Late Victorian Era Fashion Chit Chat - October 1870 Peterson's Magazine
General Remarks -
Cashmere and very fine merino will be more worn this season than usual. The petticoats are usually of silk, either black or of the color of the dress, and the upper-skirt and jacket, or tunic, are of cashmere. One of the very prettest of these autumn costumes that we have seen is of a rich brown; the petticoat is of silk, and has six narrow, pinked flounces on the skirt, put on two together; the upper-skirt is about three-quarters of a yard deep in front, and slopes off to about a yard in depth behind; this skirt is trimmed all around with a brown silk fringe, and is drawn back and looped up on each side near the back. The waist is high, with coat-sleeves, and is cut with small, square basques back and front. Over this is worn, out-of-doors, if needed, the loose casaque, which has very wide and large flowing sleeves, and is slashed up at the sides and the back; this casaque is trimmed with a brown fringe and a full quilling of the brown silk pinked. This costume has just been imported, and comes from one of the most celebrated French houses; nothing can be simpler and yet more stylish. Black maroon, violet, dark-gray, or dark-blue, would look equally well, whether worn over a petticoat of their own color, or over black.
Short Dresses are still as popular as ever; but we are sorry to say that they are now made to touch the ground, and, as they are trimmed beyond the knee, they are cut narrower than in the spring. The full trimming looks rich and elegant, but the length of the skirt makes it less tidy than when worn an inch or so shorted. Ladies, however, willingly rid themselves of the train, and it is only exceptionally that it is seen now, even for great ceremonies in the day-time. In the evening, they are the indispensable adjunct of dressy toilets, although round dresses are already made sometimes. All that depends upon taste. The grands dame wears the train with ease, and will always prefer it to the short dress, but it requires much practice, and a natural grace which cannot be taught, to look well with the court train.
We must say, however, that brides' dresses are always made train-shaped, the bride not going out on foot, may let her dress trail without any uneasiness on that account. So also, the bridemaids, if they choose, wear wither the long or short dress.
The only thing which cannot be tolerated, is the train-shaped dress in the street, whether it trail in the dust, or whether it be gathered up in a heap, it will always appear ungainly. It looks lady-like only when it can be spread out at ease upon a carpet without any dread of stain or dust.
Luxury could not well increase in female toilets; for some years past it has been making too rapid progress, but it seems that it is spreading more and more, and each day becomes more absorbing.
Materials and Trimmings, formerly confined to evening toilets, now appear in full daylight. Even the simplest costumes, that is, those which, by their material, pretend to be no more than demi-toilet, have most elaborate patterns and trimmings. Velvet ribbon is profusely used for trimmings on all materials, and one of the newest styles of making deep flounces, is to place perpendicular bands of velvet ribbon of any width that suits the taste (it should not be less than one inch in width, however,) between the plaitings of the flounces. A very little gold is sometimes used on black trimmings, but it is not in good style to use it too lavishly. Fringes are very much used, and nothing can be prettier than the little narrow moss-fringe, which is so soft, and can either be used alone, or as the heading of a longer fringe. Among the new shades are the olives, chestnuts, maroons, prunes, various wine-colors, blues, grays, etc., too numerous to mention.
Bonnets are really beginning to be bonnets, with fronts, crowns, and capes; and though, perhaps, they may not be as becoming as the tufts of lace, flowers and feathers, so long worn and known by that name, yet they have the female mind of novelty, and in some instances are very coquettish-looking. Of one thing the milliners will be glad, they cannot be easily made by amateur fingers.
Mantles, Casaques, and Paletots, are made either half loose or tight, as suits the figure of the wearer.