Alpaca is now made in a variety of hues, and no material is now more generally adopted in plain out-door costume. Dresses of alpaca and foulard are very simply trimmed, frequently with nothing more than a braid placed just above the hem, and at every half-breadth carried up in a fanciful design. The braid should be of a color harmonizing with that of the dress, and the effect will be much improved if edged at each side by narrow black velvet, or by black braid or soutache. A small sacque or mantilla of the same material as the dress should be trimmed in corresponding style.
Among the checks, the Hortense robe is the newest. This robe consists of a narrow black check on a solid color, such as green, gray, purple, or blue, with six narrow bands, not over an inch wide, around the bottom and woven in the material.
We have to record something like a tendency to greater simplicity in the ornamentation of ladies' dresses: flounces for light fancy dresses are much less abundant, and, when worn, limited to two or three. Ribbon trimmings, fluted, frilled, and vandyked, are extremely fashionable. The skirts of the dresses are still worn long, are very wide, and are sometimes made to train a little behind.
Braiding seems to be the favorite trimming, not only for washed dresses, but also for plain alpacas, foulards, muslin delains, merinos, and even rich silks. Sometimes the braiding design is carried rather high up the skirt, to imitate a double skirt; sometimes up the front en tablier; and, again, a pretty scroll just above the hem. However, braiding is now so fashionable that it matters little how the device be arranged, but the paletot, or saute-en-barque, that is worn with it, must always be ornamented to correspond.
Pique dresses, in buff or shite, are being made with short cut-away jackets, little waistcoats, and plain braided skirts. For out-door wear this costume is completed by a scarf, braided to correspond, or by a short paletot.
The Greek pattern still continues one of the favorite designs for braiding. Rings interlaced also form a very pretty and effective, and quickly-executed, braiding, pattern; use, in these cases, broad braid for the purpose.
Several dresses have been made this season with round pelerines in the form of capes. A very elegant dress with one of these cape pelerines has been trimmed in a very novel style with narrow black lace edging set on flat and in a foliage design. The edge and front of the skirt, the pelerine and ends of the sleeves, were all ornamented in this style; and the effect on the grren silk is indescribably rich and beautiful. Another dress of violet-colored Irish poplin has been ornamented in a similar style, but with black silk braid instead of black edging.
Nearly all dress sleeves this season are made with a seam at the elbow, and a turned-back cuff, projecting an inch or two beyond the seam of the sleeve at the bottom. Black lace and lace rosettes are very much used as a sleeve trimming for silk and grenadine dresses, and silk ruches are much in favor for the purpose.
Self-colored mousseline-de-laine, such as lavender, gray, drab, or azuline blue, is being much worn for ladies' and children's dresses. his material is now dyed in such beautiful shades, so pure and bright, that, for morning dresses, it has become very popular. It is nice cool wear, and is inexpensive.
The prettiest and most suitable way of making these dresses is with a plain or slightly full body (according to the figure), the new bishop sleeve, closed at the wrist, trimmed with rows of silk ruches, and a pleating of silk ribbon, one and a half to two inches wide, placed quite at the bottom of the skirt, below the braid. A pointed silk band in front, and two ends of pinked silk worn behind, give a pretty finish to the dress.
The garment we saw made in this style was of a pretty warm shade of fawn or gray, with the quilling rushes, sash, and buttons down the front of the body in silk matching exactly the shade of the dress.
A new Dress of pale green glace silk has just been made with nine tiny flounces at the bottom of the skirt, put on in three series. Each of the flounces was braided in a small Greek pattern, in narrow black silk braid; and between every series of flounces a larger Greek design in broader braid was arranged. This skirt is new, and extremely stylish. The sleeves were cut with a seam down the back, and were open to the elbow. Two rows of braided frilling were carried round the sleeve and up the opening; and the third row was continued quite to the top of the sleeve, where it was put in the armhole. Two long ends of silk, also braided, were worn behind, secured to a braided band, made slightly pointed in front, like the Medici ceintures.
One of the prettiest Wedding Dresses of the season is composed of white tarletane, and has nine narrow flounces, notched at the edges, and set on in groups of three together. Each group is separated by a puffing of tarletane, with a running of white ribbon under it, the ribbon being tied on one side in a large bow. The corsage of the dress is low, and has a berthe formed of puffing and three frills. A plaited chemisette of tarletane, finished at the throat by a ruche, gives to the corsage the same effect as if it were high, and the dress may be converted into one suitable for ball costume by the removal of the berthe and long sleeves. The coiffure worn with this dress consisted of bouquets tastefully disposed in the hair, and formed of orange blossom intermingled with clematis and jasmine.
The Short Paletot or Sacque is no longer worn, except for travelling or to walk in, in the country. A deep, round kind of cloak, called the Camail, and long jackets shaped to the waist, are the most fashionable. Braiding is very much used for these articles. The India cashmere, with its rich combinations of color, whether in variegated stripes or in fantastic palmettes and arabesques, is an object of imperishable favor, and is never out of season or out of fashion. Shawls of other kinds, however, continue to hold their place in fashionable favor. Among them may be named those of black cashmere, ornamented with silk embroidery, trimmed with black guipure or edged with broad bands of velvet, moire, or quilted silk. Shawls of black or violet cashmere, without embroidery, and edged with a band of quilted silk are very generally adopted in Paris for plain walking dress. Many ladies are likewise seen with shawls of black silk lined and quilted, and edged with velvet or guipure. It is scarcely necessary to observe that these are merely half-shawls, or, as the French term them, pointes.
Bonnets are varying in the shape and style of trimming; they are not so high, but will be worn more bent down in the front, and we have seen some from Paris trimmed at the sides instead of the top. Some very stylish-looking straw bonnets have only a very broad ribbon crossing plainly over the crown, the ribbon being edges with a very narrow ribbon quilled on each side. Feathers are also a great deal worn on straw bonnets. Trimming is less abundant than it has been.
Head-dresses are, to a certain extent, disappearing, unless for full evening toilet, and combs, secured in massive plaits behind, seem to have taken their place. These combs are now made in such variety that no lady will find any difficulty in getting one to suit the color of her hair. Combs, with tortoise-shell knobs, and elaborate steel, gilt, and silver tops, are amongst the most fashionable kinds; and these tops are now made with a hinge on one side, so that they may be pressed closely against the plait, or stand out a little, whichever the wearer may prefer.
Wreaths for the hair are now seldom or rarely seen; flowers are placed in tiny bunches here and there, and, when the hair is much frizzed, have a much prettier appearance than the large heavy wreaths which have so long continued in favor.
Long sprays of flowers, falling on one side, are also fashionable; but we are happy to say that the variety of dressing the hair is so great, that no lady need have her head-dress unbecoming, in order to be in the fashion.
Bright colors are now being very much worn for under garments, in the shape of Ladies' Knickerbockers, Flannel Petticoats, and Petticoat Bodies, all of which articles are composed of the most brilliant scarlet flannel. The knickerbockers are admirably adapted for the cold weather, as they are confined just below the knee by a piece of elastic run in the hem, and, consequently, are an extremely comfortable and warm article of clothing. Those of our readers who are fond of gardening, and standing about in the open air, will find these most judicious things to wear. The scarlet flannel petticoats, which we have just mentioned, are usually scalloped at the bottom with white wool or white purse silk. The silk has the prettiest effect before being washed, but the wool is the most durable, as it does not discolor in the process of washing.