What did the fashionable lady wear in the autumn of 1860? The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine has the answer! And because November has had such a mild start, I guess the dress for October will still do.
“This dress is made either in silk or mohair. If in the first, the colours most favoured are still nut-brown or a deep sea-green. The skirt is made in an economical style, having a deep flounce attached to a short skirt. This flounce is headed with a ruche either of its own material, a darker shade of the same colour, or of black silk, cut on the cross and pinked at each edge. The sleeve is long, having a second smaller one, which is cut up two-thirds of its length, both being trimmed round with the same ruche, and having a bow attached at the top of the opening. The body is full, and has a large bow with long ends at the front of the waist. These bows are all made of the same silk as the ruche, and are also pinked at each edge. It is a common thing for many ladies to have by them some quantity of black silk, in the shape of mantles, or other things which have fallen into disuse from change of shape, which may be made servicable in this way without showing the least difference from new even to the most practised eye; and to such we recommend this application. When this dress is made of mohair, it may be either of a plain colur or a small check, either of which suits the style remarkably well.
As the autumn season brings with it many of the social parties which, while they put the balldress quite out of the question, yet demand a toilette of simple elegance, we will here mention one which is taking the lead in Paris on similar occasions. It consists of a muslin, either white or with a small pattern, or of a barège made with a double skirt, the under one being trimmed with six narrow flounces, simply hemmed; the upper one with three. The sleeve consists of a large puff set into a band just large enough to pass over the hand and encircle the arm half way between the wrist and the elbow, and having a lace turned up over it. A fichu of net and lace covers the body, which is low. A broad ribbon bow, figured with bouqets, having long ends, is attached to the waist. Sometimes this bow is of black or coloured silk, pinked at each edge; but this is matter of taste.
For the promenade, the chief articles are jackets and mantles of striped cloth. The first of these are made large and simple, having a peculiarity in the sleeve, which is cut extremely wide, and put in large plaits into the arm-hole, from whence it falls quite unconfined. This jacket has also a small collar and pockets.”