Weekend Dressing

By Madame Genevieve Antoine Dariaux 

1964

After five days of gradual asphyxiation in town, an ever increasing number of city dwellers escape to the country for the weekend to fill their lungs with forty-eight hours' worth of fresh air.  As a result, an entire industry has been built around this desire for pastoral leisure, and never before have so many sports clothes been sold. 

The ideal outfit for an elegant woman who is leaving to spend the weekend in the country with friends consists of: 
- a suit, worn with flat-heeled shoes (or boots in the winter), and a handsome handbag of the travelling type. 

In the winter, spring, and autumn, the suit would be made of rather heavy tweed in blended tones and worn with a harmonising sweater, and it would be covered either by a waterproof coat or a sporty coat.  In the summer, the suit material would be a bright-coloured linen or cotton, and it would be accompanied by a shirtwaist, sandals, and a straw handbag.  

Her overnight bag should contain: 
- a simple dressing gown that is neither sheer nor voluminous, but pretty and fresh-looking for breakfast, which everybody will probably take together in the dining room.  
- a pair of trousers, a sweater or blouse, and, in the summer a bathing suit and a sundress
- for the evening: a trouser suit if the evening is to be spent informally at home with her friends; or
- a long dinner dress, slightly décolleté, if her weekend hostess leads a more formal kind of life, or if there is to be a dinner party on Saturday night; but if the weekend programme includes an informal cocktail-buffet type of evening, a more appropriate outfit would be: 
- in the winter: a very simple white jersey dress with a bateau neckline, or a sleeveless wool sheath in a pale colour; and in the summer: a dress of the same type in printed cotton or linen. 

If she is invited to participate in any kind of active sport, she should remember to bring all of the appropriate attire.  Nothing is more annoying for a weekend hostess than to have to appear at the club with a badly dressed friend, or else to be obliged to lend a white tennis skirt, riding boots, or merely a pair of sensible walking shoes to the improvident guest whose only footwear is spike-heeled pumps that wouldn't last much further than the front doorstep.

In short, even if you are not at all an outdoor type of woman at heart, you should at least dress the part when you spend the weekend in the country, and by all means leave your false eyelashes in town.

Excerpt from 'A Guide to Elegance'