Regency Era Fashion Chit Chat - August 1820 Ladies' Monthly Museum
We have to thank a marchande des modes in St. James's-street, to whose elegant taste our Museum has frequently been indebted, for a sight of the tasteful novelties which we shall endeavor to describe to our fair readers.
The first is a pelisse and bonnet, calculated for the morning promenade. The pelisse is composed of bright green reps silk, and lined with white sarsnet. The back is full; the waist of a moderate length; and the fronts tight to the shape. The collar, which partly stands up and partly falls in the neck, forms at once a collar and a small pelerine; it is rounded at the corners in front, but peaked behind. The sleeve is rather wide. The trimming, which goes all round the pelisse, consists of a fulness of dark green satin, fancifully interspersed with large leaves of reps silk, which are so laid on as to form the satin into puffs between the leaves. The epaulette corresponds with the trimming; the bottom of the sleeve, and the collar, is trimmed in a similar style, but the trimming is much narrower. A rich cord and tassel goes round the waist, and the hips are finished by silk ornaments, which, as well as the cord and tassel, correspond in colour with the dress.
The bonnet is composed of an intermixture of green gauze and reps silk; the crown is rather low, but not so low as they are worn in general, and resembles, in some degree, a Turkish turban in form; the crown is composed of silk, but there is a fulness of gauze goes round the top, which is confined at regular distances by small straps of reps silk, in the shape of leaves: the brim is uncommonly large; it is much deeper on one side than on the other; it is composed of fluted gauze, and edged with green satin; a single fall of broad white lace is set on full round the edge of the brim; a bunch of unripe corn adorns one side of the crown, and a rich green riband fastens it under the chin.
The other articles consist of a dinner and evening dress; the first is composed of clear muslin; it is cut moderately low round the bust, which is edged by a broad lace, that falls over a l'enfant, and is looped up round the bust by very small pale pink satin bows; under this trimming, at the hind part of the bust, a double row of lace is set on full, so as to form a round pelerine. The bottom of the skirt is trimmed with two rows of oval puffs, let in at some distance from each other; the spaces in which these puffs are set, are edged with pink satin; a row of muslin is let in full between the puffs, and the fulness is confined here and there by small pink bows.
The evening dress is composed of pale blue figured gauze; the body is cut low round the bust; it fastens behind, and is made loose, but is formed to the shape by a white satin brace, of a very novel and elegant description, which crosses in the middle of the back, is terminated by a small peak behind, and forms a stomacher, which is also peaked in front; these peaks are edged with narrow blond, and the bust is trimmed to correspond. The sleeve is short and full; it is composed of blue gauze, surmounted by a small white satin mancheron. Te skirt is trimmed with a full ruche of white transparent gauze, which is surmounted by a wreath of wild flowers.
Promenade dress is nearly the same as last month; but white dresses are still more in favour.
Fashionable colours are - pale blue, rose-colour, lavender, straw-colour, lilac, and different shades of green.
Cabinet Des Modes de Paris
In making our report of the home-dress of a Parisian elegante, we must begin with the dishabille, in which she appears at
and here I must confess, that the party who are adverse to French fashions will have some reason to triumph; for, honestly speaking, I can say very little in praise of the breakfast-dress of our fair neighbours; it consists, at present, of a petticoat composed of perkale, made long and rather full, and finished at the bottom by a very deep flounce, disposed always, in the most formal manner possible, in deep plaits. A short wrapper is worn with this petticoat, which is vilely fashioned; for it is neither tight enough to fit the shape, nor sufficiently loose to have an air of easy dishabille; the waist is very long, the sleeves are also wide and long. The wrapper comes up to the throat, and is made with a wide high collar, which, during the present warm weather, falls into the enck, and forms a kind of pelerine, leaving the dress open at the throat. The wrapper is trimmed to correspond with the petticoat.
Such is the matinal garb of a fashionable Frenchwoman; and my fair countrywomen might well exclaim against it, as a frightful disguise, if its dowdy effect was not in a great measure counteracted by a morning-cap, of an uncommonly simple and tasteful form, and which is always adapted to the particular style of countenance of the wearer. These caps are, in general, of the cornette, that is to say, mob-shape; but, as mobs do not become every body, and as round caps are not comme il faut in undress, a style of cap has lately been introduced, which partakes a little of the form of both; and which is called a demi-cornette. Undress caps are, therefore, at present, of the cornette and demi-cornette kind. - The first are most in favour with the oval-faced belle, the latter is generally adopted by those ladies whose round or full faces render a mob-cap unbecoming to them.
Let us now see of what materials these head-dresses are made, and what ornaments decorate them. - The first is appropriate enough; they are composed, in general, of fine muslin, and trimmed with narrow lace; the cauls are always low; some are quartered like an infant's cap; others are round, and are decorated with puffs of muslin let in. The majority are ornamented with embroidery at each side of the caul; and a few caps, made of cambric muslin, or perkales, as the French call it, have the cauls so covered with embroidery, that you can hardly discover the materials of which they are made.
The cornettes have the ears, in general, cut small, and placed very far back; they just meet under the chin, where they fasten with a bow of riband; the demi-cornettes also fasten under the chin with a riband; the head-pieces of both are of a moderate breadth, and there is always a full border of lace, which goes all round and is frequently double, and even sometimes triple, over the face. I need hardly say, that this full style of border is generally worn by those ladies whose large and harsh features render it necessary for them to study how to throw a little softness into their countenances.
Breakfast caps are either trimmed with knots or cockades of riband, or close wreaths made of riband, or rosettes composed of a mixture of riband and lace; flowers are never worn in complete dishabille; and I am sure, in this respect, all my fair readers will agree with me, that French taste is correct.
Dinner gowns are of two sorts; the first are made in a half-dress style, and serve for home costume or social parties; the others are proper only for full dress. Half-dress is now universally made of perkale. Waists are worn very long; the body is made, in general, high, but without a collar. The sleeves are long, and almost tight to the arm; but as this fashion cannot be generally becoming, those belles who are conscious that their arms are not round and well formed, have their sleeves made with alternate full broad bands, and plain narrow strips of muslin; by which ingenious contrivance the want of symmetry is concealed.
Let us now take a peep at full dress; the materials of which, at present, are gauze, crape, tissue, and white satin. The waist must be long; in other respects, a lady may have the body of her gown made as she pleases, and, you may be sure, to set off her figure to advantage; thus, if she is well made, she appears in the robe a la vierge, the body of which fits the natural shape exactly; it is cut in a becoming and modest manner round the bust, and the sleeves, which in full dress must be short, are sufficiently so to display the beauty of the arm. If a lady's figure is thin, the back of the dress is made full: and the folds round the bust give a fulness to that part of the form. Full-dress gowns are trimmed with lace or gauze flounces, or satin rouleaux.
It is to her coeffure that the attention of the French belle is chiefly directed in full-dress; infinite are the pains which she takes, or at least which she makes her hair-dresser take, to arrange the braids and curls in a style most becoming to her features; for, at present, the head-dress is of hair ornamented with feathers, flowers, or jewels; and some whimsical elegantes, who are handsome enough to look well in whatever they wear, occasionally mingle all three. When flowers are mingled with feathers, the former generally form a wreath, which is placed at the base of the former. Roses, lilies, violets, honeysuckels, lilacs, laburnums, and a variety of wild flowers, are all fashionable. Blue, lilac, and rose-colour, are the only hues in favour for dresses; but white is in still greater estimation.