Late Victorian Fashion Chit Chat - February 1870 Peterson's Magazine
We also give, this month, some hats, but they do not differ materially from those already given. The collarettes are also of the newest, and the two square ones look very well when worn over dark dresses when made high in the neck; the chemisette with the lace ruffle at the back, and the revers, must, of course, be worn with a low-necked dress.
The Watteau Style continues to reign; paniers at the back, skirts looped up at the sides, and richly trimmed petticoats, are still as popular as last winter. Some of the sleeves of these dresses are of the coat shape, with deep cuffs, others loose, of the old pagoda shape, over a close sleeve.
Over-skirts are more worn than ever. The most graceful style for upper-skirts, with apron fronts, is to make them as long as the under-skirt, and drape them in deep plaits on the hips, making them only short enough to show the trimming of the under-skirt beneath. Scallops, or castellated points, or else flat bands, trim upper-skirts better than frills that rumple easily.
The most fashionable costumes are made with a tunic, forming at once a bodice and mantle. Pointed waists are becoming more and more popular, and for any, save the slightest figures, they are infinitely the most becoming, though much more difficult to fit nicely than the round waist. All skirts are draped; for ball-dresses, a thin over-dress is always draped over a silk, or over a satin, which is much more lustrous.
The newest combination of colors is light-blue worn with dark violet, or amethyst color.
All Mantles and dresses are made so very high, that great changes have, in consequence, taken place in lingerie. Instead of plain collars turned down, one now wears small standing-up collars, or else, what is infinitely more becoming, ruches of fine muslin, tulle, or lace round the neck. For demi-toilet, finely gauffered ruches of clear muslin, simply trimmed or edged with a narrow strip of tulle, have a charming effect; for more elegant sets we see ruches entirely of Valenciennes or Mechlin lace. It is only with bodices open in the shape of a heart that linen collars, with large turned-down revers, are worn.
In the evening, there are still fichus and pelerines of tulle and lace, with satin trimmings. With demi-long sleeves, open to the elbow, one wears ruffles of lace, which are extremely becoming, and give much grace to the toilet.
The newest and most coquettish form of bonnet is that called "Bebe," or "Infanta;" it has a small, soft foundation, a tiny curtain at the back, and a high coronet in front. All round the bonnet some gros grain ribbon is twisted. Sometimes the curtain is replaced by a bow of ribbons, as, obviously, a desire to return to curtains is not conspicuous.
Bows are now uiversally worn on the head; no lady appears to fancy that her toilet is complete without one. They are made in all colors, and to match the dress; but black velvet bows are usually selected by those of simple taste, and exceedingly well do they assimilate with every toilet. The hair is now worn so low at the back that nets are again fashionable, and the variety called "invisible" are once more called into requisition. The bows are made of wide ribbon, and have two loops; they are arranged precisely as Alsatian women wear them. Sometimes they have four loops, and are made of narrower ribbon, but then they are neither so pretty, nor so stylish-looking.
The mode of wearing the hair has very much changed in appearance since last year; instead of being entirely taken up by an enormous chignon, the hair falls in large plaits, or thick curls, or again, in great rippling waves, low in the neck. This does not prevent the coiffure being very high, for one begins by combing off the hair as high as possible, above the forehead, afterward one lets it fall on the neck. The long switches of slightly crimped hair, in two massive plaits, are also exceedingly fashionable. These plaits are attached to a comb that is placed far forward on the head, and are long enough to extend straight back to the nape of the neck. To be stylishly worn this coiffure must be narrow, not extending beyond the natural width of the head. The braids must not taper, but be of the same width their entire length, must set closely to the head, and be turned under squarely below. The hair is brushed back smoothly from the temples and sides of the face. This is the style for the street and house, and for all occasions except for full dress, when a few flowing curls are mingled with the braided tresses, and a single rose, or a coronet is placed in front. A tiny bow of bright-colored ribbon on the left side of the braids, or a band of narrow ribbon around the head, with a bow on top, and flowing ends behind, are pretty for afternoon wear.