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Title: Dress as a Fine Art - With Suggestions on Children's Dress
Author: Merrifield, Mary Philadelphia
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Dress as a Fine Art - With Suggestions on Children's Dress" ***

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  Transcriber's Notes:

  For the text version, the capitalization on the title page was
  adjusted to attempt to preserve relative importance of the text on
  the page. Chapter descriptions in the Table of Contents were changed
  from all caps to Title Case. Small caps elsewhere were converted to
  all caps. Gesperrt (spaced out lettering), used in various places in
  the front matter, and for chapter numbers, was not retained.

  Words in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

  Punctuation varies widely and was kept as printed; most other
  inconsistencies were kept as printed. Inconsistencies in spelling
  retained, along with the few corrections made, are listed at the end
  of this text.

  The original plates do not have captions. To make it easier for the
  reader to check the text against the description of the figures, the
  contents of each "List of Illustrations" entry has been copied into
  the illustration tag for the corresponding plate. Except for the
  frontispiece (Pl. 1), the captions for the plates have been moved
  from the original mid-paragraph placement to between paragraphs.



  [Illustration: Pl. 1.

    Figure 1. Head-dress of Lady Ardene.
           2. A kind of hat.
           3. Steeple head-dress.
        4, 6. Head-dresses of Lady Rolestone.
           5. Heart-shaped head-dresses.
        7, 8. Head-dresses of the time of Henry VIII.
       9, 11. Hats of the time of George II.
          10. Nithsdale hood.
          12. Hat of the time of William III.
      13, 14. Hats of the time of Charles I.
  15, 16, 17. Head-dresses of 1798.
          18. Head-dress of 1700.
          19. Head-dress of the time of Henry VI.
          20. Combination of figs. 7, 8.
      21, 22. Hats for ladies in 1786.
          23. Style of 1785.
  24, 25, 26. Style of 1782.
  ]



  DRESS
  AS A FINE ART.

  WITH SUGGESTIONS ON CHILDREN'S DRESS.

  By MRS. MERRIFIELD.


  With an Introduction on
  HEAD DRESS.

  By Prof. Fairholt.


  BOSTON:
  JOHN P. JEWETT AND COMPANY.

  CLEVELAND, OHIO:
  JEWETT, PROCTOR, AND WORTHINGTON.

  1854.



  Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by
  JOHN P. JEWETT & CO.,
  In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the
  District of Massachusetts



  PRESS OF GEO. C. RAND,
  WOOD CUT AND BOOK PRINTER,
  CORNHILL, BOSTON.

  STEREOTYPED AT THE
  BOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY.



PREFACE.


The fact that we derive our styles of dress from the same source as
the English, and that the work of Mrs. Merrifield has been circulated
among the forty thousand subscribers of the "London Art Journal,"
might perhaps be deemed sufficient apology for offering it in its
present form to the American public. It has received the unqualified
approbation of the best publications in this country;--entire chapters
having been copied into the periodicals of the day; this added to the
above, and also to the high standing of the author, has induced the
publishers to offer it to the great reading public of this country.

The chapter on Head-dresses, which commences the book, is of much
interest in itself, and affords an explanation of many of the
descriptions in the body of the work.

The closing chapter, on Children's Dress, by Mrs. Merrifield, will be
deemed of more value by most persons than the cost of the entire work.

A few verbal alterations only have been made in the original;--the
good sense of every reader will enable him to understand the local
allusions, and where they belong to England alone, to make the
application.



CONTENTS.


                                                              PAGE
  CHAPTER I.
  Description of Head-Dresses,                                   1

  CHAPTER II.
  Dress, as a Fine Art,                                         10

  CHAPTER III.
  The Head,                                                     53

  CHAPTER IV.
  The Dress,                                                    61

  CHAPTER V.
  The Feet,                                                     73

  CHAPTER VI.
  Remarks on Particular Costumes,                               84

  CHAPTER VII.
  Ornament--Economy,                                            95

  CHAPTER VIII.
  Some Thoughts on Children's Dress.--By Mrs. Merrifield,      121



ILLUSTRATIONS.


  PLATE I.

        Figure 1. Head-dress of Lady Ardene.
               2. A kind of hat.
               3. Steeple head-dress.
            4, 6. Head-dresses of Lady Rolestone.
               5. Heart-shaped head-dresses.
            7, 8. Head-dresses of the time of Henry VIII.
           9, 11. Hats of the time of George II.
              10. Nithsdale hood.
              12. Hat of the time of William III.
          13, 14. Hats of the time of Charles I.
      15, 16, 17. Head-dresses of 1798.
              18. Head-dress of 1700.
              19. Head-dress of the time of Henry VI.
              20. Combination of figs. 7, 8.
          21, 22. Hats for ladies in 1786.
              23. Style of 1785.
      24, 25, 26. Style of 1782.


  PLATE II.

       Figure 27. Style of 1782.
          28, 30. Head-dress of 1790.
              29. Head-dress of the French peasantry.
              31. Fashion of 1791.
          32, 33. Fashion of 1789.
              36. Head-dress of the commencement of the present century.
              35. English housemaid.
              37. Gigot sleeves, with cloak worn over.
              38. From a picture in the Louvre.


  PLATE III.

       Figure 39. Dress, with short waist and sleeves.
              41. Dress of the mother of Henry IV.
              40. Dress of Henrietta Maria.
              42. From the "Illustrated London News."


  PLATE IV.

  Figures 43, 44. From the plates of Sommaering, shows the waist of the
                    Venus of antiquity.
          45, 46. The waist of a modern lady, from the above.
              49. From the "London News."
              50. Woman of Mitylene.
              53. Algerine woman.
              54. The archon's wife.


  PLATE V.

       Figure 47. Athenian peasant.
              48. Shepherdess of Arcadia.
              51. Athenian woman.
              52. French costume of the tenth century.
              62. Lady of the time of Henry V.


  PLATE VI.

       Figure 55. After Parmegiano.
              56. Titian's daughter.
              57. Lady Harrington.
              59. Roman peasant.
              61. Gigot sleeves.


  PLATE VII.

       Figure 63. From Bonnard's Costumes.
              64. Sancta Victoria.
              65. Anne, Countess of Chesterfield, from Vandyck.
              67. Woman of Markinitza.


  PLATE VIII.

       Figure 60. Lady Lucy Percy, from Vandyck.
          69, 70. By Jules David, in "Le Moniteur de la Mode."
              68. The hoop, after Hogarth.


  PLATE IX.

       Figure 66. From Rubens's "Descent from the Cross."
              71. From a drawing by Gainsborough.
              72. Woman of Myconia.
              74. Queen Anne.


  PLATE X.

       Figure 73. Charlotte de la Tremouille.
              75. After Gainsborough.
              76. After Gainsborough.
              77. Costume of Mrs. Bloomer.


  PLATE XI.

       Figure 78. From the embroidery on fig. 47, pl. 5.
              79. From the sleeve of the same dress, above.
              80. From the sleeve of the pelisse.
              81. The pattern embroidered from the waist to the skirt
                    of the dress, fig. 51, pl. 5.
              82. The border of the shawl, fig. 51.
              83. Sleeve of the same, figure 51.
              84. Design on the apron, fig. 48, pl. 5.
              85. From the border of the same dress, fig. 48.


  PLATE XII.

       Figure 86. Pattern round the hem of the long under dress,
                    fig. 51, pl. 5.
          87, 88. Borders of shawls.
              89. Infant's dress, exhibited at the World's Fair in
                    London.
          90, 91. From "Le Moniteur de la Mode," by Jules David and
                    Réville, published at Paris, London, New York,
                    and St. Petersburg.



CHAPTER I.

DESCRIPTION OF HEAD-DRESSES.


Fig. 1 is a front view of a head-dress of Lady Arderne, (who died
about the middle of the fifteenth century.) The caul of the head-dress
is richly embroidered, the veil above being supported by wires, in the
shape of a heart, with double lappets behind the head, which are
sometimes transparent, as if made of gauze.

Such gauze veils, or rather coverings for the head-dress, are
frequently seen in the miniatures of MSS. Figs. 2, 3, are here
selected from the royal MS. In Fig. 3, the steeple head-dress of the
lady is entirely covered by a thin veil of gauze, which hangs from its
summit, and projects over her face. Fig. 2 has a sort of hat, widening
from its base, and made of cloth of gold, richly set with stones. Such
jewelled head-dresses are represented on the heads of noble ladies,
and are frequently ornamented in the most beautiful manner, with
stones of various tints.

The slab to the memory of John Rolestone, Esq., sometime Lord of
Swarston, and Sicili, his wife, in Swarkstone Church, Derbyshire, who
died in 1482, gives the head-dress of the said Sicili as represented
in Fig. 6. It is a simple cap, radiating in gores over the head,
having a knob in its centre and a close falling veil of cloth affixed
round the back. It seems to have been constructed as much for comfort
as for show: the same remark may be applied to Fig. 4, which certainly
cannot be recommended for its beauty, being a stunted cone, with a
back veil closely fitting about the neck, and very sparingly
ornamented; it was worn by Mary, wife of John Rolestone, who died in
1485. These may both have been plain country ladies, far removed from
London, and little troubled with its fashionable freaks. Fig. 5
represents the fashionable head-dress of the last days of the house of
York. It has been termed the heart-shaped head-dress, from the
appearance it presents when viewed in front, which resembles that of a
heart, and sometimes a crescent. It is made of black silk or velvet,
ornamented with gold studs, and having a jewel over the forehead. It
has a long band or lappet, such as the gentlemen then wore affixed to
their hats. Figs. 7 and 8 represent head-dresses worn in the time of
Henry VIII. These are a sort of cap, which seem to combine coverchief
and hood. Fig. 7 was at this time the extreme of fashion. It is edged
with lace, and ornamented with jewelry, and has altogether a look of
utter unmeaningness and confusion of form. Fig. 8 has a hood easier of
comprehension, but no whit better in point of elegance than her
predecessors; it fits the head closely, having pendent jewels round
the bottom and crossing the brow. Figs. 9 and 11 are hats of a very
simple style, such as were worn during the reign of George II., when
an affected simplicity, or milk-maiden look, was coveted by the
ladies, both high and low. The hood worn by Fig. 10 was a complete
envelope for the head, and was used in riding, or travelling, as well
as in walking in the parks. These were called Nithsdales, because Lady
Nithsdale covered her husband's face with one of them, after dressing
him in her clothes, and thus disguised he escaped from the Tower.
Fig. 12 represents a hat worn during the reign of William III. by a
damsel who was crying, "Fair cherries, at sixpence a pound!" It is of
straw, with a ribbon tied around it in a simple and tasteful manner;
the hat is altogether a light and graceful affair, and its want of
obtrusiveness is perhaps its chief recommendation. Figs. 13 and 14 are
hats such as were worn by citizens and their wives during the reigns
of James and Charles I. Figs. 15, 16, 17, were such head-dresses as
were in vogue in 1798. Fig. 15 was of a deep orange color, with bands
of dark chocolate brown; a bunch of scarlet tufts came over the
forehead, and it was held on the head by a kerchief of white muslin
tied beneath the chin. Fig. 16 is a straw bonnet, the crown decorated
with red perpendicular stripes, the front over the face plain, and a
row of laurel leaves surrounds the head; a lavender-colored tie
secures it under the chin. Bonnets somewhat similar to those now worn
were fashionable two years previous to this; yet a small, low-crowned
hat, like the one in Fig. 17, was as much patronized as any head-dress
had ever been.

Cocked hats, such as is represented in Fig. 18, were worn by the
gentlemen in the last part of the year 1700. Fig. 19 represents one
of the head-dresses worn during the reign of Henry VI. It is a
combination of coverchief and turban. Fig. 20 is a combination of the
head-dress of Fig. 7 with the lappeted hood of Fig. 8. In 1786, a very
large-brimmed hat became fashionable with the ladies, and continued in
vogue for the next two years; an idea of the back view of it is given
in Fig. 21, and a front view in Fig. 22. It was decorated with triple
feathers, and a broad band of ribbon was tied in a bow behind, and
allowed to stream down the back. The elegance of turn which the brim
of such a hat afforded was completely overdone by the enormity of its
proportion; and the shelter it gave the face can now be considered as
the only recommendation of this fashion. The hat worn by Fig. 23 was
the style of 1785. Feathers were then much in favor, and a poet of the
time writes of the ladies,--

     "No longer they hunt after ribbons and lace;
     _Undertakers_ have got in the milliner's place;
     With hands sacrilegious they've plundered the dead,
     And transferred the gay plumes from the hearse to the head."

  [Illustration: Pl. 2.

  Figure 27. Style of 1782.
     28, 30. Head-dress of 1790.
         29. Head-dress of the French peasantry.
         31. Fashion of 1791.
     32, 33. Fashion of 1789.
         36. Head-dress of the commencement of the present century.
         35. English housemaid.
         37. Gigot sleeves, with cloak worn over.
         38. From a picture in the Louvre.
  ]

Fig. 24 represents the head-dress worn in 1782. At no period in the
history of the world was any thing more absurd in head-dress than the
one here depicted. The body of this erection was formed of tow, over
which the hair was turned, and false hair added in great curls; bobs
and ties, powdered to profusion, then hung all over with vulgarly
large rows of pearls, or glass beads, fit only to decorate a
chandelier; flowers as obtrusive were stuck about this heap of finery,
which was surmounted by broad silken bands and great ostrich feathers,
until the head-dress of a lady added three feet to her stature, and
"the male sex," to use the words of the "Spectator," "became suddenly
dwarfed beside her." To effect this, much time and trouble were
wasted, and great personal annoyance was suffered. Heads, when
properly dressed, "kept for three weeks," as the barbers quaintly
phrased it; that they would not really "keep" longer, may be seen by
the many receipts they gave for the destruction of insects, which bred
in the flour and pomatum so liberally bestowed upon them. Fig. 25 is
another fashionable outdoor head-dress. Fig. 26 represents one of
the hats invented to cover the head when full dressed. It is as
extravagant as the head-dresses. It is a large but light compound of
gauze, wire, ribbons, and flowers, sloping over the forehead, and
sheltering the head entirely by its immensity. Fig. 27 shows how
immensely globular the head of a lady had become; it swells all around
like a huge pumpkin, and curls of a corresponding size aid in the
caricature which now passed as fashionable taste. As if this were not
load enough for the fair shoulders of the softer sex, it is swathed
with a huge veil or scarf, giving the wearer an exceedingly top-heavy
look. In 1790, the ladies appeared in hats similar to those worn by
the gentlemen in 1792; these are represented in Figs. 28 and 30. They
were gayly decorated with gold strings, and tassels, crossed and
recrossed over the crown. The brims were broad, raised at the sides,
and pointed over the face in a manner not inelegant. Fig. 29 has the
tall, ugly bonnet, copied from the French peasantry; a long gauze
border is attached to the edges, which hangs like a veil around the
face, and partially conceals it. A hat of a very piquant character was
adopted by the ladies in 1791, of which a specimen is given in
Fig. 31. It is decorated with bows, and a large feather nods not
ungracefully over the crown from behind. A person with good face and
figure must have looked becomingly beneath it. Fig. 32 is an example
of the bad taste which still peeped forth. It is one of the most
fashionable head-dresses worn in 1789, and is the back view of a
lady's head, surmounted by a very small cap or hat, puffed round with
ribbon; the hair is arranged in a long, straight bunch down the neck,
where it is tied by a ribbon, and flows in curls beneath; long curls
repose one on each shoulder, while the hair at the sides of the
head is frizzed out on each side in a most fantastic form. The hat of
Fig. 33, shaped like a chimney pot, and decorated with small tufts of
ribbon, and larger bows, which fitted on a lady's head like the cover
on a canister, was viewed with "marvellous favor" by many a fair eye,
in the year 1789. It was sometimes bordered with lace, as in Fig. 29,
thus hiding the entire head, and considerably enhancing its ugliness.



CHAPTER II.

DRESS, AS A FINE ART.


