Early Victorian Era Fashion Chit Chat - June 1839 The Ladies Pocket Magazine
Remarks on the Prevailing London Fashions
At last we may confidently say that the summer fashions are fairly set in; and seldom, indeed, have we seen them more tasteful and becoming. Walking dress is not, as yet, of a very light kind, nor do we think it is likely to be during the summer. Mousselines de laine, and silks of quiet colours, are decidedly the vogue for robes: a good many of the silk dresses are bordered with a single flounce of moderate depth; those of mousseline de laine, if trimmed, are mostly ornamented with bias folds from two to four in number. Corsages are invariably made round in walking dress, and a good many quite high, that is to say behind, for all are more or less open on the bosom. Sleeves are moderately full at the lower part, and it is now ascertained that tight ones will not be at all adopted.
The vogue of shawls and mantelets is quite as general as it was last year; but we observe that shawls, which were then in a minority, are now in a majority: it is, however, probable that, as the season advances, mantelets will resume their ascendancy. Those adopted in walking dress are of a very quiet kind, either black or saber-coloured silks, usually trimmed with black lace, or plain French cashmere enbroidered in silk of the same colour.
Straw bonnets are a good deal adopted in plain walking dress; the shape is quite different from that of last season: they are closer, larger in the brim, and quite round; the centre of the brim is narrow, and the sides wide. A few, and we think they are the prettiest, are of the French cottage shape. The trimmings are, in our opinion, too shewy for walking dress, for almost all are decorated with flowers, both in the interior of the brim and on the crown. The ribbons employed for these bonnets are very rich; they are either shaded, figured, or striped. Bonnets of either rich, plain, or figured silk, are more in request than straw, in walking costume; the shapes are the same, but the majority of silk bonnets have the edge of the brim finished with one or two bias bands of silk, and some few are decorated with a fall of white lace not so deep as a curtain veil.
Carriage hats and bonnets are of very light materials; crape, crepe lisse, and rice straw predominate. Italian straw, though in the highest degree fashionable, is not so generally adopted as the materials we have just mentioned. The Pamela shape is no longer in vogue: all, or at least nearly all, Italian straw hats have the brim now cut in a round form, larger certainly than other hats, but by no means in its original size. Some of these hats are trimmed with a peacock's feather cut in the form of a palm; others are trimmed with white ostrich feathers. White ribbons, very richly figured, are a good deal employed, but not so much as those that are figured in colours, either in flower or fruit patterns, or with the edges to imitate lace. Rice straw hats are trimmed in a similar style, that is a few, for the majority are decorated with flowers. A singularly pretty style of trimming that is a good deal in favour for these hats, is a very small wreath of flowers, intermingled with crape ornaments; it issues from them en gerbe at the side of the crown, but very low down, and passes a little below the brim: this is a kind of trimming at once graceful, novel, and becoming. Bonnets of crape and crepe lisse are generally drawn; they are trimmed with flowers, and a mixture of blond lace, or else of the material of the bonnet; ribbon is rarely employed for them.
Lace, both black and white, is in very great favour for every part of dress for which it can be used; even robes de chambre, composed of very fine plain mousseline de laine, are sometimes trimmed with it. This is, however, to be regarded as a fancy rather than a fashion, and a fancy which will suit very rich elegantes only, as the laces thus employed are foreign, and of the most expensive kind. The majority of silk robes, in dinner and evening dress, have the flounces of lace. A few muslin tunics have appeared in evening dress; they were worn over skirts to correspond; the latter were embroidered round the border, which was also finished with a very deep flounce of lace; it was headed by a bouillonnes, through which a coloured ribbon was ran. The tunic, rounded at the corners, and sufficiently short to display the embroidery of the skirt, was also worked in a light pattern all round, but from each corner a gerbe of flowers, richly interspersed with open work, rose to a considerable height at each side; it was trimmed also with lace and bouillonnes; the corsage was en coeur, with the lace placed below the embroidery, and the sleeve of the Victoria form, very profusely trimmed with lace. Petits bords of rice straw are beginning to supersede those of velvet in evening dress. Fancy coiffures are much in favour, but they are now of a very simple kind, composed principally of lace and flowers. Fashionable colours have not altered materially, but white, pea green, and lilac are more in request than last month.