Civil War Era Fashion Chit Chat - February 1860 Peterson's Magazine
Dresses are trimmed in various ways. When flounces are employed, there are several modes of arranging them, all equally fashionable. For instance, for dinner or evening dress the skirt may be entirely covered with narrow flounces; or they may be placed in groups of three and three together, reaching to a little above the knees. For a plainer style of dress, a favorite style for flounces consists of one deep flounce with a heading surmounted by three or four narrow frills, the uppermost having a heading. Flounces may be finished at the edge merely with a hem, or a row of velvet; or they may be pinked out in scallops. Trimmings composed of bands of velvet passing round the skirt, and front trimmings of velvet or passementerie, are also in vogue. In addition to those already mentioned, there are many favorite trimmings, consisting of gaufferings, macaroons, brandebourgs, &c. Dresses are made quite high; the most in favor will be those with round waists and ceintures with broad floating ends; some ladies still prefer the pointed body, but in this case the points should be short, and the dresses lace up the back. Bows and rosettes down the front, in the whole length of the dress, have a very good effect, but this is only where the materials are heavy, and admit of neither flounces nor double skirts, or where there is no seam at the waist. Bows and ends in the form of shoulder knots, are also popular. For in-door, the Zouave jacket, made of velvet, is worn with a skirt of silk or satin: the skirts still continue to be worn as full as ever.
The tight sleeve will be the most stylish and fashionable, for morning and promenade dresses during the present season; it is a revival, with a few modifications, of the style of 1848, and is admirably adapted for those distingue dresses without seam across the waist: these sleeves are not made so very tight to the arm, as at the period above named; they have certainly a seam at the back of the arm to shape the elbow, but ample room is given to bend the arm easily: for cold weather they are decidedly more warm and comfortable than the large open sleeves, which have been carried to the extreme.
By the last steamer we hear that the French Empress has abolished crinoline, but it will be a long while before this popular adjunct to a lady's dress is entirely done away with.
One of the prettiest dresses of the present season is composed of black velvet. It is made high and with the corsage closed up to the throat. With this exception of a row of gold buttons up the front of the skirt and the corsage, this dress is entirely plain. The sleeves are wide and lined with white satin, at the edge there is a row of white blonde covered with black lace. A ceinture of black velvet fastened with a gold buckle, is worn round the waist.
another very stylish dress is of black silk, with many flounces, a black one and then one of deep groseille silk alternately; tight sleeves of black, with the cap, or jockey, of groseille silk; also a puff of groseille silk at the hand; corsage of black silk, with groseille silk buttons. Small frill of goffered Valenciennes falling over the hand. The wide sleeves will still be in great favor for dinner and house dress. They are undoubetly more elegant, while the tight sleeves have the advantage of being warmer, and are less troublesome for winter.
For Ball Dresses, tulle, tarlatane, gauze, and very fine muslin, are the materials the best adapted; puffings of tulle always look light and elegant; the mixture of ribbon with the flowers is in very good taste, and will be in great favor; the ends of the ribbon always terminating either in gold acorns or tassels. A Paris paper describes a dress recently made for a Russian Princess, which must be very beautiful. The underslip was of white satin, over this was a skirt of tulle bouillonne, which was covered with a shower of golden stars; the corsage of the same. The dressmaker declared that the head-dress was composed of five stars set in diamonds; a large one in the centre, and diminishing in size at the sides! Imagine the effect of this toilet on a young and beautiful creature, that creature possessing the additional lustre of being a princess, and this her toilet for the first ball after her marriage. Another destined for the same person was composed of tulle of a pale delicate water green, the skirt made with large bouillonnes, and looped up at irregular distances with branches of graceful hanging seaweed - this was called very appropriately the "Naiad."
