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Scottish Women in Bygone Days
How Scottish Women were Dressed

WOMEN must rejoice in the knowledge that in one period they were, if not perfect, at least "amiable, good and charitable," "modest in appearance and deportment," though to be sure they must mourn that this state was never in their day. It is always in the past that woman, her dress and her manners, were perfect; her mother, or, better still, her grandmothers appeared to live in a golden age, and a halo rests round these days. But draw aside the veil and you will see that criticism was ever rife ; in all ages woman is ever going down-hill. She has stepped off her pedestal and is sliding downwards.

In 1789 a certain Mr. Brown, forerunner of modern critics, minister of the Gospel at Glasgow, bewails "the growing extravagance in women’s dress." Mr. Arnold, another writer, in 1790 laments that the lower are aping the middle class and the latter copying the rich. "Fifty years ago," he says, "few females wore scarlet or silk, but now nothing is more common than silk and capes and cloaks, and women in a middling position are now as fine as ladies of quality were formerly."

Mrs. Piozzi, writing to her dear and learned Doctor Johnson, exclaims :—" The women of pleasure are more impudent than the gentlemen. The ladies vie with them in dress, or rather undress, dancing in the style of Eastern girls in a seraglio." So young ladies of the twentieth century may comfort themselves that in "the good old days when women were modest and retiring," one of their own sex can thus describe them. Mrs. Delaney, writing in 1729, says :—" Sure the women were never so audacious as they are now; this may be called the brazen age"; and Hannah More continues the dirge. In a letter to her sister, she writes :—" The old are growing young and seventy dresses like seventeen."

Whether women were better or worse we know not; of this we may be sure, they were from early days fond of dress. The love of finery, the implicit following of fashions, is no modern development. In early days men were as blind followers of Dame Fortune as were women, and both sexes spent money they could ill afford in decking themselves in the newest and most fashionable clothes. Throughout the middle ages men vied with women in wearing bright clothes. These clothes were made of wool, silk or satin, velvet and camelot, and richly embroidered. Fashions altered then as now, but the rich of all countries followed the same fashion and were dressed alike.

If we want to know what our ancestors wore we have but to look up the old records, study picture-galleries, or pause before some ancient tomb, where we may see the lady tricked out in the exact fashion of the day, and however uncomfortable she may be, true to her character and the teaching of the day, she lies patiently waiting for the great rising, and we can see in her effigy the exact picture of a bygone age.

Later on, advertisements in journals and papers shew us what our ancestors bought, and what was fashionable.

In early days we find women of the upper class wore white woollen robes, and jackets without sleeves. On public occasions we read they were clothed "in a parti-coloured sacque or plaid of fine texture, and wore on their necks chains of gold." Jewellery, such as rings, brooches and chains, were much worn by the fashionable ladies. Also they paid much attention to their footwear, termed " crakows" ; this was a kind of shoe of light wood, covered with velvet or silk, ornamented with silver buckles. These crakows had long tapering toes, which were called "poulaines."

A male dandy wore shoes whose velvet toes measured from eight to twelve inches beyond the foot. The toes had to be firmly stuffed to keep them in shape. Ladies’ toes were also long, but not as long as men’s.

Much attention was paid to gloves, generally worn for hunting or for riding. They were embroidered with silk and jewels. Ladies in the fifteenth century, as now, had shingled hair, wore cloche hats and affected low necks.

In the fifteenth century women wore kirtle and stomacher, gown and tippet. The kirtle was an indoors dress; it was tight-fitting, and enveloped the body from neck to heel. The material used was wool, silk or velvet. Small waists were much admired, and ladies vied with one another in conforming to this fashion. Over the kirtle and enclosing the breast came the stomacher, composed of satin or of velvet and lined with fur. The gown was a loose garment open in the front and exhibiting the stomacher and kirtle. The tippet was a species of collar, made of fur and lined with satin; it enclosed the neck and rested upon the shoulders.

The head-dress or turret was the English steeple hat, the forerunner of the cloche. It was a steeple tapering from the broad base which encircled the head to a point that varied from six to twelve inches and even more. It was made to look like two horns, and was covered with coloured velvet or silk, and had at the peak a bunch of white muslin or silk that drooped to the ground behind or was caught around the shoulder and tucked under the chin.

Over the brim, so as to cover the hair, was a broad band of silk, called the fillet. At the back of the head near the neck the hair was closely cut, or, we should now say, shingled.

