Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Civil War Era Fashion Chit Chat - January 1864 Peterson's Magazine

Civil War Era Fashion Chit Chat - January 1864 Peterson's Magazine General Remarks - Cuir of leather color, in all shades, is still very fashionable, because all other colors can be worn with it, and look well, although it is very unbecoming to the complexion. The taste for plaids increases rather than diminishes. Plaid ribbons, plaid poplins, and plaid velvets are all very much used for trimming dresses of sober colors. Cloaks, bournouses, dresses, petticoats, bonnets, all flash along our streets, in all the varieties of tartan, from that in which the brightest scarlet predominates, to the more sober dark-blue and green. Plaid silk and poplin dresses are very fashionable at the present time, blue and green being usually chosen in preference to brighter colors. The poplins are ornamented with narrow bands of Astrakan fur, and the silks with either chenille fringe or ruches. If the plaid is large, many ladies object to a bodice of the same being made with the skirt, as the lines, even with the greatest skill in cutting, rarely match so as to be pleasant to look upon; therefore, in its place, they have a small jacket, made either of blue of green cashmere, the petticoat being always of the same color as the jacket, and trimmed with rows of black cut velvet. The prettiest use to which the plaid fever has yet been applied (besides little girls' and boys' dresses, where bright checks are always pretty,) is in the broad sashes forming half-bodies, with bretelles, for the ends of which nearly half-tard wide taffeta is employed. These species of Swiss bodies are made not only in silk, but in velvet, satin, muslin, and even lace. In black lace, half-low bodices are made, the basquines at the back are formed of several rows of lace; bretelles are carried from the waist to the shoulders, and again to the back, the whole being terminated by long, flowing ends of white ribbon, edged with fringe or laces. These form very pretty additions to a simple dinner or evening dress, and can be made girlish or matronly, according to the materials employed. In the make of dresses there is but little new since our last notice; as skirts are still cut with trains, ornamentation becomes less necessary. Chenille fringes are now much used around the skirts of dresses; they should be of the same color as the dress, terminating with round satin buttons. They are frequently arranged upon the skirt, so as to stimulate a tunic, high in front, and much lower at the back. These chenille fringes, and gimp, with jet intermixed, will form the newest and most fashionable winter trimmings for silk dresses. In gimp, especially, there is a great variety in design, and entire trimmings for dresses are now to be procured which produce all the effect of the most elaborate braiding; these are manufactured in one piece for the front breadth and bodice, increasing and narrowing in conformity with the lines of the figure. Dress-makers have one cause for rejoicing, in the present day - the trimmings are mostly made by machine. Black lace insertion, lined with white silk, is one of those ornaments of which people never appear to grow tired. It is now arranged, upon plain, high bodices, in a new style; indeed, gimp and other trimmings are disposed in a like manner. Instead of the trimming being placed upon the front of the bodice, it is arranged at the sides - upon the two plaits which are always necessary to fit the bodice to the figure. No change appears in the shape of sleeves: they are narrow, and in the shape of gentlemen's coat-sleeves. They are sometimes so narrow that they are slit open inside the arm, and fastened, with an open lacing of velvet braid or ribbon, as though to be enlarged. Epaulets, in gimp, chenille, or velvet, are very generally added to them. For dinner and evening dresses, the square-cut bodies and half-short sleeves are preferred, worn with lace cape or fichu. Long, flowing sashes, tied behind or at the side, now take very much the place of the Swiss bands, although these are also still worn. Sashes are made either of the material of the dress, or of the color of the trimming; they are either in ribbon or velvet, or in material piped all round, and are tied in a large bow. With any dress of a sober color, a plaid silk sash of bright tints looks very well, but a black one may also be worn. These sashes are less trimmed than formerly; they have only a plain hem or piping, and, at most, a narrow velvet or ribbon, or a very narrow black lace, sewn all around. A gray or fawn-colored merino dress, with blue silk sash and trimming, is a very pretty style of toilet for a young lady. We also recommend, for sashes, the Algerian ribbons, as a pretty novelty; they are striped of the brightest colors, and remind one of the Algerian shawls so much worn last winter. Jackets, for in-door morning wear, are made of either Imperial blue or Monsignore violet cashmere. They are buttoned all down the front, and are cut quite straight, both in front and at the back, reaching as far as the commencement of the plaits of the skirts. They are trimmed, around the edge, with insertions made either of gimp or guipure, and down the front are placed, at regular intervals, gimp rosettes. For traveling and for wearing-out skirts, the military jacket is worn. This is made in cloth, with revers in front, which are fastened back with ornamental buttons. There is a basque at the back, and the front of this form are sloped or rounded off as they descend. On evening dresses, ruches or bands of flounces are now very fashionable for young ladies. A beautiful white tarlatan dress has just been completed, the skirt of which had a thick, wide ruche around the edge, headed with two rows of small pink roses and blue forget-me-nots. White dress, with plaid bretelles, and a broad plaid sash, is a very simple, but effective toilet for a young lady. Mantles - There are three styles of mantles which may be said to be fashionable at the present time: the large circular, the half-fitting paletot, and the casaque, or close-fitting jacket. The circular is made in a variety of materials; for morning wear, the checked black and white, and scarlet and black woolen, are the most appropriate; these are cut with a seam down the back, in the same way as a gore, which gives them breadth as they descend. Sometimes they are trimmed with chenille woolen fringe; and sometimes with only a binding of black velvet. These checked circulars should