Friday, September 10, 2010

Children's Costumes

Philadelphia, January 1850


THE expediency of children's parties is a question not yet set at rest by the magazines and journals devoted to nursery tactics; but as, in the mean time, children will enjoy themselves after this fashion, and there are mothers indulgent enough to gratify them, we give a plate of some of the prettiest costumes Parisian taste and elegance have copied or invented. Those who are anti to these amusements, can but acknowledge that, apart from all interest as a model, the plate possesees much merit as a picture. It is in this the French excel so wonderfully; and by this test, a real French fashion plate is easily distinguishable. The figures are not placed merely as wooden blocks to support the costumes, but are pretty women and graceful children – grouped effectively end naturally. How different from the coarse, native imitations one frequently sees in the cheap magazines; where two tall, stiff females stand bolt upright, doing nothing, staring at space, and as unlike real life or animate beings as were the performers in Mrs. Jarvis's "wax-work show." It is useless to deny it; from the days of the Virgin Queen to our own time, the French, and they alone, have set the fashions for half the world. And no wonder, for their artistes compose, and are well paid for their genius as well as their time. In this group, for instance, note, if you will, the stateliness of the miniature Queen Bess, in her rut and brocaded gown. With what an air of majesty she surveys her little subjects, listening while the hurdy-gurdy girl presents her petition! The wandering minstrel herself, whose eloquence has affected Titania to a half-sorrow-ful silence, while she leans gracefully upon the arm of that spruce young pilgrim! The peasant girl, at the head of the group, is evidently considering how much of the coin jingling in her apron pocket she can afford to bestow; and the tiny, crimson-robed maid of honor, perhaps, wishes she could afford to be liberal. The salaries of these demoiselles are never too large, as we all know. Last, but not least, Tom Pouce, mounted on his green-velvet footstool, attired as a gentleman of the old school, is stretching forward his little head, as if he would like to know what all this fuss is about. These costumes, though, at first sight, seeming so costly, can be easily arranged at very little expense. Any mother, with ordinary taste and ingenuity, could do so with few purchases; and, as the dress is worn but once or twice at most, there is not much matter about the length of stitches. Indeed, a very pretty costume has been finished with the aid of pins alone. " Grown-up" parties are relieved of much stiffness by the present fashion of fancy costumes; and either of those given for children, can be made to suit older people.

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