Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Civil War Era Chit Chat upon Fashions - January 1863 Godey's Lady's Book

Chit Chat upon New York and Philadelphia Fashions for January

While the month of January brings with it opportunities for using the elegant evening toilets, for which our ladies are famous the world over, it none the less brings mud and mire and stormy days. But notwithstanding mud and mire, business must be attended to and exercise taken in the open air. For these purposes, there is nothing so useful as the Jupe Pompadour; and we cannot recommend it too highly. It is very easily made: Two rows of rings are sewn at regular intervals on the inside of the skirt; through these rings pass cords, fastened to the bottom of the dress, which come out at the top of the skirt. By these cords the skirt can be drawn up in graceful folds to any height. With this Jupe should be worn the colored or Balmoral skirts, of which there is an endless variety. Some are elegantly braided and trimmed with velvet, others are of black material, with bands of scarlet cloth pinked on each edge and stitched on them. Again we see them alternately striped with black and white, with a deep Grecian design embroidered in black. Sometimes they are in brilliant colored merinos, with arabesques of black silk or cloth. They are also made of Poplin. But we object to these expensive styles, for a colored petticoat in our eyes, is only suitable for unpleasant weather, and should not, under any circumstances, take the place of a white one, with a handsome dress.

Dress Skirts are now rarely seen perfectly plain. They are generally much ornamented, but in excellent taste. Soutache or braiding seems to be the order of the day. We have lately seen at Stewart's some very beautiful imported dresses of Empress cloth, braided or rather tamboured in a very deep and rich design. Other styles for misses, with Sautes en barques to match, were of blue, green, or brown reps with two rows of the Greek pattern woven on them in black velvet, the velvet about one-eighth of an inch in width, and the designs complete for the entire dress. The same style of robe was in the mourning department, black and purple velvet on black materials; also other rich designs on different materials.

At Mme. Pinchon's, Lord & Taylor's, and other establishments, were dresses with sack or Camailes to match, richly braided with fancy braids.

Dress Skirts are worn of a moderate length on the street, but for a reception, visiting, or evening, they are made exceedingly long. Sleeves generally are of the coat style, and dresses are either made with jackets, many of them with box-plaits at the back, or else trimmed to give the appearance of a jacket in front. The Vest Postillion, basquine Lancier, and vest Imperatrice are all fashionable.

The taste for solid colors seems to prevail, and never were such greens, purples, modes, and garnets, as those of this season. Changeable silks are being introduced, and moire antiques and watered silks are much worn.

Merinos like the silks are of the most brilliant dyes this winter, and as they are a very pretty medium dress, and susceptible of much ornamentation, no wardrobe is considered complete without one. Indeed there seems to be a perfect rage for them, and as they hang in such soft graceful folds, we should prefer them rather than poplins for misses.

Mrs. Ellis, of 880 Broadway, contributes some very beautiful styles to our chronicle of fashions for this month. A very stylish dress was a wine-colored moire trimmed at the edge of the skirt with a narrow plaited flounce. Above this plaiting were a series of semicircles of coquilles of black lace, in the centre of which were bands of black velvet. These coquilles, which were carried quite round the skirt, and ascended half way up the skirt on the left side, were headed by a narrow plaited flounce corresponding with that on the edge of the skirt. The corsage was trimmed en zouave, and the trimming of lace and velvet was carried under the arms to the back, where it was finished with a bow and long ends. Another was of wine-colored silk, with chestnut leaves of velvet, caught in pairs with a jet ornament and carried round the skirt and up one side to the waist. Spanish corsage trimmed to match, and SPanish pocket.

Another dress, quite novel and in excellent taste, was a silver gray silk, ornamented round the bottom with a very deep band formed of black and violet ribbons, so arrnaged as to form checkers. On the corsage was a plastron of the same, and the sleeves with revers were trimmed to match.

Among the numerous merino dresses, was one of rose de chine, with velvet oak leaves, chain-stitched with white, running all round the skirt. Another of green, beautifully braided with thick white silk cord, a brown braided with gold color. A travelling dress of Humboldt purple, with Camail to match, both elegantly braided with fancy black braid.

