Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/820

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
800
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

sults. Thus, from girdles loaded with ornaments and from blankets worn at the shoulders and at the waist, we can see the beginnings of all the forms of the southern dress type. Curiously enough, we ourselves preserve both types of dress. There are two great conservative elements in society—woman and religion. PSM V39 D820 Southern japan type of dress.jpgFig. 11.—Southern Type of Dress. Japan. Both have served and do serve to-day as useful brakes upon rash and too impetuous change. The northern and the southern types of dress once came in conflict. The time was that of the invasions of the northern barbarians upon imperial Rome. Both men and women, in the ancient days of Rome, wore southern dress. The barbarians wore the tighter-fitting garments of their colder climate. The southern man adopted the more convenient type; the woman did not; and so we see to-day our men in jackets with tight sleeves, and trousers fitting close, while women continue to wear in a modified form the dress of the sunny south—flowing garments, skirts, and cloaks.

We have no inclination to trace the details of the history of our modern dress. In closing, however, we do wish to call attention to some "survivals" in our garments of to-day. The hatband, with its bow always on the left side, is such a survival. It exists because it once had a real use, and for the position of the knot there is a reason. A hat once was simply a piece of stuff, which was held in place upon the head by binding it with a bit of cord or ribbon. This cord, of course, was tied, and in course of time the knot became large and ornamental. It was the day of sword practice, and such a cockade upon the right side would have interfered with the free use of the weapon; hence the knot must be upon the left side. The band and knot remain, though they have long been useless. Tylor shows us that the dress-coat, the ugly and uncomfortable "swallow-tail" is a survival. It is really the old riding-coat. "The cutting away at the waist had once the reasonable purpose of preventing the coat-skirts from getting in the way in riding, while the pair of useless buttons behind the waist are also relics from the time when such buttons really served