Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dressing for Autumn 1816

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Loretta reports:

London & Paris can be cool to cold in the fall & spring.  So what about those ladies in their muslin dresses?  Did they go for heavier fabrics?  Layers?  Here’s what the November 1816 Ackermann’s Repository has to say.

A lilac and white striped gauze dress over a white satin slip; the bottom of the skirt is ornamented with five rows of white silk trimming, of a very light and elegant description : it has just been introduced, and the pattern has more novelty than any thing we have seen for some time: a single flounce of deep blond lace completes the trimming. The body is also very novel; the upper part is formed of lace, and the lower of gauze, to correspond with the dress: the latter is quite tight to the shape, but the former has an easy fulness, which forms the shape in a manner extremely advantageous, to the figure. The sleeve is short and very full; it is composed of lace, looped high, and finished by a trimming to correspond with that on the skirt. The hair is full dressed, without any ornament. Necklace, cross, armlets, and bracelets of rubies. White satin slippers, and white kid gloves.

The month of November ought, if we were guided by the seasons, to enable us to present our fair readers with a splendid display of winter costume, but every body knows that the winter of Fashion does not commence till January.

PARIS, October 17...LATE as it is in the season, our promenade dresses are invariably composed of white: perkale is in high estimation, as are also plain and sprigged India muslins...Our promenade costume has at present an uniformity which fatigues the eye, not on account of white dresses only, but because belles of all ages now appear in square shawls...the transparent silk shawls, some of which are ornamented with borders of natural flowers in superb embroidery…are really beautiful, but certainly not calculated for the time of year; however, the season is the last thing a Frenchwoman considers.


Anonymous said...

I love the total disregard of common sense when it comes to fashion. As they used to say (and probably still do), "You must suffer in the cause of beauty."

On question. Is she wearing her bracelets around the upper arm? Was that usual? It looks uncomfortable.

Audra said...

The season is the last thing a Frenchwoman considers.

Oh, snap, as the cool kids say. That is hilarious -- and grim. What if one wants to be warm?!

Lovely post as usual -- thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I bet women caught a lot of colds back then. Those heating pans couldn't have worked as well as car heaters!
On the other hand, they didn't have to stand around waiting at bus stops, did they? :D

lvroftiques said...

"The season is the last thing a Frenchwoman considers"

Some things haven't changed in France....One must suffer for fashion after all lol!

I can't tell you how much I LOVE your blog! Vanna

LorettaChase said...

Audra & Ivroftiuqes—we're happy to share! Anonymous, the "armlets" are not unusual. We've seen them worn over long sleeve dresses as well. I agree that it looks uncomfortable. Since they were used to stiffer and more elaborate clothes than we are, I'm guessing that they tolerated the armlets better than many of us would. Anonymous, I thought the same thing. If they didn't catch a lot of colds, they would have to be hardier individuals than we. Which might make sense, since a person had to be strong to survive childhood.

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