be cut with great precision, and care should be taken to match the plaid when sewing them up the back, otherwise the effect will be very irregular and distressing to the eye. For afternoon wear, these circulars are composed of velvet, and trimmed with either gimp, guipure, or narrow bands of fur. The newest are ornamented with a girle-cord and tassels upon the left shoulder; this girdle-cord is very thick, and is made of black silk; it commences at the top of the shoulder-seam, is knotted carelessly and fantastically, and the ends fall unevenly just below the tip of the shoulder. The half-fitting paletot is usually made of cloth, and is also suitable for morning wear. The cloth may be either black, dark, green, or cuir-color, and is trimmed with either gimp or chenille fringe, with frog buttons down the center as well as each side of the front. These paletots are loose in front, but are sloped somewhat in to the figure at the side and back seams, and many are ornamented with either gimp or chenille fringe round the top of the sleeves. If gimp is used, then it should have a small fringe at the edge. This can be made with either long jet beads, or with bell-buttons. The close-fitting velvet casaques are ornamented with gimp, in which small jet beads are introduced. Gimp is sewn down each side, in the form of a rounded sash, and in the center the pocket is cut, lengthways; there are gimp ornaments at the back of the waist, and a gimp trimming is carried round the shoulders, in the form of a square bodice. The sleeves to both paletots and casaques are cut in the exact form of a gentleman's coat-sleeve, and they are all ornamented, round the edge, with whatever trimming has been selected for the rest of the mantle. Bonnets are rather lower in front, and less exaggerated in form, than those which were in vogue during the past summer; they are not decidedly Marie Stuart, but partake somewhat of that character; the curtains are deep, and in many cases pointed in the center. Plaid ribbons threaten to become common, so great is the furore for them, the large blue and green plaids being even more popular than those composed of brighter, gayer colors. Chenille fringe is very much worn around the brims of bonnets, and velvet flowers and leaves are also extremely fashionable. If feathers are used, they should be of the same shade as the most prominent colors in the plaid, and flowers should likewise follow the same rule. Velvet flowers, with brown grass and heather, have a good effect in the caps of bonnets which are trimmed with plaid. Black felt bonnets look well ornamented with bright plaid velvet ribbons; these are sometimes disposed in straps at the top of the brim, the straps being fastened down with small jet ornamental buttons. Black bonnets are very generally worn this winter, even by those who are not in mourning; it will be considered quite sufficient to enliven them with a colored flower, to render them suitable for any dress. For example, a black crepe bonnet, embroidered with jet beads, and trimmed with a tuft of marabout feathers, with ostrich introduced at the tips, would require a moss-rose in the cap, and pink strings. If the bonnet is in black velvet, with a fringe of black chenille around the edge of the brim, and chenille ornaments at the side, the cap would be formed with a spray of sky-blue narcissus, with opaque white beads in their centers, the strings being sky-blue velvet with white edges. Pink is also very fashionable for bonnets, and we see many made entirely with pink plush, and a tuft of marabout feathers, with ostrich tips placed in the center of the fronts. Pink velvet bonnets, with bouillonnes of white tulle; pink terry bonnets, with bows of white blonde, with rose-buds intermingling, are also general. In linen there are a few novelties, which we hail with delight, as a great improvement upon the hard, uncompromising little linen collars which have been so long in vogue. Lace is now introduced with the linen, and adds softness to the effect, and rendering it far less trying to the complexion. The sailor collar is the fashionable form. This is rounded at the back and pointed in front. The new style is to make the collar of fine linen, to cut it in small vandykes all round, and then to place Valenciennes lace edging at the back of the vandykes. The lace is sewn straight round, and not fulled on, except at the points, and the linen vandykes are overcast or sewn with satin-stitch down to the lace. This finish adds lightness to the otherwise heavy collar. The under-sleeves are arranged in the same manner, with deep pointed cuffs fastened with linen buttons, and trimmed round with lace and vandykes. For afternoon wear, the muslin embroidered insertion is arranged in the same way; but the collars, instead of being cut in the sailor form, are simply rounded, and the ends are formed with broad Valenciennes lace, corresponding in pattern with the narrow edging used for trimming around the collar, (these are newer than the lace cravats.) The sleeves are fastened with pearl buttons of a pyramidal form. Caps, for evening wear, are now made in many coquettish forms, and are exceedingly tasteful. Those which are composed of lace, in the form of a half-handkerchief with lappets, are simply studded all round with small rosettes of the same color as the dress; these rosettes should not be made of narrow China ribbon, but of crossway taffetas merely drawn round to form a small circle. Squares of white blonde, in the Neapolitan style, are very fashionable at the present time; these are ornamented with pink or blue hyacinths. Caps are also frequently made with colored crepe lisse, with white blonde intermixed, crepe lisse lappets being turned over the rolls of hair at the sides, and tied low upon the neck at the back. Scarlet velvet fuchsias are now employed to ornament white blonde head-dresses. Nets are now worn of the most delicate fabric; the finer they are, the better. They are made in thin sewing silk, or in hair: this latter style is very expensive. These nets are ornamented with a ruche or bow of colored ribbon. Hair-nets are the indispensable accompaniments of hats, and are now essential parts of female costume. There are nets for night wear, as well as for day wear. The former are used instead of night-caps, of course. The furore for plaid has spread likewise to hair-nets, as plaid chenille hair-nets are now made and worn. Head-dresses, made of plaid ribbon, with small white feathers at the top, are also worn.

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