|Walking dresses August 1872|
According to Cunnington's English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century, “The fashions of this year were marked by a change in the colour taste and a development of the polonaise.” While some “still clung to the use of two approximate shades of one colour ... others boldly employed contrasts, but the general preference was for soft and ‘autumn tints.’”
The polonaise “consisted of a bodice and tunic in one, the tunic being looped up at the sides, short in front and much looped up behind into a puff. It was, of course, only a revival of an eighteenth century garment but its acceptance may be fairly attributed to English rather than to French taste. In a special form, made with materials printed in chintz patterns, it was known as the ‘Dolly Varden.’” It seems we are not to use the two terms interchangeably, however, as, according to Cunnington’s sources, the Dolly Varden was “not patronized by the ‘best people.’” In other words, it was popular and affordable.
|1872 dress description|
|1872 dress description cont'd|
Cunnington includes more detailed explanations of the style(s). Since I do not make historical clothing and barely understand even modern dressmaking terminology, these might as well have been written in Romanian or Chinese. What’s clear enough is the change in shape from the 1860s fashions I showed last month, from the wide-all-around tent-like skirt to the flat front, and the wonderfully inventive emphasis on the booty.
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