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MAY AND I.

THE STRANGE CLAIMANT; OR,…

"I LOVED ONCE."

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LADIES' COLUMN.

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LADIES' COLUMN. -<C- THE; FASHIONS Never, says Le FoUet, have toilettes been richer than this winter. Great progress has been made in the choice of materials and the blending of colours, and wonderfully artistic effects are obtained by the harmonious opposition of the brilliant reflets of velvet and satin, to the dead tones of drapery, of cloths, cachemires, neigeuses, and the many charming fan- tasias so much in favour. Except for morning walking dresses, which are always dark or neutral colours, toilettes seemed to be inclined to greater brillancy, if not in the colour of the material itself, in the bright hues employed at pipings, and introduced in the great variety of broderies, &e., imitating the natural hues of flowers and foliage. Velvet is worn more than ever. Plain satins are most elegantly worn, either as portions of dresses, such as scarf draperies, waistcoats, traines rapportees, or any of the innumerable varietiesof over- dresses. Damasses are in as great favouras ever, in com- bination with other materials, and the legion of fancy pattern fabrics are much employed to form portions of toilettss. One rule is wry strictly observed, viz., that no complete dress, of whatever kind, is made of any material with a design on it. Should the foundation of the toilette be some etoffe a desseias, it must be ac- companied by drapery, tunic, train, simulated under- skirt or tablier of plain material. Bourrette, cache- mire, molletonne, cachemire princesse," diamonds of wool and silk, English serge, and cloth, plain erbouele, are the favourite materials for walking-dresses. They are of a dark colour or some neutral tint, and very quietly trimmed, bands of fur or velvet being much liked for the purpose; stamped velvet galons are also very fashionably worn. The skirts are ras de terre, or very slightly trained. A vétement of the same give a simple though elegant cachet in the best taste. This garment may be in any of the paletot shapes, more or less tight-fitting, according to the age and figure of the wearer. It the costume is of two materials the casaque may have the waistcoat and sleeves to correspond. The robes de bal et de soirees absolutely glitter with gold or silver beads. Tablier tunics are again coming into favour, and one of the prettiest arrangements is with horizontal folds in front and at the sides, or plaited in half a dozen upright plaits in front, falling like a half-closed fan. They are arranged so as not to give any appearance of extra width, though two or three may be worn one over the other. These tabliers are worn with perfectly plain skirts or those trimmed quite low down. The skirts trimmed at the sides en panneaux are much admired, and are almost universally becoming. We are glad to find, in the ateliers of the most fashionable Parisian dressmakers, a decided inclination to modify the pre- sent stiffness of bodices. Much less whalebone is used, and, although the corsages set as closely and fit as well, the figure is more natural in its movements and out- lines. In the way of confections every shape seems worn, but the most fashionable is decidedly the long paletot with close-fitting basques, and more or less adjustees at the waist. Many materials are used for the purpose. Velvet, rich faille, arm ure de soie Sici- lienne, and Indian cachemire, brocaded velvet, and matelasse de soie, are selected for grande toilette. There are many matelasse and other fancy cloths suit- able for simple purposes. Mantles are principally ot the Dolman or the Visits shape; some are so long as to reach below the knees, with square hanging sleeves; others fall a little below the waist. Some of the newest bonuets have two brims, one turned up close to the crown, the other resting on the hair; the space thus made is occupied by a wreath of foliage or flowers, or with feathers. The capote is very fashion- ably worn, plain velvet, terry velvet, and satin being the favourite materials. We have lately seen one of black velvet, with loose crown, the only ornament being a wreath of black marabouts, fringed with gold, hanging all round.

USEFUL HINTS.

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VARIETIES.