Friday, August 3, 2012
Regency Era Fashion Chit Chat - June 1809 Ackerman's Repository
Regency Era Fashion Chit Chat - June 1809 Ackerman's Repository Fashions for Ladies and Gentlemen General Observations The Gothic taste, which the introduction of the Spanish costume seemed likely to revive, has now completely given place to the simple and more elegant forms of Grecian antiquity. The long waist, that merciless destroyer of everything that is beautiful, must be no more known or thought of. The wasp-like division of the human form, which this monstrous fashion produces, is perfectly irreconcilable with antique simplicity. Shawls are much worn; they are admirably adapted to the promenade, as they afford, in the throw and arrangement, such fine opportunities for the display of the wearer's taste. Silk head-dresses, a l'antique, with short veils, are most in request for the promenade; straw hats and bonnets are worn, but not so generally. To Mr. Thomas Hope's recent publication on Ancient Costume, is the late change in dress principally to be attributed: - indeed, to the exertions of this gentleman almost all our modern improvements in taste may be referred. It is hoped the publication alluded to will become the vade-mecum and toilet-companion of every lady distinguished in the circles of fashion. I wish it were in my power to report any similar improvement in the adaption of colours to character and complexion. In this essential part of dress, confusion and inconsistency still prevail. It is not nusual to see a lady of a pallid hue render herself ghastly by placing red, pink, or livid lilac near her face; the fairest complexion is frequently disfigured by brown, green, or red; and the most lovely brunette rendered frightful by a dress of light blue or grey. These, and a thousand similar absurdities, constantly occur, and it is to these errors that I would now apply a corrective. Ambitious that the British fair should be as much superior to other nations, in the taste of their dress, as they are in the beauty of their persons, I wish it particularly to be understood, that, though in my character of Arbiter Elegantiarum, I might publish dogmas and compel obedience, yet I do not ask assent to the following observations, till my fair readers have taken the advice of their sage and sapient counsellor, looking-glass. Few colours will look absolutely ill on a fair complexion, provided the cheeks be tinged with the rosy hue of health. There are, however, some which detract from its natural sweetness. Green and brown are of the latter class. Light blue, grey, and lilac, of the former. A small quantity of either of these colours, will be found to add to the fairest face, a charm inexpressible. The brunette must regulate her dress by the contrary rule. She may roam at large through all the varieties of red, brown, yellow, green, and olive, provided they be kept of a dark or of a negative hue. No light colours, and few positive colours, can be admitted with impunity. The sallow complexion will find advantage from a head-dress, handkerchief, ribbon, or border, of yellowish green or olive; and the pallid hue of sickness, in a fair complexion, will be considerably relieved by a ribbon of the most tender and delicate blue. Scarlet and pea-green are completely inadmissible; or if the latter may ay any time be adopted, it must be only in the smallest quantity. A ribbon or a border is all that can be allowed. We shall resume this subject on a future occasion. Gentlemen's Fashions Dark olive and bottle-green coats are still much worn, and the season has brought into requisition marcella waistcoats of all descriptions, colours, and patterns: buff, however, is the most prevalent. Nankeen drawers and gaiters are very general for morning dress. It is now the haut ton to wear the collar of the coat very high behind, worked round to stand off, and cut very low in front.