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Vintage Fashions of London: Autumn 1902 Dresses

By Mrs. Aria

The most popular of all the dresses fit to grace the ordinary occasion has been the frock of foulard, the smallest designs being chosen for this, and white sharing with cream colour and black the patronage of the multitude, and invariably beating the trimmings of cream lace with velvet ribbons. Were I asked to remark upon the most novel feature of the season's fashions I would say the hat with the pendant drapery over the hair at the back, this having been made either in chiffon, or in lace, or in ribbon, and striking without doubt an extremely picturesque note.

In deed the picturesque has been predominant alike on millinery and modes; and besides these hats with the loosely falling ends some beautiful examples have been produced with high crowns, made of Tuscan encircled with glace silk held with a diamond buckle, bearing a shaped brim as a resting place for black ostrich feathers. The black hat certainly has not occupied its usual place in our regard, maybe it has been paying the penalty this year for its ubiquity last.

For those who are wandering down to the sea to take their holiday the linen and pique gowns are the most useful, and some very excellent specimens of ready made piqué dresses are purchasable in good shops at a moderate price, these being trimmed with embroidered spots and coloured machine·stitching, and made with blouse bodices and fanciful collars and plain skirts with shaped flounces.

An excellent garment which has made its bow this year is a copy of the soldiers' coats, and made in dark blue lined with Guard's red, with a straight collarband faced with red velvet, and with military gold buttons as the sole decoration is extremely smart. I have also seen the same garment effectively achieved in Sutherland tweed in white irregularly streaked with black, the collar faced with black and the lining white satin, the gold buttons being repeated on this. Such a coat is really an invaluable possession for the holidays, and another no less indispensable is the serge or tweed dress made with a short skirt j and all short skirts should be lined flatly having no separate foundation and fastening down the side of the front; thus only do they make for comfort and lightness of weight.

A capital specimen of a dark blue serge dress I have seen made of that quality of serge which we generally associate with masculine clothes, small of rib and quite smooth of surface and very dark in colour, and this was fashioned with a skirt such as I have described, and completed with a bolero coat overhanging a very narrow belt, and bearing a square shaped tail in the centre of the back, the front of the coat opening to display a facing of white linen bordered with a black and white striped drill outlined on either side with a small black braiding.

An effective white serge may be arranged with a trimming of blue and white and red, the colours of the year, made into a galon outlining the triplet skirt and bordering the sac coat, which should fasten down the front with pendant tassels made of red, white and blue silk. This worn over a cream colored lace shirt, and crowned with a white straw hat bound with red straw, trimmed at intervals with very small red straw rosettes and with a large coquillage of red and white ribbon at the back, looks extremely well.

Dress for the evening at the hotels abroad is a question very worthy of consideration at the moment, and white lace and black lace may be taken to represent the ideal materials, and since the queasily of these may be varied it is easy to realize that the like may be made to suit the extent of any pocket. Capital dresses are made of black lace in combination with white lace, and the yoke or top portion of the bodice is invariably left transparent. Elbow sleeves, or sleeves to the wrist are alike popular, the former perhaps are more in evidence than they have been for some time. All lace dresses should be lined with soft satin covered with chiffon, the chiffon having a very gracious influence beneath the lace.

We have been welcoming novelties in gloves and in shoes, the former of white kid in mousquetaire shape with the gauntlet portion lined with coloured kid, undoubtedly chic, new, and, alas, most expensive. White kid shoes worn with stockings to match the colour of the dress have also been recognized as desirable by the owner of small feet, and the most elegant of all foot gear at present is undoubtedly the gray Suede shoe which is worn with stockings in a shade of gray to match.

Petticoats are not so elaborate as formerly, the white cambric trimmed with embroidery has re-appeared, and the white silk petticoats are admirably trimmed with rows of black velvet ribbon. A pretty fashion is the insertion of lace bows· with the black velvet ribbons to border the frills, and the fancy still obtains for pale coloured silk petticoats worn beneath white linen dresses, glace silk being invariably the fabric chosen. Black and white checked taffeta is an economical selection for a petticoat, and rows of narrow black velvet ribbons may be recommended as the most appropriate trimming for this.

When, if ever, we quite exhaust the charms of the chiffon evening dresses there is no doubt but that we shall turn our attention to dresses of brocade, and these are much to be commended by reason of their durability, and the many uses to which they may be put after they have done their duty for evening wear. You can turn the old brocade dress into a petticoat, or you may allow it to make a tea gown, and again it may make a tea·jacket; but with the chiffon gown when its first freshness has fled its last charm has departed. Of course the lace dresses do duty under different guises, and but recently I saw a lace train most cleverly arranged to form an evening coat, lined with chiffon with the borders ruffled with chiffon; this had much to commend it, though it engendered no warmth it was quite sufficient for a warm Summer night.

Source: Mrs. Aria, Fashions of London, The Delineator, Volume LX, No. 3, September 1902, Page 376

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