The head-dress varied between height and breadth (steeple and sideways). The simplest form of the side-dressing consisted in the hair being swelled out into the form of a caul on each side of the head, which was richly cased in a network of gold and covered with jewels. At times this was carried out sideways to a great length, and formed into the shape of a barrel.

These fashions appear to have been perpetually changing—each going out for a short period and then returning, and sometimes turret or horizontal dressings were used contemporaneously, so it is difficult to fix any exact period for each. From the allusions in the poets and other popular writers we know that horned head-dresses were in use in the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth centuries. During the end of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth century they were an object of bitter satire to the writers.

Addison, in the eighteenth century, says: "There is not so variable a thing in nature as a lady’s head-dress: within my own memory I have known it rise and fall above thirty degrees." When the low head-dressing came in he remarks: "The whole sex is in a manner dwarfed and shrunk into a race of beauties that seems almost another species. I remember several ladies who were once very near seven foot high, that at present want some inches of five. How they came to be thus curtailed I cannot learn; whether the whole sex be at present under any penance which we know nothing of, or whether they have cast their head-dresses in order to surprise us with something in that kind which shall be entirely new . . . . is still a secret; though I find most are of opinion they are at present like trees lopped and pruned that will certainly sprout up and flourish with greater heads than before."

The common dress of ladies in the fifteenth century was a very long gown trailing on the ground, with hanging sleeves. The satirists accused the ladies of this time of having their dress open so low before and behind as to expose to view the naked back and breast to an indecent degree.

Fashions were the same in all countries, and habits much the same. A French moralist gives his views upon the dress of his day. This would apply to all civilized lands :— "One manner of spoiling and abusing one’s vestments is the form, which as regards women I consider in four parts. The first is the head, which used to be horned, but is now mitred—the mitres are the shape of chimneys .—and the more beautiful and the younger the wearers are, the higher chimneys they carry. . . . The battlements to combat God above are the fine webs of silk, the beautiful figures, the gold, the silver, the pearls, sometimes precious stones and rich embroidery. . . . The lances are the great forked pins; the arrows are the little pins. The shield is the large forehead stripped of hair. . [It was the fashion in this century to pluck out the hair round the forehead, so as to make it appear larger.] The second is the great standard which they carry, this great loose kerchief which hangs down jusques a leur derriere; it is a sign that the devil has gained the Castle against God; for when the men at arms gain a place, they hoist their flag upon it. Another evil is the body. By detestable vanity ladies of rank now cause their robes to be made so low in the breast and so open on the shoulders, that we may see nearly the whole bosom and all their shoulders, and much below down their backs; and so tight in the waist that they can scarcely respire in them, and often suffer great pain by it, in order to make their body small. And if it is said in defence, that though they do not cover their breast and neck with their robes, they cover it with something else, I answer that the covering is only vanity, for they cover it with a stuff so loose that one may see the flesh completely through it. The third evil is in the tail. They make them such long tails, that I see in them four great evils. The first is useless waste. What is the use of that great heap of cloth and fur and of silk which drags on the ground, and is often the cause of the loss of the robe, and of the time which must be employed to clean these long tails, as well as of the patience of the servants? . . . The fourth evil is when they cause to be made for their feet shoes which are so small that they can scarcely walk in them, whereby they have frequently their feet lamed, sore and full of corns."

Dunbar, the distinguished poet of the fifteenth century, describes a lady and her dress thus:

She clothes her in a kirtle of fine red,
A fair white curch she puts upon her head;
Her kirtle was of silk and silver fine,
Her other garments as the red gold did shine;
On every finger she wears ringes two,
She was proud as any popingo."

In these lines we have a good picture of the Scottish dame of fashion.

The sleeveless jacket worn over the woollen dress was copied from the surcote of the knight—a linen garment thrown over the armour by the Crusaders, who found the hot sun shining on their armour stifling, and adopted this garment to protect them from the sun.

Although poverty prevented the Scots from making as fine a display as their Southern neighbours, yet they spent vast sums upon clothes and on occasion could muster a brave show. The nobility and gentry of Scotland always prided themselves upon their appearance in public.

