We promised we'd show what an 18th c. lady (or at least our favorite mantua-maker's apprentice, Sarah Woodyard, from Colonial Williamsburg) would wear to go walking outside, and here she is.
Once again, it's all about the layers. She has a kerchief tucked into the neckline of her gown, a shorter wool capelet, and a wool-lined, hooded silk cloak over that. Long mitts cover her forearms, and her hands would be tucked inside a snug little matching muff. The muff is stuffed with wool and lined. Think
of putting your hands inside a cozy pillow.
Remember, too, that beneath her gown, she could be wearing a quilted petticoat and one of the quilted waistcoats we showed earlier this week. Colder weather would require a longer, heavier wool cloak, perhaps even lined or trimmed with fur.
If it's a blustery day, she'll put up the hood of her cloak, as in the first picture, above left. But if she's making a more stylish promenade, she'd add a hat covered in the same silk to match her muff and cloak. The ribbon that holds this in place is tied not beneath her chin (as ladies would do in the 19th c.), but on the back of her head, and over her cap, with an extra hat-pin or two if necessary to keep the hat at the most cunning, over-the-eyes angle.
A young apprentice or assistant in any of the fashion trades would have served as something of a walking advertisement for her mistress when she was sent out on errands, dressed in clothes from the shop. Of course, she might attract attention that had nothing to do with future customers for her mistress, as this print, right, shows. The sly title – An English Man-of-War, taking a French Privateer - says it all, though the sailor and the milliner's apprentice appear to be much more interested in making love, not war.