Early Victorian Era Fashion Chit Chat - November 1855 Godey's Lady's Book
Chitchat upon New York and Philadelphia Fashions for November
As will be seen from our fashion plate, the stuffs for walking-dresses the present season are of the costliest description. Poplins, moires, Valenciennes, and a mixture of these with taffetas, in alternate stripes, bars, and cheques, of the richest combinations in color and texture imaginable.
There are a number of decided novelties, of which the principal are the Victoria moire, a splendid tissue, striped alternately with a plain and marbled stripe; the Peruvian pekin, a silk tissue in which the marbled stripe is replaced by an imitation of feathers; the Garland pepin, another pattern of plain bands of different colors, light and dark, separated by wreaths of shaded flowers; the Sydenham pekin, with a gray ground, variegated with black, and crossed lengthwise by a sort of galloon. Lastly, the Peruvian dress, differing from the Peruvian pekin, inasmuch as the ground is plain, and the feather pattern is confined to the flounces, which are decorated with a small fringe woven in the material.
These rich stuffs show to advantage in the large puff, and bell-shaped sleeves, which will no doubt continue to be the favorite style through the winter. Some have the sleeves lined with a stiff cotton net, such as is used to protect gilt mouldings in summer, to make them keep in place. One favorite style is long and full, from the shoulder to the wrist, where it is fastened by a cuff turning back; on the forearm, they are slit from bottom to top, the whole length; the openings are edged with a ruche of ribbon, of the same color as the dress, and transverse bands of the same keep it in place, and prevent too wide an opening. Long undersleeves of delicate Swiss muslin, or Brussels net, reaching also from shoulder to wrist, fill up the space; and are finished by frills to correspond, which fall partially over the hand.
The recently introduced undersleeves, close at the wrist, and fastened by a turned-up mousquetaire cuff, are rapidly gaining favor. These cuffs, which are formed either of worked muslin or of lace, turn back over a small bouillonne of white muslin. Round the wrist and under the cuff is worn a band or bracelet of colored ribbon, the ends of which diverge one from another, leaving an angular space between them. Many of the newest cuffs of this kind are composed of a mixture of needle-work and lace. The collar should be fastened with a bow and ends of the same ribbon as that employed for the cuffs.
Black velvet ribbon is as much employed as ever for trimmings of various kinds. It is even introduced in trimming white lace muslin, or tarleton.
One of the richest walking-dresses described by our foreign correspondent is of maroon-color moire, ornamented with broad stripes in satin of the same tint, the satin stripes enriched by a pattern of squares formed by very narrow lines in black velvet, woven in the silk. The corsage of this dress was made with rather a long basque, trimmed with three small ruches of black lace, in which are intermingled bows and ends of narrow black velvet ribbon. The front of the corsage, which was high and close, was fastened by a row of small rosettes composed of black lace and black velvet intermingled. A row of the same rosettes passes up the front of the skirt. The sleeves were of the same width throughout their whole length, and just above the elbow were gathered in fulness, the fulness being confined by two small ruches like those on the basque. Beneath the lower ruche the remaining portion of the sleeve descends, loose and flowing, to the wrist. The undersleeves consisted of a bouillonne of guipure, and the collar worn was of the same lace. A cloak of black velvet trimmed with white Chantilly lace accompanied this dress. The bonnet was composed of maroon-color velvet, trimmed on each side by a small plume, or tuft of pink feathers tipped with maroon. The two plumes were connected by a twist of pink satin which passes across the top of the bonnet. Two similar twists of pink satin are placed across the front. The inside of the bonnet was ornamented with half-blown roses of the natural color, and wheat-ears in maroon color.
Another almost equally elegant consisted of a dress of violet-color moire antique, striped with velvet of the same color, the velvet stripes being narrower than the intervening spaces. This cloak was of the Talma form, in black velvet, ornamented with a deep border, consisting of a wreath of fern leaves intertwining one with the other, and embroidered in silk of different tints of lilac. The middle of the cloak was sprigged with bouquets in violet-color silk. This cloak was edged round by a row of chenille fringe, and was finished at the throat by a large square collar, also edged with fringe. The bonnet was of violet-color satin, covered with black tulle, worked with spots and trimmed with two small ostrich feathers, black and violet. To the edge of the bonnet was attached a fall, or violette of black tulle, spotted and edged with a wreath of violets embroidered in silk.
Brodie is as ever busy among the dainty shapes and fabrics, which fill his immense manufactory with wondrous novelties of cloaks and mantles for the present and coming season. His "Openings" are days of note, among stylish people, and his importations, as well as his originalities, are superb.