In a state so highly civilized as that in which we live, the art of
dress has become extremely complicated. That it is an art to set off
our persons to the greatest advantage must be generally admitted, and
we think it is one which, under certain conditions, may be studied by
the most scrupulous. An art implies skill and dexterity in setting off
or employing the gifts of nature to the greatest advantage, and we are
surely not wrong in laying it down as a general principle, that every
one may endeavor to set off or improve his or her personal appearance,
provided that, in doing so, the party is guilty of no deception. As
this proposition may be liable to some misconstruction, we will
endeavor to explain our meaning.

In the first place, the principle is acted upon by all who study
cleanliness and neatness, which are universally considered as positive
duties, that are not only conducive to our own comfort, but that
society has a right to expect from us. Again: the rules of society
require that to a certain extent we should adopt those forms of dress
which are in common use, but our own judgment should be exercised in
adapting these forms to our individual proportions, complexions, ages,
and stations in society. In accomplishing this object, the most
perfect honesty and sincerity of purpose may be observed. No deception
is to be practised, no artifice employed, beyond that which is
exercised by the painter, who arranges his subjects in the most
pleasing forms, and who selects colors which harmonize with each
other; and by the manufacturer, who studies pleasing combinations of
lines and colors. We exercise taste in the decoration and arrangement
of our apartments and in our furniture, and we are equally at liberty
to do so with regard to our dress; but we know that taste is not an
instinctive perception of the beautiful and agreeable, but is founded
upon the observance of certain laws of nature. When we conform to
these laws, the result is pleasing and satisfactory; when we offend
against them, the contrary effect takes place. Our persons change with
our years; the child passes into youth, the youth into maturity,
maturity changes into old age. Every period of life has its peculiar
external characteristics, its pleasures, its pains, and its pursuits.
The art of dress consists in properly adapting our clothing to these
changes.

We violate the laws of nature when we seek to repair the ravages of
time on our complexions by paint, when we substitute false hair for
that which age has thinned or blanched, or conceal the change by
dyeing our own gray hair; when we pad our dress to conceal that one
shoulder is larger than the other. To do either is not only bad taste,
but it is a positive breach of sincerity. It is bad taste, because the
means we have resorted to are contrary to the laws of nature. The
application of paint to the skin produces an effect so different from
the bloom of youth, that it can only deceive an unpractised eye. It
is the same with the hair: there is such a want of harmony between
false hair and the face which it surrounds, especially when that face
bears the marks of age, and the color of the hair denotes youth, that
the effect is unpleasing in the extreme. Deception of this kind,
therefore, does not answer the end which it had in view; it deceives
nobody but the unfortunate perpetrator of the would-be deceit. It is
about as senseless a proceeding as that of the goose in the story,
who, when pursued by the fox, thrust her head into a hedge, and
thought that, because she could no longer see the fox, the fox could
not see her. But in a moral point of view it is worse than silly; it
is adopted with a view to deceive; it is _acting a lie_ to all intents
and purposes, and it ought to be held in the same kind of detestation
as falsehood with the tongue. Zimmerman has an aphorism which is
applicable to this case--"Those who conceal their age do not conceal
their folly."

The weak and vain, who hope to conceal their age by paint and false
hair, are, however, morally less culpable than another class of
dissemblers, inasmuch as the deception practised by the first is so
palpable that it really deceives no one. With regard to the other
class of dissemblers, we feel some difficulty in approaching a subject
of so much delicacy. Yet, as we have stated that we are at liberty to
improve our natural appearance by well-adapted dress, we think it
our duty to speak out, lest we should be considered as in any way
countenancing deception. We allude to those physical defects
induced by disease, which are frequently united to great beauty
of countenance, and which are sometimes so carefully concealed by
the dress, that they are only discovered after marriage.

Having thus, we hope, established the innocence of our motives, we
shall proceed to mention the legitimate means by which the personal
appearance may be improved by the study of the art of dress.

Fashion in dress is usually dictated by caprice or accident, or by the
desire of novelty. It is never, we believe, based upon the study of
the figure.

It is somewhat singular that while every lady thinks herself at
liberty to wear any textile fabric or any color she pleases, she
considers herself bound to adopt the form and style of dress which the
fashion of the day has rendered popular. The despotism of fashion is
limited to _form_, but _color_ is free. We have shown, in another
essay, (see closing chapter,) what licentiousness this freedom in the
adoption and mixture of colors too frequently induces. We have also
shown that the colors worn by ladies should be those which contrast
or harmonize best with their individual complexions, and we have
endeavored to make the selection of suitable colors less difficult by
means of a few general rules founded upon the laws of harmony and
contrast of colors. In the present essay, we propose to offer some
general observations on form in dress. The subject is, however, both
difficult and complicated, and as it is easier to condemn than to
improve or perfect, we shall more frequently indicate what fashions
should not be adopted, than recommend others to the patronage of our
readers.

The immediate objects of dress are twofold--namely, decency and
warmth; but so many minor considerations are suffered to influence us
in choosing our habiliments, that these primary objects are too
frequently kept out of sight. Dress should be not only adapted to the
climate, it should also be light in weight, should yield to the
movements of the body, and should be easily put on or removed. It
should also be adapted to the station in society, and to the age, of
the individual. These are the essential conditions; yet in practice
how frequently are they overlooked; in fact, how seldom are they
observed! Next in importance are general elegance of form, harmony in
the arrangement and selection of the colors, and special adaptation in
form and color to the person of the individual. To these objects we
purpose directing the attention of the reader.

It is impossible, within the limits we have prescribed ourselves, to
enter into the subject of dress minutely; we can only deal with it
generally, and lay down certain broad principles for our guidance. If
these are observed, there is still a wide margin left for fancy and
fashion. These may find scope in trimmings and embroidery; the
application of which, however, must also be regulated by good taste
and knowledge. The physical variety in the human race is infinite; so
are the gradations and combinations of color; yet we expect a few
forms of dress to suit every age and complexion! Instead of the
beautiful, the graceful, and the becoming, what are the attractions
offered by the dress makers? What are the terms used to invite the
notice of customers? Novelty and distinction. The shops are "Magasins
de Nouveautés," the goods are "distingués," "recherchés," "nouveaux,"
"the last fashion." The new fashions are exhibited on the elegant
person of one of the dress maker's assistants, who is selected for
this purpose, and are adopted by the purchaser without reflecting how
much of the attraction of the dress is to be ascribed to the fine
figure of the wearer, how much to the beauty of the dress, or whether
it will look equally well on herself. So the fashion is set, and then
it is followed by others, until at last it becomes singular not to
adopt some modification of it, although the extreme may be avoided.
The best dressers are generally those who follow the fashions at a
great distance.

Fashion is the only tyrant against whom modern civilization has not
carried on a crusade, and its power is still as unlimited and despotic
as it ever was. From its dictates there is no appeal; health and
decency are alike offered up at the shrine of this Moloch. At its
command its votaries melt under fur boas in the dog days, and freeze
with bare necks and arms, in lace dresses and satin shoes, in January.
Then, such is its caprice, that no sooner does a fashion become
general, than, let its merits or beauties be ever so great, it is
changed for one which perhaps has nothing but its novelty to recommend
it. Like the bed of Procrustes, fashions are compelled to suit every
one. The same fashion is adopted by the tall and the short, the stout
and the slender, the old and the young, with what effect we have daily
opportunities of observing.

Yet, with all its vagaries, fashion is extremely aristocratic in its
tendencies. Every change emanates from the highest circles, who reject
it when it has descended to the vulgar. No new form of dress was ever
successful which did not originate among the aristocracy. From the
ladies of the court, the fashions descend through all the ranks of
society, until they at last die a natural death among the cast-off
clothes of the housemaid. Fig. 35.

Had the Bloomer costume, which has obtained so much notoriety, been
introduced by a tall and graceful scion of the aristocracy, either of
rank or talent, instead of being at first adopted by the middle ranks,
it might have met with better success. We have seen that Jenny Lind
could introduce a new fashion of wearing the hair, and a new form of
hat or bonnet, and Mme. Sontag a cap which bears her name. But it was
against all precedent to admit and follow a fashion, let its merits be
ever so great, that emanated from the stronghold of democracy. We are
content to adopt the greatest absurdities in dress when they are
brought from Paris, or recommended by a French name; but American
fashions have no chance of success in aristocratic England. It is
beginning at the wrong end.

The eccentricities of fashion are so great that they would appear
incredible if we had not ocular evidence of their prevalence in
the portraits which still exist. At one period we read of horned
head-dresses, which were so large and high, that it is said the doors
of the palace at Vincennes were obliged to be altered to admit Isabel
of Bavaria (queen of Charles VI. of France) and the ladies of her
suite. In the reign of Edward IV., the ladies' caps were three
quarters of an ell in height, and were covered by pieces of lawn
hanging down to the ground, or stretched over a frame till they
resembled the wings of a butterfly.[1] At another time the ladies'
heads were covered with gold nets, like those worn at the present day.
Then, again, the hair, stiffened with powder and pomatum, and
surmounted by flowers, feathers, and ribbons, was raised on the top
of the head like a tower. Such head-dresses were emphatically called
"_têtes_." (See chapter on Head-Dress.) Fig. 36. But to go back
no farther than the beginning of the present century, where Mr.
Fairholt's interesting work on British Costume terminates, what
changes have we to record! The first fashion we remember was that of
scanty clothing, when slender figures were so much admired, that many,
to whom nature had denied this qualification, left off the under
garments necessary for warmth, and fell victims to the colds and
consumptions induced by their adoption of this senseless practice. To
these succeeded waists so short that the girdles were placed almost
under the arms, and as the dresses were worn at that time indecently
low in the neck, the body of the dress was almost a myth. Fig. 39.

  [1] Mr. Planché has shown, in his "History of British Costume," that
  these head-dresses are the prototypes of those still worn by the
  women of Normandy.

About the same time, the sleeves were so short, and the skirts so
curtailed in length, that there was reason to fear that the whole
of the drapery might also become a myth. A partial reaction then
took place, and the skirts were lengthened without increasing the
width of the dresses, the consequence of which was felt in the
country, if not in the towns. Then woe to those who had to cross
a ditch or a stile! One of two things was inevitable; either the
unfortunate lady was thrown to the ground,--and in this case it
was no easy matter to rise again,--or her dress was split up. The
result depended entirely upon the strength of the materials of
which the dress was composed. The next variation, the _gigot_
sleeves, namely, were a positive deformity, inasmuch as they gave
an unnatural width to the shoulders--a defect which was further
increased by the large collars which fell over them, thus violating
one of the first principles of beauty in the female form, which
demands that this part of the body should be narrow; breadth of
shoulder being one of the distinguishing characteristics of the
stronger sex. We remember to have seen an engraving from a portrait,
by Lawrence, of the late Lady Blessington, in which the breadth of the
shoulders appeared to be at least three quarters of a yard. When a
person of low stature, wearing sleeves of this description, was
covered with one of the long cloaks, which were made wide at the
shoulders to admit the sleeves, and to which was appended a deep and
very full cape, the effect was ridiculous, and the outline of the
whole mass resembled that of a haycock with a head on the top.
Fig. 37. One absurdity generally leads to another; to balance the wide
shoulders, the bonnets and caps were made of enormous dimensions, and
were decorated with a profusion of ribbons and flowers. So absurd was
the whole combination, that, when we meet with a portrait of this
period, we can only look on it in the light of a caricature, and
wonder that such should ever have been so universal as to be adopted
at last by all who wished to avoid singularity. The transition from
the broad shoulders and gigot sleeves to the tight sleeves and
graceful black scarf was quite refreshing to a tasteful eye. These
were a few of the freaks of fashion during the last half century. Had
they been quite harmless, we might have considered them as merely
ridiculous; but some of them were positively indecent, and others
detrimental to health. We grieve especially for the former charge: it
is an anomaly for which, considering the modest habits and education
of our countrywomen, we find it difficult to account.

It is singular that the practice of wearing dresses cut low round the
bust should be limited to what is called full dress, and to the
higher, and, except in this instance, the more refined classes. Is it
to display a beautiful neck and shoulders? No; for in this case it
would be confined to those who had beautiful necks and shoulders to
display. Is it to obtain the admiration of the other sex? That cannot
be; for we believe that men look upon this exposure with unmitigated
distaste, and that they are inclined to doubt the modesty of those
young ladies who make so profuse a display of their charms. But if
objectionable in the young, whose youth and beauty might possibly be
deemed some extenuation, it is disgusting in those whose bloom is
past, whether their forms are developed with a ripe luxuriance which
makes the female figures of Rubens appear in comparison slender and
refined, or whether the yellow skin, stretched over the wiry sinews of
the neck, remind one of the old women whom some of the Italian masters
were accustomed to introduce into their pieces, to enhance, by
contrast, the beauty of the principal figures. Every period of life
has a style of dress peculiarly appropriate to it, and we maintain
that the uncovered bosom so conspicuous in the dissolute reign of
Charles II., and from which, indeed, the reign of Charles I. was not,
as we learn from the Vandyck portraits, exempt, should be limited,
even in its widest extension, to feminine youth, or rather childhood.

If the dress be cut low, the bust should be covered after the modest
and becoming fashion of the Italian women, whose highly picturesque
costume painters are so fond of representing. The white drapery has a
peculiarly good effect, placed as it is between the skin and
richly-colored bodice. As examples of this style of dress, we may
refer to Sir Charles Eastlake's "Pilgrims in Sight of Rome," "The
Grape Gatherer of Capri," by Lehmann, and "The Dancing Lesson," by
Mr. Uwins, all of which are engraved in the _Art Journal_. Another
hint may be borrowed from the Italian costume; we may just allude to
it _en passant_. If bodices fitting to the shape must be worn, they
should be laced across the front in the Italian fashion. Fig. 38. By
this contrivance the dress will suit the figure more perfectly, and as
the lace may be lengthened or shortened at pleasure, any degree of
tightness may be given, and the bodice may be accommodated to the
figure without compressing it. We find by the picture in the Louvre
called sometimes "Titian's Mistress" that this costume is at least as
old as Titian.

We have noticed the changes and transitions of fashion; we must
mention one point in which it has continued constant from the time of
William Rufus until the present day, and which, since it has entailed
years of suffering, and in many instances has caused death, demands
our most serious attention. We allude to the pernicious practice of
tight lacing, which, as appears from contemporary paintings, was as
general on the continent as in England.

The savage American Indian changes the shape of the soft and elastic
bones of the skull of his infant by compressing it between two boards;
the intelligent but prejudiced Chinese suffers the head to grow as
nature formed it, but confines the foot of the female to the size of
an infant's; while the highly-intellectual and well-informed European
lady limits the growth of her waist by the pressure of the stays. When
we consider the importance of the organs which suffer by these
customs, surely we must acknowledge that the last is the most
barbarous practice of the three.

We read in the history of France that the war-like Franks had such a
dislike to corpulency that they inflicted a fine upon all who could
not encircle their waists with a band of a certain length. How far
this extraordinary custom may have been influential in introducing the
predilection for small waists among the ladies of that country, as
well as our own through the Norman conquerors, we cannot determine.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the whole of the upper part of
the body, from the waist to the chin, was encased in a cuirass of
whalebone, the rigidity of which rendered easy and graceful movement
impossible. The portrait of Elizabeth by Zucchero, with its stiff
dress and enormous ruff, and which has been so frequently engraved,
must be in the memory of all our readers. Stiffness was indeed the
characteristic of ladies' dress at this period; the whalebone cuirass,
covered with the richest brocaded silks, was united at the waist with
the equally stiff vardingale or fardingale, which descended to the
feet in the form of a large bell, without a single fold.

There is a portrait in the possession of Mr. Seymour Fitzgerald of the
unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots, when quite young, in a dress of this
kind; and one cannot help pitying the poor girl's rigid confinement in
her stiff and uncomfortable dress. Fig. 41 represents Jeanne d'Albret,
the mother of Henry IV., in the fardingale.

  [Illustration: Pl. 3.

