Tuesday, 5 April 2011

When to wear what, part 1

The oh so important knowledge of wearing the right clothes at their proper time. My go-to book, Alla kvinnors bok has a whole chapter on it, though they stress that for the woman living on her salary it may be next to impossible to have every item of clothes that she would need to be right on every occasion. However, the book often offer more than one option and say that if one know what may be needed for future occasions, then it will be easier to shop wisely. The advices are, as usual, aimed at the Swedish woman, both when it comes to respect the seasons as well as etiquette. However, most of the advice would probably have worked in most of the Western world at the time. In an effort to not be too long winded, I will post this in two parts.

Mornings at home Wear a cotton dress that are easy to wash in the summer and a warmer dress at winter, then with a house coat in a bright colour, or an apron over it. For shopping or visits, then the only right thing to wear is a simple suit, a short overcoat, low heeled shoes and a sporty hat.
A small lunch with few guests. The hostess should wear a simple but fresh ordinary dress or a dress in jersey in two pieces and a white collar. Female guests should wear similar dresses, but will keep their hats on.
A big lunch with several guests. The hostess should wear a simple, but good wool dress and the guests in suits with simple, but chic, hats. If the hostess is old-fashioned, then wear good wool dresses with matching hats.
Visits, teas, exhibitions or similar that takes place in the afternoon, has the same demands as a lunch. A suit with a nice blouse or a good wool dress, with a good coat or a fur (depending on weather). Matching hat and gloves and finder walking shoes, like pumps with a heel of middle height. If the coat should be kept on or not depends on the weather, but if you don’t have a fur and the coat is simple, then remove it. If you are correctly dressed, then it doesn’t matter if all the other ladies wear fur. It is much worse to have a too elegant dress with an evening hat. The British things Swedish women are overdressed, as they wear tweed until five o clock in the afternoon, though of a nicer quality after 12.

A beach holiday The rules for social gatherings are similar to the wintertime, but a bit less formal. Wear short or long dresses in cotton, English embroidery, organdy or other light-weight fabric.
A winter holiday Make sure you have warm and functional clothes that you can change, that is the most important part. What else to bring depends on the formality of the place. A simple skirt with a blouse or a sweater is the most common, but perhaps you will need a good wool dress, or even a long dress for dancing.
Receptions or parties at foreigners may demand unknown rules. If you can’t ask before, then wear a simple black dress with a simple, but chic, hat, black bag and gloves. Pair that with a nice coat and black pumps with a heel of middle height and you can’t go wrong.


garofit said...

Hm, I can see where the "can't go wrong with black" rule may have been born :), at "foreigners' parties". Or, to be more precise, from the urge to give advice when one didn't have a clue.
Still, the rest doesn't lack common sense and it was interesting to hear about the hats. The reference to "the good, wool dress" made me smile.

Isis said...

Yes, I can certainly se occasion when black may be very wrong. :) I wonder what "foreigners" really meant in Sweden in the forties. :)

Rowenna said...

Love it! So precise yet so practical--of course, wear something smart but simple when entertaining. I can learn from this today :)

Isis said...

Rowenna: I agree, some are really sound advice. :)

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