(Continuing with the theme of summer sports, women's increased participation in golf is reflected in the evolution of this costume over two succeeding editions, spanning nine years, of the same fancy dress manual.)
In the 1887 description, the costume is meant to portray a golf course or game, with the lady imitating grass with clubs and balls and a sand-trap scarf, though above the waist she wears the traditional red golf coat.
Grass green tulle skirt, fringe of grass and gorse; scarf of sand-colour draped round waist, and ornamented with balls and clubs; and bright red golfing coat.
Compare this with the 1896 description below, which retains the golf-course skirt but adds accessories and a golf club that make it obvious that the woman herself is now a golfer. This fits neatly with the development during the 1890s of golf as a game played by women as well as men.
Grass green satin skirt studded with golf balls and clubs, fringe of grass and gorse; scarf of sand-color draped round waist, and ornamented with balls and clubs. Bright red cap and coat with swallow tails and white satin facings held back with golf buttons. Suede shoes, white gauntlet gloves, a golf club in hand.
Victorian ladies seem to have traditionally worn the red golf coat, but the December 1, 1899, edition of Golf Illustrated offers under "Some Hints on Dress for Lady Golfers" a bit of debate on the matter of "Coats Red and Green":
Though her red Golf coat is not as a rule individually becoming to an Englishwoman, its effect collectively on the links is so bright and picturesque that one can only hope the coats of green, which are certainly gaining in favour for wear thereon, will not finally oust the red ones.
There is no doubt that though their rivals in green are not only very smart but excellent foils for complexions brightened by exercise (which, by the way, is not always the case with the red ones), and recently I saw a very effective one, built of green cheviot and, like all our apparel of the tailor-made persuasion this season, liberally bestripped: it was fastened with buck-horn buttons and lined with a thick red silk, though many of these cheviots have reversible tartan linings; one I saw at a leading tailor's the other day being bright red on the outer side while the reverse showed the Stuart tartan.
This coat, in green, makes a capital all-round coat, which a red one of course does not, as it invariably boasts its owners club collar, cuffs, and buttons, thus stamping it with its raison d'être so plainly as to make it out of place anywhere but on the links. With a green one, however, the addition of one of those big collars or necklets of fur makes it a perfect little coat for ordinary walking or driving use.
To revert to its lining, there is a fancy just now for having the red Golf coats line with silk which exactly matches the colour of its collar and cuffs and a very good effect this has, especially when these are of one of the many shades of green which is such a favourite club colour.
Holt, Ardern. Fancy Dresses Described, 5th Edition. London: Debenham & Freebody, 1887.
Holt, Ardern. Fancy Dresses Described, Sixth Edition. London: Debenham & Freebody, 1896.
The 1896 edition of Holt may be found online at the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.