I have no idea where 2015 went! I blinked and it was gone. It is my goal to add several dress diary entries, a few tutorials, and several excerpts from period documents in the upcoming months.
In the meantime here’s a quick snippet from Letters to Country Girls by Jane Grey 1858, regarding the virtues of simple dress.
“Avoid those materials that are meant to look like something else than what they are-calicoes that look like de laines, &c. Imitations are generally humbugs. It is best for every thing to be what it looks like, and look like what it is.
The less trimmings you put on the better. A rich dress does not require it; and on a cheap one, it looks “I would if I could”. What is more ridiculous than a low priced dress spattered with ruffles, folds, buttons, gimp, and cord? Much trimming is an unmistakeable sign of an empty head. You know there are things of which we say “ That will always look well”- meaning that it has some real merit apart from all the whims of fashion. Well, always get that kind of article, make it without any fandangoes, take care of it, and you will always be well dressed. Many a farmer’s daughter lays out as much for dress as should make her look like a countess, and never has one good article. Most likely you have given as much for a gay cashmere dress with fringe, gimp, buttons, and cord to trim it as would have bought a good French merino or silk. Your gay dress soon looked fady, or old fashioned- the other you might have had for twenty years, and it would always have been lady-like. A cheap calico made plain and neat looks lady-like, while a parcel of cheap trimmings puts one in mind of an Indian’s glass beads, besides keeping the wearer for ever fixing, fitting and sewing.”