Women’s Dress Fashions for March 1881

New Sleeves Styles for 1881, Author's Collection
New Sleeves Styles for 1881, Author’s Collection

Great attention was devoted to sleeves in 1881, and fashion dictated that they needed to change from the tight plain top. This did not mean, however, that the old sleeve styles were no longer fashionable. They were fashionable but they appeared a little larger and a little fuller at the top. Examples of some of the new sleeves styles for March 1881 are shown in the illustration to the right.

The first sleeve on the top left is a 3/4 length sleeve with scalloped edges and is filled in with bouillonné. The center sleeve is a puffed sleeve with cravés of cerise satin. The next sleeve is an Abbe Sleeve embroidered with red floss silk, and it forms a double sleeve from the shoulder to the elbow. The first sleeve on the bottom left is a Tight Sleeve. It has two puffs and numerous buttons. The center sleeve is also tight to the wrist, but it is puffed at the top, scalloped, and fastened with four buttons at the lower edge. The last sleeve is also a Tight Sleeve, but it has three puffs at the back and a puffed cuff.

(Left to Right) Marie Promenade Costume, Clarice Visite Mantle, Bernady Promenade Costume, Author's Collection
(Left to Right) Marie Promenade Costume, Clarice Visite Mantle, Bernady Promenade Costume, Author’s Collection

Besides new sleeve styles, there were also new costumes and toilettes. The first costume, shown on the left, is a light blue Marie Promenade Costume of cashmere trimmed with cross bands of striped velvet. The jacket is ornamented with a hood, collar, and cuffs. The underskirt has double drapes over a long plissé that is trimmed by a band of striped velvet, and the back forms three elegant loops.

The Clarice Visite Mantle of black silk is lined with crimson surah and trimmed with fringe and passementerie.

The Bernady Promenade Costume, shown on the right, is created from a dove-colored cashmere that is trimmed with blue satin. The jacket is slightly open in front, and, at back, it is left apart in the seams and bound with piping and a band of satin. The overskirt is draped behind. In front, it is gathered and ornamented with two revers bound with satin. A tablier is over the plissé of the underskirt, and it is edged top and bottom by a blue plissé.

(Left to Right) Mother Hubbard Mantle, Black Silk Dress, and Traveling Costume, Author's Collection
(Left to Right) Mother Hubbard Mantle, Black Silk Dress, and Traveling Costume, Author’s Collection

On the left is a French style Mother Hubbard Mantle that was a new fashions for March 1881. It is gathered down the back, at the neck, and in front. Additionally the gathers at the front form breast pleats. It also buttons down the front. It has gathered pockets and sleeves and is trimmed with frilling.

The Black Silk Dress is trimmed entirely with satin. The jacket is open in front, on a bouillonné gilet, and, at the back, it is cut in tabs and bound with satin piping. The front of the skirt forms a sash, and two ends open onto a pleated front that is edged by a plissé and a flounce.

The costume on the right is a Traveling Costume of grey cashmere trimmed with grey satin. The jacket is closed in front and has a plissé behind. The skirt is draped in front and at the back there is a long pleated underskirt.

(Left to Right) Montebellow Watteau Tea Gown, Bischoffsheim Promenade Toilette, and Poniatowski Promenade Costume, Author's Collection
(Left to Right) Montebellow Watteau Tea Gown, Bischoffsheim Promenade Toilette, and Poniatowski Promenade Costume, Author’s Collection

The light-brown Montebellow Watteau Tea Gown is shown on the left. It is trimmed in front with coquillés of white lace and mauve satin ribbon. Additionally a plissé of mauve satin edges the gown.

In the center is a Bischoffsheim Promenade Toilette of navy blue silk. The jacket is cut in Redingote style with a cape and large collar. A deep fold is sewn down the middle of the skirt in front and fastened by numerous buttons. Deep pleats and revers make up the ornaments of the two sides of skirt, and the back is draped on the train. It is trimmed in red Madras.

The Poniatowski Promenade Costume is created from cashmere and trimmed with broché. The jacket forms a coat tail behind, and the gilet in front is imitated by the broché revers. The underskirt is made of wide plissés and crossed at the bottom by a double row of scalloped plissés. The front is crossed by a drape of broché and gathered in the middle with a bow of cashmere.

References:

  • Thomas, Mrs. Edward (Jane), The London and Paris Ladies’ Magazine of Fashion, Literature and Fine Arts, Vol. 54, No. 602, London: Kent & Co. 1881.

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