Monday, June 4, 2018

Fashions for June 1856

Monday, June 4, 2018
Dresses for June 1856
Loretta reports:

By 1856, crinolines were increasing in size, and the complaints rose accordingly.

“A drawing room now looks like a camp. You see a number of bell tents of different colors ... It now fills a brougham, overlapping at the windows, and still in the course of aggrandizement ... Certainly there is a law in fashions if one could but find it out. They have their cycles like storms, and science might calculate the periods of their recurrence. Invention or fancy there is none in fashion, nothing is new. An old thing comes in again. Thus the hoop comes round again in rather an aggravated shape of enormity. But if there is expansion in one quarter, be sure there will be contraction in another ...  Thus, while the bonnet has been dwindling away the petticoat has been expanding, engrossing, and pervading all spaces.”Littell’s Living Age.—No. 639.—23 August, 1856
The full entry is worth reading. Just bear in mind the tendency, then and now, for writers and editors (primarily men) to exaggerate and ridicule women's fashion. Photographs—something not available in the earlier part of the century—tell a slightly different story.

Foulard: “A soft, light, washing silk, twilled. Originally, in the [18]20s, of Indian manufacture; later of French. —C. Willett Cunnington, English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century. “Very light and thin silk fabric, woven plain or twilled, printed in conventional style; used for summer dresses.—Louis Harmuth Dictionary of Textiles. “Light silk fabric having a distinctive soft finish and a plain or simple twill weave. It is said to come originally from the Far East. In French the word foulard signifies a silk handkerchief." —

Bretelles: “Strap-shaped trimming”—Cunnington.

Basquine festonné: Basquine: “The extension below the waist-line of the material forming the corsage, either cut in one with it, or applied as separate pieces.” —Cunnington. In this case, the extension is scalloped (festonné).

Taffetas d’éte: Taffeta is “a thin glossy silk of a wavy lustre.” —Cunnington. This apparently is simply a summer taffeta.
June 1856 Fashions Description

Popeline: This seems to be dressmaker Frenchification of poplin. “1. The real Irish poplin originally had fine organzine warp and a heavier woolen filling, forming cross ribs; 2. Fabrics having fine, cross ribs irrespective of the material they are made of. The better grades are dyed in the yarn; used for coats, dresses, etc. Single poplin has very fine cross ribs, the double poplin is much stouter and has prominent ribs.” Harmuth.

Bouillon: “A puffed-out applied trimming.” Cunnington.

Paille de riz: rice straw

Fashion plates from London and Paris Ladies Magazine of Fashion, June 1856.
Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.


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