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The Well-Turned-Out American Lady Of 1878


Decorum: A Practical Treatise On Etiquette and Dress of the Best American Society (New York: J.A. Ruth & Co.; 1878),

pp. 263, 268, 275.


Consistency in Dress: Your dress should always be consistent with your age and your natural exterior.

That which looks ill on one person, will be agreeable on another.

As success in this respect depends almost entirely upon particular circumstances and personal peculiarities, it is impossible to give general directions of much importance.

We can only point out the field for study and research; it belongs to each one’s own genius and industry to deduce the results.

However ugly you may be, rest assured that there is some style of habiliment which will make you passable.’


‘Using [Face] Paints: We cannot but allude to the practice of using paints, a habit strongly to be condemned. If for no other reason than that poison lurks beneath every layer, inducing paralytic affections and premature death, they should be discarded but they are a disguise which deceives no one, even at a distance; there is a ghastly deathliness in the appearance of the skin after it has been painted, which is far removed from the natural hue of health.’


Riding-Dress: There is no place where a woman appears to better advantage than upon horseback. We will take it for granted that our lady has acquired properly the art of riding. Next she must be provided with a suitable habit. Her habit should fit perfectly without being tight. The skirt should be full and long enough to cover the feet, while it is best to omit the extreme length, which subjects the dress to mud-spatterings and may prove a serious entanglement in case of accident.’



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