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ITEMS FOR LADIES. WOMEN JOURNALISTS. Those whose daughters have expressed a desire to earn their livelihood by means of newspaper work may be interested in knowing what a woman who has had nine years' experience of journalism has to say on the subject. This lady, who writes above the initials L.M.D." in The Queen, remarks —" People like to see described in a graphic and interesting way functions at which they have themselves been present, and a local ladies' letter, brightly written by one wi'o is here, there, a; d everywhere, cannot fail to be widely read, and to be far more highly valued than the stereotyped London article dealing with matters ia the Metropolis, and supplied word for word to a dozen journals or more. As I happened to be among the first of those who began writing local ladies' columns in the provinces, I can, I think, claim to speak with some knowledge of the subject, and I heartily recommend any girl who wishes for a journalistic career to endeavour to get on to the staff of her own local paper as the writer of such an article. There is a foolish idea on the part of many that one must be in London in order to succeed as a journalist. This is an utter fallacy. The ranks there are sadly over-crowded, and a woman of re- source, ready to srizc all her opportunities, has every chance of su icess in the provinces, for in .many districts competition is by no means keen. But now let us touch on the question of taking the first step. In my own case 1 wrote.a short article dealing with local events and treating them a feminine standpoint. This was dispatched to the editor of a good local paper, along with a noLe setting forth a desire to make it a. weekly feature in his paper. I had had no previous journalistic experience and had absolutely no influence of any kind. I did not even know the gentleman by sight and no one spoke that word in season for me which is erroneously supposed to do so much good. From that week to this my ladies' column has appeared regularly in that paper. Some, I can well imagine, might fear an inability to keep up the inierest of such an article week by week. But once let the writer be known as reliable, judicious, bright, and interesting, and she will generally be inundated with invitations to almost everything that takes place in the district, while tickets for Co nc-r.s, bazaars, and other affairs will flow freely in, thus providing plenty td write about, and on subjects of great interest to large sections of the community." Continuing her remarks, L.M.D." says :—" The chief point to aim at is to interest people of very varied tastes, and not to write in such a way that men will not read the articles. It is a great mis- take to imagine that women want to hear of nothing but fashions; treat the question of dress by all means, along with household matters, cook- ery, fancy work, decoration, and so on but always make a point each week of touching on something of wider and higher interest as well. There are few towns of any size which will not provide plenty of matter, if one goes about with one's eyes open. It is well not to be afraid of graphic descriptions of the institutions in the place- ita workhouse, its hospital, and so on. Then its spots of interest, its attractive neighbourhoods, its shops, can all be dwelt on. The writer should take everything feminine under her wingf not, however, leaving severely alone those which are purely masculine. She should endeavour not to write in a reporter's style, but strike out with original thoughts and unhackneyed ways of putting things. Dress at local functions can be touched on, and those who are endeavouring to do good in the community may often be helped very materially by means of a ready pen. I venture to think that in many towns a woman's work on the local Press would not ouly be highly valued, but would prove also a potent factor for good. As regards the writer's relations with the editor, it must be said that something more than pen, ink, and paper are required before, a woman can set out on the paths of journalism. Quick observation, ready wir, aptitude for choosing interesting subjects, versatility of mind, aud a bright and interesting style, are a few of the quali- fications necessary. Then, too, it is very necessary to be business-like. No ono should undertake to contribute regularly to a journal without resolving to keep steadily to the work. Carelessness and big, untidy 'sprawling' handwriting ought to be scrupulously avoided. Then, again, women very often, it must be admitted, are not particularly distinguished for correctness in punctuation. They generally understand the vise of the period, they are frequently a little bit hazy about commas, and the average woman apparently deems it prudent to avoid the semicolon and colon. But punctuation is undoubtedly one of the subjects to which study should be given before attempting to write for the Press. Local journalism, for many women, will be found a thoroughly cong-enial sphere, for it need have none of the drawbacks of those occupations in fulfilling which women are spoken of sometimes as unwomanly. If any, of my readers have any incliivatiou to contribute to this column I shall be most happy to treat it with favourable consideration. wedding GOWKS. There seems to be a decided disposition to forsake the stereotyped white for wedding gowns, and replace it by light materials, such as silk muslin and chiffon with lace. Another innovation is the introduction of a little colour, as in the case of a beautiful wedding gown of hrory satin, artistically draped with mousseliue de Soie the bodice was arranged with Marie Antoinette sleeves. and the corsage entirely draped with mousseline d3 soie and seed pearls. This lovely gown was lined throughout with the palest shade of La France rose glace,, which gave it a perfect effect. A very smart visiting gown in the same troussean was composed of cafe au lait canvas, through which showed the lovely shade of turquoise silk on which it was mounted; the bodice was tastefully arranged with embroidered mousseline de soie and rich turquoise glace silk; this was held to the figure with an artistic arrangement of ribbon and beautiful Louis XVI buttons. THE PRICE 01" SILK. Are we to have a gradual fall in the price of silk, so that ultimately we shall be able to wear this delightful, cleanly material as cheaply as we now wear cotton ? I am moved to ask this question in consequence of hearing that soino clever chemists and engineers have discovered how to make siJk out of—what do you think ? actually timber pulp and cotton waste. How good of them, if it only turns out to be really as nice and charming as the natural silk. I am sure the women of this countrv will gladly get up a handsome