Tag Archives: Saratoga

Girls Who Collect Gentlemen’s Hats: 1893-95

If the Saratoga girl has a fad, quite new with the season, it is the collection of straw hats which are plucked quite heartlessly from the devoted heads of her admirers.

The fad is managed this way: The summer young man goes to call upon the summer girl. He spends an evening pleasantly upon the piazza, or in the cosiest corner of the parlor, and when it comes time for him to go home, he finds his hat firmly clasped by a pair of adorable little white hands, while a pair of blue eyes beseech him to leave his hat, as a reminder of a pleasant evening.

“But,” murmurs the Saratoga unfortunate, “how am I to go home without my hat?”

“Oh, dear,” pouts the pretty miss, “can you not walk home without it? Are you afraid of catching cold? Here, take my handkerchief,” handing him a tiny lace-trimmed absurdity, “and run just as fast as you can.”’

And so it comes to pass that the Saratoga young man has, for a summer fad, a collection of dainty pocket handkerchiefs, bearing different and delicate flower perfumes. While the young woman has her boudoir trimmed with broad-brimmed straw hats.

In one of the big hotels, there is a darling little sitting-room which belongs to a dear little southern heiress. She is from Louisiana, I think, and looks not unlike her southern sister, Mrs. James Brown Potter. Well! Upon a spindle-legged Josephine table in that sitting room, there is a straw hat, with the blue ribbon of Yale around it, and inside the hat there are the sweetest bon-bons, of which a supply is sent daily by him from whom the hat was wrested. Upon the wall there hangs a hat, glorified by painted daisies, and another one, trimmed with natural flowers also sent daily. Upon the floor, daintily lined with blue satin, is hat which must have been worn by a youthful Daniel Webster. It is so very large! And in the hat there sleeps—the Louisiana girl’s pet poodle.

There have been fads and fads. But this summer the straw hat fad rages above and beyond them all…

Trenton [NJ] Evening Times 16 July 1893: p. 7

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  When the Summer Girl tired of collecting hats, or perhaps ran out of hat-pegs in her darling little sitting-room, she turned to a new fad: collecting hat-bands.

The girl who can boast a number of beaux, owns hat-bands of all of the college colors, and also those pertaining to the various athletic clubs; when her best young man pro tern is a Princetonian, she sports the tiger black and yellow; when he hails from Harvard, red is her favorite for the nonce; then there is dark blue for Yale, and white and light blue for Columbia. There are any number of diverse colors for the minor colleges throughout the United States to which a girl professes devotion, if her best young man belongs to one of them.

The up-to-date girl is an authority on such matters, and is proud of her collection of hat-bands, most of which are trophies of conquest wrested from the unwary college man. Verily this rage for hat-bands is an expensive fad, as the fellows declare, for when a young lady raves over a hat-band, a gallant youth can do no less than present it to his fair companion.

Of course these bands are adjustable by means of silver or gold slides or buckles; these ornaments have become of considerable importance, the jewellers being kept busy in devising novel designs.

Almost as many girls are seen wearing college-pins as boys; some of them are acquired by purchase, while others are exacted as tribute from obsequious admirers. The girls, however, in the different colleges are adopting distinctive badges, and these societies bid fair to rival those of the male colleges in the beauty and diversity of their college emblems. Godey’s Lady’s Book August 1895

Such trophies of conquest could easily have been purchased, but where was the fun in that?

…I know a little miss—and legion is her name—who will most conspicuously sport the crimson when she goes boating with a Harvard man on Monday; who will wear blue for her Yale cavalier of Tuesday; appear on successive days in Boston University’s scarlet and white, McGill’s blue and white, Pennsylvania’s blue and red, Princeton’s scarlet and black; yes, who will wind up the week by going to church on Sunday in Brown’s brown and white. The minx!

Coquetry made easy was ever the motto of the shops, and it has for years been easy to get the colors of the best-known nearby colleges, but never before has it been so easy to fit a single sailor hat with five hundred different adjustable bands, each representing some college, tiny or the reverse, and to match each band in the sober or flaming tints of a yachting tie. Evening Star [Washington DC] 6 June 1896: p. 18

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.


Advertising Belles at the Summer Resorts: 1882

1882 2 ladies

A novel feature of the season at Saratoga and Long Branch, “says the same lady, “will be an advertising belle at each of those places. Two handsome girls of good form and top-lofty style have been hired for the purpose. They will be fashionably dressed, but their mission is not to display dry goods.

A dealer in hair, hair dyes, washes for the complexion and toilet articles of a beautifying sort employs them, and will pay their expenses. They will serve as models on which to exhibit the latest achievements in false hair and hair-dressing. Their faces will be carefully ‘made up’ with such preparations as he manufactures. The plan is a bold one, but entirely feasible. The hotel balls at Long Branch and Saratoga are open to all who come; and these two professional beauties are personally respectable, know how to dance gracefully, can talk well enough, and will certainly eclipse most of the amateur beauties. They will stay at first class hotels, lounge on the most thronged balconies, go to the horse races, and, in short, make themselves decently conspicuous in every possible way. There is a swindle in the matter, however, and I’ll tell you how. These two girls are beautiful when unadorned, and the ‘make-up ‘ of their faces with washes and pigments is not at all needed; nor is any particular kind of braid, frizzle, or switch requisite to make their heads bewitching. But many a plain woman will foolishly suppose that the same adornment will produce in her equal attractiveness, and in that error will lie the hair-dresser’s profit.  It depends on the newspapers to let the public know who and what his professional beauties are, and whom they advertise, but I won’t further his cause by giving his name. Both girls are tall, slender, delicately molded blondes, with the air of duchesses, and they come from east of Avenue A.”

The Argonaut [San Francisco, CA]  2 July 1882

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: The “professional beauty” is a recognised figure of English society. One sees her photo-gravures in shop windows everywhere; striplings and married gentlemen sigh over them.  Whether she is an actress or a member of the nobility, it is her primary responsibility—and an arduous profession it is—to be lovely in all circumstances.  She may have delicately “puffed” a soap or a dressmaker, but she would not have been so bold as to tout waterfalls and chignons at summer resorts, particularly while obviously “painting.” They do these things very differently in the States.

Mrs Daffodil is not surprised to find that the gentleman had their own version of the professional beauty:

A Walking Advertisement.

A new profession has been introduced into the city during the past two years, which the majority of citizens know little about. All large prominent houses now hire professional dressers for the purpose of introducing new styles. You may have noticed often that some particular friend of yours who, as you well know, has no bank account, and does not seem to work, but yet dresses in the height of fashion, wearing every new style of hat, clothes, shoes or necktie that makes its appearance. Well, he is employed by some house to popularize new garments by wearing them and making them familiar to all dressers. He receives a salary and frequents all popular resorts; in fact, he lives off of his shape and looks, as only handsome and well-formed men are eligible to the new profession. Merchant Tailor in St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

Daily Boomerang [Laramie, WY] 7 February 1890: p. 3


Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.