A description of Lady Margaret Tudor of England’s entrance into Scotland to wed King James IV. says:

"Thus this fayre ladie was conveyed with a great company of lordes, ladies, knightes, esquires and gentlemen till shee came to Berwike, and from thence to a village called Lambreton Kyrke, in Scotland, where the King with the floure of Scotland was readie to receave her, to whom the Erle of Northumberland according to his commission delyvered her. The Scottes that day, I assure you, were not behind the Englishemen, but farre above, both in apparell and rich jewels and massey chaynes . . . Then was this ladie conveyed to the town of Edinburgh, and there the day after King James IV. in the presence of all his nobilitie espoused the sayde fayre Princesse, and feasted the English Lordes, and showed to them Joustes and other pastimes, very honourably, after the fashion of his rude country. When all things were done and finished according to their commission, the Erle of Surrey with all the English Lordes and Laydies returned into their countrie, giving more praise to the manhood than to the good manner and nurture of Scotland." [Grafton’s Chronicle, 1569.]

The King, much to his subjects’ satisfaction, cut a fine figure in white satin figured with gold, with crimson hose and velvet doublet. The marriage and festivities were said to have been the most magnificent spectacle ever witnessed in Edinburgh. The bride was fourteen years of age. It was through this alliance that ultimately the Union of the Crowns was effected.

Throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries all dresses were made by men, though women from the earliest days did the embroidery. Wages in these days were not extortionate. The English tailor who "translated" two gowns for the Queen of James IV. was paid eight shillings Scots, [Eight shillings Scots=eightpence sterling.] and for mending two of her kirtles and making her hose another received eight shillings Scots.

In those early days fortunes were spent on apparel; so widespread and extravagant had fashion in dress become in all the civilized countries that special statutes had to be passed dealing with the matter. The clergy were enrolled to denounce extravagance, and to remonstrate with their flock, men and women who were spending out of all proportion upon personal adornment. The clergy thundered forth denunciations, the lawmakers made laws, all in vain.

In 1429 the Scottish Parliament passed a statute forbidding all except lords and knights of 200 merks of yearly rent and their heirs to wear silks, furs, broidery, pearls or bullion, and they were to restrain themselves to honest array with collars, belts, brooches and chains. Alack, so deeply was the love of finery engrained in the human heart that the laws were scarcely more efficacious than had been the clergy! Wives of yeomen and commoners were ordered to wear no dresses with long trains, no side-rucked hoods, no bag sleeves, or costly curches of lawn; these women flouted the law, which was repeated on various occasions and was followed by one in 1457 which was directed against the merchants and their spouses, whose love of silk, costly scarlet gowns and gowns with fur of martens, they were to curb and to leave off the said gowns. Everyone, then as now, wore as costly clothes as they could afford, or wore them even if they could not afford it, bartering away land and credit to do this. During the reign of Mary, various enactments were made in Parliament relating to women’s dress. In December, 1567, it was enacted that no woman should dress above her station.

The dresses of the ladies of rank were rendered costly by the addition of great quantities of jewels in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

When Queen Mary of Scotland was prisoner in the Castle of Loch Leven in 1567, she wrote a letter to Sir Robert Melville asking for some clothes to be forwarded to her, which was grudgingly done a year after the request was made.

She wrote: "Ye shall not fail to send with this bearer to me half-ell of blue satin, also cause Servais, my Concierge (keeper of the Queen’s wardrobe), send me more twined silk gif there rests any, and sewing gold and sewing silver, also ane doublet and skirts of white satin, ane other incarnat, ane other of black satin, and the skirts with them. Send no skirt with the red doublet. Also ane loose gown of taffateis; also ye shall send the gown and the other clothes, that I bade the Lady Lethington gar send me. And also ye shall not fail to send my maidens’ clothes, for they are naked, and marvel ye have not sent them since your departing fra me, together with the camaraige (cambric) and linen cloth whereof I gave you ane memorial, and gif the shone (shoes) be not ready made, cause send them with some other after." [The Melvilles. Fraser.]

Poor Queen, having to beg for her own clothes to be sent to her!

Fashions changed less in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but still swung back and forwards. High heads, low heads, extended hoops, no hoops, etc.

Miss Mure, [Family Papers at Caldwell.] born in 1714, in her Reminiscences, gives a vivid picture of dress about, 1740. "At the time I mention hoops were worn constantly four yards and a half wide, which required much silk to cover them; and gold and silver was much used for trimming, never less than three rows round the petticoat; so that though the silk was slight the price was increased by the trimming. Then the heads were all dressed in laces from Flanders; . . . the price of those was high, but two suit would serve for life; they were not renewed but at marriage or some great event."

