Early Victorian Era Fashion Chit Chat - January 1839 Ladies' Pocket Magazine
Remarks on the Prevailing London Fashions
The fashionable season opens early and splendidly this year, so much the better say we, for the luxuries of the rich, whatever may be said against them, give bread to the poor; but without entering upon a subject, which truth to say, is not exactly within our province, let us see what novelties have appeared in winter costume since the publication of our last number.
Cloaks are so generally adopted in plain walking dress, that we see scarcely any thing else. We perceive that those of plain silk are in a decided majority. The few shawls that are worn in walking dress are composed of velvet or satin, they are trimmed with fur, and are so large that they envelope the figure almost as completely as a cloak. Walking bonnets are, generally speaking, in good taste, they are either black or dark-coloured velvets, trimmed with rich but quiet-looking shaded ribbons, to which a sprig of winter flowers is sometimes added; or else they are of the cottage shape, composed either of velvet ot satin, and simply trimmed with ribbons, either shaded or with a plain middle, which always corresponds with the bonnet, and one or two full-coloured stripes at each edge; a bouquet of short feathers drooping on the brim is sometimes added; this is an exceedingly gentlewomanly style of bonnet, but, in our opinion, too dressy for plain walking costume. We must observe that muffs and boas are now indispensable appendages to walking dress. We have seen also some, but as yet very few, of those excessively large fur tippets, which the furriers call shawls.
Furs have lost nothing of their vogue in carriage costume, but as we have already spoken of the manner in which they are employed for cloaks, mantilets, &c. we have only to observe that we have lately seen a few very fine cashmere pelisses, trimmed with sable. These pelisses, which are to be worn over robes, are made rather large; they are wadded and lined with coloured silk, and from their sitting close to the figure they are much more comfortable envelopes than either cloaks or shawls: there are, however, some of the latter just coming into vogue, and likely to have a great run, which we think are very elegant and lady-like. We mean camels' hair shawls; some are of one colour only, with a binding composed of silk and gold thread; others are exquisitely embroidered in silk, and a mixture of gold or silver. We need hardly observe that these shawls will be likely to remain a long time fashionable, as their very high price will prevent their becoming common.
We may cite, among the most elegant of the new carriage bonnets, those of plain velvet, or satin of the half cottage shape; they are trimmed with a small round rosette of ribbon placed under the curtain at the back of the crown, and with the ends falling into the neck; by raising the curtain a little an air of smartness is given to the bonnet; the crown is encircled with a ribbon twisted negligently round the bottom of it. Changeable ribbons are in a decided majority, but they are not so profusely employed as they were last month. Sprigs of foliage, of vivid shades of green, are in great favour for the trimmings of bonnets; feathers are sometimes employed, but flowers of foliage are preferred.
Satin is for the moment quite out of favour for hats; plain and fancy velvet and tery velvet, are the only materials adopted. Some of the prettiest hats that have appeared within the last month are composed of pale blue terry velvet, and trimmed with the same material, intermingled with white blond lace; a bouquet of short white feathers, tipped with blue, is placed very far back at the bottom of the crown, and rises above it almost in a perpendicular position; the interior of the brim is trimmed with coques of blue and white ribbon. Black velvet hats trimmed with the same material, the knots edged with feather fringe, have an elegant effect.
Several of the new evening robes, both of satin, velvet, and pekin, are trimmed with black lace. Generally speaking, lace, both black and white, is very much in vogue for trimming silk dresses. Fancy black, indeed, is getting so much into favour, that we have seen even ball dresses composed of black gauze, and trimmed with flounces of the same material, but they were looped in the drapery style by roses. Tight corsages are more in vogue than draped ones, and several are trimmed with lace pelerine mantillas, some of which are cut in points on the shoulders and bosom. We have noticed that a good many long sleeves are made with the upper part disposed in a moderately full bouillon; the remainder of the sleeve is large, and it is terminated by a cuff a little resembling a gauntlet cuff, but much prettier. Short sleeves are always tight at the top, but a bouillon or a ruffle gives fulness to the lower part.
Turbans of gold blond lace, or gold and silver silks of a fillagre pattern, have been introduced last month in evening dress. The prettiest evening hats are of groseille terry velvet, ornamented with long marabout plumes, which wind round the brim and then droop upon the neck. Fashionable colours are several full shades of red, dark and light green, and blue, different shades of brown, and orange. Light colours are also fashionable in evening dress.