Tuesday, 29 December 2015

25 February 1882 - 'Seasonable Clothing and how it should be made'

Spring fashions for 1882. Ladies, please hold off purchasing your gear for the new season until April. Stripes are in for outer-wear and there's a fancy new make of undergarment called the "Hibernia". Hats will be massive this spring, bonnets will be tiny and flowers are preferred over feathers which is good, as the G.O.P. fashion columnists have always been consistent in their stance on the issue of birds as headgear. 

"March winds" are fitly represented in their effect by our sketch of the dress of the month; which, in truth, generally consists of some kind of waterproof cape, without which it is hardly safe to venture abroad in the early English spring. March, in addition to its uncertainty in the way of weather, may be fitly described as the most uncertain of all the months as regards dress; for we are all thinking of new dresses, while we are making the best of the old ones, which the hard wear of the winter has done its best to spoil. Thus when the spring begins to appear, with its infallible way of making everything look worn and faded, we begin to look forward to "something new" as a real pleasure to come. Wise people, however, do not think of purchasing until April has begun, all the fashions are out, and the shops well filled with new goods.

The round bodices with belts are the most used for slight and girlish figures, and those gathered round the shoulders, and just above the waist, are still worn. From this our readers may judge that the trimmings of the skirts worn with them will extend almost to the waist, and the draperies at the back will be high and full. Skirts are very much fuller; those which I have lately seen being quite two yards and a quarter in width. This gives far more grace to the figure than the extremely scanty ones tightly tied back. The bodices with very long peaks in front are, however, the newest of all, and are very becoming to the generality of figures, especially to those of persons who are inclined to become stout.

These bodies are finished with a basque, or square, coat-shaped ends at the back, and they are frequently made with gathers all round the front and sides, over which the peak sits gracefully. The mildness of the winter has made the fur capes a sufficiently warm covering for most young people, and, consequently, the coat-bodices have been more worn than anything else. If they fit fairly well, they are more becoming than the belted ones, which are not suitable for out-of-door wear in the winter. So far as I can see, it will be the favourite one for the spring and summer, in all kinds of materials, for youthful figures.

Out-of-door dress, as a general rule, is far simpler in style and make than it has been for some time past, and the increasing use of plush and velvet will tend to preserve it so. The velvet skirts are often quite plain, without flounces or kiltings, with a prettily draped tunic or a polonaise of some slighter material, such as cashmere, serge, beige, or tweed, or else the skirt is flounced in a simple way and has a long tightly-fitting jacket-bodice. This will be the style generally adopted for girls' dress, I think; and when next month comes they will be warm enough for wear out of doors without any other covering.

All kinds of striped materials appear to be in request, and I hear that tartans are to be one of the new introductions. The number of fancy woollen materials in course of preparation  for the spring is so varied in colour and price that everybody will be satisfied; and our ordinary everday costumes will be well provided for, some of which have the plain materials prepared to be mixed with them, and others will be prettier if made up with velveteen.

Before I proceed further I must give a word to underclothing, which, I daresay, is just now engaging the attention of many of my readers, and I hope they have adopted the only comfortable way of keeping up their stock of it, viz., by purchasing enough calico for a single garment, and thus obtaining one at less cost and with less apparent trouble than in any other way. The making is a very small matter when it is done at intervals, and it is not difficult to obtain a good shape. But as there are some people who can neither obtain patterns, make the underclothing, nor cut it out, I must mention that I have been recently much pleased by a special kind of underclothing which I have seen, called the "Hibernia". When it has to do with Ireland I do not know, but I have never seen any shapes so perfect, or any material so good. The work too is excellent, and those of our girls who are in difficulties for patterns had better look at this particular make, which, I believe, is to be found at all large drapers. It is hand-made, and the trimmings are so good that they will wear, to all appearance, as long as the calico.

The two figures in the March wind wear the garments of winter still. The waterproof is made in a new shape, or, rather, an old one revived, very similar to what was known as an "Inverness cape" some years ago. The comfort of being able to wear a jacket or mantle with sleeves under the waterproof, instead of being compelled to make the ulster or the "Newmarket coat" the sole garment, is very great.

The desire to do this has led to this revival of an old friend, which enables one to throw off the damp over-garment in the hall when one pays a visit, and thus to escape a cold or chill. The material is a very light waterproofed tweed, having a pattern which may be either a tartan or stripes, of an uncertain kind of colour.

The pretty figure in the corner hardly needs description. The dress she wears is a bodice of velveteen, satin or brocade, made up very simply, and plainly, with a deep point in front and at the back, and having long sleeves, which are puffed in long puff, on the shoulders. The top of the bodice is cut low, and under it a thick chemisette of mull or India muslin is worn, drawn up to the neck, and finished with a little lace and a band of black velvet. This pretty bodice may be worn with any skirt, though our artist, to carry out the effect, has depicted a gauged one, with rounded gathers at the sides and in front.

The two smaller figures of our illustrations show one of the long and rather plain-looking over-dresses, or polonaises, which have been worn a little this winter, but will probably become more general in the spring. Velveteen isv material most usually employed. The waistcoat-front may be of striped or fancy brocade or satin. The other figure wears a somewhat similar bodice to that which we have already described, except that it partakes more closely of the character of a Swiss bodice, having no sleeves, only a band or ribbon, while the white bodice beneath is a kind of loose Garibaldi, with sleeves and a full bodice.

And now I must gather together a few items of news about the expected fashions of the spring. The hats are to be larger than they have latterly been; and the brims are to be turned up and turned down in all manner of ways. The crowns are to be elevated into a sugar-loaf shape, and that of very lofty proportions; while report says that the bonnets are to decrease in size and become beautifully less. All kinds of straw hats and bonnets are being prepared for the summer; and plain and fancy tuscan; and crinoline will divide the honours of the day.

The new ribbons for strings will vary from two to four inches in width, and watered silk will be in great requisition. The pretty flowered sateens which were worn last summer will also be worn this year at the same season, the flowers being larger in size and more perfect in their artistic copying from Nature. The grounds of these pretty dresses will be of light and soft colours, such as greenish-blues, moss green, straw-colour, and pink-grey. It is said that quantities of flowers are to be worn and scarcely any feathers at all, so we must all feel glad that fashion has changed, and that the poor birds are to have a reprieve at last.

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