Early Victoria Era Fashion Chit Chat - August 1857 Godey's Lady's Book
Chitchat upon New York and Philadelphia Fashions for August
As we promised, in our last number, we continue our suggestions for the use of the travelling public, no one else being supposed to need anything new the present month, which borders so closely upon the first gay changes of raiment for the autumn.
We have spoken of the present style of morning-dress, which consists rather of a jacket and skirt, than the dressing-gown so long invariable. Peignoirs of delicate cashmere, in chintz patterns, with a colored border - of lawn and cambric, of chinie silk, and of embroidered cambric, are also worn. Breakfast caps are still in vogue, even for unmarried ladies, though this is not in strictly good taste. hey vary from a simple barbe of lace, or embroidery, to elaborate combinations of lace, ribbon, and flowers. As a general rule, a breakfast cap should be simple, and ornamented with ribbons only.
Our watering-place belle is an equestrienne, of course, and changes her robe for her habit and the morning ride. The skirt we have given is of course suitable for all times and seasons; but the hat and jacket are only intended for July, August, and the first weeks of September. Earlier and later, it is well to lay aside Marseilles and Leghorn for a cloth jacket and a hat of felt or beaver.
The most fashionable colors for riding-habits are dark mulberry, myrtle green, and black. They are ornamented more or less, as taste may dictate, with braid or embroidery in silk; but the most novel and distinguished are exceedingly plain. The only ornament on the corsage is a row of passementerie buttons, of the same color as the cloth, which fasten the corsage from the waist to the throat. At the edge of the basque, which is not very long, it is trimmed with a row of braid. The sleeves are plain; and at the upper part they fit rather close to the arm; at the lower part, they widen, the ends being turned up, and finished with a row of the same trimming as that at the edge of the basque. One of the new riding-hats, composed of gray felt, has a broad brim edged with gray ribbon. The brim is turned up a little at the sides; beneath it, at each ear, is a bow formed of loops of ribbon. The crown of this hat is small and round, and is nearly encircled by a long gray ostrich feather.
Following next in order, of the day's engagements, is the lunch, still in her habit, if she pleases, and the hour's seclusion before commencing a dinner or promenade toilet. We have always deprecated the admission of full dress to the table d'hete, and still think that the best taste will cover the arms and neck, at least by a lace fichu and sleeves. Indeed, with the pretty and becoming fichus and lace or muslin basques so much in vogue, there is no excuse for any, save very young ladies, school-girls, in fact, appearing without this slight drapery.
The delicate robe dresses of glace or chinee silk, barege, organdy, or any of the tissues, are most suitable for dinner and promeande dress. All elaborate ornament or gauzy fabrics should be reserved for the evening sociables, or "hops," which will give ample opportunity for their display. We quote several dresses as models, which may be relied on as suitable and in good taste.
A dinner-dress of black moire antique. It has a plain, full skirt, with a demi-train. The sleeves are trimmed with three frills of moire, each edged with a frill of black lace. A fichu, or cape, of Chantilly lace is worn with the dress.
The plain silks recently made up are trimmed with rows of fringe on the basque and sleeves. Owing to the solidity of the material, the skirts are usually without trimming. When the dress is made without a basque, a ribbon ceinture is worn; and it is fastened in a bow with flowing ends descending to the knees. Bows of ribbon are placed at the sleeves; and five small bows of ribbon fasten the front of the corsage.
There is an immense variety of styles for evening-dress intended for young ladies just coming out, all of them showing a freshness and simplicity of taste that recommend them. Among the plainer ones may be mentioned one of pink barege trimmed with three flounces, edged with stripes in satin of the same color. The corsage is low and full; and with it is worn a fichu of worked muslin, and a ceinture of pink ribbon with long flowing ends. The sleeves are formed of one puff and two frills. The under-sleeves also consist of a puff and two frills, the latter consisting of worked muslin.
Another, of white tarleton, has two skirts, each finished at the edge with a plain hem. A small chatelaine of roses descends from the waist over the double skirt on the left side. In front of the corsage, there is a bouquet composed of three roses; and a single rose ornaments each of the short sleeves. The coiffure adopted with this dress is a net of black chenille, with a small bouquet of roses on each side.
A dress of white silk, covered with three skirts of white thulle, is very becoming. The first and third skirts have a hem three inches wide and are raised - one on the right, and the other on the left - with a bouquet of daisies; whilst the second skirt, which is not raised, is made of double thulle, turned up underneath, and is puffed all round. The two lower skirts are five yards round, and the upper one three and a half. The corsage is covered with thulle, and has folds of double plaited thulle. A bouquet of daisies separates the folds in front, and terminates in a light cordon of daisies ending at the point. Tiny bouquets of the same flower are sprinkled over the draperies and the two small thulle-puffed sleeves. The coiffure is a cordon of red-tinted daisies, forming a garland, and passes between the bandeaux, gradually increasing in volume until it forms a large tuft of flowers on the back of the head.
Pink, blue, and amber are the favorite hues for dresses of colored tarleton. A dress of amber-color tarleton has been trimmed with two double flounces, above which, at intervals, are placed bows of black velvet. The corsage and sleeves are ornamented with loops and ends of black velvet. The headdress consists of bows of black velvet placed on one side, and sprays of scarlet and black velvet flowers on the other. A dress of pink tarleton has one deep flounce, which falls over the lower part of the skirt, and a tunic covering the upper part. The tunic is cut or pinked out at the edge in deep vandykes, and trimmed with a ruche. Between the vandykes, that is to say, at each of the upper angles formed by them, is fixed a bow with short ends of pink-watered ribbon. The flounce is finished at the edge merely by a hem. The corsage has a double berthe. The coiffure to be worn with this dress consists of roses and ivy. A novel and effective style of trimming has been employed for a blue tarleton dress. It is trimmed with three flounces, each edged with a wreath of lilac formed of white satin application. The corsage has a berthe composed of narrow frills, edged with trimming similar to that on the flounces. A bouquet of white lilac worn in the hair completes the costume.
The ball-wreaths just received from Paris include one of peculiar elegance. It consists of a wreath of foliage in green velvet, intermingled with the red berries of the service-tree. Each leaf is bordered by a narrow gold line. At the back, there are pendent sprays of small flowers in green and gold intermingled with red berries. Another wreath consists of roses, with bright green foliage veined with gold. A much-admired coiffure consists of wreaths of foliage in crimson velvet, intermingled with lilies of the valley in gold.
The iris is, at present, a very favorite flower, both for wreaths and for trimming ball-dresses. Dresses of thulle and lace have been made with flounces gathered up in festoons, fastened by sprays of iris combined with foliage in diamonds. Scarcely less beautiful are the wreaths, bouquets and sprays of sweet peas made in velvet. The rich and various hues of this flower contrast well with the white thulle, blonde, and other light textures usually selected for ball-dresses. Some very pretty wreaths of small roses, and wreaths composed of lilac of three kinds, viz., white, violet, and lilac intermingled, are destined to edge double and triple skirts of thulle, &c., or to descend from the waist to the edge of the skirt, and combine with trimmings placed on each side of the dress. One of the prettiest of the new ball-dresses recently made is composed of white thulle, and has three flounces trimmed with bouillonnes, in which are fixed, at intervals, sprays of forget-me-not. The contrast formed by this little blue flower on the thulle is very pretty; and, moreover, it somewhat presents the effect of turquoise. The corsage and sleeves of the dress just mentioned are trimmed with bouquets and sprays of forget-me-not.
Having furnished our stay at home friends with so much gossip of gayer life, we reserve the minor articles of tiny collars, Gabrielle ruffs, etc. etc. for another chat with them.