In the arts — in its pure sense — style refers to that excellence and quality of execution or expression which distinguishes it from all others of similar form. When we talking about style of fashion clothes, it can also refer to the inspired and elegant relation between the requirements of a particular moment in time space and the designer's expression of it in line, color, silhouette, and material translated into an appropriate costume.

High style and good style are not always synonymous.

High style is the latest breath of fashion created by the pace setters — and at times this last word can turn into a last gasp. Extremes in fashion are budget wreckers, and — unless you can afford to wear a dress, costume or another fashion clothes just once and then discard it — such extremes had best be left on the slick fashion pages.

The smartest and most durable styles of fashion clothes tend to vary very little from pure classic lines. The clever designer however will adapt the latest fashion trends, screen the extreme fads, and create for her client the type of costume within the dictates of current style most attractive and suitable for her individuality and requirements.

When you stop to think about it, it really is amazing what limitless variety can be performed with a piece of cloth used to cover the human form — male or female — a form which has not changed in general characteristics since modern man was evolved.

In the matter of fashion clothes for the ladies — from the basic poles of neck­line to hemline all sorts of things happen. The waistline slips up and down with no apparent regard for the anatomy underneath. The bosom blossoms forth in full accented glory or recedes and remains hidden by various tricks and devices. The shoulders are wide and square — or narrow and sloping. The hips are padded and accented on one occasion — and smoothed down or camouflaged on another. The neckline plunges or hugs the chin. The silhouette changes from season to season and cycle to cycle: flowing Grecian drapery, small waists and hoop skirts, bustles, hobble skirts, no waists and straight skirts, bell shapes, balloon shapes — and on and on ad infinitum.


Good taste in general design may be instinctive but good taste in dress is not necessarily inherent — however, it can be developed.Principles of creating stylish fashion clothes can change with the type of climate, social structure of a particular locality, geographical location, and era or time in history. Good taste in dress requires a sensitivity to the times, to knowledge of fashion, and suitability not only to the individual but to the occasion as well.

Fashion represents the seasonal changes in silhouette, design, color, and material — it also represents the fads and fancies of the style setters and it could be termed as the timely use of an artifice intended to make the wearer more attractive.

Personal style or individuality in fashion clothes represents the use to which current fashion is put. It demonstrates the ability to be smartly dressed at all times, the ability to adapt the best of fashion's current dictates suitable for one's own figure and activities — spiced with a bit of daring — and yet in complete harmony with good taste.


The criterion of good taste in dress is suitability plus beauty plus ap­parent simplicity in design of fashion clothes. The ability to study, observe, and analyze are important to the development of good taste.

Study art. Go to the museums. Take a course in art appreciation. If possible go to an art school or subscribe to a correspondence course in art. Any of these will help develop keener insight and appreciation of color, line, and general composition in its relation to good design.

Study history and literature pertinent to dress and design. Learn about the effect history has had on fashion clothes. Notice how the morals and customs of a particular society have affected their dress. Most libraries in the larger towns and cities have many excellent books on these sub­jects.

OBSERVE. Make a habit of observing — of really seeing what people wear and what is currently in fashion. Subscribe to the better magazines and newspapers. Study the latest fashion magazines. Observe the people in public life and in the performing arts. Notice what fashion clothes the actresses wear as they appear in the theatre, movies, and on your television screen at home. A number of television shows have fashion forecasts as part of their regular programming — make it a point to see these.

Observe the general public at various places. Make a note of what fashion clothes are being worn at receptions, parties, meetings, concerts, the theatre — and in all walks of daily life. If at all possible, make a habit of going to the best places, the most fashionable restaurants, resorts, and wherever thepublic gathers. Go to as many fashion shows as are available to you.

Another good source for news of the latest fashions is in advertising — watch the trade advertisements in newspapers and magazines.

ANALYZE. As your circle of activities widens — learn to observe critically and make a habit of analyzing what you see.

Observe what makes one individual more attractive than another; ana­lyze what part her clothes play in her apparent attractiveness and why one person seems to have more style than another even when both are dressed in the latest fashion clothes. As you study each costume think of how you would improve it to better suit the wearer or the occasion.

LEARN TO DISCRIMINATE. Keep your eye on good design — don't fall for fashion fads for the sake of the fad alone unless it will do something for you — then by all means use it!

All style news is important but discrimination is the basis of good style.

KEEP UP WITH THE TIMES! Don't make the mistake of con­centrating only on fashion clothes, life is a continuous flow of a great


creative designer is truly aware of the surrounding world — aware of its continuous state of change — designs will reflect this awareness —• these designs will be more successful. They will meet the needs and re­quirements of now — of this particular space in time — they will be alive!

Where do you get ideas or inspiration? Great inspiration can come from totally unrelated sources. Necessity is probably a prime requisite — you see the need for a change or for some improvement and you begin to think of ways you can begin to fill the need. If you were to ask success­ful designers where they get their ideas, the answers would be as varied as the shapes they dress.

Inspiration, or ideas of your future designs of fashion clothes, can come from watching a child at play, from the shape of the clouds in the sky, or the way a field of ripe grain bends and seems to flow with the wind. It can come from the way of a bird in flight — from a song or half remembered melody — from a painting or bit of sculpture — from architecture — and most often from the need of the moment itself.

Inspiration can come from history — remember "there is nothing new under the sun" — what is always has been; what's new is the modern expression of our adaptations of the sum of the past to suit our own times.

If you postpone doing and wait just for inspiration it can be mighty elusive and hard to find. However, if you keep working at your craft, keep yourself alert, receptive, and aware of everything about you, it can come unasked — it can "drop out of the blue" at any time. Inspira­tion in dress designing most often comes with the actual handling of the various types of materials and in observing how they behave.


Throughout the ages fashion in wearing apparel has followed the temper of the times even though it may have appeared to be the leader on occasion. This apparent dual function of fashion serves to illus­trate how necessary it is for the designers to be completely aware of the world in which they live.

The changing habits, customs, and circumstances of all phases of living have all had their effect on fashions—and at times fashion has seemed to have had an effect on the behavior of society in general. Various economic and social upheavals have markedly affected style. In times of scarcity of materials or of labor, as in wartime, we see that style of fashion clothes becomes simpler and even austere—and, in reverse, during times of prosperity and peace we begin to notice more decorative types of styles.


In the same manner the silhouette of fashion has see-sawed from slim to bouffant—and back again— with every conceivable combination of the two extremes being used to create a fresh and new approach at each change. But, relentlessly as the turning of the wheel, after a certain time the previously popular designs of fashion clothes comes back time and time again.

Students of fashions and customs have stated that these cycles occur at regular intervals—and so they have seemed to in the past— however, in the over-all speeding up in our atomic age (or space age, if you will) we seem to have upset this theory along with a great many others. We hardly have enough time to get accustomed to a new style—much less to get tired of it—before another style change comes along. In fact, today a variety of silhouettes appear in concur­rent favor—and fortunately so for most of us; there is no reason why anyone need adopt an unattractive style—there are so many from which to choose.


In addition to the social-economic influence on fashion we also appear to be under the spell of the dramatic arts—any currently popular play or movie usually brings forth a rash of styles inspired by the fashions of the era it portrays. In other generations we turned to the royal houses of Europe for fashion leadership—today we turn to the movie queen.

Let's look at the past and see what shadows it has cast on fashion's future. We need not go all the way to the cave days—we can leave that to the bikini suit enthusiasts—but let's pictorially touch just a few highlights of the major changes in designs of fashion clothes since the days of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans,


dress making pattern


dress making pattern


dress making pattern


dress making pattern

dress making pattern


dress making pattern

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