Sunday, 15 May 2016

26 June 1880 - 'The Dress of the Month' by Dora de Blaquiere

The change in the dress of the month are exhibited mainly in small things, not large ones. For instance, we are leaving off the many-buttoned gloves and taking to some without any buttons at all, which are called the "sack" gloves. They are made with a gore, and may be obtained both in kid and in silk, and are unquestionably a great improvement on the many buttons, which were most tiresome to wear. Black gloves are no longer the rule for day and evening dress, although they are still worn by the careful and economical, and will not go out of date yet it is to be hoped for their sakes. All kinds of coloured ones are seen - drab, lemon, pink, brown, coffee, and the new shades of heliotrope and petunia are both introduced, as no other shade can be selected to look well with either of them. Yellow gloves are worn if the bonnet be trimmed with yellow roses or ecru feathers. Gloves are more used than mittens in the evening for all occasions, except for children, who invariably wear the latter. Stockings for both children and grown people are worn self-coloured, with embroidered clocks, and sometimes with small embroidered sprays in front.

Although there is much more drapery and the plain effect, so long aimed at, at the back of the bodice is no longer in vogue, there is no appearance of crinoline; the skirts, being made as narrow as ever, and in no case, when short, do they measure more than two yards round. The polonaise seems to have given way to the bodice and trimmed skirt, and now that three materials are often seen in the same costume, there is no excuse for not utilising old dresses. Velvet, cashmere, and foulard, or silk, are amongst the most favourite mixtures, and the skirt may be made of a plain and uncoloured material, while the bodice and sleeves are of a figured stuff. Velvet and velveteen have by no means taken their departure with the cold weather, both being used as skirt trimmings, laid on in flat bands, wide or narrow as preferred. Deep kiltings  for the skirt are as fashionable as ever, and the only change in the scarf is to drape the square ends at the side instead of the back.

Serge dresses are always pretty and useful, and were never so stylish as now, when one of the best London tailors has introduced the fashion of trimming serge with the spotted foulards. A short blue serge dress which was much admired the other day was made with a  deeply kilted skirt and a jersey, and had a scarf of blue foulard spotted with white dots draped round the hips. The hood to wear with it was lined with the same, and the small toque hat was edged with a brim of gathered velvet, and had a top of spotted foulard. Our two sketches of the month's fashions give an idea of the style of costumes now used by young girls, and both may be copied without difficulty, and at a small cost.

Entire costumes of these spotted materials are to be seen, and never was there so great a choice of pretty and cheap costumes for girls as now, when the prints, cretonnes, and sateens are manufactured in such good taste, and charming Eastern-looking hues, not too dark to be dingy, and yet dark enough to wear for a long time without getting soiled. These summer dresses are all trimmed with cheap lace, which has a light and graceful effect. Perhaps none of the readers of this paper have any idea of the virtues of a hot iron in freshening up a summer costume; but so excellent is its effect that every girl who wishes to look fresh in her toilette and have a dainty appearance should learn to use an iron, and make herself independent of anyone's help. The wrong side of the dress should be ironed, not the right; and when much tumbled, the natural freshness may be restored by placing a damp cloth underneath the iron, and pressing out the creases in that way.

Some very simple but pretty little summer bonnets and hats have just come out, and may be made by girls for themselves on any shape the most individually becoming to each. They are made by completely covering the shape with narrow black lace, slightly gathered, and sewn on in rows round and round, one above the other. The edge is bound with velvet, and a wreath of flowers may be worn round the crown.

Sateen, in pretty delicate colours, is now much used  for the evening costumes of young girls, and is also employed for crewel-embroidered dresses for evening wear more than cashmere. The "lights" on these are put in with silks; some favourite designs are wallflowers on ducks'-egg-blue, sateen, pansies on old gold, or dog roses on cream-colour The embroidery for these dresses is lightly done, the stems being traced, and also the leaves, while the flowers are executed with as little work as possible. The crewels and silks used should be "set" before working with them to avoid disappointment.

The dressing jacket, fig.1 in the illustration, is a useful and necessary addition which every girl ought to make to her wardrobe, and is much less cumbersome than the old-fashioned dressing gown, while it performs the same office of keeping the hair from soiling the dress and underclothes It may be made of print without any trimming, of nainsook, cambric pique, or in fine calico The half dozen tucks on either side may be run by the machine, and the gathered puffings are crossed at intervals by bands of embroidery, to match that with which it is edged. The materials may be as cheap as can be provided, as the prettiness of the garment consists in the manufacture and its exquisite neatness. These little jackets are found most useful in sickness, as they can be put on in a moment and completely hide the tumbled night-dress, and make the patient neat and tidy with very little trouble to herself or to her nurse.

The petticoat at fig.2 shows the present method of making all under-skirts with a deep yoke and little fullness. The drawing strings may be used or not as required. Black petticoats will be very fashionable this summer, and hardly any white will be seen - in fact, with short dresses great economy may be practised, and no white skirts whatever worn. Now that they have been obliged to dismiss the muff, the Parisian ladies have restored the aumoniere or alms-bag pouch to favour, for the purpose of holding the handkerchief. It is made of black velvet and hangs at the side, but it may also be made of the same material as the dress. It is reported, too, that little bags, hung upon the arm, such as were worn by our grandmothers, are coming in again. They are made of satin, to match the colour of the toilette. The corners have small tassels, and there are also tassels to finish the cord with which the bag hangs to the arm, and on one side the initials or monogram of the owner are embroidered.

For out-of-door wear the neck is still swathed in a black lace scarf, worn as high as possible; while a nosegay is placed at the right side to match that on the hat or bonnet.

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