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DRESS perplexes some and takes up much of their time and thought. They love dress too much who give it their first thought, their best time, or all their money; who for it neglect the culture of mind or heart or the claims of others on their service; who care more for their dress than their disposition; who are troubled more by an unfashionable bonnet than by a neglected duty.

Female loveliness never appears to so good advantage as when set off by simplicity of dress. No artist ever decks his angels with towering feathers and gaudy jewelry; and our dear human angels, if they would make good their title to that name, should carefully avoid ornaments, which properly belong to Indian squaws and African princesses. Tinselry may serve to give effect on the stage or upon the ballroom floor, but in daily life there is no substitute for the charm of simplicity.

Through dress the mind may be read as through delicate tissue the lettered page. A modest woman will dress modesty; a really refined and intelligent woman will hear the marks of careful selection and faultless taste. Often the best coats on our streets are worn on the backs of penniless fops, broken-down merchants, clerks with pitiful salaries, and men that do not pay up. The heaviest gold chains dangle from the fobs of gamblers and gentlemen of very limited means; costly ornaments on ladies often indicate to the eyes that are well opened the fact of a silly lover or a husband cramped for funds; and when a pretty woman goes by in plain and neat apparel, it is the presumption that she has fair expectations and a husband that can show a balance in his favor.

What multitudes of young women waste all that is precious in life on the fooleries of the toilet! How the soul of womanhood is dwarfed and shriveled by such trifles and kept away from the greatest fields of activities, thought and love by the gew-gaws she hangs on her bonnet! How light must be that thing which will float on the sea of fashion—a bubble, a feather, a puff-ball! and yet multitudes of women float there, live there, and call it life. Poor things! Woman was made for a higher purpose, a nobler use, a grander destiny. Her powers are rich and strong, her genius bold and daring. She may walk the fields of thought, achieve the victories of mind, spread around her the testimonials of her worth, and make herself known and felt as man’s coworker and equal in whatever exalts mind, embellishes life, or sanctifies humanity.

No person can attend the services of the fashionable churches in towns and cities, and worship God without distraction. One needs continually to offer the prayer, “Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.” There is the rustle of rich silks, the flutter of gay fans, the nodding of plumes and flowers; the tilting of lace, of ribbons, of curls; here is a head frizzled till it looks more like a picture of the Furies than a miss of “sweet sixteen.” There are bracelets and earrings and fantasies of every sort and every hue—everything that is absurd and foolish in fashion and everything that is grotesque and ridiculous in trying to ape fashion. All these are before you, between you and the speaker. How can you worship God?

My dear sister, do not dress showily or extravagantly or beyond your means. Do not dress in such a way as to call attention to any part of your figure or to distort or alter it. Do not dress so that people will notice your dress more than you. I think there is no higher art for a girl than to dress simply, quietly, and tastefully, as one who is careful of the body that God has given, but who is mindful also of the apart words: Let “women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array” 1 Timothy 2:9. “Whose adorning Let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” 1 Peter 3:3, 4.