A “Fashion Gossip” column describing cutting edge Philadelphia fashions, Winter 1885-86 US (Philadelphia), Strawbridge and Clothier’s Quarterly
[The remainder of the] garment is of black silk Armure. Two additional beaded panels separate the pleated side-pieces from the puffed back. The loose sleeves are of the armure, and a handsome jet passementerie borders the panels. The bonnet worn with this mantle is a capote with high, puffed silk crown, and gathered front of black velvet. The only trimming is a shaded bunch of cardinal ostrich-tips. To the right in the same illustration is a stylish costume of deep wine-colored gros-grain. The pleated skirt has a high, full drapery at the back. The casaque, coming low over the hips, is trimmed with bands of wine-colored silk braid, threaded slightly with gold. Each band terminates in a double-loop. The skirt draper is carried to the waist-line in the back, hiding that portion of the casaque. There is a high braided collar and cuffs. The hat of silver-gray felt is trimmed with shaded cardinal ribbon.
Bourettes and boucle cloths, and all others with a rough surface are in demand for street dresses. A new material has a dark surface thickly sprinkled with large tri-colored balls, in the Eastern shades. This is rather striking in in effect, and it is used only for panels and trimming, in conjunction with plain goods.
Astrakhan is another trimming that will be extensively used in the same manner. It comes in black and brown shades, and is greatly reduced in price this season.
There is a rage for rich garnitures this winter and many new and elegant novelties are in the market. Bands of chenille, the broader the handsomer, are thickly studded with jet, or covered with balls or drooping pendants of chenille. One especially artistic pattern, is a series of autumn leaves, made of twisted silk, from which hang beaded acorns.
There is an endless assortment of beads, new both in shape and color. There are the spear-head beads, the dumb-bell-shaped beads, the lance-pointed beads, the triangular beads, and a dozen more odd shapes. They come in jet of various colors, steel, crystal, wood, silver, gold, and pearl.
These novelty trimming command high prices, but an advantage is that they are made of the very best materials; no inferior silk is used, and none but the finest grades of jet. These are said to afford the manufacturers quite as much profit; and the trade certainly more satisfaction.
Shown at Figure No. 6, is a home-dress of gray faille, mixed with a shaded gray stamped cashmere. A pleating of faille borders the square-train. The figured cashmere forms the double drapery in front, ornamented with twisted silk fringe. There is a pointed shirred plastron inserted in the lower drapery; the same forms the vest in the square-cut bodice, and also the pointed piece in the back. The bodice is pointed over the hips, finished with fringe, and a triple fold of the plain material. The back drapery is of faille, very slightly looped.
Many ladies find a plain round skirt of velvet, velveteen, or corduroy, quite indispensable for winter. They are finished simply with plissés of the same, and almost any description of overskirt can be worn with them. Black and brown are the most serviceable colors.
Many of the richest walking-dresses and afternoon reception toilettes are made of velvet, in the dark shades of blue, brown, and gray; all other colors are reserved strictly for evening wear. Every winter there is a strong effort to popularize the various purple tints; an effort that is never attended with much success. Very few shades of purple are either becoming or pretty. They all lack warmth; and under gas-light the pale purple shades become heavy and dingy. Purple is never a very safe color; and when it is chosen, it is always a wise precaution to examine it first in the sunlight, and then under a strong gas-light.
At Figure No. 7, is a dark gray velveteen costume, the skirt run with bands of silver braid. The velveteen tunic is carried high on the left side, and is puffed on the hips. The back drapery is also high. The waist is pointed back and front, and is trimmed with a plain plastron and revers, striped with silver. The cuffs are the same. The pointed bonnet is of gray felt, trimmed with a bunch of gray and crimson feathers. The strings are of serviceable velvet, crimson and gray.
Very charming indeed, are some of the latest house-dresses, or tea-gowns, as the most elaborate of them are called. A fanciful one is made of pale-pink surah, the point literally covered with waves of écru, Malines… (continued)
The paragraph about colors is bolded because it reflects color trends in the mid-1880’s. Purple was very popular in the late 1860’s, but by this time it was considered ugly and risky to wear. Also, it’s interesting to see the tip they give about checking colors both outdoors in sunlight and indoors in gaslight.