(The Art of Dressing By Dora Douglas)
Fashion Review (January, 1912)
With the beginning of the midwinter season, fashions assume a more concrete form than they had at the beginning of the fall season. There are not any radical changes in styles, but nearly every day some new combination of materials and colors is evolved.
Particularly is this fact emphasized in evening gowns, which now, at the very height of the social season, are claiming keen attention. Such a beautiful array of soft, bewitching colors one sees, such a combination of silks and satins and laces and embroidery and beads. One marvels at the ingenuity that designed them into execution.
The pastel shades are most in vogue and, of course, are wonderful in ballroom and reception toilettes. Beautiful shimmering meteor gowns, rich charmeuse robes of chiffon, net and lace satin dresses are pronounced favorites.
The trimmings are of Persian and oriental embroidery, beautiful, deep macramé lace, striking metallic laces, find shadow laces, silk and chenille fringes, Bulgarian worsted, button, and bugles, and beads.
The new colors, the new materials, and the slight variations on the prevailing styles are depended on to bring out different effects in the latest costumes. In great favor are filmy overdresses and, with the renaissance of old-world fashions, these are quite consistent. Many of them are developed in chiffon, net, or very fine crepe de Chine of a delicate color, to be worn over a foundation-dress of a contrasting color.
One notices how loosely these over-dresses are fitted. As they are not seamed save under the arms, they are absolutely loose around the waist. Underneath them a plain princesse dress is worn, and the outline of the figure shows through the chiffon, lace or net of which the overdress is made. A little gathering placed in either side front at the waistline sometimes draws the overdress closer to the figure. Beaded net is fine for a dress of this nature, spangled chiffon being another desirable requisite. Sometimes two overdresses are worn, both of different colors, over a princesse gown of another hue. These shadow dresses, as they have been named, are the latest word In smart effects in evening gowns.
While on the subject of evening gowns, one might pause to consider a proper wrap to be worn with these elaborate creations. The toga or liberty-cape wrap, is a simple model which is attractive and graceful. The garment is cut in one piece, out of the straight length of a very wide material, broadcloth meeting the requirement nicely. After being cut, the cape is simply tacked together, and falls in graceful fashion down the center back. An artistic touch is given by finishing with a silk tassel, either of corresponding or contrasting shade. Sometimes the toga is developed in satin or soft silk; often a finely woven serge is used. All the pastel shades of lavender, and pink, and blue are worn, though the most practical colors are gray and biscuit-color and black.
With the party- or ball-dress, a particularly fetching accessory is the pretty little theatre-cap. Various materials are used for this headwear. Spangled net, over a plain satin surface, lace over silk, embroidery over silk, chiffon and satin trimmed with tiny rosebuds, are some examples noted at a recent reception. Many of these caps match the toilette; again, we see them of contrasting color. With a shadow dress of green and pink was worn a cap of white lace over black velvet. With a pink satin gown, a cap of spangled net over pink was seen. These caps are easy to make so that the younger contingent have adopted them enthusiastically; and no wonder, as no more bewitching and effective framing for a pretty face could be imagined.
The new bordered goods are achieving quite a vogue, though the Pompadour and Persian patterns are being superseded by the use of deep selvages of plain colors. Many of the stunning new chiffons and marquisettes have a plain body, with a deep border of black. An instance of the effectiveness of the border dress was seen in an evening-gown with the popular apron-tabliers. There was an underskirt of black satin, and a tunic of white chiffon, with a deep hem of the black satin. The separate panel at the back was also of black satin. The waist was a novelty. It had a side body and shor peasant sleeves of black satin. The chemisette was of white chiffon, embroidered in black.
Velvet still leads in the makeup of afternoon gowns. This fabric de luxe has the seal of fashion’s approval for the winter of 1912. It comes in all shades, from the staple to the most delicate.
Velveteen continues a close second, and corduroy is in high favor with those women who follow the smarter modes. For theatre, visiting, or street gowns, it is used extensively. Dresses of this material are not lavishly trimmed. Soutache braid is about all that is required. Of course, the yoke, collar, and undersleeves are mostly of lace, which furnishes all the trimming necessary.
An attractive costume of Havana-brown velvet and voile ninon was made with a draped kimono waist and Empire skirt. The voile was draped over a foundation-waist, which had lace undersleeves and yoke. Deep points of the velvet were brought up high on the brown voile waist, and black and cream bands of galloon gave an effective finish.
Corduroy gowns in plum, dark-crimson, and bottle-green, are much seen. One-piece dresses of soft woolen material are desirable additions to the well gowned woman’s wardrobe. For a typical up-to-date street dress, nothing is nicer than black-and-white striped serge. For smart suits, cloth or woolen-back satin is worn to some extent. Beautiful results are obtained from this material, because of its soft, pliant folds in draping.
A modish dress recently observed was of old-rose wool sating cloth, combined with soutache net the shade of which was a trifle darker. Many delightful combinations are suggested by the type. One might use amber over light blue, gray over rose, black over green, or any of the combination colors that might be especially appealing.
In the designing of the afternoon frocks, great latitude is permissible. Three-quarter sleeves made chiefly of lace continue the vogue in dressy gowns. In the less pretentious costumes the long sleeve is correct. Usually the yoke is of lace or net, in white or cream as this is more becoming to some faces than colored fabric.
