Civil War Era Chit Chat upon Fashions - October 1864 Godey's Lady's Book
Chitchat Upon New York and Philadelphia Fashions for October
The trees, hitherto decked in the garb of spring, are now changing to the gorgeous colors of autumn, and hillside and forest are bright with their exquisite hues. As in nature, so also in fashion. The store windows, which have so long been filled with the quiet, delicate shades and light, gauzy materials of spring and summer wear, are now filled with goods of the richest dyes.
Plaids of the most brilliant and decided combinations; stripes of the plaid colors, sobered down by others of the soft mode shades; alpacas, merinos, and poplins of the new and always pretty self colors; ribbons of the richest and most striking styles, from the beautiful sash width to the neck-tie. All these, with the delicate embroideries and lace, combine to render the shop windows so attractive that to pass them without examining the beautiful goods is almost impossible.
For traveling or promenade suits the newest material is granit de laine. It is a soft gray wool material, speckled with tiny silk spots of a lighter or darker shade.
Milliners are now very busy, but are principally stripping the bonnets of their spring attire, and dressing them with the bright ribbons and flowers of autumn.
Most of the bonnets have soft cap-like crowns, though not hanging. The capes are small, so also are the bonnets. The ribbons are very bright, and yellow and scarlet much used, particularly on black bonnets.
Among the new flowers are tufts of brown, feathery grasses, through which are spears of grass formed of some brilliant metal, changing color continually as the light plays on it.
A very elegant trimming for a black Neapolitan bonnet would be a narrow binding of cherry velvet on the edge of the front and a cherry cap crown. A bow of black ribbon or lace, with a tuft of these metallic grasses, should be placed on one side of the crown. The cape should be of black lace, over a thin cape bound with cherry velvet.
Bias velvet, made into pipings, and formed into a very large rosette, placed over the crown, is a pretty style for a miss. Rows of the velvet pipings can be arranged on a silk cape, which should be of a contrasting color. Have, for instance, a white straw bonnet, trimmed with a rich Eugenie blue velvet, and the cape of white silk. The inside trimming can be of rosebuds and blue velvet.
We give these hints for the benefit of amateur milliners who wish to exercise their skill in trimming summer bonnets suitably for autumn.
Mantles are still made of broad checks of various colors, trimmed with woollen chenille fringe and chenille cords and tassels. Plain shades, however, will be the most popular, and buttons will play an important part in the trimmings of both cloaks and dresses this winter.
The latest style of button is square, and makes a very effective garniture. They are also very pretty for the trimming of little boys' dresses and blouses.
Crochet trimming still continues to be fashionable, and is now manufactured in the most exquisite designs, which stand out on velvet in bold relief.
Ball and chenille fringes, with a profusion of jet and steel, with lace, are the chief ornaments for velvet wraps.
Paletots with hoods will be worn. These are trimmed with ribbon or velvet arranged in loops like a fringe, each loop being fastened with a large button. Others are trimmed with bands of velvet studded with jet or steel buttons, arranged to simulate a coat.
The latest style of belt is quite wide, and shaped to the figure. These are worn with collossal buckles of mother-of-pearl, enamel, steel, jet or gilt. Some have the initials, interlaced with bars and scrolls.
Fancy jewelry is very much worn, such as a pansy formed of enamel the exact colors of the flower, bees, butterflies, grasshoppers, all true to nature. The latest novelty, however, for pins and earrings, is a small promenade hat, with a plume on one side.
The newest comb has a gilt network attached, trimmed with small pendants. This hangs over the waterfall, and has a charming effect. For the bow coiffure the combs are formed with either a band or ornament, which seems to clasp the bow in the centre. The newest nets are covered with tiny gilt or steel spangles, and are very brilliant and pretty for evening wear.
Ivory earrings and pins are still worn, also crescent shaped earrings, studded with stones, or having a quantity of small pendants attached.
Thanks to those great resources, trimmings, rarely do we see two dresses alike. Most all, however, are made with a coatee, but trimmed differently. Buttons arranged in patterns on dresses are very effective. The best plan is to cover moulds of different sizes with velvet of silk to contrast or match with the dress.