  Figure 39. Dress, with short waist and sleeves.
         41. Dress of the mother of Henry IV.
         40. Dress of Henrietta Maria.
         42. From the "Illustrated London News."
  ]

With Henrietta Maria dresses cut low in the front, (Fig. 40,) and
flowing draperies, as we find them in the Vandyck portraits, came
into fashion, but the figure still retained its stiffness around the
waist, and has continued to do so through all the gradations and
variations in shape and size of the hoop petticoat, and the scanty
draperies of a later period, until the present day.[2]

  [2] The fardingale differed from the hoop in the following
  particulars: The hoop petticoat was gathered round the waist, while
  the fardingale was without a fold of any description. The most
  extraordinary instances we remember to have seen of the fardingale,
  are in two or three pictures of the Virgin in the Spanish gallery in
  the Louvre, where the fardingale in which the Virgin is dressed
  takes the form of an enormous mitre.

If the proportions of the figure were generally understood, we should
not hear of those deplorable, and in many cases fatal, results of
tight lacing which have unfortunately been so numerous. So general has
the pernicious practice been in this country, that a medical friend,
who is professor of anatomy in a provincial academy, informed us that
there was great difficulty in procuring a model whose waist had not
been compressed by stays. That this is true of other localities
besides that alluded to, may be inferred from a passage in Mr. Hay's
lecture to the Society of Arts "On the Geometrical Principles of
Beauty," in which he mentions having, for the purpose of verifying his
theory, employed "an artist who, having studied the human figure at
the life academies on the continent, in London, and in Edinburgh, was
well acquainted with the subject," to make a careful drawing of the
best living model which could be procured for the purpose. Mr. Hay
observes, with reference to this otherwise fine figure, that "the
waist has evidently been compressed by the use of stays." In further
confirmation of the prevalence of this bad habit, we may refer to
Etty's pictures, in which this defect is but too apparent.

We fear, from Mr. Planché's extracts, that the evil was perpetuated by
the poets and romance writers of the Norman period; and we are sure
that the novelists of our own times have much to answer for on this
score. Had they not been forever praising "taper waists," tight lacing
would have shared the fate of other fashions, and have been banished
from all civilized society. Similar blame does not attach to the
painter and sculptor. The creations of their invention are modelled
upon the true principles of proportion and beauty, and in their works
a small waist and foot are always accompanied by a slender form. In
the mind of the poet and novelist the same associations may take
place: when a writer describes the slender waist or small foot, he
probably sees _mentally_ the whole slender figure. The small waist is
a _proportionate_ part of the figure of his creation. But there is
this difference between the painter and sculptor, and the novelist.
The works of the first two address themselves to the eye, and every
part of the form is present to the spectator; consequently, as regards
form, nothing is left to the imagination. With respect to the poet and
novelist, their creations are almost entirely mental ones; their
descriptions touch upon a few striking points only, and are seldom so
full as to fill up the entire form: much is, therefore, necessarily
left to the imagination of the reader. Now, the fashion in which the
reader will supply the details left undetermined by the poet and
novelist, and fill up their scanty and shadowy outlines, depends
entirely upon his knowledge of form; consequently, if this be small,
the images which arise in the mind of the reader from the perusal of
works of genius are confused and imperfect, and the proportions of one
class of forms are assigned to, or mingled with, those of others,
without the slightest regard to truth and nature. When we say,
therefore, that writers leave much to the imagination, it may too
frequently be understood, to the _ignorance_ of the reader; for the
imaginations of those acquainted with form and proportion, who
generally constitute the minority, always create well-proportioned
ideal forms; while the ideal productions of the uneducated, whether
expressed by the pencil, the chisel, or the pen, are always ill
proportioned and defective.

The most efficient method of putting an end to the practice of
tight lacing will be, not merely to point out its unhealthiness,
and even dangerous consequences, because these, though imminent, are
uncertain,--every lady who resorts to the practice hoping that she,
individually, may escape the penalty,--but to prove that the practice,
so far from adding to the beauty of the figure, actually deteriorates
it. This is an effect, not doubtful, like the former case, but an
actual and positive fact; and, therefore, it supplies a good and
sufficient reason, and one which the most obtuse intellect can
comprehend, for avoiding the practice. Young ladies will sometimes, it
is said, run the risk of ill health for the sake of the interest that
in some cases attaches to "delicate health;" but is there any one who
would like to be told that, by tight lacing, she makes her figure not
only deformed, but positively ugly? This, however, is the plain
unvarnished truth; and, by asserting it, we are striking at the root
of the evil. The remedy is easy: give to every young lady a general
knowledge of form, and of the principles of beauty as applied to the
human frame, and when these are better understood, and acted on, tight
lacing will die a natural death.

The study of form, on scientific principles, has hitherto been limited
entirely to men; and if some women have attained this knowledge, it
has been by their own unassisted efforts; that is to say, without the
advantages which men derive from lectures and academical studies. In
this, as in other acquirements, the pursuit of knowledge, as regards
women, is always attended with difficulties. While fully concurring in
the propriety of having separate schools for male and female students,
we do think that a knowledge of form may be communicated to all
persons, and that a young woman will not make the worse wife, or
mother, for understanding the economy of the human frame, and for
having acquired the power of appreciating its beauties. We fear that
there are still some persons whose minds are so contracted as to think
that, not only studies of this nature, but even the contemplation of
undraped statuary, are derogatory to the delicacy and purity of the
female mind; but we are satisfied that the thinking part of the
community will approve the course we recommend. Dr. Southwood Smith,
who is so honorably distinguished by his endeavors to promote the
sanatory condition of the people, strenuously advocates the necessity
of giving to all women a knowledge of the structure and functions of
the body, with a view to the proper discharge of their duties as
mothers. He remarks (Preface to "Philosophy of Health") on this
subject, "I look upon that notion of delicacy which would exclude
women from knowledge calculated in an extraordinary degree to open,
exalt, and purify their minds, and to fit them for the performance of
their duties, as alike degrading to those to whom it affects to show
respect, and debasing to the mind that entertains it."

At the present time, the knowledge of what constitutes true beauty of
form is, perhaps, best acquired by the contemplation of good pictures
and sculpture. This may not be in the power of every body; casts,
however, may be frequently obtained from the best statues; and many
of the finest works of painting are rendered familiar to us by
engravings. The _Art Journal_ has done much in diffusing a taste for
art, by the engravings it contains from statues, and from the fine
works of English art in the "Vernon Gallery." Engravings, however, can
of course represent a statue in one point of view only; but casts are
now so cheap as to be within the reach of all persons. Small models of
the "Greek Slave" are not unfrequently offered by the Italian image
venders for one shilling; and although these are not sharp enough to
draw from, the form is sufficiently correct to study the general
proportions of the figure; and as this figure is more upright than
statues usually are, it may be found exceedingly useful for the above
purpose. One of these casts, or, if possible, a sharper and better
cast of a female figure, should be found on the _toilette_ of every
young lady who is desirous of obtaining a knowledge of the proportions
and beauties of the figure.

We believe it will always be found that the beauty of a figure depends
not only upon the symmetry of the parts individually, but upon the
harmony and proportion of each part to the rest. The varieties of the
human form have been classed under the general heads of the broad, the
proportionate, and the slender.

The first betokens strength; and what beauty soever, of a peculiar
kind, it may display in the figure of the Hercules, it is not adapted
to set off the charms of the female sex. If, however, each individual
part bears a proportionate relation to the whole, the figure will not
be without its attraction. It is only when the proportions of two or
three of the classes are united in one individual, that the figure
becomes ungraceful and remarkable. The athletic--if the term may be
applied to females--form of the country girl would appear ridiculous
with the small waist, and the white and taper fingers, and small feet
of the individuals who come under the denomination of slender forms.
The tall and delicate figure would lose its beauty if united to the
large and broad hands which pertain to the stronger type. A small
waist and foot are as great a blemish to an individual of the broad
variety as a large waist and foot are to the slender. "There is a
harmony," says Dr. Wampen, "between all the parts in each kind of
form, but each integral is only suited to its own kind of form. True
beauty consists not only in the harmony of the elements, but in their
being suitable to the kind of form." Were this fundamental truth but
thoroughly understood, small waists and small feet would be at a
discount. When they are recognized _as small_, they have ceased to be
beautiful, because they are disproportionate. Where every part of a
figure is perfectly proportioned to the rest, no single parts appear
either large or small.

The ill effects of the stays in a sanatory point of view have been
frequently pointed out, and we hope are now understood. It will,
therefore, be unnecessary to enlarge on this head. We have asserted
that stays are detrimental to beauty of form; we shall now endeavor to
show in what particulars.

  [Illustration: Pl. 4.

  Figures 43, 44. From the plates of Sommaering, shows the waist of the
                    Venus of antiquity.
          45, 46. The waist of a modern lady, from the above.
              49. From the "London News."
              50. Woman of Mitylene.
              53. Algerine woman.
              54. The archon's wife.
  ]

The natural form of the part of the trunk which forms the waist is not
absolutely cylindrical, but is flattened considerably in front and
back, so that the breadth is much greater from side to side than
from front to back. This was undoubtedly contrived for wise purposes;
yet fashion, with its usual caprice, has interfered with nature, and
by promulgating the pernicious error that a rounded form of the waist
is more beautiful than the flattened form adopted by nature, has
endeavored to effect this change by means of the stays, which force
the lower ribs closer together, and so produce the desired form.
Nothing can be more ungraceful than the sudden diminution in the size
of the waist occasioned by the compression of the ribs, as compared
with the gently undulating line of nature; yet, we are sorry to say,
nothing is more common. A glance at the cuts, Figs. 43, 44, 45, 46,
from the work of Sommæring, will explain our meaning more clearly than
words. Fig. 43 represents the natural waist of the Venus of antiquity;
Fig. 45, that of a lady of the modern period. The diagrams 44 and 46
show the structure of the ribs of each.

It will be seen that, by the pressure of the stays, the arch formed by
the lower ribs is entirely closed, and the waist becomes four or five
inches smaller than it was intended by nature. Is it any wonder that
persons so deformed should have bad health, or that they should
produce unhealthy offspring? Is it any wonder that so many young
mothers should have to lament the loss of their first born? We have
frequently traced tight lacing in connection with this sad event, and
we cannot help looking upon it as cause and effect.

By way of further illustration, we refer our readers to some of the
numerous engravings from statues in the _Art Journal_, which, though
very beautiful, are not distinguished by small waists. We may mention,
as examples, Bailey's "Graces;" Marshall's "Dancing Girl Reposing;"
"The Toilet," by Wickman; "The Bavaria," by Schwanthaler; and "The
Psyche," by Theed.

There is another effect produced by tight lacing, which is too
ungraceful in its results to be overlooked, namely, that a pressure on
one part is frequently, from the elasticity of the figure, compensated
by an enlargement in another part. It has been frequently urged by
inconsiderate persons, that, where there is a tendency to corpulency,
stays are necessary to limit exuberant growth, and confine the form
within the limits of gentility. We believe that this is entirely a
mistake, and that, if the waist be compressed, greater fulness will be
perceptible both above and below, just as, when one ties a string
tight round the middle of a pillow, it is rendered fuller at each end.
With reference to the waist, as to every thing else, the _juste
milieu_ is literally the thing to be desired.

It has been already observed, that a small waist is beautiful only
when it is accompanied by a slender and small figure; but, as the part
of the trunk, immediately beneath the arms, is filled with powerful
muscles, these, when developed by exercise, impart a breadth to this
part of the figure which, by comparison, causes the waist to appear
small. A familiar example of this, in the male figure, presents itself
in the Hercules, the waist of which appears disproportionately small;
yet it is really of the normal size, its apparent smallness being
occasioned by the prodigious development of the muscles of the upper
part of the body.

The true way of diminishing the apparent size of the waist, is, as we
have remarked above, by increasing the power of the muscles of the
upper part of the frame. This can only be done by exercise; and as
the habits of society, as now constituted, preclude the employment
of young ladies in household duties, they are obliged to find a
substitute for this healthy exertion in calisthenics. There was a time
when even the queens of Spain did not disdain to employ their royal
hands in making sausages; and to such perfection was this culinary
accomplishment carried at one period, that it is upon record that the
Emperor Charles V., after his retirement from the cares and dignities
of the empire, longed for sausages "of the kind which Queen Juaña, now
in glory, used to pride herself in making in the Flemish fashion."
(See Mr. Stirling's "Cloister Life of Charles V.") This is really like
going back to the old times, when--

    "The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts."

In England, some fifty years ago, the young ladies of the ancient city
of Norwich were not considered to have completed their education,
until they had spent some months under the tuition of the first
confectioner in the city, in learning to make cakes and pastry--an art
which they afterwards continued when they possessed houses of their
own. This wholesome discipline of beating eggs and whipping creams,
kneading biscuits and gingerbread, was calculated to preserve their
health, and afford sufficient exercise to the muscles of the arms and
shoulders, without having recourse to artificial modes of exertion.

It does not appear that the ancients set the same value upon a small
waist as the moderns; for, in their draped female figures, the whole
circuit of the waist is seldom visible, some folds of the drapery
being suffered to fall over a part, thus leaving its exact extent to
the imagination. The same remark is applicable to the great Italian
painters, who seldom marked the whole contour of the waist, unless
when painting portraits, in which case the costume was of course
observed.

It was not so, however, with the shoulders, the true width of which
was always seen; and how voluminous soever the folds of the drapery
around the body, it was never arranged so as to add to the width of
the shoulders. Narrow shoulders and broad hips are esteemed beauties
in the female figure, while in the male figure the broad shoulders and
narrow hips are most admired.

  [Illustration: Pl. 5.

  Figure 47. Athenian peasant.
         48. Shepherdess of Arcadia.
         51. Athenian woman.
         52. French costume of the tenth century.
         62. Lady of the time of Henry V.
  ]

The costume of the modern Greeks is frequently very graceful, (Fig. 47,
peasant from the environs of Athens,) and it adapts itself well
to the figure, the movements of which it does not restrain. The
prevailing characteristics of the costume are a long robe, reaching to
the ground, with full sleeves, very wide at the bands. This dress is
frequently embroidered with a graceful pattern round the skirt and
sleeves. Over it is worn a pelisse, which reaches only to the knees,
and is open in front; either without any sleeves, or with tight ones,
finishing at the elbows; beneath which are seen the full sleeves of
the long robe. The drapery over the bust is full, and is sometimes
confined at the waist by a belt; at others it is suffered to hang
loosely until it meets the broad, sash-like girdle which encircles the
hips, and which hangs so loosely that the hands are rested in its
folds as in a pocket.

The drapery generally terminates at the throat, under a necklace of
coins or jewels. The most usual form of head-dress is a veil so
voluminous as to cover the head and shoulders; one end of the veil is
frequently thrown over the shoulder, or gathered into a knot behind.
The shoes, apparently worn only for walking, consist generally of a
very thick sole, with a cap over the toes.

One glance at the graceful figures in the plates is sufficient to
show how unnecessary stays are to the beauty of the figure. Fig. 48,
Shepherdess of Arcadia.

The modern Greek costumes which we have selected for our
illustrations, from the beautiful work of M. de Stackelberg,
("Costumes et Peuples de la Grèce Moderne," published at Rome,
1825,) suggest several points for consideration, and some for our
imitation. The dress is long and flowing, and high in the neck. It
does not add to the width of the shoulders; it conceals the exact
size of the waist by the loose pelisse, which is open in front; it
falls in a graceful and flowing line from the arm-pits, narrowing
a little at the waist, and spreading gently over the hips, when
the skirt falls by its own weight into large folds, instead of
curving suddenly from an unnaturally small waist over a hideous
bustle, and increasing in size downward to the hem of the dress,
like a bell, as in the present English costume.

Figs. 42 and 49 are selected from the "Illustrated London News."
(Volume for 1851, July to December, pp. 20 and 117.) The one
represents out-door costume, the other in-door. Many such are
scattered through the pages of our amusing and valuable contemporary.
For the out-door costume we beg to refer our readers to the large
woodcut in the same volume, (pp. 424, 425.) If a traveller from a
distant country, unacquainted with the English and French fashions,
were to contemplate this cut, he would be puzzled to account for the
remarkable shape of the ladies, who all, more or less, resemble the
figure we have selected for our illustration; and, if he is any thing
of a naturalist, he will set them down in his own mind as belonging to
a new species of the genus _homo_. Looking at this and other prints of
the day, we should think that the artists intended to convey a satire
on the ladies' dress, if we did not frequently meet with such figures
in real life.