Critics to-day wage war against the prevailing short skirts; critics in other days denounced the other extreme and complained loudly of women sweeping the streets. Robert Ker, [Social Life in Scotland. Rogers.] who lived at Lasswade, in 1719 issued a publication entitled: " A short and true description of the great incumbrances and damages that city and country is like to sustain by women’s girded tails, if it be not speedily prevented, with a dedication to those that wear them."

The satirist sets forth that "bordered by metallic cooperage, men walked the streets under hazard of breaking their shin bones." He declares in mockery that if the fashion continues, churches, coaches and staircases will have to be altered, and he further expresses his belief that John Knox would have condemned a practice which, on account of their wives and daughters, religious teachers hesitated to impugn. We can well believe that John Knox would have condemned it; indeed, we can believe he would have willingly issued a second blast, fittingly to deal with the subject.

Allan Ramsay was not as hard upon the fashion as the worthy Mr. Ker. He writes :— "If Nelly’s hoop be twice as wide

As her two pretty limbs can stride, What then? Will any man of sense Take umbrage, or the least offence?"

Throughout the eighteenth century, waists were long and heels three inches high were worn; hair powder and patches for the face were used by all.

"Ladies wore long dresses indoors, but outside did not scavenge the street." [Glasgow Papers.] A long narrow silk dress trimmed with black lace was the common dress of a married lady, and a dark or coloured spencer that of the young or simple. Parasols were unknown, but in their stead was used a large green paper fan nearly two feet long; when closed it was suspended from the waist by a ribbon, forming an immense circle when opened, and was used indifferently as a protection against sunshine or ogling.

For evening dress girls wore muslin, while married ladies, wives, aunts and grandmothers wore silk and satin.

One writer, [Scotland and Scotsmen. Ramsay of Ochtertyre.] describing the ladies of Edinburgh, says it was difficult to know, in 1753, "whether the ladies’ necks or legs were most exposed to the public eye." He fears one extreme may lead to another, and that "ere long the ladles’ bosoms, or necks as they are called, may be as much concealed as in the days of Queen Elizabeth," when nothing was seen of women below their chin. Fashions were ever changing, and ladies had their work cut out to keep abreast of fashion.

Miss Ann Stuart, writing in August, 1725, describes the marriage-dress of the beautiful Lady Susan Cochrane, daughter of the Earl of Dundonald, thus :— "Lest you have not got a particular account of my Lord Strathmore’s marriage, I will give you the best I can. He was the fondest lover ever I saw, and I believe as fond a husband. He has got a very fine woman, I am persuaded, and I think extream handsome; she has a mighty prity face, but indeed the siklyest pale one that can be; she is tall, well shaped, and has a graceful easie genteel air . . . My Lady Strathmore had a blue and silver rich stuff gown and petecoat; a blue silk, trimmed to the pocket-holes with silver net; and a pale yellow, trimmed with two rows of open silver lace, about three nails deep each; a green satin, trimmed with close and open silver lace, which she had before her marriage. She was married in white; her fine Brussels lace she got from London, and she bought a great deal of lace at Edinburgh. She made no appearance after her marriage, except seeing the archers, for their coach was not come down from London, and they staid but a few days in town..."

The following extract from a letter of Mrs. Delaney [Life of Mrs. Delaney. R. Brimley Johnson.] in 1739 gives an idea of the dress of the period :—" I was curled, powdered and decked with satin ribbon

The men were as fine as the ladies . . . My Lord Baltimore was in light brown and silver, his coat lined throughout with ermine. His lady looked like a frightened owl, her locks strutted out and most furiously greased, or rather gummed and powdered. Lady Percival very fine in white satin embroidered with gold and silver . . ." In a letter dated 1741, comes another description of clothes :—" The Duchess of Queensbury’s clothes pleased me best; they were white satin embroidered, the bottom of the petticoat brown bells, covered with all sorts of weeds, and every breadth had an old stump of a tree, that ran up almost to the top of the petticoat, broken and rugged and worked with brown chenille, round which twined nasturtians, ivy, honey-suckles, periwinkles, convolvuluses and all sorts of twining flowers which spread and covered the petticoat, vines with the leaves variegated as you have seen them by the sun, all rather smaller than nature, which made them look very light; the webbings and facings were little green banks with all sorts of weeds, and the sleeves and the rest of the loose twining branches of the same sort as those on the petticoat: many of the leaves were finished with gold, and parts of the stumps of the trees looked like the gilding of the sun. I never saw a piece so pretty worked . . . Lady Carteret was in an ugly flowered silk on a dirty yellow ground."

