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Harper's Fashion


Below are several fashion plates illustrating fashion from an 1857 edition of Harper's New Monthly Magazine. The edition covers only the months of June to November of 1857. They offer us an interesting look at pre-Civil War fashions, and the text that accompanies the illustrations is particularly helpful. Click on thumbnails for a closer view. Please be patient as there are many images to load.

Fashions for June

Figures 1, 2, and 3--Bridal toilet, young ladie's out-door costume, and girl's dress.

Figure 1--Bridal Toilet-- The dress is of white glacé decolletée, with plain corsage and pointed bodice. The sleevs are puffed, are short, and match the skirt in style. A second jupe of tulle illusion covers the taffeta; for about one-third of its depth it is festooned by broad bands of the glacé, each of which as also the central portion of the festoons, are graced by alernate clusters of white moss-rose buds, orange flowers, and lilies of the valley. A deep fall of Brussels lace trimsthe top of the corsage, the sleeves and waist. The veil is of tulle illusion; the coiffure is at pleasure, with the wreath of orange-blossoms and lilies of the valley. The bracelets are of pearl.

Figure 2-This very pretty outdoor dress for a Young Lady, is composed of taretan, with a canezou of black tulle gathered upon black satin bands, and edged with double lace. The sleeves are large and puffed, and are caught up with a noeud of black satin ribbon. The hat is of fancy straw.

The Girl's Dress (Figure 3) consists of a lace basque, with pink transparents through the bouillonées. The skirt, which is flounced, is of organdie. Upon the head is a straw flat, trimmed with flowers, and having a fall of lace.

Figure 4--Lace shawl.

Figure 4 is a shawl of black French lace, and is a remarkably pretty article of the kind. The embellishments of the costumes for the open air constitute almost the only novelties which we have observed; there being nothing particularly new in fashion and construction.

Figure 5--Lace Berthe.

The Berthe (Figure 5) is adapted to be worn with a low-necked dress. It is of gossamer lace, with rûches which form the border; the whole being edged with lace. Bows of pale blue or white satin adorn the sleeves and the waist The center may be graced by a neat bow.


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Artwork is October (1877) by James Tissot, courtesy of CGFA.

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