Regency Era Fashion Chit Chat - September 1818 La Belle Assemblee
General Observations on Fashion and Dress
In order to supply the votaries of Fashion with every new invention that taste and fancy can devise, a few of the most eminent Marchandes de Modes have quitted the metropolis, and repaired to those places whereto beauty is led by the hand of prudence to the abodes of health on the shores of the ocean. Amongst these priestesses of the toilette may first be classed one of the most elegant of the profession from St. James's-street, and who purposes, we believe, to make her marine excursions as versatile as that fancy for which she is so justly famed: of this we are assured, that several amongst the higher classes, now stationed at the different watering places, are anxiously awaiting her arrival, before they fix on some important articles of female attire. We here, we are well assured, need not name the inventress of the Circassian and Armenian corsettes, the new court hoop, Meinengen corsage, &c. &c.
The continued warmth of the weather renders yet the muslin pelisses and spensers to be almost universally adopted: some of the latter are of clear book muslin, trimmed with very full trimmings of muslin, richly embroidered at the edge. Scarf shawls, mantles, and sarsnet wraps are only seen on evenings, when returning from the rooms or from crowded parties.
Bonnets for the carriage are of white satin, crowned with damask roses, or made transparent of fine net, almost covered in alternate stripes, crosswide, of French white satin ribband: these bonnets are generally crowned with hollyhock blossoms: but nothing can be more admired, or more deserving admiration, than the Cambridge dress hat of pale pink satin, embroidered in cockleshells, in thread straw, and finished by a full plume of white ostrich feathers: this elegant hat is partially turned up in front. For walking, the Cheltenham bonnet of marine striped straw, with a simple ornament of white roses, or a large Leghorn, with little trimming except blond and ribband, are reckoned most fashionable, and are very universally adopted.
Next to the dinner dress, represented in our Print, is another for the same purpose of fine Decca muslin, striped, and embroidered in a small pattern between the stripes; the border is ornamented with three rows of muslin bouillone, run through with rose-coloured satin ribband. The Catalonia dress is worn at friendly dinner parties; it is of fine cambric, embroidered all over in crescents or very small sprigs, and is finished by three flounces of open embroidery, and at the head of the upper flounce is a row of the same open kind of work. For morning walking dresses, printed muslins, with borders to correspond, and above the border two flounces of plain muslin, scalloped with the colour of the pattern, are at present in favour; but this is one of those ephemeral fashions that soon vanish, and are scarce worth recording, excepting that they find employment for the loom in the charm of variety.
Mrs. Bell, whom we have cited above, has, amongst her novelties, some very superb ball dresses, the newest of which are the harvest frocks; some of these have a beautiful border of wheat ears, actually worked in straw on fine net, and others are adorned with a rich border of corn poppies, which produces, certaily, the most beautiful effect by candlelight. These dresses are worn over white satin slips, with a Meinengen corsage of a correspondent colour to the border.
Never were caps so universal; and in this the English ladies do wisely: an ardent sun, particularly when accompanied by breezes from the sea, has often a sudden effect in changing the colour of the hair. Among the new cornettes is the fan cornette a-la-Comtesse, so called from the front being spread out like a fan; youth and loveliness are certainly requisite to render this head-dress becoming. The breakfast cornette, of fine thread net and Brussels lace, simply finished by rouleaux of lilac satin, is a very becoming deshabille to every face: and a lighter kind of Madras turban, worn as a home costume, is an improvement of a fashion that has lasted much longer than we predicted; it is of plaid gauze, the colours of a light and appropriate kind of summer.
The favourite colours are Clarence blue, rose colour, and lilac.