There are certain laws of common-sense governing the question of good taste in clothes which are quite as inflexible as those recognized laws laid down by convention for a thousand and one other things to which we give serious attention. And yet many people, if accused of taking the question of clothes or fashion seriously, would feel that their intelligence or their serious purpose in life was being belittled. As a matter of fact, the laws of fashion – and of good taste – are laid along the same lines of classical simplicity that characterize many things besides clothes.
The mistake which women are apt to make are unfortunately not in the direction of simplicity, and yet the majority of women will tell you in all seriousness that they prefer “simple” clothes. But “simplicity” may be taken to mean many things in reference to clothes.
First of all, it does not mean only economy, since to be well and simple dressed requires a knowledge and appreciation of many good things besides the styles of the moment and the fads of the hour.
Simplicity in clothes means the thorough knowledge which can omit all superfluous detail thoroughly out of harmony with true good taste.
To be exaggerated or pronounced in any one point of your appearance is always bad taste and the very height of extravagance.
A woman educated in clothes who has arrived at that point of good taste can stand serenely in front of all onslaughts, all attacks of the bargain counter, and all “what every one else is wearing”. This secure conservatism is to be desired.
There is one thing which must be clearly understood: to dress well, money in large sums is not necessary. Money has little, if anything, to do with good taste.
Extravagance is synonymous with bad taste, because it means that things are overdone and out of place.
In fact, I have found it, personally, a rather desirable thing not to have too much money to spend on clothes. My experience has been that the best-dressed people I know, and certainly those people who understand good taste in clothes, are people who cannot afford to throw away their money, and certainly are never those who buy helter-skelter and follow each new fashion.
— by Mrs. Ralston