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 1800's fashion notes
Fashion Trends in the 1800's
Transcribed, Contributed by Veneta McKinney for Lamar Co., AL Old News

The Lamar News
April 1 1886


“Dressmaking has its humorous side as well as anything else,” remarked a little black-eyed dressmaker on North Clark Street. “There is the thin woman who will dress in snaky stripes, the scrawny girl who insists on a decollate gown, the matron of embonpoint who pleads for flounces to the waist, the matchlike maiden who wants a torturingly tight bodice, and the fluffy-puffy little body who wants gathers. But I never give in to them,” she continued with a snap of her eyes. “I think too much of the human race I believe we all have one duty toward humanity. Mine is to keep women from committing artistic suicide. The little idiots come into my parlors, look at a fashion-plate, discover the picture of a lady in green gloves holding her fingers as if they were covered with molasses-candy, and decide that they want a dress like hers. Now, there are nineteen chances out of twenty that the dress was never meant for her at all. If they think so much of dress, why don’t they make a study of it? There is a certain rich lady here, with the face of a Madonna, who came to me with goods for a plaid dress. I wouldn’t make it for her. ‘Madame,” I said, ‘you must dress in gray silk.’ I had my way. There wasn’t a bit of trimming on that dress – nothing but draperies – and she looked like a goddess. Then another mistake is the universal adoption of color because it is announced to be fashionable, regardless of the fact that the majority of the wearers are making perfect guys of themselves. Heliotrope is a point in question. There is a young bride on State Street who came home from Europe last week with a dress of heliotrope. Her skin is as dark as a Spaniard’s, and her hair and eyes are jet black. She would have been magnificent in dark red or a could of black lace – but heliotrope!” and this of the dressmaker nearly died… - [Chicago News]

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Red is to be much worn by children this winter.

Hoods on street wraps are much worn in Paris.

Long circulars, lined with sable, are much called for.

Persian lamb is a fur which is much used in trimming walking costumes.

Egyptian lace is to be much used for under skirts in evening costumes.

The conspicuous features of winter millinery is wool fabrics and rosary beads.

The great fault of capes and sleeveless mantels is that they do not protect the arms.

Turquoise blue and deep sapphire make the two extremes of the blues shown this season.

Something new in shoulder capes is one of astrakhan, trimmed with a border of black lynx.

Astrakhan cloth and satin ribbons, in bands of equal width trim some of the French hats.

The new bonnet shapes are close and snug in effect, although a trifle larger than last season.

Serviceable buttons for rough and ready jackets are made of cross rows of narrow soutache braid.

Chinchilla is a popular fur again and is seen as trimming and in the comfortable should capes.

Persian nets and edgings come in wool and the Angora styles, in the colors of Persian shawls or scarves.

The storm cloak, in waterproof cloth with a jaunty cape, will be much worn for rough weather by gentlemen.

Great variety is seen in the wraps of the season, which are more dressy and of richer material than ever before.

Sashes continue to be imported, and each new invoice shows new elegances and new and exquisite combinations of color.

Little girls wear a great deal of red and brown, but no matter how much color their frocks have, their stockings must be black.

There are some black dress stuffs for evening wear which are very sumptuous and beautiful. These are brocades with the figures outlined in jet or cut-steel beads.

Bonnets of felt, cut in narrow strips and braided after the manner of coasrse straw, are noveltieis. They are cottage shapes, faced with velvet and brimmed with velvet, silk or satin ribbons, feathers or birds.

A complete set is composed of bonnets and muff of the same material and like trimming, and in some cases the muff attaches itself to the strings of the bonnet and is pinned to the belt with fancy pins.

Feather fans in oblong form, with long ivory, bone, celluloid, or carved wood handles, are coming in vogue for dressy occasions. Several different kinds of feathers compose the fan, and frequently the feathers are made more brilliant than natural by the addition of tinsel and bright dyes.

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The Lamar News
May 27 1886

Tucks are revived for spring frocks.

Bordered stuffs are to be worn again.

Striped cheviots come in new shades and colors.

New hats and bonnets are as high as ever or higher.

The new cotton goods are as handsome as India silks.

Velvet surfaced waterproof garments are much worn.

Puffs and pads around the armholes are things of the past.

Inch-wide stripes are the feature in spring dress woolens.

Woolen ribbons having a rough surface look like bands of astrakhan.

Straight skirt draperies are equally popular with those of extra looping.

Wide straight linen collars with turned down points are stylish this season.

Little girls’ Tam O’Shanter hats are of velvet with gilt quills thrust in the side.

The neck bands of dresses increase in width, some of them being two inches wide.

Light gray wool and velvet suits are stylish for young ladies’ walking costumes.

The Gretchen dress for little girls is a favorite style, and it can be made in all kinds of materials.

Stylish little house jackets made of creamy white cloth are timed with gold or silver galloon.

Although the high coiffure is very stylish, the low Greek knot is not abandoned, and many ladies prefer it.

The most popular and sensible shoe for fashionable women is the common sense shoe with its broad flat sole and heel.

Fancy woolen good striped with plush or astrakhan are pretty combines with plain materials of the same shade.

Ostrich feathers of two different colors are seen in some of the new fans. Tortoise-shell mountings are preferred to pearl as they are considered much stronger.

Pretty and thickly beaded galloons are used as belts and fastened with showy clasps. Collars and cuffs are formed of the same galloons which are used to brighten dark dresses.

Eider-down flannel wrappers made princess shape are worn by young matrons. Cream white, pale blue and scarlet are the favorite colors. These pretty wrappers require no trimming except buttons, ribbon bows or a sash.

Pleatings and flounces are entirely dispensed with on new dress skirts. One narrow pleating or “dust ruffle” is all that a walking skirt requires beside the long full drapery which really forms the overdress and entirely covers the lining or the underskirt.

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