Loretta has shown us many examples of the exuberant gowns of the 1820s-30s (such as the detail, below, from this blog), and has even revealed exactly how those poufy sleeves were kept, well, so poufy. But often the fashion plates of the time are much like the editorial pages of modern high-fashion magazines, exaggerating to make their stylish point. It can be hard to imagine how real women would actually wish to wear some of these fashions, let alone maneuver through doorways.
Until, that is, a delicious dose of reality appears in an actual gown from the era. Above is a detail of a sleeve and bodice from an English dress, c. 1830. The sleeve is like some sort of wonderful, sculptural wing, and the intricate pleating and folding that gives it its shape is almost like origami. I know we have many seamstresses among our readers; can you imagine what the flat pattern for this sleeve must look like? There's an elegance here that the fashion plates can't begin to capture, and the fortunate lady who wore this blush-pink confection must have made an unforgettable entrance indeed.
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.