New York Fashions October 1877 – Part 1

From Harper’s Bazar ~ October 27, 1877

The fashionable modistes are returning from Paris and notwithstanding our desire, especially in these hard times, to tell of plain and economical styles, it is necessary to note these last Importations, among which are some of the richest goods ever brought to this country.  At one house, where room after room is filled with elegant things, the empress dress seems to be the leading feature.

This dress is the princesse dress with a difference, viz. it is not caught up in bouffant drapery, but hangs in graceful folds from the waist to the foot.  The front of the skirt is quite short enough to show the elaborately dressed foot, while the back forms a long, flat, square-cornered train.  There is a simple tabilier arranged in front, and long panels of trimming are on the sides.

The front is different from the back either in material or color.  The flounces are narrow and simple, often being merely pinked on the edges.  The waists are long, with seams beginning on the shoulders in most cases, though some of the newest dresses have side forms starting in the armholes, and omit the middle seam in the back.

The trimmings on the bust outline coaching jackets, or else they are plastrons or Breton vests.  The sleeves are either close enough for lace or linen cuffs to be worn outside of them, or else they flow open at the wrists, and often at the elbow.

The elaborate panels form pockets, and there are many ribbon bows, rosettes of folded silk, passementerie and beaded ornaments, and buttons that are as handsome almost as jewels. 

In this collection of Paris dresses clair de lune gray rivals the moss and olive tints for handsome wool dresses.  An empress dress of plain fine camel’s hair and silk of the same shade of clair de lune gray has the silk front extending from the throat down very low, where it is trimmed with fringe, and gathered up on the sides to form a long apron over-skirt, under which is shown the edge of a lower skirt trimmed with box-pleating alternately of camel’s hair and silk.  The empress back, entirely of camel’s hair, without drapery, combines with it two side gores, which really begin at the front of the neck, and slope away to the sides, just as the coaching jackets do.

A sailor scarf of the silk is knotted at the throat, and bands of silk trim the sides of the woolen skirt.  The woolen sleeves are tight, and have silk cuffs coming out at the wrist that represent inner sleeves.  English turned-over collar of wool on the outside, with silk lining.

For full-dress dinners the empress dress is made of light silk in front with dark brocaded silk for the back, or else the striped India silks.  One beautiful model has pale blue silk fronts with whit duchesse lace bows from throat to foot, while the sides and back are of striped soft twilled India silk of Holbein green and pale blue.  This change in dresses is said to be due to Worth, who desires to see the rich brocades fall in natural folds instead of being crushed and bunched up in paniers.  The change is a marked improvement, and these stately dresses are in far better taste than those lately worn.

And although the great majority of our readers may choose plainer dresses for their own use, they none the less will be glad to know the latest styles adopted by the leaders of fashion.

April 1924 – The Latest Fashions

(Transcribed from McCall’s Fashion Catalogue)



When the days lengthen and the cold ceases to strengthen, to transpose the old rhyme, it’s time in a woman’s mind to conserve money – to coyly lift it from the housekeeping allowance,possibly – in order to buy the new so that one may throw away the old.  What a glorious gesture is that particular one which woman makes in springtime;  that sweeping gesture which discards all the flotsam and jetsam she has made serve for clothes in the name of thrift.

Now she has a reason, a dire necessity for things new, so she goes to the work quite merrily.  The shop counters are as colorful as an exhibition of cubistic pictures.  Fabrics have lost the influence of Tut’s tomb.  Thank the designers for that much.  But they have not lost the touch of the Orient.  Indian prints, Chinese flowering, Persian and Arabic letterings and patterns are offered.  Roman striping and Venetian blossoms cover silks and cottons.  Whatever is old in art is modern in its application.

Silk fabrics are plentiful for spring clothes and well they should be –  they suit our climate.  Tub silks come to us for simple frock from Paris and Cairo.  Cotton crepe is to be fashioned into frocks for hot days.  Ginghams take their established place for morning gowns.  Dimities with their ancient patterns and some new ones, are to be worn by youth an middle-age.  Pique is struggling for importance in sports skirts and sleeveless jackets.  Silk alpaca is accepted at last.  Nursery flannel, plain, is also striped like cricket blazers in England, is so highly sponsored that none can resist it.  It goes into frocks as simple a monastic robes, and monks are the source of the inspiration.  It goes into tuck-in shirts with rolling collars.

There are three lines to follow in spring clothes.  You should choose the one that suits you best, or take all three.  The first and dominating one is straight with the suppleness of an eel.  The second is wide below the hips and tightly trig above the waist.  The third is flexibly circular, its movement achieved through the cut of the fabric, not the insertion of godets.

1924 Spring – Women’s Fashions

Characteristics Of The Spring Styles

Spring fashion dictates a silhouette that is narrow and flat, with all curves eliminated as much as possible. Bust, waist and hips are diminished at every point from the shingled head under a tiny cloche hat to the hem of a short and narrow skirt.

Waistlines are conspicuously absent, while the hip line is often indicated by the narrow belt or a gathered girdle, or an ornament, but is quite often eliminated altogether in straight dresses.

Tube or pencil dresses and coats, the coats in full or three-quarter length. There is a tendency toward cape backs in dresses of all types, street, afternoon and evening, because of its straightening effect on the figure, especially when it is at all full in back.

The use of flounces, draperies tiers, accordion pleats, panels, etc. for afternoon and evening dress. The popularity of accordion pleats in flounces, cape backs, and the lower parts of sleeves can not be stressed enough, and is most chic for springtime garments.

The current vogue for two-piece dresses with straight blouses, and exquisite lingerie collars and cuffs, slit pockets, and narrow belts continues unabated.

The skirt length is now short, even in afternoon frocks, and still shorter for street and sports clothes. For evening wear the length various from ankle-length to from six to ten inches above the floor.

Stockings should be as sheer as possible, with either plain or with the drop-stitch clock at the side, in rose, beige, nude, banana, log cabin, Sahara, acorn or peach. The same type of stocking worn at morning (except for sports), noon and night. For evening, even with silver and gold evening slippers, the nude or peach shade is most correct for the newest fashions.

1924 Spring – Children’s Fashions

Fresh Frocks For The Wee OnesFresh Frocks For The Wee Ones

Now that Spring is here, the warmth of the sun beckons the little one outside. It’s time to cast away the heavy coats and gloves of winter, and to dress as fresh and sprightly as the first flowers of the year.

Frocks for children are simple this season, being loose and comfortable, both for summer play and for ease of everyday care.

The rounded “boat” neckline is very much in evidence this Spring for children. A flat band often takes the place of a collar, made in matching or contrasting fabric. Collars when seen are to be of either the pointed or rounded shape, and are generally made in white trimmed with delicate lace.

Narrow ruffles as trim are sometimes used, but only sparingly. Shaped pockets, in the form of flowers, pouches or other whimsical devices lend an air of playfulness to these frocks. Hand embroidery and pin tucks also enliven garments made of a single solid fabric.

For the children of school and nursery age every day dresses are made of wool jersey, wool crepe, soft twills, mohair serge, plaids or heavier tub materials on the order of linen, linen-finished cotton, gingham, chambray, cotton or poplin. While cotton is usually the best choice of material for the simpler dresses planned for children, it is a very nice idea to have one silk frock for spring.

Afternoon and party dresses are of crepe de Chine, Georgette, occasionally crepe satin, taffeta and satin. A very nice choice is a striped wash silk in dull blue with a white background, and also having a narrow stripe of burnt orange to set off the blue.

For the tiny tots, the fine lingerie materials, net, Georgette and crepe de Chine are used for special occasions.