Ladies Street Gowns and Wraps - 1904
At this time of the winter the street costume is most important, and the styles are so thoroughly settled that it is quite safe for the most conservative to choose an outfit, if it has not already been chosen, as well as the wrap to wear over the street gown and the wrap for the carriage and also for evening wear.
A cheerful fact among the many puzzling ones is that the walking length skirt is universally recognized as the correct thing for all but useful costumes.
Almost every good cloth or zibeline suit is made with two skirts, or there is an entirely distinct costume for street and reception wear. The skirts may be of fabric or velvet.
Velvet gowns, elaborately braided and embroidered, are unquestionably the smartest and have almost taken the place of the very elaborate light-colored cloth gowns of last winter.
These light cloth gowns are not by any means out of style and are worn for reception and theatre with coats or wraps to match, but the colored or black velvet costume with furs is for the moment somewhat smarter.
As usual, there are different st vies as regards coats. There are long coats, half-fitting, that cleverly suggest graceful, slender lines, and at the same time are shapeless. These coats either reach to the hem of the gown or are of three-quarter length.
Then there are the short coats, Eton shape at the back with long tabs in front, the tabs round or square, as preferred, and most elaborately braided and trimmed with appliqué of lace, but of the same color of velvet as the gown always.
The back of the jacket either fits closely to the figure or hangs loosely from the shoulders. These jackets are short enough in the back to show the wide belt of velvet or satin, the ends of which are finished with rhinestone buttons or buckles.
With the one exception of the street costume intended for morning and general hard wear, skirts are made long; the train is three or four inches on the ground but is round, and the whole effect of the skirt is round and flaring.
Indeed, the last designs show a most extraordinary change, the skirt close-fitting for only about half a yard at the most below the waist, and then flaring in circular effect, it gathers, pleats, or shirring.
Shirred and gathered velvet skirts would, a few years ago, have been impossible, but all the new qualities of velvet are very different from any we have had before.
The chiffon velvet is as supple as light cloth. The cloth gowns are all made with full skirts, with broad tucks, side pleatings, or circular flounces, and a plain skirt is quite remarkable.
When it is chosen it must be cut to perfection, with a considerable flare below the hips; it is one of the most challenging skirts that fashion has ever ordered.
The rough-and-ready costumes for street wear are very charming and are, without exception, made of rough materials.
Zibeline and camel-hair and rough-finished cheviots in quite somber colors are used, sometimes with a pattern of a check or plaid woven into the material but relieved with a touch of bright velvet as an edging to the jacket and the tucks or pleats on the underskirt.
Bright cherry, sapphire-blue, and emerald-green velvet, and bright orange are the favorite colors, and on the velvet is a braided design in black soutache, while there is often, besides, a trimming of different widths of Hercules braid, in black, with a satin finish that makes it more effective than the ordinary style of Hercules braid.
Machine stitching is also fashionable and is used on velvet or cloth, and on these rough materials. Of course, only the most exceptional work is permitted, but it is effective when several rows of it are used.
A charming costume of dark purple camel-hair is made with the skirt so flaring that it looks as though it were cut in hollow pleats. It is trimmed with four rows of broad tucks headed with rows of machine stitching.
The coat fits tight at the back and sides, with a slight blouse effect in front, and there are attached skirts with inside pleats put on so that the coat gives the result of a pointed basque.
The only trimming is in old-fashioned frogs of purple cord and passementerie. The hat to correspond is of purple beaver, small in shape, with the brim turned up at the left side, and with one long cock's feather around the crown.
As is always the case when light colors have been fashionable for some time, there is a revolution in favor of dark ones, so this year there will be many dark costumes worn.
However, there are some charming browns, greens, purples, and one shade of red in the American Beauty rose color, and all of these are thought to be very smart.
The black cloth or black velvet costume, however, or the very dark brown, will be the most popular of any, and the same coloring is carried out in the afternoon and evening wraps.
However, in these days so many gowns are requisite, and also so many wraps, which it would seem possible to the woman of wealth to have all the different colors in a winter outfit.
The separate coat or wrap is to be had this winter in a great variety of shapes and coloring. The long, loose coat which in itself is a wrap is made of the very most beautiful material and is also copied in quite inexpensive ones.
A most regal garment of black velvet is the half-fitting long coat with deep shoulder cape of white lace trimmed with bands of chinchilla, and with the fronts of the coat faced with brocade and lace.
The white or light-colored cloth coats trimmed with fur and lace combined are immensely attractive and are fashionable, both long and in three-quarter length.
The linings of brocade and light colors add very much to the appearance of these garments, and brocade is now much more fashionable than satin for linings.
Trimming the gown with heavy lace the same color as the material and with fur of a contrasting color is considered exceedingly smart, but of all the colors white is the most attractive for afternoon or evening wear.
Next comes the new shade of red or the bright blue; the latter, with black fur, is immensely smart and very becoming, and it is entirely possible to imitate it in quite inexpensive materials.
Again heavy lace coats are fashionable for an evening, lined with fur and trimmed with heavy velvet passementerie. The incongruity of lace lined with fur is thought especially desirable, and is indeed very striking, while the coat itself is delightfully warm on account of the fur lining. Fortunately, fashion has at last decreed that winter garments shall be made warm.
"Street Gowns and Wraps," in Harper's Bazar: A Monthly Magazine for Women, New York: Harper & Brothers, Volume 38, Number 1, January 1904, Pages 55-59.
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