Early Victorian Era Fashion Chit Chat - June 1859 Peterson's Magazine
Although the width of robes is as yet but little diminished, if at all, at the bottom, it is greatly reduced in mounting to the top; this is effected by gradually sloping some of the back breadths attached to the corsage. This manner of cutting out skirts is by far the most advantageous to the shape that we have yet seen; it is far more graceful than the old fashion of goring the skirt at each side, which has been lately unsuccessfully attempted to be brought again into vogue.
The newest style of making dresses is with large plaits, no points or waistband, nor any separation at the waist. Yet there are many also with round waists, waistband and "infant bodies," for young ladies; and lastly some few with two points and even short lappets but into points all round.
For Morning Dresses bodies are made high and plain; some ladies are preferring them without the basquine, the waists round and worn with narrow belt and buckle: sleeves are very wide, whether of the open pagoda form, or in large puffs. The plaitings, as in fig 4, continue fashionable for trimming dresses. A dress of grey watered silk has lately been made with a body in the shape of a hussar jacket, and a velvet waistcoat and steel buttons. The skirt is gathered in very large plaits, and on each plait there is a band of velvet ending in a point, and reaching about to the knee. The sleeves have elbows, with jockeys and pointed cuffs. Organdies and lawns are generally made low in the neck, with a cape of the same material as the dress. These capes are usually in the surplice style, that is not close up in the neck in front, but open, and the ends crossing over each other at the waist. A pretty lace of cambric edging, or even a ruffle of the material of the dress, is the prettiest way of finishing these capes. A puffing of the lawn or organdy is also pretty. For evening dresses, one of the greatest novelties is a dress of two skirts of two different shades of green or pink silk: the first skirt made very long and full, is of a bright rich color, the second skirt, not quite so full, is of a lighter and more delicate shade: to give a more dressy and elegant appearance, the second skirt may be looped up at each side by a Watteau porte-jupe, ornamented to correspond with the dress, or in any other manner preferred: the corsage and sleeves are of the same color as the second skirt.
Linene articles are still profusely ornamented with ribbons or velvets, and mixed with white and black lace. The most dressy under-sleeves have two large puffs, either muslin or tulle, with a transparent ribbon at the edge and a rich lace. Others are simple puffs bordered with velvet or ribbon with a rosette; others again have bands bordered in the same way with a ribbon or a velvet, but with a trimming of black lace turned back over it. Then others again have all round small barbs of lace or velvet trimmed with lace. For morning wear, they have cuffs turned up, either embroidered or quadrilled with velvet. An original innovation just introduced consists of colored embroidery forming wreaths on a quilted ground, which is likewise colored. A plain cuff of crimson or amaranth velvet has a very pretty effect with white under-sleeves. Another style of sleeve, much on favor, has a very broad mousquetaire cuff composed of tulle or net, of whichever material the sleeve may consist. This cuff is crossed with rows of China blue velvet, edged with narrow white lace. The collar intended to be worn with these sleeves is pointed in front and behind, and trimmed with crossings of velvet in the manner just described. For ordinary out-door dress, collars and cuffs of nansouk are crossed with black velvet. Crossings of velvet are also extremely fashionable for fichus, pelerines, and bretelles, made of black tulle. The crossings are of narrow black velvet in a lozenge pattern, and the pelerines, &c., are edged round with full trimmings of black lace. These pelerines and bretelles have long ends, which may be crossed in front and linked one in the other at the back of the waist, or they may be left to flow over the front of the skirt. In either way their effect is very elegant. When made of white tulle the crossings are of colored velvet. Berthes are also trimmed with a combination of black and white lace or blonde. These berthes are particularly pretty over pink, green, or maize-colored dresses.
Head-Dresses are at present very elegant. Among the most beautiful of those composed of flowers, are some wreaths of violets intermingled with bunches of black currants, or with wheat-ears in gold. We may mention that gold wheat-ears have become favorite ornaments used as adjuncts to wreaths. ONe of the newly-introduced wreaths is formed of the flowers of the hop, in variegated tints of pale green and yellow; the foliage sprinkled with frosting in imitation of dew. Wreaths formed of corn-flags and blades of grass, and others composed of camelias with pendent sprays of buds and foliage, are among the favorites. The foliage combined with the new flowers and wreaths is frequently of different tints, shaded, and lightly frosted.
Among the head-dresses, of which flowers form no part, we have seen one composed of bright blue velvet, pliant twists of gold, and light gold tassels. Another consists of a toque of green velvet trimmed with gold braid, which forms an arabesque ornament on one side; on the other side, a plume of magnificent white marabouts, tipped with gold, droop toward the back of the neck.
Mantles are usually of black silk, made quite large, of a shawl shape, and have a hood. Some of these hoods are quite plain, trimmed with only tassels; others are ornamented with fringe or lace; and others again are composed of lace entirely.
Basquines for the street are also increasing in favor. These are made very deep, reaching to within about half a yard of the bottom of the dress. There is usually no trimming on them, except the corsage buttons which confine them from the waist up. The sleeves are very long and wide, cut in the Venitian style, with a deep point reaching more than half way down the skirt. The Ninon de Lenclos is a basquine not fitting close to the waist, and it has the addition of a deep pelerine or cape. The one we have seen is composed of black silk. The skirt and front of the basquine are trimmed with bouillonnes of silk, in three rows. Round the throat there are two rows only of these bouillonnes. The pelerine is edged with a deep row of black quipure, headed by two rows of bouillonnes.
Bonnets of straw are unusually beautiful this season. Some very coarse straws are trimmed on the outside with a straw cord and tassel; others have a soft cap crown of some pretty plaid or plain silk; and others are trimmed with barbs of black lace, or knots of ribbon and violets. These latter are of fine split straw. The under-trimming consists generally of a blonde cap and bows of ribbon, or tufts of violets, daisies, roses, &c. The capes are much smaller than those heretofore worn, and are usually set on in double box plaits. The fronts are slightly a la Marie Stuart, but without being exactly pointed in front.