Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fashions for December 1809

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

 Loretta reports:

We’ve blogged before about the popularity of the little white dress (here and here) during the early 19th century.  Interestingly, in December, the fashionable lady is wearing white cambric or muslin, warmed (not very much, I’d guess) by her silk-lined velvet coat.  For evening it’s satin, and a pelerine trimmed in swansdown.   And red shoes! This time you might find the General Observations also well worth your perusal. 

“It is the fate of innovators to be misunderstood and misrepresented.” Do you agree?  And what about anybody wearing any color?


You can view and read online, starting here, at the Internet Archive.


Lil said...

The problem of how to reply to critics clearly isn't new, is it.

One thing I noticed was the "elastic belt" on the first costume. Was what we think of as elastic available then, or was Arbiter Elegantiarum speaking of something else?

PickyPicky said...

I was interested in this also. According to the internet, elastic wasn't invented until 1820s - whereas this reference is 1810. The other thing that caught my eye was the use of a rosary as an ornament - in the early 1800s, Catholics were definitely second class citizens, so the use of a rosary seems extraordinary.

LorettaChase said...

My first reaction regarding elastic is that it refers not to any rubberized product but to a type of knitted work. We've shown breeches of stretchy knit here, for instance. So far, I've turned up another fashion reference, from 1810, and I know the term "elastic" was in use much earlier than this. Do any of our historic dress experts want to help explain this?

As to the rosary, I would have to defer to someone more familiar with the practices of the Church of England in this time period. I know crosses are often shown as jewelry. The term "rosary" might simply have referred to a beaded chain for the cross—but I'm only guessing.

ista said...

Elastic could mean knitted, but it also could mean narrow tightly wound springs in channels, there are a couple of extant examples in collections. For example

ista said...

I meant to add that vulcanised rubber (ie a stable form of rubber thus useful) wasn't invented until the 1830s.

ista said...

Here's another c1805 garment with 'elastic' wire springs - which are no longer taut. From memory there's another in the Kyoto Costume Institute. (and yes I'm a clothing nerd)

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