Since winter is approaching, I thought I would discuss a piece of winter clothing from the 1860s. Most people believe men just had their long duster jackets and women had their long, romantic-looking cloaks made of unfortunately boring material. That isn’t true at all. Women had a great many different style choices for winter attire, ranging from short little shoulder wraps, to mid-length mantles with or without sleeves, to cloaks, to full-length coats with sleeves as we know them today. Of course, there was also the classic shawl that was used year-round in different types of fabrics for lightness in the hot months and heaviness in the winter months.
This particular cloak is gorgeous not only in its colors of burgundy and pink but also in its scrollwork detail. I don’t know very much about this mantle but it appears to be made of either wool or possibly some type of velvet. It’s more likely to be wool or a wool blend, however. The sleeves are bell-shaped, which are called pagoda sleeves, and the mantle fastens down the front with either hooks and eyes or frogs dyed pink to match the pink decorative detail. I cannot discern exactly what the pink detailing is made of but it might be silk embroidery or silk pieces sewn to the mantle. Most of the time, the details were made of silk if they were done that intricately.