Vintage Fashions - Women's Holiday Fashions from 1904
MUCH is heard about hard times and enforced economies, but there is no appreciable difference to be noted in the cost of women's clothes, and the question of what to buy for midwinter gowns is just as difficult a problem as ever. One point, however, may be noted—the exception that proves the rule—that there is certainly a revulsion of feeling against the too gorgeous and elaborate clothes that a year ago were thought so extremely smart.
There will always be, so long as the world lasts, lovers of fine clothes and women who delight in conspicuous dress and in being seen in public places gowned in such fashion as to attract the attention of the general public. But these women are no longer considered well gowned, that title being unanimously bestowed upon the woman whose costume bears the mark of a more quiet and refined taste.
There are, this season, a great variety of designs that are fashionable. The picturesque has many admirers, while the severely simple style has also its followers. White, black, and a number of different colors are considered smart. Furs and feathers, velvets and cloths, chiffons and laces, are all utilized and in every description of gown; occasionally all are put together on some extraordinary creation of the dressmaker's art.
There are costumes made up to have the effect of being tight - fitting, and others which most effectually conceal all lines of the figure; there are most elaborately trimmed gowns, and others so simple in design that no trimming whatever is required, and the material itself shows to the greatest advantage.
Embroidered laces and braided velvets are always somewhat of a shock to the conservative element, who contend that such beautiful materials lose instead of gaining by such so-called adornment. But it must be admitted that the exquisite work helps to reconcile them to the innovation.
Purple and brown are for the moment the most popular colors, and such a number of different shades in both colors were surely never seen before this year. Such charmingly becoming shades are seen, and so many to choose from, that often more than one gown of the same color but of a different shade is included in the winter's outfit.
Hat, wrap, and gloves must all be of the same color; this is an unalterable rule, only relaxed in favor of white gloves. In a dark purple gown, with everything to match, a woman is sure to look her best, while in brown there are such charming costumes as to make brown seem the most desirable color in the world.
Last year's gowns must unfortunately bear the hallmark of last year—that is, to a keen observer. Skirts and sleeves are very different, and in fact the new skirts are a difficult problem for the uninitiated to attempt. The flare around the foot of the skirt now extends half-way to the waist, while sleeves droop so low as to make the shoulder seem quite out of proportion.
The woman with sloping shoulders has no difficulty this year in being gowned according to the latest dictates of fashion, and with low-cut waists the sleeve, to carry out the sloping shoulder effect, droops below the top of the arm. More material, in both skirt and waist, is demanded by the latest designs, but short jackets are, if anything, more fashionable than long ones, so it might be supposed there would be some saving of material there to compensate. This is rarely true, however.
All light fabrics such as were worn during the summer are made up into gowns to be worn at home in the afternoon and also at the theatre. Jet trimmings of exquisite beauty are used on the net and lace gowns.
Source: Harper's Bazar, January 1904, Volume 38, No. 1, Pages 52-54.