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Elegant Victorian dresses from 1859, from antique fashion magazines – with authentic color schemes

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From the Editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1859:

A few words about the “fashions”

Try, my dear young friends, to cultivate your talents to bear a good proportion to your skeletons. Expand your kindly feelings and warm affections in the family circle and the widest social range; invite good humor and benevolence to become permanent guests in the inner chamber of your hearts; then be assured you will be lovely and beloved, whatever externals fashion may require you to assume.

La Bruyere says, very prettily: “Virtue has the good luck to suffice to herself. She can do without admirers, partisans, and patrons. The want of assistance and praise not only does her no harm, but it preserves her, improves her, and renders her more perfect. Let her be in fashion or out of fashion, she is still virtue.”

Fashion history: Dress styles from January 1859, in color

Dinner dress of peach blossom silk; the skirt double, and trimmed by a cordon of passementerie, mixed black and peach color.

Walking dress of fawn-colored silk; the skirt in three deep flounces, trimmed by narrow ruche puffings of black silk. Bonnet of garnet velvet and black lace, with a black plume.

Evening dress of rich groseille-colored silk, with a polka spot in black velvet. Corsage low, marking the evening dress.

Fashion history: Dress styles from January 1859, in color


Elegant Victorian walking & carriage dresses from February 1859

Walking dress of blue poplin. White uncut velvet bonnet, with bands of tartan plaid. The fullness of the skirt is arranged in two broad plaits, trimmed to correspond.

Carriage dress of peach blossom silk, shot with black.

Walking dress of dark brown cashmere, with bands of plaid velvet ribbon and fringe to correspond. Bonnet of brown uncut velvet, with black lace and blue ribbon.

Dress of fawn-colored reps, with double skirt; the upper one has quilles formed by a breadth of the silk gathered into a double puff, by a drawing through the center. Sleeves puffed lengthwise, with a jockey and cuff of groseille silk. Cap of white cambric, with ribbon to correspond with the decorations of the dress.

Elegant Victorian walking & carriage dresses from February 1859

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Vintage walking dresses from March 1859, in color

Dress of green moire antique, a new and peculiar shade. Corsage plain and round, ornamented with tassels. Sleeves in four puffs, commencing at the shoulder. Double skirt; the upper one ornamented with loops of heavy cord and tassels.

Dress of mauve-colored silk; the body, sleeves, and upper skirt trimmed with a plaid silk or poplin, in black and white cheques. Bonnet of violet silk, with Perms violets, purple and gold, the same colors.

Walking dress of fawn-colored silk. Double skirt; a trimming of green plaid ribbon. A mantle of heavy black silk, shawl shaped, with rounded point; trimming black lace, heading a row of fringe the same depth.

Vintage walking dresses from March 1859, in color


Fashion history: Carriage dress styles from April 1859

It is needless to say that these costumes are a glimpse into the coming season.

Carriage-dress of pale fawn-colored challais shaded with black. The upper skirt, sleeves, and corsage are trimmed with blue ribbon, set on plain; a bow of the same loops the tunic skirt to the right and ornaments the sleeve.

Home dress of brown ducal.

Carriage dress of figured India muslin, with a double skirt.

Walking dress for the country. Plain skirt, and brown and black mohair in horizontal stripes.

Fashion history: Carriage dress styles from April 1859


Elegant Victorian dresses for dinner for May 1859

The piazza promenade, suitable for a watering place. Dinner dress of white grenadine, with a large raindrop pattern in Rose des Alpes — the lightest shade of groseille. It has two skirts, both trimmed by a puffing of the material, put on in reversed hollow plaits. Mantle of white muslin. Leghorn hat, the Clotilde, with a wreath of English daisies without foliage, around the crown, and a fall of black lace on the brim; face trimming of ribbon.

Dress of mauve-colored silk. Bonnet of drawn silk, a bright Pomona green; blonde veil.

Dinner or evening dress, suited to the same wear, for a young lady in her first season “out.” The silk is of the favorite shade, Alpine rose, made with exquisite simplicity.

Dress of white organdy. The skirt has a deep flounce from the waist almost to the knee. Scarf mantle of black silk. Headdress of ruby velvet.

Elegant Victorian dresses for dinner for May 1859

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Elegant antique evening dresses from June 1859

Dinner-dress for a watering-place; also suitable for a small evening gathering. The material Is a light glace or summer silk, not heavy, but lustrous; it has broad alternate stripes of white and apple, or Pomona green, edged by a narrow lace pattern in black. There are two skirts; the upper one has a woven side pattern in diamonds, which are ornamented by light sewing silk tassels.

