Civil War Era Fashion Chit Chat - October 1864 Peterson's Magazine
We have thus given engravings of the very latest styles of dress; and also several bonnets, hats, capes, etc., which we have not thought it necessary to describe. It will be seen that the sleeve has altered less than any other part of the dress. Long basques will be the ultre style for the winter, but many will wear them much modified. Skirts for the street are still most sensibly looped up. The newest style of skirt is the Saratoga. This is stylish, and has the advantage of using two old dresses, if necessary, to make one new one. Of course, the lace can be dispensed with, and the two dresses can be of different colors, provided the colors harmonize. The under-dress should always be of the darkest hue. A Paris letter says:
"Skirts scalloped out round the edge in small deep scallops are 'all the rage' at the present moment. The scallops are bound with a double binding of taffetas to match the material of the dress. If the dress is green and blue plaid, for example, one scallop is bound with blue and the next with green taffetas. But these bindings are inconvenient, insomuch as they wear out quickly. Many ladies, who study economy, replace the taffetas binding with one made of silk braid, and under this they sew a worsted braid, which is scarcely perceptible on the outside. This silk braid produces the same effect as the taffetas binding, and is much more durable. These scalloped out-skirts are particularly pretty when looped up over the petticoat. In white alpaca, the scallop trimmed with narrow black guipure edging laid upon, not at the extreme edge of the scallop, has a charming effect. Scallops answer better than vandykes, as the latter are apt to roll up at the edges, consequently the petticoat soon looks shabby. If the petticoat matches the dress, which is always the case with self-colored materials, the scalloped edge is preferable, but if the contrary is the case, then a straight hem is better. The skirts of plain dresses look very well trimmed with bands of a pretty contrasting color, braided or embroidered in black. These bands are arranged at each side of the front breadth, and are then carried around the skirt. The bands should increase in width as they descend the skirt, and a similar trimming, which forms braces upon the bodice, is placed at the edge of the sleeve, and carried up as far as the elbow. A dress made of black silk and trimmed with bands of rich blue silk, braided with black, is one of the handsomest which we have seen this fall."
Garibaldi Bodies, made of foulard, mousseline-de-laine, or cashmere, are again worn. These bodies are not so loose as formerly - and do not droop over the belt - but are made to fit the figure closely. In fact, they are very much like a full, high body. The fronts have tucks about half an inch in width, which look well if chain-stitched. Th skirt is fastened over the Garibaldi bodice. Epaulets are frequently added to the small bishop-sleeves, and around the throat there is an upright band finished off with a strip of either white embroidered muslin or Valenciennes edging.
Some of the new dresses are cut square at the throat and are very becoming, but the throat and neck, in this case, should be pretty - and the square quite small, and filled with lace drawn with narrow velvet ribbon tied at the back.
Thin dresses are usually made gathered slightly in front of the waist, an a wide waistband or sash is always worn with them. If a waistband, it is at least four inches wide, and is fastened with a large buckle. The breadth of the sashes is also increasing considerably. These latter are now frequently made in one piece with the bodice, that is, the side-pieces of the back are extended to form a sash. The black silk Zouave jacket, made in this style, with a sash from the back, is a useful garment, as it can be worn over any dress.
The mixture of black and white is as popular as ever, and, where it is used with discretion, it is very becoming.
The Paletot is the popular shape, for an out-door wrap, this autumn. Some are made with the coat at the back, as in our plate, but these are by no means general. Pockets are usually made in the left side of the paletot.
Bonnets still continue very small, with scarcely any curtain at the back. Quantities of tulle are used, and this is a most becoming style. The novel style of buttons is square; they are made of mother-of-pearl, with a black pattern, or black with gilt ornaments, also black and steel; some very pretty ones are made of enamel of several colors. Rows of buttons are often the sole trimming of paletots, coats, and jackets.