The lady in the evening dress (Fig. 49) is from a large woodcut in the
same journal representing a ball. This costume, with much pretension
to elegance, exhibits most of the faults of the modern style of dress.
It combines the indecently low dress, with the pinched waist, and the
hoop petticoat. In the figure of the woman of Mitylene, (Fig. 50,) the
true form and width of the shoulders are apparent, and the form of the
bust is indicated, but not exposed, through the loosely fitting
drapery which covers it. In the figure of the Athenian peasant,
(Fig. 47,). the loose drapery over the bust is confined at the waist
by a broad band, while the hips are encircled by the sash-like girdle
in which the figure rests her hands. The skirt of the pelisse appears
double, and the short sleeve, embroidered at the edge, shows the full
sleeve of the under drapery, also richly embroidered. In the second
figure from the environs of Athens, (Fig. 51,) we observe that the
skirt of the pelisse, instead of being set on in gathers or plaits, as
our dresses are, is "gored," or sloped away at the top, where it
unites almost imperceptibly with the body, giving rise to undulating
lines, instead of sudden transitions and curves. In the cut of the
Arcadian peasant, (Fig. 48,) the pelisse is shortened almost to a
spencer, or _côte hardie_, and it wants the graceful flow of the
longer skirt, for which the closely fitting embroidered apron is no
compensation. This figure is useful in showing that tight bodies may
be fitted to the figure without stays. The heavy rolled girdle on the
hips is no improvement. The dress of the Algerine woman, (Fig. 53,)
copied from the "Illustrated London News," bears a strong resemblance
to the Greek costume, and is very graceful. It is not deformed either
by the pinched waist or the stays. In the tenth century, the French
costume (Fig. 52) somewhat resembled that of the modern Greeks; the
former, however, had not the short pelisse, but, in its place, the
ladies wore a long veil, which covered the head, and reached nearly to
the feet.

The Greek and Oriental costume has always been a favorite with
painters: the "Vernon Gallery" furnishes us with two illustrations;
and the excellent engravings of these subjects in the _Art Journal_
enable us to compare the costumes of the two figures while at a
distance from the originals. The graceful figure of "The Greek Girl,"
(engraved in the _Art Journal_ for 1850,) painted by Sir Charles
Eastlake, is not compressed by stays, but is easy and natural. The
white under-drapery is confined at the waist, which is short, by a
broad girdle, which appears to encircle it more than once, and adds to
the apparent length of the waist; the open jacket, without a collar,
falls gracefully from the shoulders, and conceals the limits of the
waist; every thing is easy, natural, and graceful. M. De Stackelberg's
beautiful figure of the "Archon's Wife" (Fig. 54) shows the district
whence Sir C. Eastlake drew his model. There is the same flowing
hair,--from which hang carnations, as in the picture in the "Vernon
Gallery,"--the same cap, the same necklace. But in the baron's figure,
we find the waist encircled with a broad band, six or seven inches in
width, while the lady rests her hand on the sash-like girdle, which
falls round the hips.

Turn we now to Pickersgill's "Syrian Maid," (engraved in the _Art
Journal_ for 1850:) here, we see, the artist has taken a painter's
license, and represented the fair Oriental in stays, which, we
believe, are happily unknown in the East. How stiff and constrained
does this figure appear, after looking at Sir C. Eastlake's beautiful
"Greek Girl;" how unnatural the form of the chest! The limits of the
waist are not visible, it is true, in the "Syrian Maid," but the
shadow is so arranged, that the rounded form, to which we have before
alluded, and which fashion deems necessary, is plainly perceptible;
and an impression is made that the waist is small and pinched.

We could mention some cases in which the girdle is omitted altogether,
without any detriment to the gracefulness of the figure. Such dresses,
however, though illustrative of the principle, are not adapted to the
costume of real life. In sculpture, however, they frequently occur.
We may mention Gibson's statue of her majesty, the female figure
in M'Dougall's "Triumph of Love," and "Penelope," by Wyatt, which
are engraved in the _Art Journal_, (the first in the year 1846, the
others in 1849.) But the drapery of statues can, however, scarcely
be taken as a precedent for that of the living subject, and although
we mention that the girdle is sometimes dispensed with, we are far
from advocating this in practice; nay, we consider the sash or girdle
is indispensable; all that we stipulate for is, that it should not be
so tight as to compress the figure, or impede circulation.

In concluding our remarks on this subject, we would observe, that the
best means of improving the figure are to secure freedom of motion by
the use of light and roomy clothing, and to strengthen the muscles by
exercise. We may also observe, that singing is not only beneficial to
the lungs, but that it strengthens the muscles, and increases the size
of the chest, and, consequently, makes the waist appear smaller.
Singing, and other suitable exercises in which both arms are used
equally, will improve the figure more than all the backboards in the
world.



CHAPTER III.

THE HEAD.


There is no part of the body which has been more exposed to the
vicissitudes of fashion than the head, both as regards its natural
covering of hair, and the artificial covering of caps and bonnets. At
one time, we read of sprinkling the hair with gold dust; at another
time, the bright brown hair, of the color of the horse-chestnut, so
common in Italian pictures, was the fashion. This color, as well as
that beautiful light golden tint sometimes seen in Italian pictures
of the same period, was frequently the result of art, and receipts
for producing both tints are still to be found in old books of
"_secreti_." Both these were in their turn discarded, and after a
time the real color of the hair was lost in powder and pomatum. The
improving taste of the present generation is, perhaps, nowhere more
conspicuous than in permitting us to preserve the natural color of
the hair, and to wear our own, whether it be black, brown, or gray.
There is also a marked improvement in the more natural way in which
the hair has been arranged during the last thirty years. We allude,
particularly, to its being suffered to retain the direction intended
by nature, instead of being combed upright, and turned over a cushion
a foot or two in height.

These head-dresses, emphatically called, from their French origin,
_têtes_, were built or plastered up only once a month: it is easy to
imagine what a state they must have been in during the latter part
of the time. Madame D'Oberkirch gives, in her Memoirs, an amusing
description of a novel head-dress of this kind. We transcribe it for
the amusement of our readers.

"This blessed 6th of June she awakened me at the earliest dawn. I
was to get my hair dressed, and make a grand _toilette_, in order
to go to Versailles, whither the queen had invited the Countess du
Nord, for whose amusement a comedy was to be performed. These Court
_toilettes_ are never-ending, and this road from Paris to Versailles
very fatiguing, especially where one is in continual fear of rumpling
her petticoats and flounces. I tried that day, for the first time, a
new fashion--one, too, which was not a little _gênante_. I wore in my
hair little flat bottles, shaped to the curvature of the head; into
these a little water was poured, for the purpose of preserving the
freshness of the natural flowers worn in the hair, and of which the
stems were immersed in the liquid. This did not always succeed, but
when it did, the effect was charming. _Nothing could be more lovely
than the floral wreath crowning the snowy pyramid of powdered hair!_"
Few of our readers, we reckon, are inclined to participate in the
admiration of the baroness, so fancifully expressed, for this singular
head-dress.

We do not presume to enter into the question whether short curls are
more becoming than long ones, or whether bands are preferable to curls
of any kind; because, as the hair of some persons curls naturally,
while that of others is quite straight, we consider that this is one
of the points which must be decided accordingly as one style or the
other is found to be most suitable to the individual. The principle in
the arrangement of the hair round the forehead should be to preserve
or assist the oval form of the face: as this differs in different
individuals, the treatment should be adapted accordingly.

The arrangement of the long hair at the back of the head is a matter
of taste; as it interferes but little with the countenance, it may be
referred to the dictates of fashion; although in this, as in every
thing else, simplicity in the arrangement, and grace in the direction
of the lines, are the chief points to be considered. One of the most
elegant head-dresses we remember to have seen, is that worn by the
peasants of the Milanese and Ticinese. They have almost uniformly
glossy, black hair, which is carried round the back of the head in a
wide braid, in which are placed, at regular intervals, long silver
pins, with large heads, which produce the effect of a coronet, and
contrast well with the dark color of the hair.

  [Illustration: Pl. 6.

  Figure 55. After Parmegiano.
         56. Titian's daughter.
         57. Lady Harrington.
         59. Roman peasant.
         61. Gigot sleeves.
  ]

The examples afforded by modern sculpture are not very instructive,
inasmuch as the features selected by the sculptors are almost
exclusively Greek, whereas the variety in nature is infinite. With the
Greek features has also been adopted the antique style of arranging
the hair, which is beautifully simple; that is to say, it is parted in
the front, and falling down towards each temple, while the long ends
rolled lightly back from the face so as to show the line which
separates the hair from the forehead, or rather where it seems, as it
were, to blend with the flesh tints--an arrangement which assists in
preserving the oval contour of the face, are passed over the top of
the ear, and looped into the fillet which binds the head. The very
becoming arrangement of the hair in the engraving, from a portrait by
Parmegianino, (Fig. 55,) is an adaptation of the antique style, and is
remarkable for its simplicity and grace. Not less graceful, although
more ornamental, is the arrangement of the hair in the beautiful
figure called "Titian's Daughter." Fig. 56. In both these instances,
we observe the line--if line it may be called--where the color of the
hair blends so harmoniously with the delicate tints of the forehead.
The same arrangement of the hair round the face may be traced in the
pictures by Murillo, and other great masters.

Sir Joshua Reynolds has frequently evinced consummate skill in the
arrangement of the hair, so as to show the line which divides it from
the forehead. For some interesting remarks on this subject, we refer
our readers to an "Essay on Dress," republished by Mr. Murray from the
"Quarterly Review." Nothing can be more graceful than Sir Joshua's
mode of disposing of the hair when he was able to follow the dictates
of his own good taste; and he deserves great credit for the skill with
which he frequently treated the enormous head-dresses which in his
time disfigured the heads of our countrywomen. The charming figure
of Lady Harrington (Fig. 57) would have been perfect without the
superstructure on her beautiful head. How stiff is the head-dress of
the next figure, (Fig. 58,) also, after Sir Joshua, when compared with
the preceding.

The graceful Spanish mantilla, to which we can only allude, is too
elegant to be overlooked: the modification of it, which of late years
has been introduced into this country, is to be considered rather as
an ornament than as a head-covering. It has been recently superseded
by the long bows of ribbon worn at the back of the head--a costume
borrowed from the Roman peasants. Fig. 59. The fashion for young
people to cover the hair with a silken net, which, some centuries ago,
was prevalent both in England and in France, has been again revived.
Some of the more recent of these nets are very elegant in form.

The hats and bonnets have, during the last few years, been so moderate
in size, and generally so graceful in form, that we will not criticize
them more particularly. It will be sufficient to observe that, let the
brim be what shape it will, the crown should be nearly of the form
and size of the head. If this principle were always kept in view, as
it should be, we should never again see the monster hats and bonnets
which, some years ago, and even in the memory of persons now living,
caricatured the lovely forms of our countrywomen.



CHAPTER IV.

THE DRESS.


We shall consider the dress, by which we mean, simply, the upper
garment worn within doors, as consisting of three parts--the sleeve,
the body, and the skirt.

The sleeve has changed its form as frequently as any part of our
habiliments: sometimes it reached to the wrist, sometimes to a short
distance below the shoulder. Sometimes it was tight to the arm;
sometimes it fell in voluminous folds to the hands; now it was widest
at the top, then widest at the bottom. To large sleeves themselves
there is no objection, in a pictorial point of view, provided that
their point of junction with the shoulder is so conspicuous that they
do not add to the apparent width of the body in this part. The lines
of the sleeves should be flowing; and they are much more graceful when
they are widest in the lower part, especially when so open as to
display to advantage the beautiful form of the wrist and fore-arm. In
this way, they partake of the pyramid, while the inelegant gigot
sleeve, which for so long a period enjoyed the favor of the ladies,
presents the form of a cone reverted, and is obviously out of place in
the human figure. When the large sleeve, supported by canes or
whalebones, forms a continuous line with the shoulder, it gives
an unnatural width to this part of the figure--an effect that is
increased by the large collar which conceals the point where the
sleeve meets the dress. Examples of the large, open sleeve, in its
extreme character, may be studied with most advantage in the portraits
of Vandyck. Fig. 60, Lady Lucy Percy, after Vandyck. The effect of
these sleeves is frequently improved by their being lined with a
different color, and sometimes by contrasting the rich silk of the
outer sleeve with the thin gauze or lace which forms the immediate
covering of the arm. The figures in the plates will show the
comparative gracefulness of two kinds of large sleeves, namely,
that which is widest at the top, and that which is widest below.
If the outline of the central figure of our more modern group,
(Fig. 61,)--consisting of three figures, which is copied from a French
work,--were filled up with black, a person ignorant of the fashion
might, from the great width of the shoulders, have mistaken it for the
Farnese Hercules in petticoats.

The large sleeves, tight in the upper part, and enlarging gradually to
the wrist, which are worn by the modern Greeks, are extremely
graceful. When these are confined below the elbow, which is sometimes
done for convenience, they resemble somewhat the elbow sleeves with
wide ruffles which were so common in the time of Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Sleeves like those now worn in Greece were fashionable in France in
the tenth century, and again about the beginning of the sixteenth
century. They were also worn by Jeanne d'Albret, the mother of Henry
IV., and are seen in Fig. 41.

A very elegant sleeve, fitting nearly close at the shoulder, and
becoming very full and long till it falls in graceful folds almost
to the feet, prevailed in England during the time of Henry V. and
VI. Fig. 62, copied from a manuscript of the time of Henry V., now
preserved in the British Museum. On the authority of Professor
Heideloff, it is said to have existed also in Flanders in the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and in France in the fifteenth
century. In the examples of continental costume, the _tout ensemble_
is graceful, and especially the head-dress; while in England the
elegant sleeve is accompanied with very short waists, and with the
hideous, horned head-dresses then fashionable. The effect of these
sleeves much resembles that of the mantles of the present day, and
from its wide flow is only adapted for full dress, or out-of-door
costume. The sleeves worn under these full ones were generally tight.
At a much later period, the large sleeves were made of more moderate
dimensions, both in length and width, and a full sleeve of fine lawn
or muslin, fastened at the wrist with a band, and edged with a lace
ruffle, was worn beneath. This kind of sleeve has recently been again
introduced into England, but has given place to another form, in which
the under sleeve of lace or muslin, being of the same size as the
upper, suffers the lower part of the arm to be visible. The effect of
this sleeve, which is certainly becoming to a finely-formed arm, is
analogous to that of the elbow sleeve, which, with its deep ruffles of
point lace, is frequent on the portraits of Sir Joshua Reynolds.

  [Illustration: Pl. 7.

  Figure 63. From Bonnard's Costumes.
         64. Sancta Victoria.
         65. Anne, Countess of Chesterfield, from Vandyck.
         67. Woman of Markinitza.
  ]

The slashed sleeve, criticized by Shakspeare in the "Taming of the
Shrew," was sometimes very elegant. The form in which it appears in
Fig. 63, worn in the fifteenth century, is particularly graceful. Not
so, however, the lower part of the sleeve.

In the preceding remarks, we have considered the sleeve merely in a
picturesque point of view, without reference to its convenience or
inconvenience.

