Guidelines for Form, Style and Colour in 1928 (12)...

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

This week the author is discussing how the colour, fabric and purpose of the garment work should work together.

43.  There must be one prevailing colour in any garment. Different colours in equal quantities are only worn be mountebanks.  some parts of the body should never be distinguished by one colours and others by another.  No painter permits two conspicuous lights to shine in one picture, because whatever divides the attention diminishes beauty.

44.  The colour of the garment is chosen with reference to the particular purpose for which it is to be worn; useful, convenient, gay or ornamental, and according to the mental or tempermental characteristics of its wearer - or of those she wishes to impress.  But, besides that, colour must be considered from the point of view of the effect it has on the complexion and form of the wearer.

45.  Opaque dress is generally better suited to a plump figure, and a transparent dress to a thin one, though the face is always softened by transparency near it.  That is why ladies past their first youth should wear lace, lace, yet more lace.

46.  Rough and transparent crepe has a better effect upon the face than smooth and opaque cambric.  Hence the stiff linen collar is only possible for the very youthful unless the wearer is willing to look mannish.  Lace, tulle and chiffon placed near the face will aid in making the garment suit the wearer, and are almost always necessary with a coloured gown, because if the colour is like enough to the complexion to tone with it, the colour reflected on the face may have anything but a pleasing effect.  For instance, yellow is suitable to brunettes because they have more orange in their complexions, and the yellow neutralizes the orange.  On the other hand, if the yellow is placed near enough to the face to reflect on to it the face looks too sallow, and there lace or chiffon should come between the colour and the complexion.

Image sourced from

That's this weeks excerpt.  Next week is the final part of this chapter, and the end of this series.  Next week is a fun section on the ideas about what colours suited the complexion in 1928.   

Sarah Liz :)


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