Throughout Last Night’s Scandal, comments are made regarding fashionable dress in 1831. The heroine herself speaks of the styles with some exasperation. In case you were wondering, here’s the sort of thing she might have worn. I'm obliged to use fashions for November 1831, because La Belle Assemblée offered no fashion prints for October, apparently because they used the space for illustrations of King William IV’s coronation. More from the November fashions will will appear at my other blog. You may find it interesting to compare & contrast English and French fashions.
A DRESS of white chaly, finished round the back part of the corsage, which is of a three-quarter height, with a triple fold disposed en pelerine, and descending on each side of the front in the form of an X; immediately above this trimming a light bouquet is embroidered in the centre of the bosom, in pearl-grey silk. The sleeves are of the gigot shape, embroidered at the hand in pearl-grey silk. A Grecian border is worked in light waves above the hem, and bouquets issue from it at regular distances. The pelisse worn over this dress is of pearl-grey gros de Tours. The corsage, made up to the throat, but without a collar, has a slight fulness at the bottom of the waist, before and behind. The pelerine is of moderate size, and very open on the bosom: it is trimmed with a satin rouleau, to correspond, placed at some distance from the edge. The sleeves are of the gigot shape, and of the usual size. The pelisse is open in front, and a little rounded before in the tunic style. It is trimmed down the fronts, and round the border, with a satin rouleau. Collerette fichu of white tulle, trimmed with the same material, and sustained round the throat by a neck-knot of straw-coloured gauze ribbon. The manchettes are also of tulle. The hat is of straw-coloured gros des Indes; a round crown of moderate height: the brim, deeper and wider than they have lately been worn, is trimmed on the inside with light bows of rich white gauze ribbon; a band of ribbon crosses the crown, and a profusion of bows are placed in front.
IT is composed of green satin ; the shade is that called vert des Indes ; it is of the capôte shape, but the brim is somewhat larger than usual, and is lined with white satin, upon which blond lace is arranged en evantail. The crown is trimmed with sprigs of foliage, composed of a mixture of satin and gros des Indes, and intermixed with ears of ripe corn, of the natural colour. The curtain at the back of the crown is formed by a wreath of leaves. The mentonnières are of blond lace.
From La Belle assemblée: or, Court and fashionable magazine; containing interesting and original literature, and records of the beau-monde. 1831
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.