From the pen of this lively writer one forms an excellent idea of the fashions of her day.

If there are people who dislike shingled heads, does the head-dress of the eighteenth century please them better? A fashionable coiffure consisted of wire frames two or three storeys high, fitted to the head, and covered with thin silk. When the hair was done up over all this, women appeared to be over six feet in height. During the opening years of George III.’s reign, the head was usually surmounted with a high cushion over which the front hair—reduced to a cloudy hue by a mixture of powder and grease—was combed to meet the hair at the back, and when pulled tight was surrounded by ribbons and jewels of artificial flowers, or sometimes adorned with a plume of feathers half a yard in height.

Hannah More met some ladies in 1777 who, she said, had amongst them on their heads "an acre and a half of shrubbery, besides slopes, grass plots, tulip beds, clumps of peonies, kitchen gardens and green-houses."

Men and women wore wigs; the learned Johnson defines a wig as "adscititious hair, worn by way of ornament or concealment of baldness."

In the late eighteenth century wire wigs were much worn by both sexes, as they "fixed the pomatum, kept in the powder and preserved the curl." They were made of silver wire to imitate grey hairs, gold to simulate cheveux roux, and darkest steel for a black effect. A curry comb was used for dressing them, and they had one great advantage over the wigs of wool and hair— they did not attract mice, which so often found their way into the powdered and pomatumed erections, in which ladies even slept at nights rather than disturb their heads. So many were the melancholy accidents due to depredations of mice, that in the Society of Arts offered a premium for the "most useful bedside mousetrap," and Mr. Martings, of Bond Street, patented a silver bedside trap and also a nightcap of silver wire, "flexible as gauze and yet so strong that not even a rat could gnaw through it."

What an opportunity the wig gave for being witty at the expense of friends.

"The enormous head that Celia wears Is her’s, and who’d have thought it?
She swears ‘tis her’s, and true she swears, For I know where she bought it."

Byron had in mind the hairdressing and the oils and pomatums and powders when he wrote :—

"In virtues nothing earthly could surpass her,
Save thine ‘incomparable oil,’ Macassar ! " [Don Juan.]

The elaborate erections worn by ladies on their heads had obvious objections. The false hair, the profusion of pomatum, the greasy wool and the powder had to be often renewed, but no lady could afford either the time or money for a daily change. About once in three weeks or so they were pulled down and rebuilt.

In the London Magazine of 1768 we find :—

"I went the other morning to make a visit to an elderly aunt of mine, when I found her pulling off her cap and tendering her head to the ingenious Mr. Gilchrist, who had lately obliged the public with a most excellent essay on hair. He asked her how long it was since her head had been opened or repaired. She answered, ‘Not above nine weeks.’ To which he replied it was as long as a head could well go in the summer, and that therefore it was proper to deliver it now: for he confessed that it began to be un peu hazardie."

The discomfort that ladies endured by this form of head-dress can be easily imagined; one necessary addition to their toilet and one they all carried was a sort of head-scratcher. It was used quite openly, and the lady according to her means had this scratcher of bone, ivory, silver or gold.

After the big pouf disappeared came turbans, sometimes trimmed with a bird of paradise.

The vogue for wearing feathers was brought in by the Duchess of Devonshire in the eighteenth century. She stuck a few in her hair; sometimes they were a yard high. A great outcry was raised when this fashion came into being, not because it was cruel to wear feathers, not because they were costly, not at all; the reason was they were immoral! Ladies who persisted in adding feathers to their coiffure were insulted, mobbed, and persecuted. They were denounced from the pulpit, in the manner some clergy protest to-day against short skirts, and a few years ago against what was known as the peek-a-bo blouse. The Press protested, a pamphlet was published under the title of " A Letter to the Duchess of Devonshire." This pamphlet seriously asks what kind of wives and mothers were these ladies likely to prove who borrowed their favourite decoration from a creature so unnatural as to leave her eggs scattered in the sand like the female ostrich!

Ladies must have looked odd in these days, and must have been conscious of it. Lady Louisa Stuart, a granddaughter of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wrote :— "If a North American Indian had seen a well-dressed lady’s stiff stays, round hoop, high heeled shoes, her hair stuffed with bushels of powder and paste, and her neck overlaid with ruff, puff, frill and tippet, he could never have suspected that an animal like his own squaw lurked within the structure."

