[FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT]
IT would be easier to say what is not than what is worn this year. We will first establish the fact that the polonaise has triumphed over all the assaults that have been made on it, that long skirts are more in disfavor than ever, and that the few that have been attempted are packed away in trunks to wait and see what can be done with them next winter.
Now that we are quite certain of retaining the polonaise, which for a moment was doubtful, there in a perfect furor in its behalf; it is made of all sizes and shapes - short, long, full, scanty, open, and close; but the essential point is that it is worn always and every where, of all fabrics and colors, and for evening toilettes as well as walking suits.
Laces have regained immense popularity, and every article of lace is put in use; hut as the permanence of this favor is not assured, people take care to use their laces without cutting them. I will give a few examples of the way in which this as done.
A point of black Chantilly lace can be made into a mantelet or a tunic; for the first, take the point in the middle of the upper edge, slip it down to the bottom of the waist (I must not forget to say that this arrangement can only be done on the person herself or a lay figure), and then, at the bottom of the waist, make several pleats, which are fastened to the belt; put three lappets underneath, make two pleats on the sides and two in the middle, and the mantelet is finished.
To transform the point into a tunic, reverse it in such a manner that the lower point comes at the top; fold this point back on itself, and pleat it so as to form of the part thus folded a pleated basque. The front ends of the lace point are then draped and trimmed with bows. A lace fichu worn on the corsage completes the toilette. I specify these two styles, but there are a hundred different ways of transforming points either into manteletes or tunics. The simplest as well as the least expensive and most convenient of all is to take the point with both hands in the middle of the back and gather it up until it is of the size of a large fichu, then to put it on the waist, cross the ends in front, and tie them carelessly behind, either at the waist or lower down on the dress if the point is large enough. The pleats are fastened on the top, at the back of the neck, with a large pin, which is concealed by a bow of black ribbon with long ends.
Ribbons are worn more than ever : in front, behind, on both shoulders, and on one shoulder alone. Madame Emile de Girardin used to say that ribbons were the emblem and most beautiful ornament of woman, and that she could not wear too many of them. I do not agree with her, at least as to the second part of her opinion, and think that just now almost too many of them are worn. They are made of all imaginable and hitherto unimaginable kinds - half moire and half faille, or half faille -and half gauze, rather thick, with fine satin stripes that look like streaks of lightning traversing the color; of two shades on dresses of the same tints, dark violet or dark blue on one side, and light violet or light blue on the other; of two different colors, to suspend a medallion or cross from the neck, black on one side and the color of the dress on the other - that is, grey, blue., or green; in short, ribbons are made even of ecru coutil with white stripes, or else with ecru and white squares.
Children's dresses are extremely fanciful, judging from the following type of a dress lately made for a girl of from ten to twelve years old: Black boots and blue stockings. Half-short dress, showing the stockings, of black taffetas with high waist and long, almost tight sleeves. The skirt is trimmed with a single pleated flounce. Polonaise of white muslin de laine, open in front over the black waist and skirt, and trimmed on the edge with a narrow blue velvet ribbon set between two similar ribbons of black velvet, and a fringe of alternate blue and white tassels. Black straw hat, trimmed with a torsade of blue and white ribbon, and a cluster of three feathers on the side, the first black, the second blue, and the third white.
English embroidery is very much used for trimming dresses for children of all ages, seldom, however, of the color of the material, except on white; for instance, Ecru and dark blue are used on white; Ecru is also used on red or blue.
Every day literally we see new fabrics appear; there are lace grenadines with lace designs running over the grenadine ground, brocaded grenadine: and grenadine with tufted stripes. This last fabric is one of the prettiest and most original of this rich season. It is generally made of. two shades;. the darker shade is reserved for the satin stripe, and forms small tufts which are separated by a small space. In light and dark brown the effect of this fabric is charming. There are also new challies, with wide stripes alternately satin and rough -surfaced, and of a pale ecru tint; these challies, which never fray, are made into polonaises, which are worn over silk skirts of all kinds, even black, and also black velvet.
As to bonnets, alas! they are no longer bonnets, or even shakos, but church spires, higher and more overloaded than ever. 'There is no perceptible difference between bonnets and round hats; their height and even shape are the same. In general they match the dress with which they are worn, and are made, like it, of two shades or colors like those used for the dress. The veil is rather long and square, and falls in front over the bust.
Jet and, in general, glass bends of all colors are much used for the embroidery which trims very rich dresses. Ecru fabrics are embroidered with garnet or blue turquoise beads; and gray fabrics with violet, garnet, or blue beads. This kind of embroidery, of course, is executed only on summer silks, with the exception of black grenadine, which is richly embroidered with jet.