The fashionable Parisian morning dresses, usually called peignoirs, rarely present much novelty, as far as regards form; but the materials of which they are composed, and the trimmings which ornament them, admit of great variety, in accordance with the taste of the wearer. One, in a style very fasgionable in Paris, is composed of white cashmere. It is open in front, and worn over a skirt of white muslin, trimmed with a tablier consisting of scalloped flounces, the tablier just filling up the opening between the two sides of the dress. The skirt is lined with mauve-color silk, and is bordered with a fluted quilling of ribbon of the same color as the lining. The corsage is high and close, and has a small collar; a plaiting of ribbon passes up the centre of the corsage, and trims the edge of the collar. The sleeves are rather wide, and are slit up their whole length in the inner part of the arm. They are lined with mauve silk, and edged round with a plaiting of ribbon. Long undersleeves of white muslin, closed at the wrist and finished by turned-up cuffs. A bow of ribbon with long ends is fixed on each shoulder, and round the waist is a ribbon ceinture, fastened in a bow with long ends flowing over the front of the dress.
Gold braid is being extensively introduced into ladies' apparel this year; it first began with the Zouave jacket, and is now invading cloaks, dresses, and even bonnets; for cloaks it is not pretty - in the first place it tranishes quickly, and in the second it has a stagey, or theatrical look, which every lady with quiet tastes wishes to avoid. For dresses the same remark may be made - for the Zouave, the little house jacket for cold weather, it is lively, new, and coquettish.
Collars - For morning and visiting collars, the fashionable stores are making is small all-rounders, in exact imitation of those worn by the gentleman; they are very becoming. The sleeve to be worn with this is exactly like a gentleman's shirt-sleeve, the cuff falling over the hand, and not turned back in the usual style. Both sleeves and collar are made of linen. Another pretty style is the col a revers. To use this shape the dress must be cut open in the front; the collar has lappets, which turn over, leaving the neck slightly exposed. To avoid taking cold while adopting this pretty collar, the ladies tie about their necks a cravat, made of white muslin and trimmed with a deep Valenciennes. The bow and ends fit in exactly where the collar is open, and the effect is light and becoming. We must mention that with the first collar must be worn a cravat like those of the gentlemen, called, in London, the "tubular tie."
Under-sleeves are worn a little fuller than recently. When not intended for evening dress they are closed at the wrists. Some are embroidered and trimmed with Valenciennes; others are trimmed with black lace, and bows and ends of velvet or ribbon are frequently employed as trimmings for under-sleeves. Fichus over low corsages are worn this winter.
Head-Dresses - A delicious little head-dress for an evening party has a spiral, snail-shaped crown of mallow ribbon and a blonde lace laid on flat, forming a slight point on the forehead, and having under it a narrow pinked ruche like those on the head. On each side at the cheeks are loops of mallow ribbon, and two barbs of blonde are added behind on long ribbon strings which hang below them. Another head-dress is composed of two lozenges of velvet bordered with lace, one being placed very forward, the other behind on the back hair. These two lozenges are connected by a flame-color velvet torsade covered by a row of lace, and on the left side, under this torsade, is placed a branch of cherry-color magnolias blended with grass and reeds.
The other, formed by a broad band of blue velvet, the ends of which are turned underneath, while the band itself is placed very low as a cashe-peigne. In front of this band are two loops of blue ribbon, lying round on the head, while a gold torsade winds round them and terminates, on the one hand, in three handsome tassels, and on the other in a branch of white and gold bell-flowers.
Bonnets are much larger, coming more forward in the front, sitting off at the sides; terry velvet, mixed with lace and silk, is the most fashionable material. The bonnets which have just appeared, present no novelty of moment, beyond what we have already noticed. We have seen a black velvet bonnet prettily and simply trimmed with quillings of black lace. It is lined with blue terry velvet, and the lining is turned up so as to form a narrow bordering on the outside of the brim. The under-trimming is composed of ruches of blonde, and a bouquet of daisies formed of blue velvet, fixed on one side by a bow of black lace. The strings are composed of blue terry velvet.