Late Victorian Era Fashion Chit Chat - November 1883 Peterson's Magazine
Our Paris Letter
Rue Des Petits Champs
The bonnets this fall are unusually pretty as well as stylish. Velvet is the favorite, the frames covered with that or some other rich material. The shape is small and a slight modification of the capote, the crown being formed of folds of the material. Plain velvet is the favorite; but brocaded velvets, and those embroidered in jet or pearl beads in small set figures, are also seen. The trimmings are clusters of ostrich-tips matching the bonnet in hue. Strong contrasts are avoided, though red velvet bonnets, trimmed with black lace and jet, are ornamented with black feathers. If a brocaded velvet is used, the strings and plumes match the colors of the design, which is always in set small figures. Bonnets of white dotted net, trimmed with dark-garnet velvet and with clsuters of gold-yellow flowers, are fashionable for evening-wear. In the way of hats, the mode inclines to the large and the exaggerated, though the sizes are less and the styles not so obtrusive as they were a few seasons ago. The newest shape is the capeline, which is a modification of the Gainsborough, the crown being less high and the brim not so wide. It is turned up at the right side, and is profusely trimmed with ostrich-feathers, one very long one sweeping around the brim and falling on the wearer's shoulder, while a cluster of ostrich-tips is set at the other side of the crown. These hats are made of dark velvet: black, dark-blue, and dark-green being the favorite hues. Colored felt hats are also a good deal worn; they are made with high-set crowns and brims of a moderate width. These are trimmed in all sorts of wild, exaggerated ways, with wings, and stiff quill feathers, and birds' heads, all combined. Sometimes even the head of a white kitten is seen on a terra-cotta or gray felt. Bands of velvet and satin, on the same gamut of hues as the felt itself, encircle the crown.
The favorite shade for walking-suits and bonnets this autumn is a lovely blue-gray - very soft and delicate and refined-looking; it has, however, the great demerit of being very perishable. Corded silks, and corded materials of all kinds, such as ottoman silks, uncut velvet, and soft-finished siciliennes, are largely in vogue this season. Stamped velvet will be extensively used for trimming in combination with ottoman silks and with plain velvet. The newest pattern shows large pansies massed together in rich dark shades of purple, or ruby, or garnet, the colors being set off by the yellow floss-silk centres of the flowers. This is an extremely rich and effective material, and combines well with plain stuffs. Black ottoman silks are made up by Worth for street-dresses, and are trimmed with bands of dark-red, relieved with narrow yellow stripes, these bands being also of ottoman silk. The effect is very good.
Another one of Worth's newer combinations is a delicate beige-shade in ottoman silk, trimmed with a very dark-red plain velvet. Neutral tints will be largely in favor for the coming season, both in woolen dress-goods and in silks. They will combine well with the dull-colored plaids that have recently been introduced. Worth is also using thick figured silks in small arabesque designs combined with plain velvet. These brocades are usually shown in olive or brown hues of various shades. For evening-dress, the train and corsage of plain velvet is combined with a skirt-front in velvet-figured silk, blended with satin embroidered with pearls. Worth has just finished a superb toilette, with the corsage and train in shrimp-colored velvet, the latter finished with a gold cord. The front of the skirt is in white silk, figured with large roses in shaded velvet. This has a washerwoman's overskirt, plaited to the waist in large flat folds. Below this overskirt a transverse band of pale-blue satin, worked with pearls, crosses the skirt-front. Narrow bias bands of satin are used for trimming cashmere suits, and must match the material precisely in hue. A black cashmere trimmed profusely with these bands forms a very stylish and dressy walking-costume. Scarf-draperies have to a great extent replaced the overskirt. Either they cross in front (which is a trying style to a stout figure) over the kilt-plaited underskirt, or one scarf, starting at the edge of the short basque at one side, crosses about half-way down the other side of the skirt, and is held in place by a large buckle. A pretty combination for such a dress is to have the skirt of striped silk, with cuffs to match, and the corsage, scarf, and wide flounce showing under the kilt-plaited skirt, all of a plain silk or of cashmere.
Stockings are now shown embroidered on the instep with large dots in colored silks: red upon brown or black, pale-blue on dark-brown, violet on pale-grey, etc. White thread open-worked stockings are embroidered with dark-red or blue floss-silk, the work following the interstices of the open-work. Very small patterns in open-worked silk stockings are popular for evening-wear. Stockings in fine black silk have bands of black-lace insertion crossing the instep and encircling the ankle. Boots of black morocco, foxed with patent-leather and laced in front, are worn in the street. For house-shoes, no novelties thus far have been shown.
Lucy H. Hooper