Rows of narrow velvet, placed slanting on the body and fastened at each end with a loop and button, is one of the fall styles. A rosette of lace is sometimes substituted for the loop, and the effect is more dressy.
White waists will be very much worn during the winter. Alpaca, mohair, and cashmere will take the place of white muslin. They will be braided and trimmed with bands of bright-colored silk or velvet. Buttons will also trim them very effectively.
As some of our readers may have a dress soiled round the edge, which they would like to trim up for the fall, we will give them an idea. Cut the skirt a quarter of a yard shorter than required, then cut each breadth in the form of a deep scallop. Complete the length of the dress by adding a flounce of a contrasting color, which should be even at the bottom, but must follow the undulations of the scallops on the upper edge. If the flounce is of a contrasting color, of course the body must be trimmed to match. This can be done by adding cuffs and epaulettes to the sleeves and a fancy point or revers to the body.
Jackets will be much worn, and steel buttons arranged in the pyramidal style on black cloth, silk, or velvet will be a favorite style of trimming.
Many dresses are trimmed in the sash style; that is, the trimming is sewn on the breadths to simulate a sash. It is an economical arrangement, and quite pretty, though, of course, not so dressy as a regular sash, and we would not advise it for a very handsome dress.
Most all skirts are cut in deep scallops round the edge. These scallops are trimmed with flutings of ribbon, velvet, or braid. If the dress is plaid, the scallops should be bound with a plaid braid, or else they are bound with different colors matching the colors of the dress.
Lace sashes or scarfs are frequently arranged on the dress as a berthe at the back; they are then carried over the shoulder like an epaulette, pass under the arm, and fall in long ends at the back. This is a pretty style for an evening dress. Other sashes are of silk or velvet, matching the dress; they are cut quite wide, form a point at the back, cross in front, and fall at each side in long ends.
Another pretty style of sash, suitable, however, only for evening - commences on each side under the arm, drapes the hips, and is fastened half way down the skirt - is a large bow with ends.
For evening dresses, the nuage or couldlike style prevails. These dresses are generally of puffed tulle or tarlatane. Over these skirts is another plain skirt of illusion; this is termed a veil, and is frequently looped up with flowers.
A pretty style for a tarlatane is to cover it entirely with bows of the same, caught on to the dress with a flower, such as a rosebud, violet, daisy, or a spray of lilies of the valley.
Another style, suitable for tarlatane, but prettier for illusion, is capitonne, or tufted. The illusion skirt, which should be of enormous length and width, is caught into tufts on a gored skirt of stiff net. In the centre of each tuft is a flower. This is a charming style for a wedding-dress.
The newest collars are the Garde Francaise and the Cardinal. The former is made of muslin trimmed with lace, and terminates in two long ends trimmed with lace, which tie in a bow after the collar is on. The Cardinal has at either end a pleated piece of muslin, trimmed with lace. These ends close together, and fall straight in front, like a minister's bands.
We copy a description of a very elaborate christening costume, worn by the infant daughter of the Countess de Beaumont: "The baby, who is two months and a half old, and who was carried by a Normandy nurse, wore an Indian muslin robe over a white taffetas skirt. The robe was opened in front en tablier, and described at each side two scalloped rows of Valenciennes lace. The tablier was covered with rows of Valenciennes insertion, alternating with rows of insertion embroidered in satin-stitch, both bearing the same design. The low bodice was trimmed with a berthe, upon which the same ornaments were repeated; a wide sash of white taffetas was tied at the back with a large bow and three hanging loops. The small cap was composed of a large star of very fine guipure, lined with white silk; it was trimmed with a coronet of Valenciennes lace, and with small rosettes of white ribbon. These rosettes were not of equal size all round the face, as they diminished at the sides. The long white muslin cloak was enbroidered with a garland of rosebuds and grapes, and was edged with Valenciennes lace eight inches wide. It was lined throughout with white taffetas."