Rich, dark colors re still popular, but these are relieved in most instances by bead-trimming, metallic lace in dull gold or silver, or buttons in an endless variety of colors and shapes.
A frock, both practical and dressy for afternoon or informal evening wear is made of dark wine-colored broadcloth, trimmed with coral velvet. It has lace underbody and sleeves, which are cut in one and made with under sections. The outer waist is cut in fancy outline, and the touches of coral are quite effective. In place of the velvet, beaded banding might be used just as artistically.
One notices an absence of all white frocks this winter. A few seasons ago the unrelieved white garment was high in favor, but now fashion has declared that there must be a dash of color to take away the deadened appearance. Lavender, coral-pink, and dull-blue are seen in embroidery and beading and banding, giving a rich tone of life and light to the otherwise colorless garments.
In the fashionable street suits, the simple lines are observed, giving the effect declared correct by the mandates of the fashion-designers. No trimming now breaks the straight lines of the best tailored skirts, though the judicious use of buttons is permissible. A special feature of the smart suits is the gored skirts which are made without plaits, having lapped and stitched seams. In many fabrics, mixed effects are fashionable, and some fetching suits of checked worsted, tweed, diagonal cloth, and mannish weaves are seen. Two or three colors are sometimes blended in the weaving so subtly that they are indistinguishable, yet a soft, indefinite tone is present that harmonizes well with almost any blouse.
A trim suit of navy-blue serge is always good taste. A splendid model has a short jacket, with cutaway front, and deep closing outline. There is a black satin collar, and the coat edges are finished with a narrow fold of the satin. A pretty fastening is of black satin frogs, but a group of buttons might be used if preferred. To the woman of discernment, the skirt of this suit will make an instant appeal. It is an eight-gored model, made with lapped seams. Such a suit has an air of distinction that marks a woman of refined taste. Instead of the serge, blue cheviot could be substituted, with the same effect.
In separate coats the fur-trimmed garments are to be a premier vogue. This is the latest word from Paris. The fabrics employed in the making of these classy coats include English and Scotch mixture coatings of that soft, rough finish now high in fashion’s favor. Oxford, gray, navy and brown are the colors. The garments are made in full-length model, with semi-fitting back. They are designed with a deep, round shawl-collar and long revers, which together with the wide cuffs, are made of French lynx, skunk, opossum, caracul or sable-dyed opossum. The fur collar lends an additional richness and protection. Fur cloth in caracul, Persian lamb and astrakhan makes serviceable coats. Practical garments re made of heavyweight roseberry cloth, and for stormy weather nothing could be more suitable.
Many women do not consider their wardrobe complete unless they possess at least one fine black coat. The variety of models for a coat of this style is very extensive. All are made full-length, 54 and 56 inches, are semifitted mostly, and have notch, round square, pointed or novelty collar. Some are tastefully trimmed with velvet, satin, silk braid, ornaments, and frogs. Many of the new models have long, graceful revers that fasten way to the side. Fancy braided effects are noted. Plain sleeves are modish, and sleeves with turnback cuffs are in equally good form.
Fashionable coats for young women are mostly of double-faced fabrics, although not all are reversible. Smart color-combinations include Oxford and purple, medium gray and green, light brown and olive. Many clever variations are seen in the styles of collars and cuffs. Some are trimmed with buttons, large and small. The cheviot coats are modishly trimmed with braid and fringe, and are made chiefly in demitailored style.
Evening styles at present claiming attention show charming models of satin-finished black kersey, embellished with handsome silk braids and velvet. For those who prefer new shaggy greatcoats, there are clever reversible models that will be sure to please. The lighter side of these garments is for dressy wear. The darker one for street use. Stunning plaid black mixtures are also good, the plaid side being used to trim. Fascinating representatives of the favored tow-tone effects are seen in gray herringbone vicuna cloth, faced in contrasting color.
You will be interested in learning about the new ideas in waists for the saying “there is nothing new under the sun” is thrust back upon itself when fashion is the keyword.
The “hoop frill” waist is a novelty. The frill idea has attained such success, that there promises to be no dimunition of its popularity. While the side frill is not suitable for all styles, the “hoop” is universally becoming. It forms a sort of bib around the neck, and gives a dress finish. The “hoop” is exemplified in a particularly new waist, with black, purple, blue, and all cream trimmings, including a similar colored messaline bow at the side of the collar.
A score of new styles, inspired by the latest French models, are seen. There is the delightfully unique peplum blouse. Then there are blouses with all kinds of frills, including a new idea created by martial et Armand, with revers, frill and cascade of shadow lace. Some of the new blouses have lace collars, effective imitations of macramé and other laces. Others of fine Brussels net, and the new heavy Tuscan net are in that soft string-color. The chiffon blouses are delightfully harmonious of color. There are combinations of black velvet-ribbon and lace insertions over flesh or ivory silk.
Advance spring models in lingerie waists show clever ideas in voile, with trimmings of linen laces, Irish and filet, in elaborate designs of embroidery. Some have the effective side jabot, and most of the sleeves are elaborately trimmed.