The length of the waist has always been a matter of caprice. Sometimes
the girdle was placed nearly under the arms; sometimes it passed
to the opposite extreme, and was suffered to fall upon the hips.
Sometimes it was drawn tightly round the middle, when it seemed to cut
the body almost in two, like an hourglass. Judging from what we see,
we should say that this is a feat which many ladies of the present
time are endeavoring to achieve. The first and third cases are almost
equally objectionable, because they distort the figure. The hip
girdle, which is common in Greece (as shown in Figs. 48 and 53)
and Oriental countries, prevailed also in England and France some
centuries ago. The miniatures of old manuscripts furnish us with
examples of long-waisted dresses fitting closely to the person,
sometimes stiffened like the modern stays, at others yielding to the
figure. The waist of this kind of dress reached to the hips, where it
was joined to the full petticoat, which was gathered round the top--an
extremely ungraceful fashion. The hip girdle, properly used, is,
however, by no means inelegant. It is not at all necessary that it
should coincide with the waist of the dress; it should be merely
looped or clasped loosely round the figure, and suffered to fall to
its place by its own weight. But to enable it to do so in a graceful
manner, it is essential that the skirt of the dress should be so
united with the body as to produce no harsh lines of separation, or
sudden changes of curvature; as, for example, when the skirt is set on
in full plaits, or gathers, and spread over a hoop. We have before
noticed, that this point was attended to by Rubens, (Fig. 66,) by
Vandyck, (Fig. 65,) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and by the modern Greeks.
We refer also to the elegant figure 64. The most natural situation for
the girdle, or point of junction of the body with the skirt, is
somewhere between the end of the breast bone and the last rib, as seen
in front--a space of about three or four inches. Fashion may dictate
the exact spot, but within this space it cannot be positively wrong.
The effect is good when the whole space is filled with a wide sash
folded round the waist, as in Sir C. Eastlake's "Greek Girl," or some
of the graceful portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds. How much more
elegant is a sash of this description than the stiff line which
characterizes the upper part of the dress of "Sancta Victoria."
(Fig. 64.) The whalebone, or busk, is absolutely necessary to keep the
dress in its proper place. The resemblance in form between the body of
the dress of this figure and those now or recently in fashion cannot
fail to arrest the attention of the reader. Stiff, though, as it
undoubtedly is, the whole dress is superior to the modern in the
general flow of the lines uniting the body and skirt. Long skirts are
more graceful than short ones, and a train of moderate length adds to
the elegance of a dress, but not to its convenience. Long dresses,
also, add to the apparent height of a figure, and for this reason they
are well adapted to short persons. For the same reason, waists of
moderate length are more generally becoming than those that are very
long, because the latter, by shortening the skirt of the dress,
diminish the apparent height.

Besides the variation in length, the skirts of dresses have passed
through every gradation of fulness. At one time, it was the fashion
to slope gradually from the waist, without gathers or plaits; then a
little fulness was admitted at the back; then a little at the front,
also. The next step was to carry the fulness all round the waist. In
the graceful costume of the time of Vandyck, and even in the more
stiff and formal dress delineated in the pictures of Rubens, the skirt
was united to the body by large, flat plaits, when the fulness
expanded gradually and gracefully, and the rich material of the dress
spread in well-arranged folds to the feet. The lines were gently
undulating and graceful, and that unnatural and clumsy contrivance
called a "bustle"--a near relation of the hoop and fardingale--was at
that time happily unknown. This principle of uniting the skirt
gradually with the body of the dress is carried out to the fullest
extent by the modern Greeks. In the figure of the peasant from the
neighborhood of Athens, (Fig. 47,) the pelisse is made without gathers
or plaits: the skirt, which hangs full round the knees, is "gored" or
sloped away till it fits the body at the waist. The long underskirt
is, as we find from the figure of the woman of Makrinitza, (Fig. 67,)
gathered several times, so as to lie flat to the figure, instead of
being spread over the inelegant "bustle." It is only necessary to
compare these graceful figures, in which due regard has been paid to
the undulating lines of the figure, with a fashionable lady of the
present day, whose "polka jacket," or whatever may be the name of this
article of dress, is cut with violent and deep curves, to enable it to
spread itself over the bustle and prominent folds of the dress.

  [Illustration: Pl. 8.

  Figure 60. Lady Lucy Percy, from Vandyck.
     69, 70. By Jules David, in "Le Moniteur de la Mode."
         68. The hoop, after Hogarth.
  ]

Not satisfied with the bustle in the upper part of the skirt, some
ladies of the present day have returned to the old practice of wearing
hoops, to make the dresses stand out at the base. These are easily
recognized in the street by the "swagging"--no other term will exactly
convey the idea--from side to side of the hoops, an effect which is
distinctly visible as the wearer walks along. It is difficult to
imagine what there is so attractive in the fardingale and hoop,
that they should have prevailed, in some form or other, for so many
years, and that they should have maintained their ground in spite of
the cutting, though playful, raillery of the "Spectator," and the
jeers and caricatures of less refined censors of the eccentricities
of dress. They were not recommended either by beauty of line or
convenience, but by the tyrant Fashion, and we owe some gratitude to
George IV., who banished the last relics of this singular fashion from
the court dress, of which, until his time, it continued to form a
part. Who could imagine that there would be an attempt to revive the
hoop petticoat in the nineteenth century? We invite our readers to
contrast the lines of the drapery in the figures after Vandyck,
(Figs. 60 and 61,) and those in the modern Greek costume, (Figs. 51
and 54,) with that of a lady in a hoop, after a satirical painter,
Hogarth, (Fig. 68,) and two figures from a design by Jules David, in
"Le Moniteur de la Mode," a modern fashionable authority in dress.
(Figs. 69 and 70.) There can be no doubt which is the most graceful.
The width of the shoulders and the tight waist of the latter, will not
escape the notice of our readers.



CHAPTER V.

THE FEET.


The same bad taste which insists upon a small waist, let the height
and proportions of the figure be what they will, decrees that a small
foot is essential to beauty.

Size is considered of more importance than form; and justly so if it
is a _sine qua non_ that the foot must be small, because the efforts
that are made to diminish its size generally render it deformed. We
have before mentioned that to endeavor to diminish the size of the
human body in a particular part, is like tying a string round the
middle of a pillow; it only makes it larger at the extremities. It
is so with the waist, it is so with the foot. If it be crippled in
length, or in width across the toes, it spreads over the instep and
sides. The Italians and other nations of the south of Europe have
smaller hands and feet than the Anglo-Saxons; and as this fact is
generally known, it is astonishing that people of sense should persist
in crippling themselves merely for the reputation of having small
feet. Here again we have to complain of poets and romance writers;
ladies would not have pinched their feet into small shoes, if these
worthies had not sung the praises of "tiny feet."

    "Her feet, beneath her petticoat,
    Like little mice, stole in and out,
    As if they feared the light."

Nor are painters--portrait painters, we mean, and living ones too--it
is needless however, to mention names--entirely free from blame for
thus ministering to vanity and false taste. They have sacrificed truth
to fashion in painting the feet smaller than they could possibly be in
nature.

But it is not only with the endeavor to cripple their dimensions that
we are inclined to quarrel. We object _in toto_ to the shape of the
shoe, which bears but little resemblance to that of the foot. We have
heard persons say that they could never see any beauty in a foot. No
wonder, when they saw none but those that were deformed by corns and
bunions. How unlike is such a foot to the beautiful little--for little
it really is in this case--fat foot of a child, before its beauty has
been spoiled by shoes, or even to those of the barefooted children one
sees so frequently in the street. Were it not for these opportunities
of seeing nature we, in this country, should have but little idea of
the true shape of the human foot, except what we learn from statues.
According to a recent traveller, we must go to Egypt to see beautiful
feet. It is impossible, he says, to see any thing more exquisite than
the feet and hands of the female peasants. The same beauty is
conspicuous in the Hindoo women.

Let us compare now the shape of the foot with that of the sole of a
shoe. When the foot is placed on the ground, the toes spread out, the
great toe is in a straight line with the inner side of the foot, and
there is an opening between this and the second toe. The ancients
availed themselves of this opening to pass through it one of the
straps that suspended the sandal.

The moderns on the contrary press the toes closely together, in order
to confine them within the limits of the shoe; the consequence is,
that the end of the great toe is pressed towards the others, and out
of the straight line, the joint becomes enlarged, and thus the
foundation is laid for a bunion; while the toes, forced one upon
another, become distorted and covered with corns.

One of the consequences of this imprisonment of our toes is, that,
from being squeezed so closely together, they become useless. Let any
one try the experiment of walking barefooted across the room, and
while so doing look at the foot. The toes, when unfettered by the
shoes, spread out and divide from one another, and the body rests on a
wider and firmer base. We begin to find we have some movement in our
toes; yet, how feeble is their muscular power, compared with that of
persons who are unaccustomed to the use of shoes!

The Hindoo uses his toes in weaving; the Australian savage is as
handy (if the term can be applied to feet) with this member, as
another man is with his hands; it is the unsuspected instrument with
which he executes his thefts. The country boy, who runs over the roof
of a house like a cat, takes off his shoes before he attempts the
hazardous experiment; he has a surer hold with his foot on the smooth
slates and sloping roof. The exercise of the muscles of the foot has
the effect of increasing the power of those of the calf of the leg;
and the thinner the sole, and the more pliant the materials of which
the shoe is made, the more the power is developed.

Dancing masters, who habitually wear thin shoes, have the muscles of
the leg well developed, while ploughmen, who wear shoes with soles an
inch thick, have very little calf to their leg. The French sabot is,
we consider, better than the closely fitting shoe of our country
people; because it is so large, that it requires some muscular
exertion to keep it in its place. We have frequently seen French boys
running in sabots, the foot rising at every step almost out of the
unyielding wooden shoe. Wooden clogs and pattens are as bad as the
thick shoes of the country people. When clogs are necessary, the sole
should be made of materials which will yield to the motion of the
foot. The American Indian's moccasins are a much better covering for
the foot than our shoes.

If thick soles are objectionable by impeding the free movement of the
limb, what shall we say to the high heel which was once so popular,
and which threatens again to come into fashion? It is to be hoped,
however, when the effects of wearing high heels are duly considered,
that this pernicious custom will not make progress. It is well for
their poor unfortunate votaries, that the introduction of certain
fashions is gradual; that both mind and body--perhaps we should be
more correct in saying the person of the wearer and the eye of the
spectator--are, step by step, prepared for the extreme point which
certain fashions attain; they have their rise, their culminating
point, and their decline. The attempt to exchange the short waists,
worn some thirty or forty years ago, for the very long waists seen
during the past year, would have been unsuccessful; the transition
would have been too great--too violent; the change was effected, but
it was the work of many years. The same thing took place with regard
to the high head-dresses which were so deservedly ridiculed by
Addison, and in an equally marked degree with respect to high heels.
The shoes in the cut, after Gainsborough, (Fig. 71,) are fair
specimens of what were in fashion in his time. Let the reader compare
the line of the sole with that of the human foot placed, as nature
intended it, flat on the ground. The heel was in some cases four and a
half inches high; the line, therefore, must have been in this case, a
highly inclined plane, undulating in its surface, like the "line of
beauty" of Hogarth. The position of the foot is that of a dancer
resting on the toes, excepting that the heel is supported, and the
strain over the instep and contraction of the muscles of the back of
the leg and heel must be considerable; so much so we are told, that
the contraction of the latter becomes habitual; consequently, those
persons who have accustomed themselves to the use of high heels, are
never afterwards able to do without them. It is said that "pride never
feels pain;" we should think the proverb was made for those who wear
high heels, for we are told, although we cannot speak from personal
experience, that the pain on first wearing shoes of this kind, in
which the whole weight of the body seems to thrust the toes forward
into the shoe, is excruciating; nothing but fashion could reconcile
one to such voluntary suffering. The peas in the shoes of the pilgrims
could scarcely be more painful.

  [Illustration: Pl. 9.

  Figure 66. From Rubens's "Descent from the Cross."
         71. From a drawing by Gainsborough.
         72. Woman of Myconia.
         74. Queen Anne.
  ]

It was with some surprise that we found among M. Stackelberg's
graceful costumes of modern Greece a pair of high-heeled shoes,
(Fig. 72,) which might rival in ugliness and inconvenience any
of those worn in England.

We have known an instance where the lady's heels were never less than
an inch and a half high. We were sorry to observe some of these
high-heeled shoes in the great exhibition, and still more so, to see
that shoes with heels an inch high are likely to be fashionable
this season. Could we look forward to this height as the limit of the
fashion, we might reconcile ourselves to it for a time; but, judging
from past experience, there is reason to fear that the heel will
become continually higher, until it attains the elevation of former
years. Not content with imprisoning our feet in tight shoes, and
thereby distorting their form and weakening their muscular power, we
are guilty of another violence towards nature. Nature has made our
toes to turn inwards; when man is left to himself the toes naturally
take this direction, though in a much less degree than in the infant.
The American Indian will trace a European by his footprints, which he
detects by the turning out of the toes; a lesson we are taught in our
childhood, and especially by our dancing master. Sir Joshua Reynolds
used to say, "The gestures of children, being all dictated by nature,
are graceful; affectation and distortion come in with the dancing
master." Now, observe the consequence of turning out the toes. The
inner ankle is bent downwards towards the ground, and the knees are
drawn inwards, producing the deformity called knock-kneed; thus the
whole limb is distorted, and consequently weakened; there is always a
want of muscular power in the legs of those who turn their toes very
much outwards. It must be remarked, however, that women, from the
greater breadth of the frame at the hips, naturally turn the toes
out more than men. In this point also, statues may be studied with
advantage. Where form only is considered, it is generally safer to
refer to examples of sculpture than painting; because in the latter,
the artist is apt to lose sight of this primary object in his
attention to color and form; besides, it is the sculptor only, who
makes an exact image of a figure which is equally perfect, seen from
all points of view. The painter makes only a pictorial or perspective
representation of nature, as seen from one point of view only.

What pains we take to distort and disfigure the beautiful form that
nature has bestowed upon the human race! Now building a tower on the
head, then raising the heel at the expense of the toe; at one time
confining the body in a case of whalebone, and compressing it at the
waist like an hour glass; at another, surrounding it with the enormous
and ungraceful hoop, till the outline of the figure is so altered,
that a person can scarcely recognize her own shadow as that of a human
being.



CHAPTER VI.

REMARKS ON PARTICULAR COSTUMES.


We must now offer a few brief remarks upon certain costumes which
appear to us most worthy of our attention and study, for their general
elegance and adaptation to the figure.

Of the modern Greek we have already spoken. The style of dress which
has been immortalized by the pencil of Vandyck is considered among the
most elegant that has ever prevailed in this country. It is not,
however, faultless. The row of small curls around the face, however
becoming to some persons, is somewhat formal; and although the general
arrangement of the hair, which preserves the natural size and shape of
the head, is more graceful than that of the time of Sir Joshua
Reynolds, we think it would have been more pleasing had it left
visible the line which divides the hair from the forehead. With
regard to the dress itself, it is apparent, in the first place, that
the figures are spoiled by stays; secondly, that the dress is cut too
low in front; and thirdly, that the large sleeves sometimes give too
great width in front to the shoulders. These defects are, in some
degree, counterbalanced by the graceful flow of the ample drapery, and
of the large sleeves, which are frequently widest at their lower part,
and by the gently undulating line which unites the waist of the dress
with the skirt. The Vandyck dress, with its voluminous folds, is,
however, more appropriate to the inhabitants of palaces, than to the
ordinary occupants of this working-day world. The drapery is too wide
and flowing for convenience. The annexed cut, (Fig. 73,) representing
Charlotte de la Tremouille, the celebrated Countess of Derby, exhibits
some of the defects and many of the beauties of the Vandyck dress.

Lely's half-dressed figures may be passed over without comment;
they are draped, not dressed. Kneller's are more instructive on the
subject of costume. The dress of Queen Anne, (Fig. 74,) in Kneller's
portrait, is graceful and easy. The costume is a kind of transition
between the Vandyck and Reynolds style. The sleeves are smaller at the
shoulder than in the former, and larger at the lower part than in the
latter; in fact, they resemble those now worn by the modern Greeks.
The dress is cut higher round the bust, and is longer in the waist
than the Vandycks, while the undulating line uniting the body and
skirt is still preserved. While such good examples were set by the
painters--who were not, however, the inventors of the fashions they
painted--it is astonishing that these graceful styles of dress should
have been superseded in real life by the lofty head-dresses and
preposterous fashions which prevailed during the same period and long
afterwards, and which even the ironical and severe remarks of Addison,
in the "Spectator," were unable to banish from the circles of fashion.

