slim waist the gown is moulded over the hips and then spreads in fulness, maybe by means of a circular flare, maybe by multitudinous gathers. Newest mode of all is the slim-skirted front and the extravagant back fulness, lengthened perchance by a brief train. Such back fulness may be caught up into the veriest bustle, accented by a ribbon bow sewn under, or the bustle effect may be achieved by ribbon alone.

What of sleeves? Newest, particularly for formal wear, are long, fitted sleeves. Daintiest are the very short, very full, puffed sleeves.

Materials? Use heavy silk for back fulness, lace or net for the picture gown.

A hang-over from day fashions is the “half-and-half,” showing contrast colours or contrast materials. Of chief importance is the evening blouse and skirt. The skirt is usually dark and flared, of slinky material such as crepe romaine, though some are gay and billowing. The soft, or “lingerie” page 58 blouse is a newcomer for evenings. In sheer chiffon, lace or ninon, it has very full long sleeves held in by a slim wrist-band. The neck is high. Shirring may form a yoke and sleeve-bands. Chiffon or ninon may have lace or embroidery insets to form a yoke. Small buttons down the front closing are a fashion feature. Very new is the belt of grosgrain ribbon. An American fashion house suggests the following colour combinations—navy skirt with moonstone (soft greyish-blue) blouse; black with aquamarine; earth-brown with cameo-pink.

The half-and-half effect may be seen in the bolero of an evening suit where the blouse and bolero revers are in colour contrast with the skirt and bolero.

The moral of all this is, “Be romantic by candlelight, or even under the glare of the electrics. Cut your day-frock skimpier, and use extra yardage at night.”