Every respectable burgher’s wife of the middle class had a scarlet cloak with a hood which hung behind, and which on wet days covered her head. Servant girls had little money to spend on clothes, the common wages for the half year being twenty shillings and an apron, so we learn without surprise that they were poorly clad and bare-footed. On Sundays they wore a long gown of dark calico with a petticoat of some dark material. In every kitchen hung a dark brown duffle coat which was used indiscriminately by the servants on wet nights.

Stays were an important article of dress in the eighteenth century. Even quite small children were encased in these garments, boned and stiff. A lady, writing in 1773 to a friend about a little baby not yet baptized, says :—" As to the darling’s stays, it may be time eno’ when you and I have had a conference about them, but if a good air is not settled from the beginning, it is as difficult to be attained afterwards as good manners if neglected." [Life of Mrs. Delaney.]

Unfortunate women were kept upright by stiff whalebone, which encased them like armour. Ladies’ stays were made by men. In 1785 in Glasgow no fewer than fifty people advertise and offer "constant employment to men staymakers."

When a lady appeared in the Edinburgh streets in undress in the eighteenth century [Social Life in Scotland. Rogers.] she wore a mask or enveloped her head and shoulders in a plaid. These plaids were sometimes of plaid, sometimes of scarlet, crimson or black. Some were of silk, whilst the poorer women wore plain worsted hoods. On great occasions the ladies wore expensive dresses, but in the home their dress was simple and cheap, made of stuff of their own spinning. Ladies made their dresses at home.

After the rising in 1745 there was in Scotland a great rage for wearing tartan. The Jacobite ladies took that method of expressing their attachment to their Prince. They used tartans, we read, not only in plaids, but in gowns, riding-clothes, bed and window-curtains, even in shoes and pincushions. As the plaids went out of fashion milliners came into fashion, and by the middle of the eighteenth century, both Edinburgh and Glasgow had their millinery establishments.

In Glasgow, the rank and fashion walked on the north side of the Trongate—the ladies in hoops, silks and powder, accompanied by men in bright coloured coats and scarlet waistcoats and powdered hair.

The following poem appeared in the Glasgow Mercury. 1779: it describes the young belle of the eighteenth century :—


"Give Betsy a bushel of horsehair and wool,
Of paste and pomatum a pound;
Ten yards of gay ribbon to deck her sweet skull
And gauze to encompass it round.
Of all the bright colours the rainbow displays,
Are these ribbons which hang from her head;
And her flowers adapted to make the folk gay,
For around the whole width are they spread.
Her flaps fly behind for a yard at the least,
And her curls meet just under her chin;
And these curls are supported, to keep up the jest,
With an hundred, instead of one pin.
Her gown is tucked up to the hip on each side,
Shoes too high for a walk or a jump,
And to deck the sweet creature complete for a bride,
The cork-cutter has made her a rump.
Thus finished in taste, while on her I gaze,
I think I could take her for life;
But I fear to undress her, for out of her stays
I should find I had lost half my wife."

If ladies did not smoke, they at least carried a small snuff mull in their reticules, and while they talked they exchanged snuff with their friends. A lover often presented his lady love with a mull adorned with devices emblematical of constancy.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century the long waists disappeared and once again short waists were introduced, with long straight skirts.

About 1830 another swing of the pendulum brought back the late discarded fashions. Hoops long abandoned were again required, large bonnets were worn and the hair dressed in curls in front; it was gathered on the top in a roll and there secured by a high comb.

About this date, elastic-sided boots worn by women gave way to buttoned ones, though not without adverse criticism, as the following extract from a lady’s letter, written from Ayr, will shew :—" The whole town has been agog with excitement, what next!!! You will not guess what two bold English women have done to-day, but to prevent wasting time in guessing, I shall tell you these bold women had the audacity to walk through the town wearing masculine boots, buttoned nearly up the leg. Women are indeed becoming bold to copy men’s fashions and brazenly appear in public in these mannish boots . . It must be confessed these buttoned boots are vastly more becoming than our own elastic ones and I cannot help hoping that some more women may have the courage to ape men and wear these boots."

From this letter it will be seen that buttoned boots were then a masculine prerogative and "the womanly woman" was some time before she discarded the ugly elastic-sided boots. A few years later it was considered effeminate for a man to wear this type of boot.

In the ever-changing fashions, what seemed graceful and charming to one generation seemed ridiculous and old-fashioned to the next, and one can but suppose that this will continue to be so through the coming years as it has in the past.

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