Dress of white tarleton, with two flounces; the upper one being gathered into the waist; both have dahlia trimming of pink ribbon.

Walking dress of purple and white Batiste, with a mantle of the same. Light capeline of drawn white silk, with a wreath of wildflowers.

Walking dress for a country ramble. The dress itself is of russet-colored mohair, plain and full.

Elegant antique evening dresses from June 1859


Fashion history: Walking & dinner dress styles from July 1859

Chiefly noticeable for the out of door wraps, which would make a stroll on the piazza, or hard beach sands, just possible in evening dress. The dress itself is of white muslin, with wrought flounces of delicate needlework.

Walking dress of mohair, in narrow stripes, brown and white.

Dinner dress of white grenadine, trimmed by a broad ribbon, Alpine rose in color; fringe of the same.

Dress of pale stone-colored barege, with a polka spot in satin trimmed with Eugenie blue ribbon.

Fashion history: Walking & dinner dress styles from July 1859


Vintage steel fashion plate with evening gowns & visiting dresses for August 1859

Dinner dress, a richly printed organdie. The skirt is covered by short flouuces, a style rather in advance of the double skirt, for thin materials; the sleeves are trimmed to correspond; the corsage plain and high, with a fichu of the same material. Sash of broad white ribbon.

Visiting dress of barege Anglaise.

Evening dress of white Tarleton, with a double skirt, looped up by a cordon of fine flowers and foliage.

Evening dress of plain white organdie. The skirt in narrow flounces, the edge of each having a puff through which a ribbon is drawn.

Vintage steel fashion plate with evening gowns & visiting dresses for August 1859


Elegant Victorian dresses from September 1859

Street dress of rich brown taffeta (thick silk); the lower skirt is finished by a deep flounce, the upper one is in the style of a tunic. Round corsage, with sash open sleeves. White crepe bonnet, bound with Sevres blue.

Dress of delicate French gray challais, double skirt; the outline of the upper one slightly waved.

Walking dress and mantle of black silk.

Dress suited for the earlier part of the month. Dress of rose-colored grenadine, with bars made by a black corded thread. Upper skirt and corsage trimmed by a ruche of ribbon, a shade deeper than the dress, bordered by lace.

Elegant Victorian dresses from September 1859, in color

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Fashion history: Walking, carriage & dinner dress styles from October 1859

Walking dress of French gray cashmere reps, with double skirt. A broad quilling of velvet ribbon extends from the shoulder to the wrist, down the forearm. Velvet waistband, gold buckle.

Dress of lustrous black silk, intended for general wear; bell-shaped sleeves, round corsage.

Carriage or dinner dress of peach-colored taffeta, reps, or corded with black. The upper skirt and cape are edged with a very rich fleece and chenille fringe.

Dress of tan d’or, or golden tan color — a favorite shade in taffeta and woolen goods the present season. Ornaments of the silk edged by narrow black lace and velvet.

Fashion history: Walking, carriage & dinner dress styles from October 1859


Elegant antique dresses from November 1859

Cloak of black velvet, lined with saffron-colored satin, richly quilted. Dress of taffeta, striped in currant color and black.

Bishop’s cloak, gray cloth trimmed by narrow velvet and grelots, belted to the figure at the waist.

Extremely rich velvet mantle, set into a round body, or yoke, in large flat plaits. Bonnet of groseille velvet.

Dress of blue taffeta, with full double skirt. Combination cloak of gray and brown cloth, and entirely new style. Bonnet of rose pink silk and black lace.

Elegant antique dresses from November 1859, from antique fashion magazines


Fashion history: Elegant Victorian dress styles from December 1859

One of those characteristic tunic dresses, introduced of late, and notable for their novelty at least. Underskirt or petticoat of white silk, covered by innumerable small flounces. Tunic and corsage of blue satin; sleeves of white silk, with a ruche of blue; berthe trimmed with point lace.

Robe with a double skirt, a broché pattern of purple Prussian flowers and leaves on a white ground. The upper skirt has, besides the pattern, a puff of the same, caught on each side by a narrow velvet ribbon, and edged with blonde. The berthé quite new or in style, and the sleeves are composed of blonde and purple velvet ribbon. Bouquet of passion flowers.

Tunic dress; petticoat of white satin drawn into diamond-shaped puffs by crossings of currant-colored taffeta, with a fall of blonde, blonde sleeves and berthe. Wreath of currant and green leaves.

Tarleton dress for a young lady, the whole formed of puffs; corsage cut square; coral ornaments. Strands of coral in the hair.

Fashion history Elegant antique dresses from each month of 1859, in color (2)

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