Trending For April 1890

In today’s post, we move into Springtime fashions and with the warming of the weather, comes a wider variety of styles as depicted in the April 1890 issue of Peterson’s Magazine:

Petersons_April 1890

Peterson’s Magazine, April 1890

Fig. I- RECEPTION-DRESS, OF SAPPHIRE-BLUE AND WHITE CHINA SILK. The skirt is bordered with a band of pale-gray silk, ornamented by six rows of narrow blue moiré ribbon; it opens upon the Side, over a kilt-plaited [pleated] panel of white silk. The short Spanish-jacket bodice opens over a full vest of the white silk. The revers. collar, cuffs, and border down the front of the vest are trimmed to match the border of the skirt. Elbow coat-sleeves, fulled at the shoulder. Large crocheted buttons of blue and gray ornament the bodice. This model will serve for a bordered nun’s veiling or gingham, with plain material for the side-panel and vest.

Fig. II- VISITING-DRESS, OF INDIAN RED SURAH, trimmed with black beaded net in stripes. This striped net is arranged upon the skirt to form a front and side panel. The skirt is slightly draped between the panels, with small panniers disposed over the hips; the back hands plain. The pointed bodice is fulled in front at the shoulders, trimmed with bands of the net and laps from right to left. The sleeves are formed of the red surah for the under, the black net filling up the outside part. Gypsy bonnet of black net, faced with red crêpe and trimmed with black wings. A bow of black velvet ornaments the inside of the brim.

Fig. III- VISITING DRESS, OF GRAY POPLINETTE, WITH A GAY PLAID BORDER. The underskirt of this gown has a wide kilt-plaiting 18 inches deep all around, set upon the foundation. The bordered material is disposed in drapery as seen in the illustration, the back forming a jabot at the right side. The bodice is pointed, back and front; the front being trimmed with the plaid border, first a piece crosswise to form the yoke, then plaited lengthwise into a point at the waist. Full sleeves into deep cuffs of the plaid. A dark-blue velvet waistband crosses in a point in front, fastening with a silver buckle. Sash-ends of the gray finish the bodice at the back. Gray straw hat, trimmed with ostrich-plumes. This model will be suitable for a bordered nun’s-veiling, light woolens, of gingham.

Fig. IV- CARRIAGE OR WALKING DRESS, OF MOSS GREEN CASHMERE, WITH STRIPED VELVET BODICE. The front of skirt and inside vest of this stylish gown are cut in one, the vest crossing and fastening with six small buttons. Under this is a full chemisette of surah to match. The skirt hangs straight all around, except where it laps in front; there it is slightly draped. The jacket-bodice of the striped velvet had the revers and cuffs faced with a peach-blossom colored corded silk, also the rolling collar of the inside vest. Hat of moss-green crêpe, faced with green and peach-color and trimmed with standing loops of green and peach-colored grosgrain ribbon.

Fig. V- VISITING DRESS, OF HELIOTROPE PLAIN AND BROCADE SILK. The front of underskirt, vest, and sleeves are of the brocade, while the polonaise overdress is of the plain taffeta. The front part of the bodice is slashed at the side-darks and forms the long sash-ends which pass under the waistband. The edge of the over-dress is bordered with a wide band of moiré, the cuffs are the same. Hat of straw, trimmed with white daisies and loops of ribbon matching the costume.

The reception dress in Figure I features an over-bodice/jacket and vest combination with the over-bodice and over-skirt constructed of a sapphire-colored China silk. The underskirt and vest consist of a contrasting pleated white China silk . The overskirt is trimmed along the edges in a wide stripe of  light gray silk with six narrow rows of  blue moire. The various style details make for an interesting effect but unfortunately, the smallness of the plate obscures much of the described detail. Also of note is that the overskirt opens to the side rather than the front. The sleeves are full and at the top there are small kick-outs. Interestingly enough, the over-bodice/jacket is described as a “Spanish jacket” and the revers on the jacket also contain the same blue silk more stripes.

Sapphire Color Palette


Navy Blue Silk More Fabric

The visiting dress in Figure II makes for an interesting contrast in that we see an Indian red surah (well, maybe more of a claret) for the base fashion fabric. The skirt and bodice are trimmed with black beaded net in stripes and they also run down each arm. Also, the beaded net stripes serve to create a series of alternating black and red stripes on the skirt. The Indian red in Figure II projects warmth compared to the cold sapphire blue of Figure I.

Indian Red Surah Fabric- This is somewhat lighter than what is depicted in Figure II but there are matters of light and the age of the plate to consider.

Claret – Reconstructed on computer

Figure III features a Visiting Dress with a gray poplinette overskirt trimmed with plaid border. The underskirt is also a gray poplinette and is pleated. The bodice is also made of matching gray poplinette with the front and deep cuffs trimmed with the same plaid fabric. Finally, although it is hard to see, there is also a blue velvet waistband secured with a buckle. Overall, from a style perspective, this dress is a confusing mishmash of elements, especially with the plaid, and as such this is not a good style.

The moss-green cashmere carriage/walking dress in Figure IV provides a welcome relieve to Figure III with its straight pleated skirt. The skirt front and vest/under-bodice are cut as one (it would be interesting to see the pattern for this) with a matching surah chemisette underneath. The jacket/bodice is made of striped velvet with the revers, cuffs, inside of the rolling collar all faced with a peach-blossom colored corded silk. Unfortunately, the faded plate does not do justice to the given description- it must have made for a nice effect.

Peach – Reconstructed on Computer

Moss Green – Reconstructed on Computer

Finally, the visiting dress in Figure V is impressive with the use of a heliotrope-colored silk taffeta polonaise overdress combined with a silk floral brocade underskirt front (a plain fabric would have been used on the non-visible portion of the underskirt) and sleeves. The color in the plate is more of a lavender but the plate is over 100 years old so who knows? 🙂

Heliotrope – Reconstructed on Computer

More Heliotrope – Also Reconstructed on Computer

The styles in the above plate are of varying quality and while it is interesting to note that plaids seemed to have been making a come-back in fashion, the style depicted above in Figure IV just does not show plaid at its best. Well, as with everything, you can’t have a winner all the time and such is the case with fashion. 🙂




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