Edwardian Fashion Chit Chat - March 1905 The Delineator
Fashions in New York
As individualism in matters of dress becomes more pronounced, the boundary lines of fashion grow more and more vague. The French woman breathes in the spirit of the moment's fashion and expresses it in a hundred different versions suited to her particular demands, and the American woman - who was once a slave to Fashion's every whim - has likewise learned to appreciate her own charms and refuses to adopt unquestioningly every vagary in dress. Happily there are becoming styles for everybody in the present-day modes.
There are many unusually attractive designs for Spring, and chief among them is the shirt-waist dress. Both plain and fancy effects will be worn, the style depending entirely upon the occasion. All sorts of materials will be used to make these smart, practical dresses. For morning wear the silky mohairs in either plain or plaid effects are newest and at the same time most practical, while for the dress that is to have a touch of elaboration there are pretty silks, with taffeta in the lead.
There is nothing like a trim, becoming tailor-made for all-around use. In plain, lightweight cloth, with the skirt just escaping the ground, and jacket with gracefully shaped sleeves large enough to take in the blouse sleeves, such a suit may literally go from the shops to the drawing-room musicale. For the morning jaunt a tailored shirt-waist is worn with this costume, and a simple turban and heavy gloves complete the outfit. For afternoon, the same suit is accompanied by a dressy hat, light gloves, and a blouse either of pale-tinted silk or of the lingerie order.
There is infinite variety in the Spring coat. It ranges from the jaunty, abbreviated bolero to the graceful, enveloping redingote. There is still the blouse, which, like the bolero, refuses to die, and which in some of the newest garments preserves more than a suggestion of the pouch. Then there is the Directoire coat from the historic shape to a modern guise in which only the name preserves its classification. It is a significant fact that the Directoire coat, with all its possibilities for spectacular treatment, has not become common. The redingote is the garment of the moment. As a matter of fact, it is a garment not to be worn by every figure, or utilized for all occasions. It is fitted closely at the waist but gracefully ample of skirts. Until late in the Spring the velvet redingote will be worn.
Drape effects characterize the simplest shirt-waists as well as the dressy gowns; but these swathed bodices require skilful adjustment, and a well-fitted lining is essential. There is no disputing the fact that silks are to play an important role in Spring fashions. A satin finish makes them appear wonderfully soft, and they are light in weight. The same qualities in cashmere make the material particularly practicable for the draped waists and puffed sleeves, and the color card shows it in all of the season's shades.
The last cry in things fashionable is shaded leather, especially in the form of belts and stocks. All of the modish colors, rich reds, browns, bronzes and grays, are shown, each in all of its shades. These leather accessories are finished with buckles of hammered copper or silver and buttons to match are used.
The same handsome fabrics that are used to make the top garments of older persons are suitable for the small maid's coat, and, while the same designs are not employed, there is similarity in the long lines and the graceful fulness that characterize them. The softest cloth weaves, silk and pongee are suggested for the dressy little coat, while that intended for greater service may be made of heavy serge or cheviot. Even in these tiny wraps is the vest introduced, suggesting a harmonious combination of materials as well as of colors. The hats in lingerie style are much in evidence, and a new model is called the "Charlotte Corday."
The trousseau of the Spring bride is now being discussed and planned, and among the most interesting details of this outfit are the dainty negligee and lingerie garments. If the bride be clever and have the leisure, she will fashion them herself. There is a fascination in handling the delicate materials that enter into the construction of the pretty modes. The Empire styles are delightfully carried out in the soft silks and silk-and-wool fabrics, and the most effective house dresses and negligees. A deep cape collar or bertha, or perhaps a softly draped fichu, is a feature of some of these negligees, while puffing, shirring and tucking enter into the decoration.
The lounging robe to be worn only in one's boudoir may ba an attractive garment, though simplicity is essential to its comfort. The printed challies, Oriental crepes and silks, and plain colored woollens are used, and a ribbon sash can be added if desired. The graceful styles of the Orient are admirably suited to these negligees. The dressing sack, or matinee, when prettily made and of a becoming color, is a fascinating garment and may match in color the skirt with which it is to be worn. A lace collar that has long been laid away may find new use in adorning the dainty matinee.