Speaking of the dresses of ladies during the reigns of James II. and
William III., Mr. Planché, in his "History of British Costumes," says,
"The tower or commode was still worn, and the gowns and petticoats
flounced and furbelowed, so that every part of the garment was in
curl;" and a lady of fashion "looked like one of those animals," says
the "Spectator," "which in the country we call a Friesland hen." But
in 1711 we find Mr. Addison remarking, "The whole sex is now dwarfed
and shrunk into a race of beauties that seems almost another species.
I remember several ladies who were once nearly seven foot high, that
at present want some inches of five. How they come to be thus
curtailed I cannot learn; whether the whole sex be at present under
any penance which we know nothing of, or whether they have cast their
head-dresses in order to surprise us with something in that kind which
shall be entirely new: though I find most are of opinion they are at
present like trees lopped and pruned, that will certainly sprout up
and flourish with greater heads than before."

The costume of the time of Sir Joshua Reynolds, as treated by this
great artist, though less splendid, appears to us, with the exception
of the head-dress, nearly as graceful, and far more convenient than
the Vandyck dress. It is more modest, more easy, and better adapted to
show the true form of the shoulders, while the union of the body of
the dress with the skirt is effected in the same graceful manner as in
the Vandyck portraits. The materials of the drapery in the latter are
generally silks and satins; of the former, it is frequently muslin and
stuff of a soft texture, which clings more closely to the form. That
much of the elegance of both styles of dress is to be attributed
to the skill and good taste of the painters, is evident from an
examination of portraits by contemporary artists. Much also may be
ascribed to the taste of the wearer.

There are some people who, though habited in the best and richest
clothes, never appear well dressed; their garments, rumpled and
untidy, look as if they had been pitched on them, like hay, with a
fork; while others, whose dress consists of the most homely materials,
appear well dressed, from the neatness and taste with which their
clothes are arranged.

  [Illustration: Pl. 10.

  Figure 73. Charlotte de la Tremouille.
         75. After Gainsborough.
         76. After Gainsborough.
         77. Costume of Mrs. Bloomer.
  ]

Many of the costumes of Gainsborough's portraits are elegant and
graceful, with the frequent exception of the extravagant head-dress
and the high-heeled shoes. The easy and very pleasing figure,
(Fig. 75,) after this accomplished artist, is not exempt from the
above defects.

In our next illustration, (Fig. 76,) Gainsborough has not been so
happy. The lady is almost lost in her voluminous and fluttering
drapery, and the dishevelled hair and the enormous hat give to the
figure much of the appearance of a caricature.

Leaving now the caprices of fashion, we must notice a class of persons
who, from a religious motive, have resisted for two hundred years the
tyranny of fashion, and, until recently, have transmitted the same
form of dress from mother to daughter for nearly the same period of
years. The ladies of the Society of Friends, or, as they are usually
called, "Quakers," are still distinguished by the simplicity and
neatness of their dress--the quiet drabs and browns of which
frequently contrast with the richness of the material--and by the
absence of all ornament and frippery. Every part of their dress is
useful and convenient; it has neither frills, nor flounces, nor
trimmings to carry the dirt and get shabby before the dress itself,
nor wide sleeves to dip in the plates and lap up the gravy and sauces,
nor artificial flowers, nor bows of ribbons. The dress is long enough
for decency, but not so long as to sweep the streets, as many dresses
and shawls are daily seen to do. Some few years back the Quaker ladies
might have been reproached with adhering to the letter, while they
rejected the spirit, of their code of dress by adhering too literally
to the costume handed down to them. The crowns of their caps were
formerly made very high, and for this reason it was necessary that the
crowns of their bonnets should be high enough to admit the cap crown;
hence the peculiarly ugly and remarkable form of this part of the
dress. The crown of the cap has, however, recently been lowered, and
the Quaker ladies, with much good sense, have not only modified the
form of their bonnets, but have also adopted the straw and drawn silk
bonnet in their most simple forms. In the style of their dress, also,
they occasionally approach so near the fashions generally worn, that
they are no longer distinguishable by the singularity of their dress,
but by its simplicity and chasteness.

We venture now to devote a few words to the Bloomer costume,
(Fig. 77,) although we are aware that we are treading on tender
ground, especially as the costume involves a sudden and complete
change in the dress. Independently of its merits or demerits, there
are several reasons why it did not succeed in this country. In the
first place, as we have before observed, it originated in America,
and was attempted to be introduced through the middle ranks. In the
second place, the change which it endeavored to effect was too sudden.
Had the alteration commenced with the higher classes, and the change
been effected gradually, its success might possibly have been different.
Thirdly, the large hat, so well adapted to the burning sun of America,
was unnecessary, and remarkable when forming a part of the costume of
adult ladies in this country, although we have seen that hats quite as
large were worn during the time of Gainsborough. Another reason for
the ill success of the Bloomer costume is to be found in the glaring
and frequently ill-assorted colors of the prints of it, which were
every where exposed in the shop windows. By many sober-minded persons,
the large hat and glaring colors were looked upon as integral parts
of the costume. The numerous caricatures also, and the injudicious
attempts to make it popular by getting up "Bloomer Balls," contributed
to render the costume ridiculous and unpopular.

Setting aside the hat, the distinguishing characteristics of the
costume are the short dress, and a polka jacket fitting the body at
the throat and shoulders, and confined at the waist by a silken sash,
and the trousers fastened by a band round the ankle, and finished off
with a frill. On the score of modesty there can be no objection to
the dress, since the whole of the body is covered. On the ground
of convenience it recommends itself to those who, having the
superintendence of a family, are obliged frequently to go up and down
stairs, on which occasions it is always necessary to raise the dress
before or behind, according to circumstances. The objection to the
trousers is not to this article of dress being worn, since that is a
general practice, but to their being seen. Yet we suspect few ladies
would object on this account to appear at a fancy ball in the Turkish
costume.

The disadvantages of the dress are its novelty--for we seldom like a
fashion to which we are entirely unaccustomed--and the exposure which
it involves of the foot, the shape of which, in this country, is so
frequently distorted by wearing tight shoes of a different shape from
the foot. The short dress is objectionable in another point of view,
because, as short petticoats diminish the apparent height of the
person, none but those who possess tall and elegant figures will look
well in this costume; and appearance is generally suffered to prevail
over utility and convenience. If to the Bloomer costume had been added
the long under-dress of the Greek women, or had the trousers been as
full as those worn by the Turkish and East Indian women, the general
effect of the dress would have been much more elegant, although
perhaps less useful. Setting aside all considerations of fashion, as
we always do in looking at the fashions which are gone by, it was
impossible for any person to deny that the Bloomer costume was by far
the most elegant, the most modest, and the most convenient.



CHAPTER VII.

ORNAMENT--ECONOMY.


Ornament, although not an integral part of dress, is so intimately
connected with it, that we must devote a few words to the subject.

Under the general term of ornament we shall include bows of ribbon,
artificial flowers, feathers, jewels, lace, fringes, and trimmings of
all kinds. Some of these articles appear to be suited to one period
of life, some to another. Jewels, for instance, though suitable
for middle age, seem misplaced on youth, which should always be
characterized by simplicity of apparel; while flowers, which are so
peculiarly adapted to youth, are unbecoming to those advanced in
years; in the latter case there is contrast without harmony; it is
like uniting May with December.

The great principle to be observed with regard to ornament is, that it
should be appropriate, and appear designed to answer some useful
purpose. A brooch, or a bow of ribbon, for instance, should fasten
some part of the dress; a gold chain should support a watch or an
eyeglass. Trimmings are useful to mark the borders or edges of the
different parts of the dress; and in this light they add to the
variety, while by their repetition they conduce to the regularity of
the ornamentation.

  [Illustration: Pl. 11.

  Figure 78. From the embroidery on fig. 47, pl. 5.
         79. From the sleeve of the same dress, above.
         80. From the sleeve of the pelisse.
         81. The pattern embroidered from the waist to the skirt
               of the dress, fig. 51, pl. 5.
         82. The border of the shawl, fig. 51.
         83. Sleeve of the same, figure 51.
         84. Design on the apron, fig. 48, pl. 5.
         85. From the border of the same dress, fig. 48.
  ]

Ornament is so much a matter of fashion, that beyond the above remarks
it scarcely comes within the scope of our subject. There is one point,
however, to which the present encouragement of works of design induces
us to draw the attention of our readers. We have already borrowed from
the beautiful work of M. de Stackelberg, some of the female figures in
illustration of our views with regard to dress; we have now to call
the attention of our readers to the patterns embroidered on the
dresses. These are mostly of classic origin, and prove that the
descendants of the Greeks have still sufficient good taste to
appreciate and adopt the designs of their glorious ancestors. The
figures in the plates being too small to show the patterns, we have
enlarged some of them from the original work, in order to show the
style of design still cultivated among the peasants of Greece, and
also because we think the designs may be applied to other materials
besides dress. Some of them appear not inappropriate to iron work.
When will our people be able to show designs of such elegance? Fig. 78
is an enlarged copy of the embroidery on the robe of the peasant from
the environs of Athens, (Fig. 47.) It extends, as will be seen, half
way up the skirt. Fig. 79 is from the sleeve of the same dress.
Fig. 80 is the pattern embroidered on the sleeve of the pelisse.
Fig. 81 is the pattern from the waist to the hem of the skirt of an
Athenian peasant's dress, (Fig. 51.) Fig. 82 is the border to the
shawl; Fig. 83, the sleeve of the last-mentioned dress; Fig. 84, the
design on the apron of the Arcadian peasant, (Fig. 48.) Fig. 85 is
the border of the same dress. Fig. 86 is the pattern round the hem of
the long under-dress of the Athenian peasant, (Fig. 51;) Fig. 87, the
border of a shawl, or something of the kind. Fig. 88 is another
example. The brocade dress of Sancta Victoria (Fig. 64) offers a
striking contrast to the simple elegance of the Greek designs. It is
too large for the purpose to which it is employed, and not sufficiently
distinct; and, although it possesses much variety, it is deficient in
regularity; and one of the elements of beauty in ornamental design,
namely, repetition, appears to be entirely wanting. In these respects,
the superiority of the Greek designs is immediately apparent. They
unite at once symmetry with regularity, and variety with repetition.

  [Illustration: Pl. 12.

  Figure 86. Pattern round the hem of the long under dress,
               fig. 51, pl. 5.
     87, 88. Borders of shawls.
         89. Infant's dress, exhibited at the World's Fair in
               London.
     90, 91. From "Le Moniteur de la Mode," by Jules David and
               Réville, published at Paris, London, New York,
               and St. Petersburg.
  ]

The examination of these designs suggests the reflection that when we
have once attained a form of dress which combines ease and elegance
with convenience, we should tax our ingenuity in inventing ornamental
designs for decorating it, rather than seek to discover novel forms of
dress.

The endless variety of textile fabrics which our manufacturers are
constantly producing, the variety, also, in the colors, will, with
the embroidery patterns issued by our schools of design, suffice to
appease the constant demand for novelty, which exists in an improving
country, without changing the form of our costume, unless to adopt
others which reason and common sense point out as superior to that in
use. We are told to try all things, and to hold fast to that which is
good. The maxim is applicable to dress as well as to morals.

The subject of economy in dress, an essential object with many
persons, now claims our attention. We venture to offer a few remarks
on this head. Our first recommendation is to have but few dresses at a
time, and those extremely good. If we have but few dresses, we wear
them, and wear them out while they are in fashion; but if we have many
dresses at once, some of them become quite old-fashioned before we
have done with them. If we are rich enough to afford the sacrifice,
the old-fashioned dress is got rid of; if not, we must be content to
appear in a fashion that has long been superseded; and we look as if
we had come out of the tombs, or as if one of our ancestors had
stepped out of her picture frame, and again walked the earth.

As to the economy of selecting the best materials for dresses, we
argue thus: Every dress must be lined and made up, and we pay as much
for making and lining an inferior article, as we do for one of the
best quality. Now, a good silk or merino will wear out two bad ones;
therefore, one good dress, lining and making, will cost less than two
inferior ones, with the expenses of lining and making them. In point
of appearance, also, there is no comparison between the two; the good
dress will look well to the last, while one of inferior quality will
soon look shabby. When a good silk dress has become too shabby to be
worn longer as a dress, it becomes, when cut up, useful for a variety
of purposes; whereas an inferior silk, or one purely ornamental, is,
when left off, good for nothing.

Plain dresses, that is to say, those of a single color, and without
a pattern, are more economical as well as more quiet in their
appearance than those of various colors. They are also generally less
expensive, because something is always paid for the novelty of the
fashion; besides, colored and figured dresses bear the date on the
face of them, as plainly as if it was there in printed characters. The
ages of dress fabrics are known by the pattern; therefore dresses of
this description should be put on as soon as purchased, and worn out
at once, or they will appear old-fashioned. There is another reason
why vari-colored dresses are less economical than others. Where there
are several colors, they may not all be equally fast, and if only one
of them fades the dress will lose its beauty. Trimmings are not
economical; besides their cost in the first instance, they become
shabby before the dress, and if removed, they generally leave a mark
where they have been, and so spoil the appearance of the dress.

Dresses made of one kind of material only, are more durable than those
composed of two; as, for instance, of cotton and silk, of cotton and
worsted, or of silk and worsted. When the silk is merely thrown on
the face of the material, it soon wears off. This is also the case in
those woollen or cotton goods which have a silken stripe.

The question of economy also extends to colors, some of which are much
more durable than others. For this we can give no rule, except that
drabs and other "Quaker colors," as they are frequently called, are
amongst the most permanent of all colors. For other colors we must
take the word of the draper. There is no doubt, however, but that the
most durable colors are the cheapest in the end. In the selection of
colors, the expense is not always a criterion; something must be paid
for fashion and novelty, and perhaps for the cost of the dye. The
newest and most expensive colors are not always those which last the
longest.

It is not economical to have the dresses made in the extremity of the
fashion, because such soon become remarkable; but the fashions should
be followed at such a distance, that the wearer may not attract the
epithet of old-fashioned.

We conclude this part of our subject with a few suggestions relative
to the selection of different styles and materials of dress.

The style of dress should be adapted to the age of the wearer. As a
general rule, we should say that in youth the dress should be simple
and elegant, the ornaments being flowers. In middle age, the dress may
be of rich materials, and more splendid in its character; jewels are
the appropriate ornaments. In the decline of life, the materials of
which the dress is composed may be equally rich, but with less
vivacious colors: the tertiaries and broken colors are particularly
suitable, and the character of the whole costume should be quiet,
simple, and dignified. The French, whose taste in dress is so far in
advance of our own, say, that ladies who are _cinquante ans sonnés_,
should neither wear gay colors, nor dresses of slight materials,
flowers, feathers, or much jewelry; that they should cover their hair,
wear high dresses and long sleeves.

Tall ladies may wear flounces and tucks, but they are less appropriate
for short persons. As a general rule, vertical stripes make persons
appear taller than they really are, but horizontal stripes have a
contrary effect. The latter, Mr. Redgrave says, are not admissible in
garment fabrics, "since, crossing the person, the pattern quarrels
with all the motions of the human figure, as well as with the form of
the long folds in the skirts of the garment. For this reason," he
continues, "large and pronounced checks, however fashionable, are
often in bad taste, and interfere with the graceful arrangement of the
drapery." Is it to show their entire contempt for the principles of
design that our manufacturers introduced last year not only horizontal
stripes of conspicuous colors, but checks and plaids of immense size,
as autumnal fashions for dress fabrics? We had hoped that the ladies
would have shown the correctness of their taste by their disapproval
of these unbecoming designs, but the prevalence of the fashion at the
present time is another evidence of the triumph of fashion over good
taste.

A white and light-colored dress makes the wearers appear larger,
while a black or dark dress causes them to appear smaller than they
actually are. A judicious person will, therefore, avail herself of
these known effects, by adopting the style of dress most suitable to
her stature.

To sum up, in a few words, our impressions on this subject, we should
say that the best style of dress is that which, being exactly adapted
to the climate and the individual, is at once modest, quiet, and
retiring, harmonious in color and decoration, and of good materials.

We conclude with the following admirable extract from Tobin's
"Honeymoon," which we earnestly recommend to the attention of our
fair readers.

