Civil War Era Fashion Chit Chat - June 1863 Peterson's Magazine
General Remarks - The varieties of new materials for summer wear are innumerable. Alpacas, summer poplins, and summer silks, are among the most popular of the spring goods; but for a little later in the season are mixtures of wool and silk, thinner than the articles just named, but more durable than bareges, and less liable to crumple than tissues. These goods are usually of some of the shades of brown, fawn, gray, or lilac, though some are in small black and white plaids. Grenadines are nearly all black, with small detached figures of only one color, as brown, violet, blue, green, orange, or crimson. The organdies are nearly all of white grounds with bunches of roses, carnations, or groups of blackberries and leaves. These organdies are exquisite, but come at the high price of one dollar per yard. There are other organdies in dress patterns, at eighteen dollars the dress, which are lovely. The ground is white with a fine hair-colored figure running through it; but around the bottom is a band of white about an eighth of a yard in width, covered with rose-buds.
We mentioned in a former number that plain cambrics come with patterns printed round the bottom and up the front of the skirts, such as a buff cambric with a black Maltese lace pattern; another buff cambric with a bold braided design in black printed upon it, etc., etc. The effect of these printed imitations is so excellent, that at a short distance it is impossible to believe that the lace was not genuine Maltese, and that the design was not in reality braided upon the material.
The skirts of dresses are still made very long behind, and are much gored, to throw the fullness nicely to the bottom. They are now arranged behind in large gathers, and plaited in small plaits from the gathers to the front. Bodices are being made with three points behind and two in front; the small tail behind is still also worn, but the round waists are never seen unless a sash is worn tied behind, and then this mode of bodice is admissible. Sleeves are made to fit rather closely to the arm, the long, very open sleeves being now seldom seen. Epaulets are very generally worn at the top, with a turned-back cuff at the bottom to correspond. Unless the figure is tall and slight, we think the epaulets give too much width to the figure, therefore stout persons should on no account wear them.
Basquines are coming in fashion again, though as yet they are so small as hardly to deserve the name.
Camlets, alpacas, and foulards of one color, as well as figured foulards, are at present the favorite materials for morning dresses. They are usually made high and closely fitting to the figure, with two points in front, and with a small swallow-tail basque at the back. The sleeves are cut either open and very narrow round the bottom, small bell buttons being carried up the seam as far as the elbow, or they are closed at the wrist with a pointed cuff, which is at least a quarter of a yard deep. These gauntleted closed cuffs are very popular for morning wear, being found to be infinitely more convenient and comfortable than the wide hanging sleeves, with the pagoda-shaped white undersleeve, which so speedily lost its freshness, consequently its beauty. Over these deep-pointed closed cuffs white linen cuffs of the same shape are worn. No decision apparently has been arrived at on the subject of the morning white linen collar. In London the small standing collar, with the narrow-colored silk cravat, the pointed cavalier collar, and the small rounded one, are all fashionable. In Paris there is at the present moment a great tendency toward the introduction of large linen collars. To the fairest and best of complexions this large expanse of white linen proves very trying.
Muslin cravats are still worn round the throat; they are made narrower than formerly, and are embroidered at both ends. Some have a narrow Valenciennes edging around them; they are tied exactly as a gentleman's cravat, with the ends standing out in a line with the bow, and not hanging down as formerly.
The change in the shape of Crinoline is daily more apparent in Paris, but in London there is no difference as yet visible. In the former city, crinolines and steel petticoats of all descriptions are made flat and clinging from the waist to the knee, and from the knee downward they expand until they attain round the bottom larger and wider dimensions than formerly. For out-door wear these crinolines are made to reach only to the top of the boots at the back, as dresses still continue to be drawn up; but for evening and in-door wear they are made much longer at the back, and are cut with a train or fan-like expansion, as dresses with trains fall more gracefully over petticoats which are cut in some measure, although in a lesser degree, in the same shape.
Mantillas are of various shapes. The round, full ones are probably the most in favor. The pelerine, of a shawl shape behind, with long, square ends in front and trimmed with ruffles of silk, is also very much worn.
Bonnets are still made high, though not with so sharp a point in front as formerly. The trimming continued to be very much on the top, but with persons of good taste this is never exaggerated.