Civil War Era Fashion Chit Chat - January 1860 Peterson's Magazine
Among the new materials for the dresses of the present season we have observed some very rich silks, consisting of moires, striped and figured with bouquets, or with single flowers. Plain silk is becoming decidedly fashionable for dresses, and it is now worn in almost every tint. Of figured silks there are a great number in very pretty patterns. Plain and chequered satins and poplins have also appeared in great variety.
Front trimmings for the skirts of dresses continue in vogue. This style of ornamenting dresses forms a variety to the mode at present so popular, of trimming them with flounces.
Dresses for home and the promenade are made high, closing in the front; the bodies fitting tight have the waists round, or but slightly pointed; bows or knots of velvet are worn down the centre, that at the waist terminating in long flowing ends. For dresses that have no flounces or second skirt, papillon or butterfly bows of velvet are very fashionable, they are placed entirely down the front of the dress. The small pointed pelerine or cape is in favor, or the body trimmed with a frill to imitate one, some ladies preferring the latter mode.
Sleeves are of various shapes. Some consist entirely of puffings reaching from the shoulder to the wrist. Others have small puffings above, and the lower part formed of one deep frill. Pagoda sleeves, or those narrow at top and wide at the lower part, are among the favorites. Sleeves are sometimes made nearly close to the arm, and are finished at the end by a mousquetaire cuff. Those consisting of several frills, one above the other, are among the prettiest.
Among the prettiest dresses lately made, there is a dress of plain black silk which has just been completed. The skirt is trimmed with two deep flounces, each edged with two narrow gauffered frills. The corsage, high and buttoned up the front, is ornamented with a berthe pointed before and behind, and trimmed with two very narrow gauffered frills. The sleeves are wide pagodas, cut on the bias; they are finished at the lower edge with a double gauffered frill, and at the shoulder there is a gauffered trimming in the form of an epaulet. A ceinture of ribbon with a buckle is worn round the waist.
Bonnets, for this season, are rather larger than those worn during the past summer. They also sit closer round the face, and the brim advances somewhat more over the forehead than heretofore. Several have round crowns. They are composed of various materials, and the trimmings consist of feathers, flowers, velvet, blonde, lace, and ribbon. We have seen a bonnet of black velvet having the edge bordered with a row of red velvet; the curtain, formed of black velvet, is edged with red. On the left side of the bonnet there is a cock's plume in red and black. Another bonnet, composed of white silk, has been trimmed with a brown ostrich feather. The curtain is composed of brown silk, and the strings of brown ribbon.
Cloaks are made full and rather long, and several have wide hanging sleeves. Some have hoods, and others are covered at the upper part with a pointed pelerine, or with a square collar. One which is likely to be much in favor, is composed of gray cloth, and has wide flowing sleeves. It is pointed behind, and the point reaches to within a short distance of the edge of the dress. A small pointed pelerine or fichu covers the upper part, and the trimming consists of passementerie. Another cloak is in the shawl form, and is composed of black velvet ornamented with embroidery. It is trimmed with three very deep flounces of black lace. Another black velvet cloak has a fichu-pelerine ornamented with embroidery and a trimming of fringe.
Jakcets or Deep Basques are also exceedingly fashionable; they equally divide public favor with the cloaks. They are made of black, gray, or striped cloth, and are large and ample, having a peculiarity in the sleeve, which is cut extremely wide, and put in large plaits into the armhole, from whence it falls quite unconfined. This jacket has also a small collar and pockets.
Head-dresses - The prettiest novelty for the season in the way of ornament for the hair, is a circlet of medallions, worn across the forehead. These are sometimes in cameos, sometimes in coral, and sometimes small gilt coins laid on a band of black velvet. We have also seen some gilt butterflies on a bandeau of black velvet, and scattered over the bows of black velvet behind the head, which had a very tasteful and fanciful effect.
Ladies in the country may like to have a simple cap suggested to them, which they can easily have made. Fold a piece of black net to about an inch wide, and let it be just long enough to reach to the sides of the face. Cut two little lappets about three inches long, and round at one end; tuck into them a very slight wire, and sew them on to the end of the foundation band. Attach a round crown. Fold a piece of net, and set it on as a curtain behind. This forms the foundation of the cap, which is to be trimmed with bows of ribbon at each side, placed on the lappets, and with bows and ends behind. Over this lay a row of white Maltese lace, plain in the front and fulled round the ears and behind; and over this a diamond of black lace, or one crossed with ribbon velvet, finished round with a narrow black edging. In this way one of the prettiest caps of the season will be produced.