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Victorian Ladies' Fashions: 1893

"The Small Belongings of Dress"

The Small Belongings of Dress column was a monthly advice column featured in Ladies' Home Journal. This article was printed in the Sept. 1893 issue. People wrote Ms. Mallon questions and she responded in this column. Many times the answers were about accessories to dress, including gloves, millinery, and trims. The following are her responses:

The pointed lace hood is again seen on the silk long coats, but is this year so well-shaped and so full that one could , if one wished, draw it over one's head.

A combination that is said to be fashionable, and which, never the less, is a very odd one, is that of deep red and pink, but it will take a very admirable modiste to make such a contrast a success.

If your hair is fair one of gold daggers, having its handle thickly encrusted with turquoise, will look pretty stuck through it; if your hair is dark choose one that has bright yellow topazes instead of blue stones.

Charlotte S.-
To freshen a black lace gown it is advised that you add to the bodice square jacket fronts of green velvet, outlined with black jet, and insert full black velvet sleeves. This combination is always in vogue, and is usually becoming.

Dorothy N.-
A white mull dress made after the Empire fashion would be the prettiest if it had a full, loose front, only confined by the broad ribbon belt. To stand out as they should, the sleeves will either have to be of silk, or the mull must be stiffened.

The young girl who is to be married must, no matter how beautiful her neck may be, wear a high-necked and long-sleeved bodice. Much ingenuity is shown in the getting of picturesque sleeves, which tends to make the gown look extremely beautiful.

The inch-wide silver ribbon is still fancied for the hair, where it is usually wound around the knot and is tied in a very perky bow with the ends standing up in a most assertive fashion. While fillets of ribbon are still noted, they have not the same popularity that is given to the ribbon band and bow.

The very general fancy for the Empire house dress, with its round, open neck, has made the lace or crepe scarf almost a necessity, unless one is going to remain in the same room all the evening. Women who realize the possibility of the scarf are looking at pictures of their grandmothers, and arranging them after the same graceful fashion.

The somewhat heavy white undressed kid glove, that was so much worn last season, is again, chosen for wear with severe cloth costumes, or with cotton ones; as they are the veritable mousquetaire shape without buttons, there is wisdom in buying them a little loose, so that they can be easily assumed.

For wear with pink gowns the mode ordains that pale gray undressed kid gloves, gray silk stockings and gray undressed kid slippers, with full pink satin rosettes upon them, shall be chosen.

A very smart hat is of fine black straw, bent to suit the head, and having under its wide brim three rosettes of ribbon that seem to shade from a light to a deep pink. About the crown, which is high and narrow, are bands of velvet shading in the same way, and the ties are of pink velvet ribbon, one being a light and the other a dark color.

Small wide combs of amber or tortoise-shell studded with diamonds or pearls are fancied by women who wear their hair parted and drawn down on either side of the head. If it is wished a comb to correspond can be worn in the back hair, but this is by no means the rule, the two little side combs being considered quite sufficient decoration.

Deep fringes are again in vogue, and are liked falling about a bodice after the fashion of an Empire cape, from the shoulders in epaulette style, and across the front of an Empire gown. When this last arrangement is chosen the fringe should be nearly a yard deep, and being placed just across the bodice portion, falls far down on the skirt and sways to and fro with every movement of the wear.

It is said on the other side of the water, the use of rouge is increasing, and for that reason the heavy Russian net veil continues in vogue; it has the effect of subduing the color and making it seem merely a natural pink. Certainly these veils are not becoming, and if they were worn during the winter for warmth, it might be suggested that, for the same reason, they might be cast aside during the summer.

Without any doubt, the Empire capes and the broad revers will be in vogue during the season. Very often the revers are made of a corner of fabric, so they are neither hemmed nor bound; frequently they are folded to form a broad jabot, but quite as often, they are spread out as far as possible in the utmost simplicity. People who are wearing mourning often have no trimming on their gowns except an Empire cape or wide revers, which are then made of black crepe and give the necessary tone to the entire gown.

There is a fancy for the old-fashioned mourning rings, those made of hair deftly designed to represent a weeping willow, a funeral urn or some equally cheerful subject. Indeed, there is a positive craze of all odd jewelry, and women are much prouder of possessing something that is absolutely unique, and yet which has no pecuniary value, than owing the most expensive kinds, for which only money is required. Curious old watches are liked on chatelaines, and the fact that the greater number of them do not go, does seem to take away from their desirability. A modern watch is worn to show that we know the value of the time at present, an antique one to suggest that we appreciate the value of the past.

Marian R.-
It is interesting to know that the Queen of England gave, among her other wedding presents, to Princess Marie, various pieces of stuffs made in Scotland and in Ireland, and a superb specimen of Honiton lace. Among the other presents received by the Princess was one from the Royal School of Art Needlework. It was a bedquilt of blue linen with salmon-pink satin and beautifully embroidered in water-lilies and true lover's knots. Almost everybody, that is, everybody of great importance, has so much silver given to them when they enter the holy state of matrimony, that it is most delightful not only to have a change but to have that change in the direction of something that is once useful and pretty.

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Disclaimer: This article is being presented as an educational resource of fashions during this era. The Costume Gallery, or its owner, Penny E. Dunlap Ladnier, does NOT sell or make sewing patterns. This publication's text is in its original format. Spelling or grammar may not appear to be correct, but were standard for the original publication date.

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