Regency Era Fashion Chit Chat - June 1820 Ackerman's Repository
General Observations on Fashion and Dress
Promenade costume has not been for several seasons more gay, more striking, nor, as far as respects the materials, more varied than at present. Rich silk pelisses, worn over cambric muslin or sarsnet dresses, and made in a very plain style, are much in favour for what may be termed plain walking dress; as are also sarsnet high dresses made in the habit style: these last are sometimes worn with a light silk scarf, sometimes without. The trimmings of these dresses are of satin or braiding, but they afford no novelty worth describing.
Leghorn bonnets, trimmed with ribbons only, are very generally worn in this plain style of promenade dress; these bonnets, and indeed all other fashionable ones, are very large: the only alteration we perceive in their shape is, that the crowns are something lower; but then, as if to make amends for this little reduction in height, the brims are in general a little deeper than they have been for the last two months. All fashionable ribbons now are very broad and extremely rich; those that are figured seem most in favour.
Silk pelisses are also a great deal worn in the dress promenade and carriage costume; they are made in a very tasteful style, and much trimmed. We have presented our readers with one of the most fashionable in our print. There is no variety in the form of pelisses; they are all made in one style, but there is a good deal of difference in the manner in which they are trimmed. Many are ornamented with very narrow white satin rouleaus, disposed in waves; there are sometimes five or six of these rouleaus in number: others are trimmed with an intermixture of satin and gauze, to correspond in colour with the pelisse; and we have seen a few ornamented with a trimming of a shell pattern, formed of satin to correspond with the pelisse, but of various shades: this last trimming is usually made very broad, and has a striking effect. We observe that pelisses are in general trimmed all round; and the collar, cuffs, and epaulettes, usually correspond.
Clear muslin and british net pelisses, lined with coloured sarsnet, begin to be a good deal worn: these pelisses are trimmed with lace in general. We noticed one the other day, of a novel and tasteful description: the trimming consisted of a single fall of broad lace, disposed in a zig-zag manner round the bottom of the pelisse; this flounce was headed by a corkscrew roll of satin, and between each of the waves formed by the zig-zag, was a letting-in of lace, in the shape of a large leaf. A lace pelerine, with long ends, which crossed in front, and fastened in the middle of the back with a large bow of ribbon, almost concealed the body of the pelisse; and as it was very full trimmed with lace, and fell a little over the shoulders, it formed a substitute for half-sleeves. The long sleeve, which was rather wide, was terminated by three falls of narrow lace, each headed by a corkscrew roll of ribbon. The pelisse was of clear muslin; the lining pale rose-colour, and the ribbon to correspond.
Spencers are worn, but less generally than they have been, and we observe no novelty in their form.
Transparent and half-transparent (if we may be allowed the expression) bonnets are very much in favour. The first are made in white lace, British net, and different sorts of gauze; they are made, as we before observed, with low crowns, large brims, and to stand out a good deal from the face: those made in gauze are finished by a ruche of the same material round the edge of the brim; the others are ornamented either with blond or thread lace. Flowers, which are worn either in wreaths or bunches, always ornament the crowns. These bonnets have a very elegant appearance: we have noticed, that this season they are introduced unusually early.
The half-transparent bonnets are of the same materials as the one given in our print: they are light, appropriate to the season, and perhaps better suited to our climate than those of a thinner texture; they are likewise always adorned with flowers.
Muslin is the only thing worn in dishabille: jaconot is rather more in favour than cambric muslin, but the latter is fashionable. Robes and round dresses are equally in request; the latter are very moderately trimmed. Robes are made in a more tasteful style: the one described as the under-dress worn with the pelisse in our print, is by much the most elegant novelty that we have seen for some time.
Muslin now begins to be a great deal worn in dinner dress, but it is not yet so generally adopted as silk. Muslin dresses are in general trimmed with lace; and we observe with pleasure, that there is also a good deal of ribbon mixed with it: the encouragement of this branch of our manufactures is particularly desirable, from the number of hands to which it gives employment. One of the most tasteful dinner dresses that we have seen this month, is a frock, the body of which is of a decorous height: the back is composed of strips of muslin let in full and bias between letting-in lace; the front is a little full on each breast, but plain in the middle, which is formed of a demi-lozenge of letting-in lace, with the point downwards. Very short full sleeve, surmounted by three points, which hang loose, and are edged with lace. We should have observed, that the corsage is square round the bust, and ornamented by a narrow lace tucker, which stands up. The skirt is rather wide, and very much gored; the fulness is principally thrown behind: the trimming of the skirt consists of muslin edged with narrow satin ribbon, and quilled in those large hollow plaits which the French call wolves' mouths; the muslin is scolloped at the edge, and the trimming is laid on bias in rows, which are put pretty close to each other. This trimming is the broadest of the kind we have ever seen, being nearly three half-quarters deep; the effect is singular and exceeding pretty. A broad satin sash, disposed in folds round the waist, and fastened behind in a bow and short ends, which are fringed, completes the dress.
Rich silks are now but partially worn in full dress, the favourite materials being white British lace, and white or coloured gauzes. We have seen in a few instances coloured satins made up for very matronly ladies. Several belles have adopted the peaked stomacher so fashionable at present in France: it is extremely unbecoming to the figure. Trimmings vary a good deal: flowers, blond, lace, satin mixed either with lace or gauze, and ribbon disposed in various ways, are all in favour: the pretty chain trimming mentioned in our last Number, is very much worn.
We have nothing novel to describe in millinery; in fact, no ladies, except those very far advanced in life, cover their heads in full dress. The hair is dressed moderately high, and in various forms, but always in such a way as to display its luxuriance as much as possible: the front hair is disposed in very full curls on the temples. The head is ornamented either with feathers or flowers: pearls or diamonds are a good deal worn with the former; but we observe, that when the head-dress consists of flowers, there is now seldom any mixture of jewels. Wreaths and bunches of flowers are equally fashionable: the former are placed very far back on the head, and rather to one side; the latter are too large; they resemble the gardeners' nosegays worn in France, and when, as is often the case, they consist of a mixture of flowers badly contrasted, the effect is very inelegant. Exotics, fancy flowers, and all those of the season, are fashionable. Rose-colour, lilac, lavender, lemon-colour, green, and azure, are all in estimation.