|ca. 1860 sheer dress from St. Albans Museums.|
Among the coolest-looking dresses for this hottest month of the year, we notice the so-called “pine-apple” tissues, that are more particularly imported by the India stores of Boston and New York.
One of these establishments is well worth a visit. Crapes of every description in dress goods, shawls, and scarfs, cashmere shawls, pine-apple handkerchiefs of almost inconcievable fineness and delicacy, gorgeously embroidered taffetas, everything for which the India trade is celebrated, which sea captains bring, and ship owners import for their wives after a successful voyage, are here gathered together.
The pine-apple tissues of which we speak come in patterns, from ten to fourteen yards each, and are less expensive than ever before, ranging from $4 to $8. They are in stripes, plaids, and checks, on a white ground, and almost transparent, or “see-through muslin,” as some gentleman happily characterized the present style of gossamer summer fabrics on their first introduction. As they do not rumple or crush, they are especially suitable for flouncing. The shade of blue, purple, green, etc., in which they come, being rather dull, a bright gauze ribbon trimming adds much to their effect, running around the edge of the flounces, and disposed on the waist and sleeves in bretelles, bows, etc., with flowing ends.
Our Parisian correspondents tell us that the reign of ribbon trimming is at its height. “Ribbons,” says the “Moniteur,” flutter on the skirt behind, or in front, from the waist; ribbons falling from the body are now the very height of fashion;” and an article is mentioned as celebrated for “lavishing them with exceeding taste.”
Skirts are made very full. Fashion exacts an immense use of crinoline. Many are gathered at the waist into large round and hollow plaits. The front of the skirt is not as full or as long as the back; the first should leave the foot visible, while the second just clears the ground, or, for evening-dress, forms a demi-rounded train.
Underskirts are arranged so as to meet the exactions of the modern hoop. Corsets are cut much shorter, no longer compressing the hip. Crinoline is worn with one or two flounces, the object being as much breadth as possible to the figure. Cambric skirts, embroidered en tablier, or on the front breadth, have in a measure given place to flounced petticoats, the flounces being edged with embroidery. When they are hemmed, a narrow straw braid is run in to stiffen them. It is a good way to manage skirts when the hem has frayed, while the rest is unworn, as is often the case. Cut off two or three fingers’ length from the bottom of the breadths, and add a flounce. This prevents that ungraceful falling in of the skirt, where a graceful sweep to the ground is desireable.
There is no absolute fashion for sleeves. Nearly every one follows her own fancy, though puffs, or wide frills from the elbow are considered the style. Undersleeves are also puffed, the fall of lace or embroidery that finishes them about the wrist coming from a loose band of insertion, á la duchess, below the puffs. Ribbons, from a quarter to an inch in width, are much used, in bows and loops, to separate the frills when more than one is used on chemisettes or sleeves. Narrow black velvet loops and bows, disposed in this way, it is said, will be a striking feature the approaching fall and winter. With low corsages, much worn the present month, a lace blonde, or muslin fichu, bretelle, or berthé is indispensable. There is no neck so beautiful that it is not improved by a delicate shading of lace.