Late Victorian Era Fashion Chit Chat - December 1889 Peterson's Magazine
General Remarks -
There is no special change in the make of either gowns, wraps, or bonnets; but there are some modifications of the autumn fashions, and so many fancies that all tastes can easily be gratified.
Skirts continue to be but little trimmed; and, for costumes to be worn out-of-doors only, fur is much used. When the dress is used for the house as well, patterns woven in the material, braiding, embroidery, and passementerie are employed, though it is quite usual to see gowns without any trimming at all. Our October and November colored plates give all the newest styles in this respect. All skirts have a flat appearance in front, even when draped, and the back-breadths fall in straight full plaits or with but the slightest looping.
Bodices are nearly all trimmed in some way, either with vests which are plaited or gathered, revers of various styles, braiding, or passementerie. Pointed and round waists are both fashionable, though the pointed waist is more suitable for stout persons. Fancy buckles are much worn with the waistbands of round waists. Some bodices have a revers on one side, while the other is quite plain; but we do not think this a becoming style.
Sleeves are all wider in the upper part and have almost an epaulette effect, and are cut in the old leg-of-mutton style. Many sleeves are cut loose and long, and the fullness is then pushed up to the shoulder and fastened under an ornament; or there is a pointed trimming down the back of the arm, and all the sleeve-fullness is gathered under it. Ribbon is often tied around the arm; sometimes there is a bow on the shoulder, which stands up and assists in giving the height which is fashionable. These high shoulders best suit tall slim women; if worn by the short and stout, they add breadth to the shoulders and decrease the apparent height. Short people had better wear sleeves which are raised by gathers into the top of the sleeve and fit the arm rather closely but comfortably.
Cloth, camel's-hair, cashmere, and all kinds of woolen goods are used for out-of-door dresses, frequently trimmed with fur, or combined with velvet or silk, or trimmed with passementerie and heavy fringe. But silk or velvet alone is seldom used as an out-of-door dress except for ceremonious occasions.
For the house, the lighter woolens are very popular, while silks, brocades, and crepe-de-Chine are all used.
Velvet capes are worn as extra wraps, in place of the fur capes which have been fashionable - though, of course, they are not nearly so warm. These capes often have a Medici collar, which is quite high and flaring at the back and gives a very stylish appearance to the wrap.
Wraps are either quite long or rather short; the long wrap is the most comfortable, but not so jaunty-looking as the shorter jacket or mantle. Some of the long wraps are not at all loose, but are made almost like dresses with full skirts sewed to the round waist; others fall from a yoke; others are shaped to the shoulders and have long wing-like sleeves; and toher, again, are made on the old sling-sleeve model, where a cape is turned up underneath and holds the arms. Figured cloths, matelasse, and brocaded silks are used for handsome wraps.
Jackets and mantles are made of cloth, plush, or velvet. Jackets are seldom trimmed on the edge except with fur, but are often a good deal braided; while the mantles are trimmed with lace, fringe, and passementerie.
Bonnets and hats have changed but little since the early autumn. Bonnets are usually small and capote in shape, though the Directoire bonnet is liked by some people and is becoming to but few; it requires a good deal of fluffy hair or small curls on the forehead to keep it from giving the face a hard look. The capote or small rather flat bonnet is almost universally becoming. Velvet, lace, satin, cloth, and felt are all used for bonnets.
Hats are either quite small or rather large, though the best-dressed people do not wear them of an exaggerated size.
Toques and turbans are often made of cloth or of the material of the dress, and a band of fur frequently finishes the brim. Black ribbons, feathers, or lace trims many of the colored hats and bonnets.
Black silk stockings are much worn with evening-dresses, but are often embroidered on the front with some color corresponding with the dress.