Early Victorian Fashion Chit Chat - January 1859 Peterson's Magazine
Rich silks of plain colors, poplins, and plaid silks and poplins of very light colors, are all fashionable. Velvet trimmings woven in the material are very much worn, and have a rich, massive appearance suited to the season. Granite or speckled silks in various shades of grey are also fashionable. These are trimmed with bright colors, such as cherry, bright blue, bright green, or plaids. Dresses, unless for evening, are made high; some have still the basquine or jacket; others the five points at the waist; some with only the two points in front; a few are being made with the one point in front only; in the latter case will be worn a ribbon with either a small buckle, or long floating ends.
Double Skirts still maintain their favor; for these, plaitings are the favorite style of trimming; the plaitings are disposed in various ways, and sometimes down the sides only. Still a great many single skirts are worn, many of them entirely plain, if of very rich materials. If trimmed wit flounces, the flounces are laid on with very little fullness; or else the front breadth, from the bottom nearly to the hips, will be decorated in various manners, the trimming being placed either across or perpendicular. The arrangement, in tablier, though so long in vogue, is expected to be also in favor.
Home dresses for morning will be made with deep jackets; and the Zouave basquine or jacket made in velvet or cashmere, richly embroidered, will be a favorite.
For Ball Dresses, tulle, tariatane, gauze, and the thinnest French muslins are all worn; puffings and flowers in profusion; the full, short sleeves are always of tulle or some light material.
Sleeves are sometimes of the pagoda form, very wide, and in very large plaits. Others have two or three frills, edged with passementerie, ruches, or lace. A new style of sleeve just introduced is likely to gain favor. The upper part is in full puffs, and the lower part, from the elbow to the wrist, is close to the arm. With this style of sleeve is worn a broad turn-up cuff of worked muslin or lace.
It will be seen that the wide, open sleeves are in as great vogue as ever, and the muslin under-sleeves are of an enormous size.
Cloaks of the Bournous Style are very fashionable. Many are of cloth, trimmed with broad bands of velvet. tartan velvet is much employed both for trimming cloaks and dresses. In Paris, bournous cloaks made entirely of Tartan velvet are frequently seen. The combinations of blue and green are the most worn.
Bonnets advance a little more over the forehead than those heretofore worn, and are very open at each side of the face. The bavolet, or curtain, is cut square, not very deep, and is set on in double plaits. The ribbon employed for the strings is edged on one, or on both sides, with a plaiting of narrow ribbon. Velvet flowers or feathers are the ornaments most used.
Head-dresses are of great variety. They chiefly consist of ornaments intended to be worn at the back of the head. Some of a very simple and becoming form are made of black or white blonde, with long lappets flowing over the shoulders, and with bouquets of flowers at each side. Others, intended for a higher style of dress, are made of velvet and ornamented with feathers. One very elegant head-dress is made of black blonde. On the left side is a bouquet of roses, and on the right side a bow of pink ribbon. At the back, in the centre of the caul, a sort of agraffe, formed of pink ribbon, separated two lappets of white blonde, which flowed at considerable length over the shoulders.
Another little head-dress consists of a caul of black tulle, covered with crossings of velvet, and worn quite at the back of the head. This caul is encircled with black lace, which falls over the neck in the manner of a bavolet. At each side bouquets of flowers are fixed by pearl pins.
Pocket-Handkerchiefs of exquisite designs have recently made their appearance. They consist of borders, worked in white and colors, representing wreaths composed of such flowers as bear symbolical meanings in the floral language of the East. Thus, by the skillful combination of the flowers, a sentiment or a motto is gracefully inscribed in the border of a pocket-handkerchief.