Late Victorian Era Fashion Chit Chat - November 1870 Peterson's Magazine
General Remarks - As stated in our October number, cashmere is more popular than ever. It is less expensive than silk, falls softly and gracefully in the folds required for the present style of dress, and can be worn on almost any occasion. To make the costume more dressy, the petticoat can be of silk instead of cashmere, and if black, it can be trimmed with a good deal of guipure lace, fringe, or gimp of a wide kind, known as passementerie. Of course, with these expensive trimmings the cashmere suit would cost as much as a silk one. The colors are much less bright than those of former seasons; the old-fashioned plum and prune colors, (the former on a purplish cast, the latter on a blue,) dark, forest-green, olive-green, navy-blue, chestnut-brown, slate-grays, etc., etc., are all being revived; these are seen in poplins, merinoes, silks, etc., etc., but in an infinite variety of shades.
Braiding is being revived on dresses, mantles, etc., but a round braid is used in place of the flat braid formerly in vogue, and looks much more like embroidery. Braid of the color of the dress should always be used.
Curious combinations of color are now in use, such as maroon and light-blue, maroon and chestnut, maroon and gray, etc. Petticoats of black velvet are very popular, as they can be worn with almost any costume. We have seen one with a flounce of embroidered foulard silk around the bottom, and worn with a foulard casaque, looped up high on the hips. Black silk petticoats can also be worn with almost any costume. Over these can be worn the long casaque of any color, which can be so gracefully looped up at the sides or the back, or the short, draped over-dress, with the loose or tight-fitting sacque. There is a prophecy of fewer trimmings than formerly on the lower-skirt or petticoat, but we have seen no evidence of it as yet. Basques of all kinds will be worn, and either with or without belts, as may be desired, and with or without a large bow at the back. The costumes made from the gray or brown Scotch shawls are exceedingly nice and useful, only they should be draped by a tasteful hand if they are to look elegant.
For evening dresses, the most delicate colors are used; the waists are low in the neck, or cut out in a heart-shape in front, with rather wide hanging sleeves. The skirts are much or little trimmed, to suit the taste of the wearer; flounces pinked, or scalloped, and bound; ruches made of the silk raveled out; flounces of white embroidery on muslin, are all used, with, in fact, any other mode of trimming that the fancy may dictate.
We give in our steel plate some of the newest style of basques; they can be made of velvet, beaver-cloth, silk, plush, cashmere, or any other material that may be deemed best. Sleeves are either of the coat-shape or loose; if the latter, a tight-fitting dress sleeve should be worn underneath. The mantle called Infante is destined to be a great success. It consists of two capes, which are square in front. At the back it has a sort of long, flat plait, which descends midway, and is fastened to the waistband. The form is well suited to a tall, slight figure.
The Infante is made of black China crepe, ornamented with a very fine round braid that has all the effect of embroidery. It is edged with handsome black blond, which may be replaced either by a fringe with a netted heading or by guipure. The Infante mantle is also made of the same material as the dress. We have seen it completing a gray cashmere costume. The petticoat, which was extremely novel, was of gray silk, trimmed with cross-bands of cashmere to the waist. Each band was edged with a gray worsted Tom Thumb fringe. The cashmere tunic that opened in front, was bordered with a cross-band of gray silk, edged with the tiny ball-fringe. It was looped up at the back with a single pouf. The Infante mantle had no other trimming than a silk cross-band with worsted ball-fringe. The effect was charming.
Bonnets have decidedly altered in shape since last winter. All through the summer small alterations have crept in, and though there are various modifications of what is called the "Marie Antoinette Gipsy," all bonnets tend to the gipsy shape. These have suitable crowns, and caps, and strings tying under the chin. Satin will not be much worn; but velvet will take its place. Two or three shades of the same color will be worn in one bonnet, with tips of feathers shaded to correspond, and a large flower. Black velvet bonnets are trimmed with white plumes, white lace, or pipings of white satin.
Among the materials that we can recommend are the Buffalo-brand Alpacas and the Sable-brand Brilliantines. We have, on a preceding occasion, spoken of the former. The latter, in its way, is equally desirable. They can be had, not only at all the best drygoods shops in our great cities, but also in all good country stores. They are particularly seasonable at this time of the year.