Sunday, June 24, 2012

Regency Era Fashion Chit Chat - June 1819 Ackerman's Repository

Regency Era Fashion Chit Chat - June 1819 Ackerman's Repository French Female Fashions Our promenade dresses are now composed of perkale, and they are trimmed in general with jaconot muslin: the bottoms of gowns are trimmed extremely high, but there is little variety in the forms of trimming: some have a piece of muslin laid on full, the fulness divided into compartments, and confined to the skirt by narrow cords placed perpendicularly; others are ornamented by rouleaus of muslin, between which are placed rows of Spanish puffs; and the latest fashion is a number of very narrow flounces set on one above another: they are not disposed in festoons, nor large plaits, and have but very little fulness. I need not tell you, that this is an old fashion, which has been several times revived. The bodies of gowns are made in a very showy style: they are always tight to the shape; some have a plain back, and the fronts are plaited in a bias direction across the bust; they button up the front: the bottom of the waist is finished by a row of rich work, set on full, and there is generally a girdle of embroidered ribbon. A plain long sleeve, nearly tight to the arm; at the bottom it has a band of ribbon, to correspond, across the wrist, and is finished with work, which falls over the hand: there is a half-sleeve, which is also disposed in bias plaits, and pretty full on the shoulders; this is confined by a band of ribbon to correspond, and is finished by a fall of work. Dresses made in this way are extremely fashionable, but they are much too formal to please me, and if the figure is not very faultless indeed, they are far from being becoming. Spensers, pelisses, and even silk scarfs, are exploded; the only covering worn with high dresses is a pelerine, which never comes further than the shoulders, or a small scarf composed of crepou de Bareges: it is trimmed with knotted fringe, is very narrow, and is tied carelessly at the throat: ponceau is the favourite colour for these scarfs. Gros de Naples, Leghorn, paille coton, gauze, and crape, are the materials generally used for hats. Those composed of gros de Naples are ornamented at the edge of the brim with a ruche of plain ribbon, or bouillons of gauze or crape. Leghorn hats are usually worn without trimming on the brim. Paille coton chapeaux have in general a narrow twisted roll of ribbon or gauze. Crape and gauze hats are usually made with a fulness of gauze disposed in folds or deep flutings over the brim, and this fulness is drawn in peaked puffs at the edge of it. White and yellow straw are also in fashion, though paille coton seems very likely to supersede the first: the latter is always of the finest kind, and of a bright gold colour, and its trimming corresponds. The crowns of bonnets still continue to be worn very small; but the brims are extremely large, and so long that they mostly meet under the chin. Some elegantes have these long brims almost square, so that they only partially shade the face; others wear them round, and so deep that scarcely a feature is visible, because the brim is pulled very much over the face; and some few of our merveilleuses have revived the fashion of wearing large bonnets, placed very far back upon the head. Hats are now never seen in promenade dress, nor are feathers at all worn; ribbons and flowers, that is to say, a mixture of both, forming the fashionable trimming for bonnets. Flowers are disposed with more moderation and taste than I ever recollect to have seen them before: our bouquets are of a moderate size, and either composed of one sort of flowers only, or else, if there is a mixture, it is one in which the eye is not offended by badly contrasted colours. Wreaths are as much in favour as bouquets, and they are always composed of one sort of flowers only. Roses and lilacs are most in favour; but laburnum, lilies, mignionette, fancy flowers, the blossoms of different kinds of fruit, corn-flowers, and also wheat-ears, are all worn. Before I quit the promenade costume, I must mention to you two articles, which appear at present indispensable to it: the first is a sash, composed of either Egyptian or plaid ribbon; the Egyptian ribbon is always of two colours, the middle of one sort, and a little stripe at each edge of another; the favourite contrasts are, dark puce and apple-green, gold colour and white, pouceau and pale blue. These ribbons are worn excessively broad, some are six inches in width; they are tied on one side, near the front, in a bow and long ends. The other article is a short veil of transparent white gauze, which is generally drawn carelessly to one side. Nor must I forget our parasols: they are always of a dome shape, and are always of a dome shape, and are finished with a rich silk fringe. The Parisian elegante always chooses a parasol of the colour that will best suit her complexion: the fair beauty appears with one of lilac or azure; and the brown belle has one of rose-colour, purple, or white. But you will begin to think, that I never mean to take you out of the promenade: in truth, home dress at present offers very little that is worthy of your attention. White dresses are as much worn at home as for the promenade; in fact, the morning promenade gown frequently forms the home dinner dress. I have already told you how these are in general made and trimmed, but I forgot to observe, that each of the narrow flounces which I mentioned, is generally finished with three small tucks at the edge. Coloured muslins are also worn in home dress, though not so much as white: there have been some just introduced, the ground of which is either blue, rust colour, or lilac; they have broad borders round the bottom of the skirt, which are called buyadires; these borders are of a different colour: these dresses are sometimes finished by flounces, but in general they are ornamented only with the borders. For social evening parties, clear muslin frocks are very much in favour: several are made partially high; they are trimmed with a profusion of lace round the bottom of the skirt; it is set on in flounces either plain or serpentined; ruches, composed of ribbons of different colours, are usually placed as headings to these flounces. The bodies are tight to the shape, and are let in all round the upper part of the bust with lace; and a row of very broad lace is usually set on behind, in such a manner as to form at once a pelerine and half-sleeves: the under-sleeve, if short, is very full; it is confined to the arm by a band of ribbon or satin, and is finished by a quilling of lace; if long, which is more generally the case, it is let in all the way down in front of the arm with puffs of joining lace, and finished at the wrist with two, or perhaps three, rows of lace. Gauze still continues fashionable for full dress, and tulle over white satin is also much in favour. Crape, which has for some time been exploded, appears to be coming again into fashion. No material change has occurred in grand costume since my last. Fashionable colours are lilac, mignionette, rose-colour, straw-colour, and blue; but white is most in request.

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