The first two months of Autumn in the Western District produce some of the year’s best weather. There are warm days but a chill is felt in the night air. By May however, we begin to get a taste of what lies ahead with more wet and cold days.
During the mid 19th century, ladies had to rely on reports from London and Paris for their fashion news.
In 1848, the “London and Paris Ladies Magazine of Fashion” predicted coloured velvet trimmed for Autumn dresses. Velvet was also a popular for bonnets.
Bonnets trimmed with fruit were out for Autumn 1851, but flowers such as forget-me-nots were fashionable. Dresses with open or short sleeves were accessorised with bracelets, emeralds and “medal” charms the suggestion.
The styles for Autumn 1853 changed little from the Spring before.
Sleeves were changing in shape during the mid 1850s. Also, with the change of season, velvet was replacing ribbon on bonnets.
A sample of Autumn fashion advertisements from the 1860s.
L.Robinson & Co. of Collins Street, Melbourne had the latest imported Paris fashions for Autumn 1870.
Miss S.H. Heazlewood kept the Portland ladies in the latest styles for Autumn 1884 and she offered a dress making service too.
Not much has changed almost 130 years on.
In 1889, furs and cloaks were hitting the shops but outside the weather was anything but cold.
Two weeks later, the weather was a little more Autumn like.
A “pretty” apron from 1892 with a handy pocket and a cheap price tag.
Colourful straw hats were in vogue for Autumn 1904.
Jeanne Paquin was a French fashion designer known for her tailored gowns. In 1905, her influence was evident in the fashions reaching Australian shores.
The following dress from 1907, in a chiffon Panama material, gives us some idea of the sewing skills that have sadly been lost today. Horsham ladies did not have to go to the city to buy such a dress. They could order a Buttericks pattern from M. Thorp & Co of Melbourne.
Shades of purple were popular in 1913, especially for hats and veils.
By 1914, Horsham ladies not handy with the needle were able to buy fashion equal to their city counterparts without leaving town.
Those that suffered for fashion’s sake, would have pleased to see the back of the tight skirt.
Autumn hats for 1917 had few trimmings, although the white felt hat embroidered with Greek dancing-girls sounds far from plain.
By the end of January 1917, autumn and winter clothing was appearing in the shops, the last thing shoppers wanted to see during a hot summer. Coat frocks were in and the coatee was flattering for ladies of all shapes and sizes.
WW1 limited the supply of precious stones for jewellery, with diamonds becoming rare and in turn expensive. Charm bracelets and three stone engagement rings were popular and wedding rings had narrowed. Earrings were rarely worn and when they were they were a simple stud.
Colours were of subdued tones, fitting for the times. Suits had few trimmings, relying on a smart cut for style.
Tyler’s of Bridge Street, Ballarat. advertised in the Border Watch of Mt. Gambier a fair distance to travel in 1922 for the latest autumn fashions.
Some distinctive 1920s styles.
There was plenty of colour on offer with the Autumn fashions of 1926, from rosewood to smoke greys and everything in between. Imitation fur trimmings were popular on coats and handbags.
A Coolie coat from 1927.
Styles from Autumn 1934.
Geoffrey Turton, aka Petrov, was an Australian magazine illustrator and cartoonist. He worked on publications such as the Bulletin and Smiths Weekly, but also the Australian Women’s Weekly. The following is an example of work from the Weekly, depicting Autumn styles from 1935.
Friday March 19, 1937 was the date for the opening show of E.S. Finkemeyer’s Autumn and Winter fashions.
Black worn with accessories in a new red, “rebel red”, was a fashionable look for 1940.
A promotion for Australian woollen garments during Autumn 1941.
A cardigan perfect for those cooler March evenings.
During WW2, when French and Italian fashion houses closed, America came to the forefront of fashion.
Sewing patterns from 1945.
The following two suits sure have that 1940s war-time look about them.
This crêpe dress from 1950 was in contrast to the 1947 fashions, above.
In 1955, Tweed fashions for ladies emerged, not just tomboys, as did the jersey dress that washed like a stocking.
Max Factor cosmetics were 40 years old when this glamorous Myer advertisement appeared in the Australian Women’s Weekly. Hollywood starlets such as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor had made red lips sexy.