Late Victorian Era Chit Chat - September 1880 Peterson's Magazine
Short dresses are more popular than ever, and are in general use, except for full evening dress, or a fashionable dinner dress. All dresses are still quite close, and clinging in front; but many are a little fuller on the hips, and fuller still just at the back.
There is a great variety in plaited skirts, for short walking costumes. Some are box-plaited in single plaits, others are double kiltings, while many are covered with three kilted flounces. Most of the skirts of one plaiting have at the edge a narrow kilted border of dark orange or red, instead of a white balayeuse. This has the effect of shortening the skirt somewhat, but it is easier to keep in order than the lace balayeuses, that soil so easily in walking dresses. There is no doubt, however, that skirts with three flounces will be very fashionably worn; they always return with all-round skirts. These three skirts, however, should be worn only by tall, slender persons. Many of the newest trimmings are gathered, or shirred ruffles in place of knife-plaited ones; in fact, shirring is very popular, not only for ruffles, but for the fronts and sides of dresses, etc. The polonaise, of one material or color, worn over skirts of another color or material, is again popular in Paris; one of the most beautiful that we have seen, is a polonaise of dull silk of helitrope color, worn over a richly trimmed lilac satin skirt, trimmed with a broad, white lace flounce.
Beads of all colors, jet trimmings, and all glittering things are very fashionable. These, like gold lace, gold braid, or gold embroidery, should be very judiciously used, or the toilette will have a tawdry look. For persons with a limited wardrobe, such glaring trimmings should be avoided, as fashionable as they are.
Some old dresses have been re-modelled for out-of-door wear, by attaching a hood of the material of the dress to the shoulders, and lining it with old gold, dark red, or dark blue silk, or silk serge.
Mantles, Capes and Jackets are of all varieties. Some are quite small, and some are quite large; some tight fitting, and some half-loose fitting. The round capes, coming to the elbows, made of full rows of lace, or of jet, are very popular for early autumn wear, but are not warm enough for the colder weather.
Bonnets are rather small, and frequently round or cottage shape. The other shapes that are considered becoming are also worn. Hats, also, are of all styles; but the very large hats are not so often seen as formerly.