Sunday, March 3, 2013

Strands of Bronze and Gold Blog Tour: Top Ten Fashions of the 1850's! GIVEAWAY

Today begins the official blog tour for the hottly anticipated, Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson!

Top Ten Must-Haves for the Fashionable 1850’s Young Lady:

10.  A finishing school puts the polish on a well-bred young lady—Not much emphasis on the academics; after all, one does not want to make a blue-stocking out of a girl. Or…does one? Some luscious novels are being published right now. Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Anthony Trollope are all writing a book a year in this decade. Harriet Beecher Stowe has just penned Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Elizabeth Gaskill is a current favorite author. There’s some lovely Gothics coming out, such as Charlotte Yonge’s The Heir of Redclyffe and Charlotte Bronte’s Villette.

9. Essential Accessories—

This stylish young lady wears charming accessories, including a sheer pelerine, brooch, contrasting belt, lace cuffs under the sleeves, and dainty bracelets.

Jewelry woven from hair, often belonging to the dear departed.

Other finishing touches in use are chatelaines, detachable collars and cuffs, shawls, gloves or mitts, wrist and neck ribbons, parasols, beaded reticules, silk stockings, and fans. 

8. Fun Footwear—

7. Delightful Diversions—There are any number of suitable pastimes for a young lady. She may practice the domestic arts such as cooking. She may do needlework, sketch, play the piano, write in a diary, play chess, or create a scrapbook. She may enjoy archery, horseback riding, calisthenics walking. Museums, concerts, church meetings, and paying calls provide suitable outings. A young lady may craft charming handicrafts such as painted china, boxes, and picture frames, dried or wax flower arrangements, and hair art. She may also produce amateur theatricals and tableaux vivants.

6. Scrumptious Headwear—
Snoods, hair combs, and fresh flowers are modish, and re-trimming bonnets is a pleasant diversion.

5. A dapper Young Man on a lady’s arm, preferably wearing checkered trousers, which are à la ode, is certainly a pleasant addition.

4. Beautifully arranged Hair--
These sisters illustrate two favorite styles—start with a sleek center part, then add ringlets or a smooth chignon. Naturally curly hair must first be straightened by means of hot combs and sweet oil.

How NOT to wear your hair--This lady’s corkscrew ringlets got out of hand.

3. Invitations-- to picnics, dinners, musical evenings, concerts, balls, socials (complete with parlor games like Blind Man’s Bluff, Charades, and Hide and Seek), buggy or sleigh rides, candy stews, the theater.

2.  Hoops and Corsets—
Comparative sizes of “belles.”

The increasing size of the hoop makes for endless jokes and cartoons, but young ladies love the charming silhouette, as well as the cool breezes that waft up under the skirt in hot weather.

Everyone has an opinion about tight lacing. Those who are anti-corset claim it is prompted by vanity and foolishness, and is harmful to health. Those who are pro-corset argue that it is required for stylish dress and has its own unique pleasures. One young lady declares, in the St. Paul Daily Globe, “You cannot look smart and have a pretty figure without stays. It is impossible.” Of course fainting couches and smelling salts are necessities, and young ladies are instructed in the most elegant mode of fainting.

1. Specific Clothing for every occasion and time of day. 

Morning Gown
Mourning Gown
Geometric patterns such as checks, blocks, ginghams, plaids, polka dots, and stripes are in style. Favorite fabrics are taffetas, glacés, moirés, challis, and cashmere. 

Riding Habits
Walking Dress
In April 1857 Godey's editors write that current colors include "black and delicate shades of purple, green, blue, stone color, brown, and lavender." They also support the wearing of subdued reds, but add that "No lady with any pretensions to taste should ever wear a dress of crimson, scarlet, or any of the violent plaids." Oriental designs, plaids (popular because of Queen Victoria’s penchant for Scotland), and pagoda sleeves are all the rage.

Day Gown
Evening Gown
Evening Gown
Exquisite and unusual trimmings are in vogue. This evening gown is embroidered with beetle wings. Iridescent fish scales are also popular.

If the 1850’s young lady has all these accoutrements, she cannot help but be popular!

Enter to Win:

*All photographs from


Angela's Anxious Life said...

I think the dresses were beautiful.. but that's about it. hahaha!!

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

Love the pictures of these dresses! I'm anti-corset, being of the opinion that health is more important than vanity, but I do like imagining wearing some of them for their intended occasion.

Anonymous said...

The page looks great. Thanks Gabrielle.

gracelo said...

Omg, possibly the best tour post I've ever seen. I love the Morning/Mourning gowns!

erin said...

How did they wear those! Bleh! Thanks for the fun post

eljohno said...

Those dresses look like a lot of fun--but then I think of how I can barely be bothered to hang up my clothes, or pick out an appropriate shirt and pants--and I think all of those layers and accessorizing would be way too much work!

Emily said...

What a great post! It is very different from others that I have seen. I love all of the pictures! It is fun to imagine what it would have been like to live back then. I do love the dresses!

Unknown said...

Favorite fairytale retelling: Cinderella (Cinder).

gracelo said...

Oops, forgot what was required in the raffle! My favourite retelling would have to be Kill Me Softly, a retelling of mostly Bluebeard but also a ton of other obscure and not-so-obscure fairy tales!

Leeanna said...

I am so grateful to be living now! There's no way I could dress like that every day.

Bewitched reader said...

I have a few books that I have ordered that are a fairytale retelling but haven't read them yet. So far I don't have a favorite but I'm sure I will really soon! And those dresses and shoes and all that are very beautiful! Thank you so much for a chance to win your giveaway!!

aLilLacey said...

I lover seeing old pictures like that! Great fashion sense. : ) and fairy tales...hmm sleeping beauty is always lovely no matter how she's told

Sea Glass said...

Just came across your blog, very nice! Entwined is my favorite fairy tale retelling.

Stitchin in the Sip said...

I like the new Cinder.

Karen said...

Mine would be Jessica Day George's retelling trilogy of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Cinderella, and Red Riding Hood.

tfalick said...

I love everything about those days. It's an obsession of mine. Great post! !!

tfalick said...

Loving this post! I have a weird obsession with that time period. The dresses were out of this world beautiful, but I can't even imagine how restrictive! Yikes!

tfalick said...

I have a weird obsession with that time period! Love your post! The dresses were out of this world beautiful! But I can't even imagine how restrictive! Yikes!

tfalick said...

I have a weird obsession with that time period! Love your post! The dresses were out of this world beautiful! But I can't even imagine how restrictive! Yikes!

usagi, said...

My favorite fairy retelling. That's pretty hard. Currently it's a toss-up of Francesca Lia Block's "The Rose and the Beast" (Beauty and the Beast) and Marissa Meyer's "Lunar Chronicles" (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood).

Unknown said...

I thought the shoes looked very narrow, then I saw the picture of the waist. Yikes!

I love the book Kissing The Witch by Emma Donoghue.

Vickie said...

Fairy tale retellings. Let me see...I really like some of Alex Flinn's retellings. I love, love, love Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix! Thanks for the giveaway!

kristy1504 said...

Hmmm I love Alex Flinn's Beastly and of course Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted! Thanks for the great giveaway!