Lady Bracknell offers advice on choice of apparel for the less mobile lady
Lady Bracknell has herself been forced to forego the wearing of stockings. The rigidity in her hips prevents her from donning them without aid. Also, for reasons she has not yet been able to fathom, none of her servants will submit to assisting her in this task. Not even for ready money. Lady Bracknell is deeply grieved that her failure to wear stockings may lead persons of quality to suspect that her title was bestowed upon her by virtue of her late husband having been in trade. Indeed, her slumbers were disturbed for some time by this very suspicion. But Lady Bracknell's character is one which will not for long be bowed by concerns of what those who do not know her intimately might think of her. She will not confine herself to her withdrawing room in perpetuity in response to a fashion faux pas which is outwith her personal capacities to correct.
Leaving aside Lady Bracknell's servant problem re stockings for the moment, she has wasted many shillings in the past on clothing which, in the event, proved to have been chosen in error in relation to her physical complaints. To prevent similar frustrating purchases amongst her lady readers who are as yet unpractised in the art of dressing to minimise pain, Lady Bracknell offers the following advice.
- When choosing frocks, ensure that they are fashioned from a modern fabric containing the miracle ingredient of lycra. Should a lady who experiences chronic lower back pain persist in donning a frock fashioned from a more rigid fabric, she should not be surprised if, when bending forwards from a seated posture - as, for example, when she is formally introduced to a clergyman and must, out of good manners, shake his hand - she experiences a sudden bolt of pain so dramatic as to have an almost emetic effect. Similar consideration should be given to blouses and other 'separates' the hemlines of which fall below the lady's hips. These can be worn in safety, but their wearer must remember at all times not to trap the hem beneath her posterior when she seats herself.
- Lady Bracknell does not believe that it would be a kindness to her social equals to inflict her legs upon them. She therefore favours the ankle length skirt. This should result in no risk when perambulating on level ground. Ladies should take care though, when ascending a staircase, to gather the excess length up by hand temporarily. Failure to observe this principle may lead a lady to trip. An indignity which no lady in her middle years would wish to experience, particularly under the gaze of members of the lower orders. Managing servants is hard enough in these uncertain times without the suspicion that the simpletons are snickering behind their hands at their mistress's clumsiness.
Lady Bracknell appreciates that she is able to provide advice on this subject only in relation to ladies who have pain in their lower backs. Readers whose physical complaints are of a different nature are invited to submit their own advice on the issue of suitable dress via the "comments" facility.