Monday, August 06, 2007

June Fashion Chitchat

June, 1852
Godey's Lady's Book
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Vol XLIV Page 521


Crape shawls being laid aside with the cold weather, that may now be supposed to have taken its final departure, the demand for scarfs, mantillas, etc., becomes imperative. We find from the importations that summer shawls will be worn more than for many seasons past. Of these, Levy has infinite variety. There are the printed berage long shawls, of cashmere patterns; they are lighter than the cashmeres— we do not mean Indian cashmeres, but those covered with the small palm leaf, and so long worn under that name— and fall more gracefully to the figure. The centre is filled with some neat pattern on a white ground, and the border is in the dark, rich Indian cashmere colors. The square berage shawls are in great variety. Those of plain white are well adapted to the toilet of a middle-aged matron, and combine cheapness with utility, coming at three dollars. They have the same neat effect as a plain crape, and, as will be seen, cost far less. With dresses in every shade of gray or fawn, they are particularly becoming. These have fringe. Others we find with plain centres, white, green, or blue, in delicate shades, and a cashmere pattern border in brilliant colors. These have no fringe. The gossamer berages are still more delicate and beautiful. They are principally long shawls, the texture as transparent as the finest silk tissue, and the pattern extremely rich and beautiful. These range as high as twenty dollars.
But, for young ladies, we think mantillas much more graceful. Those in white silks are not now made, except to order, when the new fringe, the heading knotted in diamonds, makes a little change from those of the last season. It was a tasteful fashion, and so brief only because so universally adopted and imitated. Black will be the favorite color for the present season. We find black silk dresses once more in vogue, for young as well as old; lavender a favorite shade; and it is but natural that black mantillas should resume their reign, the more so that it is the original color, that graceful article of dress having been introduced and modified from the national Spanish costume. The most graceful pattern is the scarf form. It is not quite so long as the simple silk scarf, and is hollowed out slightly to fit the shoulders, and widens a little on the back, where the form is rounded; the ends are also rounded en tablier. It is made to come very far off the shoulders, to display the collar, chemisette, etc., and falls on the arm in graceful folds.

They are trimmed variously. A favorite style is an insertion of plain black lace about a finger in width, ornamented with rows of silk piping, put on in waves and scallops. This is again edged with a fold of silk the same width. The whole should not fall far below the waist. Diamond-knotted fringe a finger and a half in depth, lace, or gimp ornamented with bugles, and folds of silk, are all used. We still prophecy that bugles will have a short reign; they are too heavy for summer, and too easily imitated. Heavy gimp, ornamented with bugles, is selling at five dollars per yard. Closer mantillas are made for those who prefer them; but, as they are intended only for the summer, we recommend the scarf form.

White lace bonnets embroidered with straw, drawn crapes and thulles, straw gimps, with puffs of silk inserted, or ruches of ribbon made to imitate puffs, are much worn. Plain and common gimp straws sell from seventy-five cents to three dollars, at our straw stores.

There is no decided change in dress bodies and sleeves. The Marquise waists will be worn for some time to come, as they can be made to answer the purpose of full or plain dress by a change of chemisettes and undersleeves. A high fichu and undersleeves gathered at the waist, or a rich lace chemisette and flowing sleeves, makes the change.

The hair is still worn in twists and plaits at the back. We have plates of two styles, the one a French twist, with the front hair in full bandeaux, and forming a coil under the loop of the twist on either side, behind the ear. The other is a round mass of braids, flat on the back of the head, and covered with a net of silver thread, the front hair in wide puffs.

Hair nets are once more in vogue: they are composed of silk or gold and silver twist, and are ornamented with bugles, beads, etc., in the diamonds. A plain silk net of the brown called "hair color," is much used for young girls; but ornamented nets for full dress are very becoming to some styles. A Grecian contour is always improved by one; and we have often regretted the passing away of this graceful and classical style of coiffure. The hair should be disposed rather low upon the back of the head, in flat coils or braids, in the Grecian style, the net a little more than covering it. It is fastened by ornamented pine or tassels; sometimes a spray of silver flowers is worn. Wreaths are still worn in evening-dress by young ladies; the prettiest one of the season is composed only of green leaves of various shades, with silver pods and tendrils. It can be worn with a dress of any color but blue. Drooping flowers, or cords of velvet, are still mixed with the side bandeaux; but the loops and rings of the last season are gone out. For married ladies, there is a pretty network of velvet and pearls; blonde caps are once more worn. We should say, in passing, that nets for the hair is still an English fashion, but one that will be much adopted before the present season has gone by. FASHION.