    I'll have no glittering gewgaws stuck about you
    To stretch the gaping eyes of idiot wonder,
    And make men stare upon a piece of earth,
    As on the star-wrought firmament--no feathers,
    To wave as streamers to your vanity;
    Nor cumbrous silk, that with its rustling sound
    Makes proud the flesh that bears it. She's adorned
    Amply, that in her husband's eye looks lovely--
    The truest mirror that an honest wife
    Can see her beauty in!

    _Julia._ I shall observe, sir.

    _Duke._ I should like well to see you in the dress I last presented
              you.

    _Julia._ The blue one, sir?

    _Duke._ No, love,--the white. Thus modestly attired,
    A half-blown rose stuck in thy braided hair,
    With no more diamonds than those eyes are made of,
    No deeper rubies than compose thy lips,
    Nor pearls more precious than inhabit them,
    With the pure red and white, which that same hand
    Which blends the rainbow, mingles in thy cheeks;
    This well-proportioned form (think not I flatter)
    In graceful motion to harmonious sounds,
    And thy free tresses dancing in the wind,
    Thou'lt fix as much observance, as chaste dames
    Can meet without a blush.

We look forward hopefully to a day when art-education will be extended
to all ranks; when a knowledge of the beautiful will be added to that
of the useful; when good taste, based upon real knowledge and common
sense, will dictate our fashions in dress as in other things. We have
schools of art to reform our taste in pottery, hardware, and textile
fabrics, not to speak of the higher walks of art, painting, sculpture,
and architecture. The handle of a jug, the stem of a wine glass,
the design for dress silks or lace veils, will form the subjects
of lectures to the students of the various schools of design;
disquisitions are written on the important question whether the
ornamental designs should represent the real form of objects, or only
give a conventional representation of them; while the study of the
human figure, the masterpiece of creation, is totally neglected,
except by painters and sculptors. We hope that the study of form will
be more extended, that it will be universal, that it will, in fact,
enter into the general scheme of education, and that we shall
hereafter see as much pains bestowed in improving by appropriate
costume the figure which nature has given us, as we do now in
distorting it by tight stays, narrow and high-heeled shoes, and all
the other deformities and eccentricities of that many-faced monster,
fashion. The economy of the frame, and the means of preserving it in
health and beauty, should form an integral part of education. There
can be no true beauty without health; and how can we hope to secure
health if we are ignorant of the means of promoting it, or if we
violate its precepts by adopting absurd and pernicious fashions?
Surely it is not too much to hope that dressmakers will hereafter
attend the schools of design, to study the human form, and thence
learn to appreciate its beauties, and to clothe it with appropriate
dress, calculated to display its beauties to the greatest advantage,
and to conceal its defects--the latter with the reservation we have
already noticed. We hope, also, that the shoemaker will learn to model
the shoe upon the true form of the foot.

Manufacturers are now convinced of the importance and utility of
schools of design; and whether the article hereafter to be produced be
a cup and saucer, a fender, a pattern for a dress, or for furniture,
for a service of plate or a diamond tiara, it is thought proper that
the pupil, as a preliminary course that cannot be dispensed with,
should commence with the study of the human figure. Yet is not dress
an art-manufacture as well as a cup and saucer, or a teaboard? Is
there less skill and talent, less taste required to clothe the form
which we are told is made after God's own image, than to furnish an
apartment? Why should not dressmakers and tailors attend the schools
of design, as well as those artisans who are intended to be employed
in what are called art-manufactures? Why should not shoemakers be
taught the shape and movements of the foot? If this were the case, we
are satisfied that an immediate and permanent improvement would be the
consequence in our style of dress. Would any person acquainted with
the human form, and especially with the little round form of an
infant, have sent to the Great Exhibition an infant's robe shaped like
that in our cut. Fig. 89. An infant with a waist "growing fine by
degrees and beautifully less"!--was there ever such a deformity? We
believe that many portrait painters stipulate that they should be
allowed to dictate the dress, at least as regards the arrangement of
the colors, of their sitters; the reason of this is, that the
painter's selection of dress and color is based upon the study of the
figure and complexion of the individual, or the knowledge of the
effects of contrast and harmony of lines, tissues, and colors, while
the models which are presented for his imitation too frequently offer
to his view a style of dress, both as regards form and color, which
set the rules of harmony at defiance. Now, only suppose that the
dressmaker had the painter's knowledge of form and harmony of lines
and colors, what a revolution would take place in dress? We should no
longer see the tall and the short, the slender and the stout, the
brown and the fair, the old and the young, dressed alike, but the
dress would be adapted to the individual; and we believe that, were
the plan of study we recommend generally adopted, this purpose might
always be effected without the sacrifice of what is now the grand
desideratum in dress--novelty.

The reasons why the art of dressmaking has not hitherto received the
attention which it deserves, are to be sought for in the constitution
of society. The branches of manufacture which require a knowledge of
design, such as calico printing, silk and ribbon weaving, porcelain
and pottery, and hardware manufactures, are conducted on a large
scale by men of wealth and talent, who, if they would compete
successfully with rival manufacturers, find it necessary to study and
apply to their own business all the improvements in science, with
which their intercourse with society gives them an opportunity of
becoming acquainted. It is quite otherwise with dressmaking. A woman
is at the head of every establishment of this kind, a woman generally
of limited education and attainments, from whom cannot be expected
either liberality of sentiment or enlarged views, but who possibly
possesses some tact and discrimination of character, which enables her
to exercise a kind of dictatorial power in matters of dress over her
customers; these customers are scarcely better informed on the subject
than herself.

The early life of the dressmaker is spent in a daily routine of labor
with the needle, and when she becomes a mistress in her turn, she
exacts from her assistants the same amount of daily labor that was
formerly expected from herself. Work, work, work with the needle from
almost childhood, in the same close room from morning to night, and
not unfrequently from night to morning also, is the everlasting
routine of the monotonous life of the dressmakers. They are working
for bread, and have no leisure to attend to the improvement of the
mind, and the want of this mental cultivation is apparent in the
articles they produce by their labor. When one of the young women who
attends these establishments to learn the trade, thinks she has had
sufficient experience, she leaves the large establishment, and sets up
in business on her own account. In this new situation she works
equally hard, and has, therefore, no time for improving her mind or
taste. Of the want of this, however, she is not sensible, because she
can purchase for a trifle all the newest patterns, and the thought
never enters her poor little head, that the same fashion may not suit
all her customers. This defective education of the dressmakers, or
rather their want of knowledge of the human form, is one of the great
causes of the prevalence of the old fashion of tight lacing; it is so
much easier to make a closely-fitting body suit over a tight stay than
it is on the pliant and yielding natural form, in which, if one part
be drawn a little too tight, or the contrary, the body of the dress is
thrown out of shape. Supposing, on the other hand, the fit to be
exact, it is so difficult to keep such a tight-fitting body in its
place on the figure without securing its form by whalebones, that
it is in vain to expect the stays to become obsolete until the
tight-fitting bodice is also given up.

This will never take place until not only the ladies who are to be
clothed, but the dressmakers, shall make the human form their study,
and direct their efforts to set off their natural advantages by
attending to the points which are their characteristic beauties. A
long and delicate throat, falling shoulders, not too wide from point
to point, a flat back, round chest, wide hips--these are the points
which should be developed by the dress. Whence it follows, that every
article of dress which shortens the throat, adds height or width to
the shoulders, roundness to the back, or flatness to the chest, must
be radically wrong in principle, and unpleasant and repulsive in
effect. In the same manner, whatever kind of dress adds to the height
of a figure already too tall and thin, or detracts from the apparent
height of the short and stout, must be avoided. These things should
form the study of the dressmaker.

As society is now constituted, however, the dressmaker has not, as we
have already observed, leisure to devote to studies of the necessity
and importance of which she is still ignorant. The reform must be
begun by the ladies themselves. They must acquire a knowledge of form,
and of the principles of beauty and harmony, and so exercise a
controlling influence over the dressmakers. By this means, a better
taste will be created, and the dressmakers will at length discover
their deficiency in certain guiding principles, and will be driven
at last to resort to similar studies. But in this case a startling
difficulty presents itself--the poor dressmaker is at present
over-worked: how can she find leisure to attend the schools of
design, or even pursue, if she had the ability, the necessary studies
at home? A girl is apprenticed to the trade at the age of thirteen or
fourteen; she works at it all her life, rising early, and late taking
rest; and what is the remuneration of her daily toil of twelve hours?
Eighteen pence, or at most two shillings a day, with her board![3] As
she reckons the value of the latter at a shilling, it follows, that
the earnings of a dressmaker, in the best period of her life, who goes
out to work, could not exceed fifteen shillings, or, at the most,
eighteen shillings a week, if she did not--at the hazard of her
health, which, indeed, is frequently sacrificed--work at home before
she begins, and after she has finished, her day's work abroad. The
carpenter or house painter does not work harder, or bring to bear on
his employment greater knowledge, than the poor dressmaker; yet he has
four shillings sixpence a day, without his board, while she has only
what is equivalent to two shillings sixpence, or three shillings. What
reason can be assigned why a woman's work, if equally well done,
should not be as well paid as that of a man? A satisfactory reason has
yet to be given; the fact, however, is indisputable, that women are
not in general so well paid for their labor as men.

  [3] Of course it will be understood that these are the English
  prices; but does not the comparison hold good between male and
  female labor in this country?

Although these remarks arose naturally out of our subject, we must
not digress too far. To return to the dressmaker. If the hours of
labor of these white slaves who toil in the dressmaking establishments
were limited to ten or twelve hours, as in large factories, two
consequences would follow: the first is, that more hands would be
employed, and the second, that the young women would have time to
attend schools, and improve their minds. If they could also attend
occasional lectures on the figure, and on the harmony of color and
costume with reference to dress, the best effects would follow.

Those dressmakers who are rich enough, and, we may add, many ladies
also, take in some book of fashions with colored illustrations, and
from this they imbibe their notions of beauty of form and elegance of
costume. How is it possible, we would ask, for either the dressmaker
or the ladies who employ them to acquire just ideas of form, or of
suitable costume, when their eyes are accustomed only to behold such
deformed and unnatural representations of the human figure as those in
the accompanying plates? Figs. 90 and 91. Is it any wonder that small
waists should be admired, when the books which aspire to be the
handmaids and mirrors of fashion present to their readers such libels
on beauty of form? Now, suppose that lithographed drawings of costumes
issued occasionally from the schools of design, is it not reasonable
to suppose that, with the knowledge which the students have acquired
of the human figure, the illustrations would be more accurate
imitations of nature? An eye accustomed to the study of nature can
scarcely bear to contemplate, much less to imitate, the monsters of a
depraved taste which disgrace the different publications that aspire
to make known the newest fashions. Many of the illustrations of these
publications, although ill proportioned, are executed in a certain
stylish manner which takes with the uneducated, and the mechanical
execution of the figures is also good. This, however, is so far from
being an advantage, that it only renders them the more dangerous; like
the song of the siren, they lead only to evil.

We are told that many of the first Parisian artists derive a
considerable part of their income from drawing the figures in the
French books of fashion and costume, and that, in the early part of
his career, Horace Vernet, the president of the French Academy, did
not disdain to employ his talents in this way. We cannot, however,
refrain from expressing our surprise and honest indignation that
artists of eminence, especially those who, like the French school,
have a reputation for correct drawing, and who must, therefore, be so
well acquainted with the actual as well as ideal proportions of the
female figure, should so prostitute their talents as to employ them in
delineating the ill-proportioned figures which appear in books of
fashions. It is no small aggravation of their offence, in our eyes,
that the figures should be drawn in such graceful positions, and with
the exception of the defective proportions, with so much skill. These
beauties only make them more dangerous; the goodness of their
execution misleads the unfortunate victims of their fascination. What
young lady, unacquainted with the proportions of the figure, could
look on these prints of costumes and go away without the belief that a
small waist and foot were essential elements of beauty? So she goes
home from her dressmaker's, looks in the glass, and not finding her
own waist and foot as small as those in the books of fashion, gives
her stay-lace an extra tightening pull, and, regardless of corns,
squeezes her feet into tight shoes, which makes the instep appear
swollen. Both the figures in our last plates were originally drawn and
engraved by Jules David, and Reville, in "_Le Moniteur de la Mode_,"
which is published at Paris, London, New York, and St. Petersburg.
Let our readers look at these figures, and say whether the most
determined votary of tight lacing ever succeeded in compressing her
waist into the proportions represented in these figures.

We should like to hear that lectures were given occasionally, by a
lady in the female school of design, on the subjects of form, and of
dress in its adaptation to form and to harmony of color. We have no
doubt that a lady competent to deliver these lectures will readily be
found. After a course of these lectures, we do not hesitate to predict
that illustrations of fashion emanating from this source would be,
in point of taste, every thing that could be desired. We venture to
think that the students of the female school may be as well and as
profitably employed in designing costumes, as in inventing patterns
for cups and saucers or borders for veils. Until some course, of the
nature we have indicated, is adopted, we cannot hope for any permanent
improvement in our costume.



CHAPTER VIII.

SOME THOUGHTS ON CHILDREN'S DRESS.

BY MRS. MERRIFIELD.


Can any good and sufficient reason be given, said a friend, as we were
contemplating the happy faces and lively gestures of a party of boys
and girls, who, one cold, frosty evening, were playing at the old game
called "I sent a letter to my love," why, when one of the party picks
up the ball which another has thrown down, the boys always stoop,
while the girls (with the exception of one little rosy girl, who is
active and supple as the boys) invariably drop on one knee? At first
we almost fancied this must be a new way of playing the game; but when
one of the seniors threw a handful of _bonbons_ among the children,
and in their eager scramble to pick up the tempting sweets we
observed the same respective actions, namely, that the boys stooped,
while the girls knelt on one knee, we began to meditate on the cause
of this diversity of action. A little more observation convinced us
that the girls, though equally lively, were less free in their
movement than the boys. We observed, also, that every now and then
some of the girls stopped and hitched their clothes, (which appeared
almost in danger of falling off,) with an awkward movement, first upon
one shoulder, and then on the other, while others jerked one shoulder
upwards, which caused the sleeve on that side to sink nearly to the
elbow. "Now," we exclaimed, "we can solve the problem: the different
actions are caused by the difference in the dress; let us see where
the difference lies." So we continued our observations, and soon found
that the boys were all dressed in high dresses up to the throat, while
the bands which encircled their waists were so loose as merely to keep
the dress in its place without confining it; in short, that their
dress did not offer the slightest restraint on their freedom of
movement. It was otherwise with the girls, excepting the little rosy
girl before mentioned: they were dressed in low dresses, and their
shoulders were so bare that we involuntarily thought of a caterpillar
casting its skin, and began to fear, from the uneasy movement of their
shoulders, that the same thing might happen to the children, when we
observed that this was rendered impossible by the tightness of the
clothes about the waist. The mystery was now cleared up; the tightness
of the dress at the waist, while it prevented the children from
"slipping shell," as it were, entirely destroyed their freedom of
movement. We could not help contrasting these poor girls--dressed in
the very pink of fashion, with their bare shoulders, compressed
waists, and delicate appearance--with the rosy face, quick and active
movement, and thick waist of the little girl before alluded to; and we
sighed as we thought that, induced by the culpable folly or ignorance
of parents,

                    "Pale decay
    Would steal before the steps of time,
    And snatch 'their' bloom away."

"Whence does it arise," continued my friend, "that the boys are clad
in warm dresses, suited to the season, their chests and arms protected
from the wintry air, and their feet incased in woollen stockings,
while the girls are suffered to shiver at Christmas in muslin dresses,
with bare necks and arms, and silk or thin cotton stockings? Are they
less susceptible of cold than boys? Is their circulation less languid,
that their clothes are so much thinner? Are their figures better,
their health stronger, for the compression of their tender bodies by
stays?" At this point our cogitations were stopped by a summons to
supper; and after supper, hats and shawls were produced, and we took
our leave. Our young companions, fatigued with their exertions, soon
fell asleep in the corners of the carriage, and we were left to our
own meditations. Our thoughts once more reverted to the subject of
children's dress, and gradually assumed the following form:--

The subject of dress, which is so important both to our health
and comfort, is usually treated as a matter of fashion, and is
regulated partly by individual fancy, partly by the dictates of
the _modiste_. Fashion, as it applies to the costume of men, is,
with the exception of the hat, controlled by convenience and common
sense; but with regard to the dress of women and children, neither
of these considerations has any weight. The most extravagant and
_bizarre_ arrangements of form and colors will meet with admirers and
imitators, provided they emanate from a fashionable source. The dress
of children, especially, appears to be exceedingly fantastic in its
character, and, with regard to that of girls, is ill adapted to secure
the enjoyment of health and the perfect development of the figure. We
venture to offer a few remarks on this highly interesting theme.

