French spring fashions for 1867 were primarily created from silk. Skirts ranged in length from the ankle to the floor, often had trains, and remained wide, as it was the height of crinolines. Green and pale grays were two of the more popular colors for the spring season and a variety of scallops were in vogue, which were also incorporated into girl’s costumes. Bonnets continued to be worn with walking and visiting toilets. Continue reading →
In the 1700 and 1800s times were hard. Orphans, street children, or the very poor sometimes became apprenticed to men who dabbled in the art of pickpocketing. Two well-known, but fictional pickpockets, Fagin and The Artful Dodger, were made famous in Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist. Similar to Dickens’ characters, young pickpockets needed to be skillful so as to not find themselves sitting in jail or worse, hanging from a noose.
Many young pickpockets, often called natty lads, were extremely adept at sleight of hand. Francis Grose in his book titled 1811 Dictionary in the Vulgar Tongue described the art of pickpocketing. “The newest and most dexterous way, which is, to thrust the fingers strait, stiff, open, and very quick, into the pocket, and so closing them, hook what can be held between them.” Continue reading →
Brougham carriages were originally designed as a light, four-wheeled, enclosed, one-horse vehicle. They also had two centers doors, and a low coupe body that enclosed a forward facing seat for two occupants. Sometimes they came equipped with two extra fold away seats, which could be used for children. Outside, at the front for the coachman, was a boxed seat or perch, known as a dickey box, also called a boot, that could accommodate another passenger, such as a footman. Continue reading →
Although somewhat suspect, Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a Scottish blacksmith, is credited with creating the first mechanically propelled two-wheel vehicle. Several sources give credit to him, including an article by the Bicycling News in 1892. Another Scotsman, Gavin Dalzell, who never claimed to have invented the bicycle seems to have improved upon MacMillan’s idea of the driving gear rod, and history backs his claims. There is evidence that Dalzell used his rear-driven machine to distribute his drapery wares in and around the area of Lesmahagow in 1845. Continue reading →
Throughout the Georgian, Regency, and Victorian Eras, ladies were required to wear numerous layers of clothing. These layers served a variety of purposes from hygiene to warmth to ornamentation. To help you understand the complexity of dressing and what was required for a woman to put on and take off in a single day, I have compiled a list of the pieces normally worn and have arranged them in the approximate order of how a woman might dress: drawers, chemise, corset, busk, corset cover, decency skirt or under-petticoat, crinoline or hoop or bustle, petticoat, suit, garniture, and, finally, the accessories. Continue reading →
French fashions for the fall of 1867 were generally made from either silk or velvet. Paletots were popular and so were narrow sleeves. Skirts remained wide—as it was the height of crinolines—and skirts ranged in length from the ankle to the floor. Greens, grays, and purples were the predominate colors at this time, and hats and bonnets tended to be small. Among the publications showing the latest fashions was The Young Englishwoman, a publication that also included literature and needlework. Its fashion plates and a description for the winter months of 1867 are shown here. Continue reading →
Victorian hat fashions in 1896 were substantial and large. Because hats were substantial and large, it gave milliners an excuse to decorate with large frills and massive puffs of velvet or ribbon. High crowns, some in bell shapes and others almost cylindrical, were combined with broad brims and an occasional roll in the front or the brim upturned at the rear. Soft crowns were also in vogue and often associated with felt or fancy braid brims. Feathers, plumes, and full birds remained popular and almost every fashionable hat sported one or more of these elements. Continue reading →