Most of us recollect the old coat-collar which used to rise from the shoulders of the wearer in a padded roll until it touched the back of his head. That ungainly feature has long since resumed its proper place and proportions. The waistcoat now terminates not as formerly across the widest part of the chest, but at the waist. Even sleeves and trousers, the most uncompromising details of a man's attire, have of late been allowed to partake in general outline of the shape of the limbs which they enclose. The morning coat, though not, perhaps, as picturesque as it was a hundred years ago, is infinitely better than that which was in vogue in the early part of this century.

Still there is great room for improvement. We want a style of dress which shall be at once picturesque and comfortable. It must be fitted for the ordinary vocations of life. It must be of a material which will not spot or spoil in a shower. It must be of a kind which either a tall or a short man may wear without making him look conspicuous. The knickerbocker suit, for example, fulfils all these conditions admirably, and we believe has been adopted for ordinary wear in many country gentlemen's houses. With some slight alterations in point of material, etc, it might be used very well in towns, and those who have had to walk in trousers through London mud would soon learn to appreciate the change.

Above all, our evening dress needs radical reform. How it happens that black cloth has come to be associated with occasions of public and private festivity in common with occasions of public and private mourning is a riddle which we must leave posterity to solve. But it is certain that in the existing state of society, Englishmen wear the same dress at an evening party and at a funeral. Nor is this all, for many a host who entertains his friends at dinner has a butler behind his chair who is dressed precisely like himself. To add to this confusion, the clergyman who rises to say grace might, so far as his apparel goes, be mistaken for either. A few years ago it was whispered that a certain Royal personage of our own time contemplated the suggestion of a complete change in evening dress. It is only through the agency of such an example that we could ever hope to escape from the conventional ugliness of a modern tail-coat, and looking at the subject from a common-sense, as well as an artistic point of view, we must, I think, admit that attention might be turned to this matter with great benefit to the public.

With regard to ladies' costume in England at the present time, undeniably though it has improved within the last five and twenty years, all criticism on the subject is impossible, for the simple reason that the rapid changes of fashion make it useless to approve or condemn details of form and colour in dress which may be modified or actually banished from the wardrobe while these pages are being printed. There is, however, one branch of art manufacture which, although closely associated with women's attire, is not subject to such constant variation in design, and on which I shall venture a few remarks.

The word 'jewellery,' in its generally accepted and modern sense, is understood to mean ornaments worn for personal adornment only; but there was a time when gems and precious stones were employed in the decoration of almost all articles which, on account of their refined use, artistic workmanship, or sacred value, seemed worthy of such luxurious enrichment. There can be no doubt that our forefathers, even at a time when the habits of social life were rude and simple, delighted in the appearance and possession of such articles far more than we do at the present time. While rushes strewed upon the floor formed a sufficient carpet for even gentle ladies' feet; while the gallant knight's rough-and-ready toilet consisted in his plunging his head at daybreak into a bucket of cold water; while linen was coarse in manufacture, and food was prepared in such a manner as our modern cooks would call barbarous; while, in short, most of the refinements and delicacies to which we have been accustomed by civilisation to regard almost in the light of necessaries, were still unknown, the goldsmith's and the jeweller's art was lavished upon many an object of household use on which even the most luxurious of modern Europeans would consider it the height of extravagance to employ it now. Not only the ecclesiastical furniture of the Middle Ages, but many of the domestic utensils of private life were elaborated and enriched after a fashion which we should now only think suitable for a monarch's state crown, or at least for some splendid article of vertu intended perhaps to be put under a glass case and looked at with respect, but never used.