Signorina Clarissa asked:

I am relatively new to Aristasia (and I am not so good at English, but I hope you will be patient with me!!!).

I have a question about how a maid can re-racinate and re-educate herself ; especially while being, like I am, ‘on her own’ and not having the possibility to attend Aristasia-in-Telluria events, nor events in Virtualia (due to the capacity limits of my ordinator), apart from The White Rose Room.

Which books, or films, would you suggest to read or watch, that are particularly charming and where one can be inspired by how maids are clothed, how they behave, talk, or which are the books where one can feel this lost atmosphere of innocence, grace and charm, or even learn about etiquette and proper behaviour? Which up-to-date magazines would you recommend? I am also interested in books that analyze deeper and more subtle subjects, such as Archetypes and their importance. Would that be useful also to read old books in my own language, that are written in a proper language?

On the subject of clothes, I have tried to find nice and feminine up-to-date clothes or accessories on this Elektraspace market, but it’s not so evident for me to know how to wear them without a reference or a guide.

Miss Sushuri Madonna answered:

I am sure books and films from your own country will be helpful to you.

It is often said that it is not necessarily the most “artistic” books and films that are the most racinating, but those that give a straightforward picture of the Real World. The books of Agatha Christie are often recommended, as are schoolgirl books from the ’20s to the ’50s. Schoolgirl books are something of a British institution. Stories of life in girls’ schools – usually boarding schools – flourished from the 1920s to the 1950s. They depict an all-female world, usually with values of honour, loyalty, and nobility; thus they make rather excellent Aristasian reading. Many authoresses specialise in them. Angela Brazil, Ethel Talbot, and Elinor Brent-Dyer are important names. The hugely prolific Enid Blyton also wrote numerous books in this genre. There are lots of others and I am sure I have missed out many people’s favourites.

In Britain, among films, run-of-the-mill comedies and thrillers are often excellent racinating fare, with lovely street-scenes, sophisticated night-club scenes and in general a charming view of real British life. The ladies tend to dress and speak in ways that we can all profitably emulate. Run-of-the-mill comedies just means ordinary, everyday ones “B features”, I think our American friends call them. Nothing spectacular; just straightforward depictions of Quirinelle or Kadoria. Their very “ordinariness” can actually be an advantage in that one is not seeing a “clever slant” on the real world, but just seeing it as it is, through its own eyes, as it were.

Miss Anne Meade had some suggestions:

Now, how about your wardrobe? Well, probably the best thing to do is to start with black and start to build colours around it. First, choose a particular style – perhaps Trentish Chic or Quirrie Crispness or the more stark Kadorian lines. Once the choice has been made, find a black skirt that fits in with it. Quirrie girls usually go for a full circle skirt that comes to somewhere just below the knee. A Trentish lady will want something quite fitted around the hips but perhaps with inverted pleats or a wider bias-cut hemline.

Next, find something for the top half. There is nothing quite as versatile or safe as a basic twin set – and it fits in with any period. For Trent, choose Pastel shades, for Kadoria something like dusty pink or baby blue. For Quirinelle you ought probably to choose bright red or electric blue. The important thing about wearing a twinset is the (hm-hm!) brassiere! Trentish and Kadorian styles ought to have something of the order of a basic “cross your heart”, Playtex type of bra. For authentic Quirrie lines, think about a push-up, wonderbra or (best of all) a Marilynesque conical bra.

Trim your new outfits with belts, brooches, pearls and anything else you can find. However, two absolute essentials must be considered besides. First, no Quirrie, Trentish or Kadorian lady will ever leave the house without gloves and only very rarely without a hat. Gloves are not worn in the Pit because one’s hands are cold, but because Bongos don’t wear them. They are the absolute last word in class and style and you ought to have lots of them.

Secondly, tights are hideous! Get yourself a good suspender belt immediately and start wearing stockings. If you want advice about stockings, do ask; I shall be delighted to discuss them on a different occasion.

You may be able to obtain properly-styled clothing second-hand.  However, if you can use a sewing machine, why not make your own? Quirrie skirts are one of the easiest things in the world to make!

Good luck! Do send photographs when you have affected your transformation – brunettes always like to see pictures of well-dressed blondes!

And vice versa indeed!