Early Victorian Fashion Chit Chat - April 1839 Ladies' Pocket Magazine
Remarks on the Prevailing London Fashions
This is the month when public breakfasts and evening parties are at the height of their splendour; it mingles in fact the magnificence of winter with the light elegance of spring. At present, evening dress is in the height of its splendour, but before we proceed to speak of it, we must tell our readers what changes are immediately expected to take place in out-door costume.
First then for hats and bonnets. Italian straw already begins to be seen in the first, and there is not the smallest doubt that it will enjoy even greater vogue than last season. There seems not to be quite the same certainty as to rice straw, though we have great reason to think that its vogue will be little diminished. Drawn bonnets composed of pou de soie of white and light colours, are expected to be much in favour. Black lace will assuredly go out in trimmings, so that white is expected to retain its vogue. Flowers will be adopted, both for hats and bonnets; the new shapes for either, are not positiovely fixed, but it is expected that at least, in the commencement of the season, Italian straw hats will be worn large, and those of any other material, of moderate size. Bonnets will have the brims decidedly shorter than those worn at present, and less evase.
Some new spring shawls of Cachemirienne have appeared; their light and beautiful texture is admirably adapted to the season; they are embroidered in fancy patterns, or else bordered with a very light and beautiful fringe. Mantelets of pou de soie, or gros de Turquie trimmed with Swansdown will also be very fashionable. We can announce with certainty that, swansdown will be in vogue during the early part of the spring. We may cite among the most eleant evening robes, those of white brocade figured in gold, or plain white satin, trimmed with gold blond lace. The corsages remain long, and are lightly pointed in some instances, in others the print is so deep as to have a very formal effect. A new style of corsage, which is highly advantageous to the shape, is composed of different pieces placed perpendicularly and straight; a corsage of this kind forms the shape admirably.
Sleeves retain their juste milieu, and it is said that it will continue, but we must protest against pledging ourselves to that. Fashion is so variable, that even the best informed are liable to be deceived, and we have known more than one instance in which, after a mode has been considered positively settled, it has been laid aside before it could hardly be said to be seen. The form most in favour for long sleeves is the demi large; they are arranged in large folds, which sit nearly close to the arm, and are placed perpendicularly both at bottom and top, the centre part remaining moderately full; sleeves for balls and evening parties are invariably made short, tight upon the shoulder and a little below it, and the remainder composed of a single full bouillons, or different rows of small ones. Ruffles still retain all their vogue, and it is generally believed that it will continue.
Never were turbans in greater request in evening dress than at present; the forms vary, but all are made small, that is to say, the foundations low, and the folds in front of very moderate height. Some are made with tied ends, which float over the neck at each side, this has not however; so graceful an effect as a long scarf-like end, which falls on one side only. Some turbans are decorated with feathers, but a great many have no other ornament than their own graceful folds. The prettiest, and most simple, among the evening hats are those of white terry velvet, trimmed with bouquets of flowers, either fancy roses, or else of different other flowers mingled with heath blossoms. Caps are as recherche as ever, nothing can be more simple than their forms, small, round, quite of the village description in short, but the materials are of the most costly kind. Some are of gold or silver blond lace, and others of Brussels, or Mechlin, which is still more expensive. Velvet flowers still continue to be the only ones employed for trimming caps, fashionable colours will be lemon and pea green, lilac, pink, drab, sky-blue, canary yellow, and various neutral tints.