testimonial to the men who give them silk at the price of cotton. You may say it is too strange to be true that the material produced from these unpromising raw materials cannot possibly be anything like that given by the silkworm. But I ain" in a position to whisper to you that the gilk" is all right and takes the most lovely glossy colours, for I was privileged to see and handle some of it last week. If our London tradesmen Would only confess the truth, dress and other fabric8 of the new timber silk have already been extensively this season in the Regent Street shops. But at present, while the manufacture is yet in its infancy it is obvious to the mteiest of the silk-tnercer to sav nothing about the new silk, or even to pooh-pooh its existence. Nevertheless, am assured that before another season comes round we shall see the windows flooded with beautifm fabrics made from the artificial silk, and if it only as cheap as it ought to be, considering the lowly stuff from which they make it, tnere is a good time coming for us. I for one shall welcome silk for every-day wear under such conditions, for few of us reflect on the i amount of dust and dirt that tnodern woollen and cotton fabrics pick up. Silk is the cleanest wear thai exists. I hear that no less than six weaving firms have agreed to take the whole output of the new silk factory, which is being built in Lancashire. SUMMER DRESSES. I think we may cousider that the summcrfashions are about settled. A lot of experiments in detail which were introduced early in the season have fallen out of favour, while other developments have come to the front. Very shortly one will be thinking of seaside clothes, and the smart summer gowns will be less interesting. \Ve need hesitate uo longer to gratify our tastes in form or colour. But I cannot help feeling that the present arrange- ment of the two main parts of a dress namely, the bodice and skirt—looks a very capricious one. We see the bodice trimmed to elaboration and covered with embroidered and lace while the skirt is absolutely plain, with not a flounce or a bit of ornamentation to break the lines into which the full skirts fall. It is necessary5 however, to admit after all that this style appeals to our common sense,for so long as it is fashionable to wear blouse bodices we must have skirts that can be worn with any bodice, and bodices that will sometimes have to do duty with a different skirt. Only in this shifting of parts of the toilette one has to be careful to have some regard to preserving the relationship between the materials and colours used. Women commit terrible blunders of taste in this way. Amongst the revivals of colours this year is the very pale primrose and a very strong gold. Middle shades of yellow do not seem to be in such favour, therefore you can bear in mind that Abysynnian gold or primrose yellow are very good colours to choose for the next three months. In materials, black alpaca appears in a great measure to be superseding silks. It is better suited to the new requirements, and is cheaper than silk; a low-priced quantity of the latter soon grows shabby, whilst the I more homely material, if well cut and fitted, is more m )dish. A good alpaca dress can be worn on many occasions when silk would be rather out of place. It also recommends itself to home dressmkkers as being easily put together, and not requiring such an elaborate finish as a silk. Another virtue it possesses too the costly silk linings absolutely necessary to grenadines, canvasses, and other diphonous fabrics are not needed for this material. CYCLING ItRKSS. j Though ladies are still wearing blouses. I cannot recommend them with a cycling shirt it looks makeshift even under the conditions, anil as if the wearer could not- afford to go to a tailor, and get a proper rig out. An open-fronted jacket, showing a shirt, has got a way of revealing too much when the rider faces the wind, and is quite unconscious that her wind-inflated jacket presents to the spectator an appalling expanse of waist. Here is a description of a most becoming cycling onWt. It. consists of a short shirt, not too full, buttoned on the left side with three buttons, the nnmo number decorating the other side of the skirt. Of course, these last are for ornament only. With this is worn a pretty double-breasted coat, with detachable rovers and cuffs of buff figure or grass lawn. For headgear nothing beats a neat Amazon straw hat of the same colour as the dress, with trimmings of buff ribbon. This costume looks equally well made up in mohair of a dark brown colour or a becoming shade of green. HATS AND JjOXNETS. There seems to be apparently 110 chantro in mil- linerv, most, people liaviog provided themselves with their summer bats and bounets. I don't rhink von will be sorry to hear that the smartest Parisian milliners are discarding the use of tulle, and in ii* place u,iug a sihe gauze, which is certainly more durable. In many cases flowers and foliage with, perhaps, a single bow of ribbon are irade to do duty as trimming for hats. That modest flower, mig- nonette, comes out very well in some of the newest hats. It looks especially lovely with a background of violet straw, but somehow I fancy that it gains in effects when used in conjunction with crimson roses. Another innovation is making its appearance in the shape of fruit. Now, I think that fruit, on millinery is quite out of place, but still there are people who like it and who are consiantlv on the look-out for novelty, so I have no doubt that fashion will have its votaries. Tiny apples, clustering with the pink and white of apple blossom blackberries contrasting with the pure whit mess of their flowers: and even currants, red and white, I saw massed together on a rose-pink straw hat of all others. Now you must not think that it will be necessary to immediately discard your hats and bonnets of tulle, but 1 only mention as a significant £ act that the very smartest people, very likely disgusted by its universal use, are refusing to have a bit of it in their new hats. Before leaving the millinery question, let me tell you of a new ribbon which has appeared, and which I should imagine is the very ideal trimming for ladies' bicycle hats, and which, too, will be welcomed by mothers for use on their children's school and seaside headgear. You will be interested to hear that it is made of the very silkiest alpaca, so silky, in fact, as to deceive anyone unless it is very closely scrntinised. This ribbon is wonderfully durable and dust- resisting, and is therefore a decided acquisition to millinery. One hat I saw looked charming in a pale shade of blue on a brown straw, with little clusters of pink roses all rjund the ei-onvii. DAISY BELT,. —-4,



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