Late Victorian Era Fashion Chit Chat - November 1883 Peterson's Magazine
It is quite as impossible to describe the numerous materials for dresses as it is to speak of all the variety of styles of making them up. Woolen goods of all the dark colors will be very much worn: sometimes combined with silk, satin, velvet, or velveteen of the same color, but of a different shade, and often made and entirely trimmed with itself. Velvet ribbons are again very popular as a trimming, three of four rows of the ribbon being put on plain around a draped overskirt, and trimming cuffs, etc. Embroidering with braid, and more simple braiding, is also very popular. The latter style is extremely pretty for a well-fitting bodice or jacket. Tailor-made dresses are very much liked for out-of-door wear; they are serviceable and comfortable, but are rather heavy for the house, and do not look as suitable as a lighter style of costume.
Kilt-plaits in front and at the sides, with a slight drapery at the back, are very much worn in these tailor-made dresses; others have a plain skirt tucked, with a pointed overskirt; others again have both skirts trimmed with broad military braid.
Silks, and other materials lighter than cloth, are less severe in style, and are more draped and trimmed. One of the newest styles for flounces is to gather them slightly, and to cut the edges in points or scallops. Then there are the rows of ribbon, or of the velvet ribbon of which we have before spoken; or, for evening-dresses, rows of gold or silver braid.
Sleeves are always put in quite high on the shoulder, and generally with some fullness - in some cases, with a good deal of fullness.
Vests and plastrons, made of velvet, silk, satin, etc., are much worn; and, for evening-dresses, the plastrons are often of tulle or crepe-lisse.
Tournures of crinoline, or steels at the back, are universally worn - as yet of moderate dimensions in this country, but abroad they have already attained rather formidable proportions. But we are glad to say that the old-fashioned hoop has not yet put in an appearance. Still, to be fashionably dresses, the bouffant effect at the back is indispensable. The tailor-made jackets are cut with a spring sufficiently great to fit easily over this fullness. But in the manner of making dresses, or of the materials of which they are made, the greatest latitude is given. Anyone can follow her own especial fancy, remembering only the few important items we have stated, viz: the high shoulder and rather full sleeve, greater fullness at the back, and the close clinging front.
Wrappings are worn of every style: the jaunty jacket rather shorter, as a rule, than those of a year or two ago; the long close-fitting paletot, or sacque, reaching nearly to the feet, with its cuff and shoulder-cape of velvet, Astrakan-cloth, or fur; the mantle, or visite, warmly lined, cut so as to fall over the arms like a sleeve (though no sleeve is inserted), shorter at the back than in front, and loose enough to sit easily over the tournure; and the long loose cloak, made of silk, velvet, or cloth, and also with dolman-shaped sleeves. All these wraps are trimmed - as suits the fancy or purse of the wearer - with fur, lace, velvet, brocade, or rich passementerie. Small fur capes are very fashionable over tight-fitting wraps.
Bonnets are more generally of the smaller shapes, and are usually considered more becoming, though larger ones are worn, if fancied. Hats are usually of a medium size, except the toques or turbans, which are so becoming to youthful faces.
The hair, it is prophesied, will be worn higher on the head than has been the fashion hitherto. This is stylish, but not usually so becoming as when worn lower on the neck; this last style, however, is not so well adapted to people with short necks.