Miss Barbara asks for advice:
Dears, I have a serious question to pose. I am going to the opera this Saturday and I just bought a lovely black velvet dress to wear with long black gloves and black velvet pumps and sheer black stockings. My dilemma, and I hope more experienced brunettes out there or perhaps a particularly savvy blonde will be able to rescue me, is: what kind of purse should I carry? I found the most perfect clutch with beaded off-white pearls and silver, but with a black dress? I just don’t know. What do you pettes suggest? Anxiously awaiting your advice.

Miss Olyvya answers:
Oh, Miss Barbara, I hope I have caught you before you left for your opera! The purse problem is simple, darling, it just has to be black, of course, black with silver is fine. Big beads, little beads, heavy satin, even velvet — all will do quite nicely as long as it’s black. And small.

Miss Violetta dreams:
I have always wanted to wear a dramatic hat, voluminous cape, and black satin Chinese-style gown. My long black hair would be elegantly drawn up into a tight bun; long earrings, perhaps black opal (my birthstone) would just graze the middle of my neck. I would enter the lobby of the opera house – all eyes turn to examine this glamorous, mysterious, imposing woman. Perhaps my hat has a bit of netting over the front, just enough to make my facial expressions enigmatic. I have a box all to myself, high-powered binoculars (plated with mother-of-pearl) on a pince-nez. Perhaps I am watching “Gotterdammerung”, losing myself in the heavenly cries of the Rhinemaidens. In an ideal world, all bodies of water would be inhabited by nymphs and mermaids, forever combing their lustrous hair, forever luring travelers into their watery paradise.