Black alpacas are being made up with fluted ruffles, and trimmed with colored velvets and braids. Velvets are to be had narrow enough for braiding and so up to a finger in width of all colors: the black with white edge, however, seems to be preferred for everything. Plain black velvet ribbons come one-quarter of a yard wide. Black and white fancy braid is very stylish, and black mixed with tinsel we see used. Beads worked in with braiding add much to the effect. Short plaid silk scarfs are very much worn by misses, tied in a large bow under the chin. Camel-hair scarfs are worn in the same style. For in-doors, lace and mulin lappets or scarfs are now very generally worn round the neck, to the exclusion of collars. They are also tied in a large bow, and, when well tied, are very stylish. When made of lace, and arranged with taste, they are very becoming.

Handkerchiefs are worn very simply ornamented: some have five rows of small spots in black silk all round, and trimmed with a narrow ruffle, with similar black spots worked upon it. Others are chain-stitched, or braided in colors, with a medallion and initials on one side, the handkerchiefs being generally round. The more elegant are trimmed with insertions and flutings of Valenciennes.

Sashes are much worn, and as it is rather expensive to have them to match every dress, many are made of black silk, with either a ruche all round, or else braided and the ends fringed. The most elegant are of black thread lace, and add much to the style of a dress.

The accepted style of bonnet is very high, rather square on top, and straight, shallow sides. For misses the tabs are generally very small. The trimming is placed on top, and consists of plumes or fans, fold, or flutings of velvet.

We noticed at Miss McConnel's, of Clinton Place, New York, an exquisite bonnet of Humboldt purple velvet, with the whole of the front covered with the green blossoms of the American linden. We should remark, en passant, that the Humboldt purple has a peculiarity of looking well in the evening. Another of the same shade was trimmed with velvet flowers to match, and black lace. We have not space to describe the many beautiful bonnets we saw at this establishment; but we were particularly attracted by a new veil styled Loup de dentelle. They are suitable for round hats as well as bonnets, and, we have been told, have been adopted by the Empress, and will be much patronized this winter. They are made in different sorts of lace, rather oval in shape, and held in their place by a black velvet, or ribbon of a similar color as the bonnet, which is run through a beading, and tied with bow and ends just over the mouth. The veil is then trimmed with a lace about two inches in width.

Brodie's cloaks are as usual very stylish and of great variety in shape and trimming. A number of the rich velvet cloaks are long sacks without trimming, except on the revers of the sleeve, on which there is a coquille of lace. Others are rounding, with several seams from the shoulders to the waist, causing them to hang very gracefully. They have armholes, but no sleeves, and are trimmed with jet passementerie running up in pyramids. Some have a large plait in the centre of the back, and are ornamented with rich crochet medallions, and fastened at the throat with crochet ornaments.

Ball cloaks are now being made of exceedingly rich and handsome material, and really form part of the evening toilet. Some are of white silk, bordered with bands of black and gold, others spotted with gold. New designs appear daily in the show-rooms. At Mme. Pinchon's we noticed a number of cloaks made of blue cloth, thick, soft, and velvety, richly braided or trimmed with passementerie. Others were darker, almost a blue black.

At other establishments we have seen sacks made up of army blue cloth, and trimmed with gilt braid and buttons; but these are entirely too prononce for the street, and the style will not be adopted by ladies of good taste.

We were shown some very elegant dresses, just finished by Mme. Demorest, 473 Broadway. One was a Russian leather colored taffeta, the skirt trimmed with five bands of black velvet, edged on both sides with quilling of the same taffeta, and finished with black lace. The body was open and trimmed round over the shoulders with three rows of the velvet and plaiting, the centre band being the widest, which was also the case on the skirt. The bands ended in the girdle, which had broad, long ends, fastened without a bow.

An evening dress we admired for its novel and appropriate use of crepe as the trimming. This was a mauve silk, trimmed with three rows of crepe ruches in three shades, the inner one the darkest, and the outer one lighter than the dress. Low body, with Marie Antoinette fichu, trimmed to correspond, and terminating in long ends behind. Another silk of Mexican blue has three fluted crepe flounces, the same shade as the dress, and edged with black lace.

A very beautiful carriage dress was a fine poplin, in shaded tints of maize color and black, with five undulating black stripes. This dress had a hemmed flounce of changeable silk, the same shade as the foundation color of the dress. Above this was an application of guipure four inches wide. The body was trimmed en Zouave, and the sleeve shaped at the elbow with trimmings of guipure lace and flutings.

One of the latest novelties is the Spanish pocket, a very pretty and dressy little affair. It is worn on the outside of the dress, and is very like a Zouave pouch. It is suitable both for ladies and misses, and, we think, will be a favorite this winter.

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