In discussing the subject of children's dress, several points
present themselves for our consideration, namely, first, the
adaptation of the costume to the climate, the movements, and
healthful development of the figure; and secondly, the general
elegance of the habiliments, the harmony of the colors, and their
special adaptation to the age and individual characteristics of
children. The first are essential conditions; the latter, though too
frequently treated as the most important, may, in comparison with
the first, be deemed non-essentials. We shall remark on these
subjects in the before-mentioned order.

With regard to the adaptation of the dress of children to the climate,
this appears so evident that any observations upon it might be deemed
almost unnecessary; yet, in practice, how little is it understood! The
great object in view in regulating the warmth of the clothing, is to
guard the wearer from the vicissitudes of the climate, and to equalize
the circulation, which is accelerated by heat and retarded by cold.
Children are habitually full of activity, which quickens the
circulation and produces a determination to the skin; in other words,
causes some degree of perspiration, and if this, perspiration be
suddenly checked by the application of cold, illness in some shape or
other is induced. In order to lessen this risk, the clothing should
be light and warm; sufficiently warm to shield the child from the
effects of cold, but not to elevate greatly the temperature of the
body. The latter would only render the child more susceptible of cold.
Children are, by some over-careful but not judicious parents, so
burdened with clothes that one is surprised to find they can move
under the vast encumbrance.

There is much diversity of opinion among medical men as to the
propriety of wearing flannel next to the skin. The arguments appear to
be in favor of the practice, provided that the thickness of the
flannel be proportioned to the seasons of the year. In winter it
should be thick; in summer it can scarcely be too thin. Flannel is
preferable to linen or calico, because, although it may be saturated
with perspiration, it never strikes cold to the skin; whereas linen,
under similar circumstances, always does, and the sudden application
of cold to the skin, when warmed by exercise, checks the circulation,
and causes illness.

Parents are frequently guilty of much inconsistency in the clothing
of their children. The child, perhaps, has delicate lungs; it must,
therefore, have warm clothing; so garment after garment, made
fashionably, that is to say, very full and very short, is heaped one
upon the other over the chest and upper part of the body, until the
poor child can scarcely move under the heavy burden with which, with
mistaken kindness, it has been laden, while the lower limbs, in which
the circulation is most languid, and which require to be protected as
well as the chest, are frequently exposed to the air, and the foot is
covered with a shoe which is too thin to keep it dry. The consequence
of this arrangement is, that the child, oppressed by the weight of its
clothing, becomes overheated, and being cooled too hastily, catches
severe colds.

The habiliments of children cannot be too light in weight; and this is
perfectly consistent with a proper degree of warmth. Those parents are
greatly to blame who, influenced only by appearance, and the wish to
dress their children fashionably, add to the weight of their clothing
by introducing so much unnecessary fulness into the skirts.

The next point for consideration, and which is not inferior in
importance to the last, is the adaptation of the dress to the
movements and healthful development of the figure; and, strange to
say, this point is almost entirely overlooked by those who have the
management and control of children, although a few honest and sensible
medical men have raised their warning voices against the system now
pursued.

We hear every where of the march of intellect; we are perpetually told
that the schoolmaster is abroad; lessons and masters of all kinds are
endeavoring

    "To teach the young idea how to shoot;"

while the little delicate frame which is to bear all this mental labor
is left to the ignorance of mothers and nurses, and the tender mercies
of the dressmaker, who seems to think that the human frame is as
easily moulded into an imitation of those libels on humanity
represented in books of fashionable costume as the materials with
which she works. Would that we had powers of persuasion to convince
our readers how greatly these figures, with their excessively-small
waists, hands and feet, deviate from the actual proportions of
well-formed women! Unfortunately, the pinched waist is too common in
real life for those unacquainted with the proportions of the figure
not to think it one of the essential elements of beauty. So far,
however, from being a beauty, a small waist is an actual blemish.
Never, until the economy of the human frame is studied by all classes,
and a knowledge of the principles on which its beauties depend is
disseminated among all ranks, can we hope that just ideas will be
entertained on this subject.

If there is one thing in which the schoolmaster or the reformer
is more wanted than in another, it is in our dress. From our birth
to our death we are the slaves of fashion, of prejudice, and of
circumstances. The tender, unresisting infant, the delicate girl, the
mature woman, alike suffer from these evil influences; some fall
victims to them, others suffer during life. Let us consider the dress
of an infant. Here, however, it must be acknowledged that of late
years much improvement has taken place in some respects, although much
still remains to be done. Caps, with their trimming of three or four
rows of lace, and large cockades which rivalled in size the dear
little round face of the child, are discontinued almost entirely
within doors, though the poor child is still almost overwhelmed with
cap, hat, and feathers, in its daily airings, the additional weight
which its poor neck has to sustain never once entering into the
calculation of its mother and nurse. Fine feathers, it is said, make
fine birds. This may be true with respect to the feathered creation,
but it is not so with regard to children. They suffer from the
misplaced finery, and from the undue heat of the head. And yet the
head has, generally speaking, been better treated by us than the rest
of the body. When we look back upon the history of costume, it really
seems as if men--or women, shall we say?--had exercised their
ingenuity in torturing the human frame, and destroying its health and
vigor.

The American Indian compresses the tender skull of the infant, and
binds its little body on to a flat board; the Chinese squeezes the
feet of the females; the Italian peasants, following the custom of the
Orientals, still roll the infant in swathing bands; the little legs of
the child, that when left to its own disposal are in perpetual motion,
now curled up to the body, then thrust out their extreme length, to
the evident enjoyment of their owner, are extended in a straight line,
laid side by side, and bandaged together, so that the infant reminds
one in shape of a mummy. In this highly cultivated country we are
guilty towards our infants of practices quite as senseless, as cruel,
and as contrary to nature. The movements of the lower limbs, so
essential to the healthy growth of the child, are limited and
restrained, if not altogether prevented, by the great weight that we
hang upon them. The long petticoats, in which every infant in this
country has been for centuries doomed to pass many months of its
existence, are as absurd as they are prejudicial to the child. The
evil has of late years rather increased than diminished, for the
clothes are not only made much longer, but much fuller, so that the
poor victim has an additional weight to bear. Many instances can be
mentioned in which the long clothes have been made a yard and a
quarter long. The absurdity of this custom becomes apparent, if we
only imagine a mother or nurse of short statue carrying an infant in
petticoats of this length; and we believe that long clothes are always
made totally irrespective of the height of mother or nurse. Imagine
one or the other treading on the robe, and throwing herself and the
child down! Imagine, also, the probable consequences of such an
accident! And when one ventures to express doubts as to the propriety
of dressing an infant in long clothes, instead of arguments in their
favor, one is met by the absurd remark, "A baby looks so grand in long
clothes!" We have for some years endeavored, as far as our influence
extended, to put an end to this practice, and in some cases we have
so far succeeded as to induce the mother to short-coat the child
before it was three months old, and even previous to this period to
make the under garments of a length suited to the size of the child,
while the frock or robe, as it is called, retained the fashionable
length. The latter, being of fine texture, did not add considerably to
the weight of the clothes. Children who have the free use of their
limbs not only walk earlier than others, but are stronger on their
feet.

Another evil practice, which some years since prevailed universally,
was that of rolling a bandage, three inches in width, and two or three
yards in length, round the body of the child. The pain that such a
bandage, from its unyielding nature, would occasion, not to speak of
its ill effects on the health, may be readily imagined. This bandage
was, in fact, a kind of breaking in for the tight lacing, the penalty
which most females in this country have had, at some period or other,
to undergo.

There is no end of the inconsistencies of children's dress. If, in
early infancy, they are buried in long petticoats, no sooner can they
walk than the petticoats are so shortened that they scarcely cover the
child's back when it stoops. The human race has a wonderful power of
accommodating itself to a variety of temperatures and climates; but
perhaps it is seldom exposed to greater vicissitudes than in the
change from long clothes to the extremely short and full ones that are
now fashionable. The very full skirt is not so warm in proportion to
its length as one of more moderate fulness; because, instead of
clinging round the figure, it stands off from it, and admits the air
under it. The former is also heavier than the latter, inasmuch as it
contains more material; and the weight of the clothing is a great
disadvantage to a child. A sensible medical writer, Dr. John F. South,
in an excellent little work entitled "Domestic Surgery," makes some
very judicious observations relative to children's dress. Of the
fashion of dressing boys with the tunic reaching to the throat, and
trousers, which are both so loose as to offer no impediment to
freedom of motion, he approves; but he condemns, in the strongest
terms, "the unnatural"--Mr. South remarks he had almost said
"atrocious--system to which, in youth, if not in childhood, girls are
subjected for the improvement of their figure and gait."

It is fortunate for the present generation that it is the fashion
for the dresses of even little girls to be made as high as the
throat; the old fashion of cutting the frock low round the neck,
which still exists in what is called "full dress," is objectionable
on more than one account. In the first place, it is objected to on the
consideration of health; because the upper part of the chest is not
protected from the influence of currents of air, and by this means, as
Mr. South observes, the foundation is laid for irritable lungs. In the
next place, the dress is generally suffered to fall off the shoulders,
and is, in fact, only retained in its place by the tight band about
the waist. To avoid the uneasiness occasioned by the pressure of the
latter, the child slips its clothes off one shoulder, generally the
right, which it raises more than the other; the consequence of this
is, that the raised shoulder becomes permanently higher than the
other, and the spine is drawn towards the same side. It is said that
there is scarcely one English woman in fifty who has not one shoulder
higher or thicker than the other; and there appears but little doubt
that much of this deformity is to be ascribed to the above-mentioned
cause. In confirmation of this opinion, it may be mentioned that the
practice of wearing dresses low in the neck is almost peculiar to
English girls; French girls, nearly from infancy, wear high dresses,
and it is certain that deformity is not so frequent among French women
as it is among English.

The discipline of tight lacing is frequently begun so early in life,
that the poor victim has little or no recollection of the pain and
suffering occasioned by the pressure of the stiff and uncomfortable
stays before the frame has become accustomed to them. Those of our
readers who were fortunate enough to escape this infliction in early
life, and who adopted stiff stays at a more mature age, can bear
testimony to the suffering occasioned by them during the first few
weeks of their use. "O," said a girl who put on stiff stays, for the
first time, at the age of fourteen or fifteen, "I wish bedtime was
come, that I might take off these stiff and uncomfortable stays, they
pain me so much." "Hush, hush!" exclaimed a starch old maiden aunt,
shocked at what she thought the indelicacy of the expression which
pain had wrung from the poor girl; "you must bear it for a time; you
will soon get used to it." Used to it! Yes, indeed, as the cook said
the eels did to skinning, and with, as regards the poor girls, almost
as disastrous consequences.

There are three points of view in which tight lacing is prejudicial.
It weakens the muscles of the shoulders and chest, which rust, as it
were, for want of use; it injures, by pressure, the important organs
contained in the chest and trunk; and, lastly, instead of improving
the figure, it positively and absolutely deforms it. A waist
disproportionately small, compared with the stature and proportions of
the individual, is a greater deformity than one which is too large;
the latter is simply clumsy; it does not injure the health of the
person, while the former is not only prejudicial to health, but to
beauty. Were our fair readers but once convinced of this fact, there
would be an end of tight lacing; and the good results arising from the
abolition of this practice would be evident in the improved health of
the next generation.

What a host of evils follow in the steps of tight lacing! Indigestion,
hysteria, spinal distortion, consumption, liver complaints, disease of
the heart, cancer, early death!--these are a few of them, and enough
to make both mothers and daughters tremble. It is an aggravation of
the evil that is brought upon us frequently by the agency of a
mother--of her upon whose affection and experience a child naturally
relies in all things, and whose lamentable ignorance of what
constitutes beauty of form, as well as her subjection to the thraldom
of fashion, is the prolific source of so much future misery to her
unsuspecting daughter.

Education is the order of the day; but surely that education must be
very superficial and incomplete, of which the study of the economy of
the human form, its various beauties, and the wonderful skill with
which it was created, form no part. A girl spends several years in
learning French, Italian, and German, which may be useful to her
should she meet with French, Italians, or Germans, or should she visit
the continent; she spends three, four, five, and sometimes six hours a
day, in practising on the piano, frequently without having any real
talent for this accomplishment, while she is kept in utter ignorance
of that which is of vital consequence not only to herself, but to her
future offspring, namely, a knowledge of what constitutes true beauty,
and contributes to the preservation of health, and, we may also add,
of good humor and happiness; for it is one of the evils attending ill
health, that it frequently induces a fretful and irritable state of
mind. Instead of the really useful knowledge of the economy of the
frame, and the means of preserving health, girls are taught the
constrained attitudes and the artificial deportment of the dancing
master. The remark of Sir Joshua Reynolds on this subject has been
often quoted. He said, "All the motions of children are full of grace;
affectation and distortion come in with the dancing master." To
dancing itself there is not the slightest objection; it is at once an
agreeable and healthy occupation, and it affords a pleasing and
innocent recreation. The pleasure which most children take in it, in
spite of the "exercises" which they are compelled to practise, proves,
we think, its utility.

The treatment of the feet is on a par with that of the rest of the
body. The toes are thrust close together into a shoe, the shape of the
sole of which does not resemble that of the foot. It is generally
narrower than the foot, which, therefore, hangs over the sides. The
soles of children's shoes are, moreover, made alike on both sides,
whereas the inside should be nearly straight, and the width of the
sole should correspond exactly with that of the foot. Boots, which
have been so fashionable of late years, are very convenient, and have
a neat appearance, but they are considered to weaken the ankle,
because the artificial support which they give to that part prevents
the full exercise of the muscles, which waste from want of use. Shoes
should be cut short in the quarter, because the pressure necessary to
keep such shoes as are now worn on the feet will, in this case, be on
the instep instead of the toes, which will, by this arrangement, have
more room.

We shall conclude our observations on children's dress, considered in
a sanitary point of view, in the words of Mr. South. "If, then, you
wish your children, girls especially, to have the best chance of
health, and a good constitution, let them wear flannel next their
skin, and woollen stockings in winter; have your girls' chests covered
to the collar bones, and their shoulders _in_, not _out_ of their
dresses, if you would have them straight; and do not confine their
chests and compress their digestive organs by bone stays, or interfere
with the free movement of their chests by tight belts, or any other
contrivance, if you desire their lungs should do their duty, upon
which so mainly depends the preservation of health."--_Sharpe's London
Magazine._

                          ~   ~   ~   ~   ~

NOTE.--The Fig. 58, referred to on the top of page 59, is not found
in the plate; but the same style of dressing the hair may be seen in
Fig. 57.



Transcriber's Notes and Amendments:

Inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation retained:

  Ardene/Arderne
  Makrinitza/Markinitza
  Parmegianino/Parmegiano
  Sommæring/Sommaering
  Reville/Réville
  outdoor/out-door

  'Head Dress' on the title page was left un-hyphenated, as printed.

Amendments to the text as originally printed:

  List of Illustrations and Chapter VII (caption for plate XII.)
    '89, 90. From "Le Moniteur de la Mode,"' to
    '90, 91. From "Le Moniteur de la Mode,"'

  Chapter II.
    'The lady in the evening dress (Fig 49)' to
    'The lady in the evening dress (Fig. 49)'

  Chapter VI.
    'The materials of the drapery in the latter is' to
    'The materials of the drapery in the latter are'

  Chapter VII.
    'ribbon, artificial flowers. feathers,' to
    'ribbon, artificial flowers, feathers,'

    'the environs of Athens, (Fig. 49.)' to
    'the environs of Athens, (Fig. 47.)'





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