Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Guidelines for Form, Style and Colour in 1928 (10)...

Hello everyone,

I found an old book a few years ago "THE CUTTER'S GUIDE" A MANUAL OF DRESSCUTTING AND LADIES' TAILORING, by M.E. Roberts, published in Sydney in 1928.  At the back of the book, I found guidelines for form (what we now call style) and colour, and I've been  sharing these with you over the weeks.

This guide was written specifically for women's styling. The language used is so different from our very direct way of speaking ninety years later, but the principles outlined  are as sound now as they were then (with the exception of some, which just amuse us now.  So, whatever you think of the ideas,  please enjoy them :)

(image sourced from )

Last week's  excerpt was about the presumed symbolic qualities of basic colours.  This week the author expands on the basic blocks of colour, and suggests that more variation occurs with "one or more colours in harmony or contrast with each other".

Following are some of the author's examples:

27.  Black, though sad and lonely in itself, when relieved with tiny touches of emerald green, is give so much life that all the sadness is taken out of the black, and the green is less aggressive.  A gown of silky black material with small touches of emerald green velvet and some creamy whit lace next to the face, will give the impression of a full life, with vigour, growth and womanly reserve.

28.  Black, with touches of red, gives the impression of strength and vigour, but in a more blatant way than green with black.  Any colour with black lifts the sadness and mourning, thought the dignity and reserve still remain if there is only a suspicion of colour used and it is not overdone.

29.  White, if it is to represent purity, must be pure white with no shade of cream and no touch of colour.  With a bluish tinge it stands for freshness.

30.  Violet can have all the pensiveness, all the religious tone taken out of it with the tiniest touches of gold.

31.  Heliotrope, though it mostly represents coolness and calmness, may look warm, comfortable, dignified, and gentle if the colour is made in soft cloth relieved with brown fur.

32.  Pale pink and pale blue are both soft colours, but made up in the same garments they give more the impression of gaiety.

33.  Each colour is enlivened as it approaches its lighter shades by its mixture with white; or it saddens or perishes by its mixture with black.

(image sourced from ).

That's it for this week, back next week with how new trends of good taste will always suggest "new blends and new possibilities of expression".  And what colours should be worked with what other colours for "sartorial good taste".  I wonder if we are going to agree??

Have a lovely day or evening, wherever you are,

Sarah Liz :)


  1. 30 is my favorite, or what I find most funny LOL

  2. It is incredible that all that remains in place many years after it was written ... I think before I had more rules in fashion and people always followed these rules ... Fashion today is freer, but good taste and common sense still apply ...

    1. Yes, I can remember lots of rules about colours, what went with what, what to wear to different places. While there is more freedom in fashion now, sometimes it would be nice have more occasions to dress up!