Monday, November 2, 2015

When to Wear a Jacket (1858)

Over or morning jacket, Godey's, October 1857
Over or Morning Jacket, Godey's, October 1857
Hints on Jackets--When to Wear Them
by Mrs. Damas

Few things that we wear are, in my opinion, more comfortable than a jacket. There are various sorts, morning and evening-jackets, for young and old; but what I would first wish to call attention to is a comfortable jacket, one that can be worn at any time, the first thing in the morning, and the last thing at night. Mothers of families would do well to have such a one. It is a common practice with many to draw on a shawl; and, as this is generally done in a hurry, it rarely covers the chest, and requires one arm to hold it on. The jackets I now speak of are within reach even of the poor. The skirt of an old gown, washed, will make a very good one; and to a poor woman it would be a very charitable gift, not to mention the great comfort of it. There can be no difficulty in deciding which looks best, an old shawl put on in a hurry, or a tidy-looking loose jacket, even if made of an inferior material. For the bedroom or house, a washing material should be chosen. If colored flannel is too expensive, a thin wadding put in between the lining and outside is warm and comfortable. Brown calico is sufficiently good and warm for lining, should that be preferred to wadding; but for invalids, wadding is lighter. These jackets are by no means intended to fit the figure, but merely to sit easy and comfortable. To invalids, they are a great comfort to slip on if they have occasion to go into a cold room, or to wear under a shawl. A girdle or ribbon may be tied round the waist where additional warmth is required. Many ladies, as the winter comes, on give presents of warm petticoats, which are certainly a comfort. But still a substitute is wanted for the woman's thin cotton body at top; and what better substitute could be offered than a warm jacket? For children nothing can be so good as a jacket. It leaves their arms free, which is of great importance to them. Indeed, to obtain this freedom, they frequently throw off a cape or shawl, and thus expose the chest and neck, both of which require to be kept warm. Many persons have only one fire to sit by, in which case, should there be four or six in the room, it is almost impossible for one or two not to feel cold. Let those that do slip on a jacket, and they will then feel as warm as those near the fire. I by no means advocate wrapping up too much; but when occasion requires a little extra warmth, I think that all who know the comfort of it would say that nothing can surpass the jacket.

-Godey's Lady's Book, September 1858  (page 268)

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