‘If Easter Sunday is clear there will be an Easter parade up Fifth avenue that will outshine in brilliancy any previous Easter function of this kind ever beheld by fashionable New York-srs. For awhile, you will remember it was not considered good form to parade on Easter Sunday. But in the many revivals of the twentieth century the revival of the Easter parade is one of the most marked. To go to church is, of course, the correct thing; and to walk afterward is also accepted as in accord with the spirit of Easter; and what more certain than that every woman will wear her best hat and best gown out to enjoy the sunshine of the April day.’ (San Francisco Call, 1903)
‘The famous “Easter Parade” on Fifth avenue on the morning of Easter has degenerated in recent years. It is no longer the fashionable function it once was – at least not wholly so.
A few years ago the hour following the dismissal of the congregations of the fashionable churches and the great Catholic cathedral saw the avenue with women in the very latest frocks and spring hats – finery brought out for its first display on the occasion of this parade. Most of the men were in the conventional frock coat and silk hat. Everyone was smiling and trying to see what everyone else was wearing. There were exchanges of greeting and occasionally the stream of humanity went swirling and eddying around a little group which paused in the middle of the sidewalk for a chat.
On the high step of the brown-stone mansions, dressmakers stood, pencil and pad in hand, and noted the latest ideas in dress. They were not the Fifth avenue dressmakers but those from the less fashionable streets anxious to see what Fifth avenue was wearing and to pass its styles on to the poorer devotees of fashion. But the desire to see what society was wearing possessed, in time, not alone the dressmakers but the other residents of less fashionable neighborhoods, and swarms from the East Side filled Fifth avenue so that there was hardly room on the sidewalk for the fashionable church crowd.
Today the Easter parade is a parade of motley elements from all parts of the city and most of the fashionable folk, instead of having their carriages or motors follow them down the street while they walk part of the way home, now take carriages at the church door and are whisked away to their dwellings.
The “Easter Flower Market” is an annual New York institution. During the week preceding Easter Sunday flower venders are allowed to occupy the broad sidewalks around Union square, and here the good housekeepers of New York come to buy their flowers for Easter decoration. It is one of the picturesque features of life in an otherwise very practical city.’ (Sacramento Union, 1909)
Edwardian Easter Gowns
‘The utility of the spring suit can best be explained by a remark made by a fashionable woman who was out selecting her Easter gown. “When I buy a spring suit,” said she, I have three ideas in mind. The suit must be warm enough to wear in April and May. It must be fashionably made and it must be of a color that will not fade nor spot. It must not be a delicate goods, but rather a material that stands the weather nicely.
“This suit,” continued she, “I expect to wear two months. Then I shall lay it away. Later in the season I will bring it out and, after refreshing it a little, I shall wear it for a traveling dress. This can be done by the removal of any lace that may be upon it and by the taking off of one of the shoulder capes or the putting in of a new vest. This same suit does nicely for first fall wear. And now the lace is put back on. The gown is made smart with choux of ribbon and it is worn with a very showy little autumn hat – one of those hats that bloom brightest in the fall just before the snow calls it in.’ (San Francisco Call, February 1904)
‘A woman who dresses very well indeed is preparing her Easter gown. It will consist of a pansy-hued cloth skirt, which was once an old white skirt, colored a pretty purple and shaped into a trotting skirt. And with this she will wear a pansy colored louisine shirt waist, piped with white taffeta, and trimmed with a deep white lace yoke collar, upon which a bunch of violets are fastened. Her hat will be an English toque, pointed in front, a la boat shape, and trimmed with violets.’ (San Francisco Call, March 1904)
‘Those who want to go to church in deep blue, and there are a great many who prefer that tone to any other color, can choose one of the new dark blues, and in this line there is one with a trace of red in it almost making it purple. The purplish blue gown is trimmed with bands of blue and purple brocade put on so that they dip at the front of the skirt and cross at the knee, while in the back they are high and finished with knots of ribbon.
The waist of this gown is laid in tucks, and for a collar there is a square of the purple brocade embroidered with bunches of grapes, which are put on in raised style, standing out very prettily upon the shoulders and bust. The brocade is extended down the front to make stoles three or four inches wide. […]
A good many English women do not wear the Easter church gown on Easter Sunday, nor do they wear it to church at all. It is a gown that is for calling, for the Sunday evening dinner at a restaurant, for nice wear until the London season.
For the woman who will buy a nice cloth dress now there are the prettiest of all dress schemes. But no matter what the dress scheme, it must be adapted to the woman who is to wear the gown. […] If you want something neat in a cloth gown take a little thing in panne cloth or something in a soft satiny finish, even though it be only a cashmere, and make it in the correct cut. This must be one that suits your style.
Mrs. Arthur Paget, who can wear “trying” styles, owing to her pretty figure, wore a waist and a skirt all a mass of wide tucks, fully one inch each. And the tucks went around the waist, not up and down, and around the skirt in the same manner. The waist was trimmed with the tucks laid all around, front and back’. (San Francisco Call, 1903)