Regency Era Fashion Chit Chat - February 1819 Ackerman's Repository
General Observations on Fashion and Dress
Till the mourning has actually expired, it will be difficult to ascertain precisely the fashion by which it will be succeeded. We have availed ourselves of our numerous opportunities of seeing dresses which are in preparation for ladies of distinction; and we shall present our fair subscribers with descriptions of such of them as are most remarkable for elegance and taste.
First for the promeande, or rather, we should say, carriage or dress promenade costume, for mere walking dress does not at present afford any novelty; the most elegant, next to the one which we have given in our print, is a pelisse of ruby-coloured velvet, lined with rich white sarsnet, and trimmed with a mixture of swansdown and satin. The body of this pelisse is made rather longer in the waist than we have recently seen them. The skirt is of a moderate width, and there is a good deal of fulness about the hips. The shape of the back is formed by a double row of small silk tufts placed on each side: the collar stands up very high round the throat; it is lined with white satin, and edged with swansdown: the satin is disposed in plaits, which are at some distance from each toher; they are reversed at regular distances, and tacked down with ruby-coloured chenille. The sleeve is of a moderate width, but so long as to cover more than half the hand: the bottom of it is finished with swansdown. The shoulder is ornamented with a small epaulette, which corresponds with the collar. The trimming, which goes all round the pelisse, is similar, except that it is edged on both sides with swansdown. We should observe, that the pelisse just meets in front: it is, we think, one of the prettiest and most novel that we have seen; it is striking without being gaudy, and is made in a manner exceedingly advantageous to the display of the shape.
We have noticed several morning dresses in tabbinet: this material promises to be very fashionable for undress. One of the prettiest of these gowns was an open robe, of a dark sea-green colour; the bottom of the skirt was vandyked with bright green silk pluche; the points of the vandykes were turned upward, and each of them was finished by a very narrow puffing of gauze, to correspond in colour with the pluche. The fronts just meet; they are fastened on the inside, and were ornamented up to the bust with rosettes of bright green satin. The body was made up to the throat, with a very small collar, which stood out from the neck: the fronts fitted the shape, but the back was quite loose; it was confined at the bottom by a girdle, or rather, we should say, a half-girdle, composed of pluche, which was tacked on at each side close to the hip, and fastened with three small silk buttons in the middle of the back: the bottom of this girdle was cut in pointed tabs, which were progressively deeper as they approached the back; it had consequently the appearance of a little smart jacket. Long sleeve of a moderate fulness: the shoulder and the bottom of the sleeve were ornamented with pointed pluche, and the collar was lined with the same material. This is an elegant and ladylike morning dress.
Poplins and lutestrings are the materials most likely to be in estimation for dinner gowns. Those that we have seen afforded very little novelty; they were in general made low round the bust, tight to the shape, and with short sleeves. In a few instances there was a piece of net, or gauze, disposed in folds, which was tacked to the inside of the dress in such a manner as to come pretty high over the front of the bust: they had a neat and modest effect. The trimmings of dinner gowns do not afford any variety worth mentioning: invention in this respect seems to have completely stood still. Gauze or net disposed in ruches, puffings, or rouleaus, or else deep flounces of blond lace, are the only trimmings we have seen, except the folds of satin and net intermingled, which we mentioned some time ago, and which seem likely still to continue fashionable.
Full dress is a good deal made in white satin. We have given one of the most elegant that has fallen under our observation. We have seen another, which is also striking and tasteful: it is white satin, finished with a deep flounce of blond lace, which is headed by a ruche of white and ruby-coloured net, fancifully intermingled. A ruby-coloured velvet corsage is put on over the satin one: only a little of the front of the latter is seen; the form meets just in front, where it is fastened by a pearl clasp of the shape of a heart; the fronts are sloped on each side, and it is trimmed round the bust with narrow blond lace, which stands up. The sleeve, which is very short, is a double fall of blond lace over white satin; each fall is looped up with pearl ornaments to correspond with the clasp, but of a smaller size. This is a remarkably rich and elegant dress; it is also very appropriate to the season.
We have seen a number of toques, turbans, and dress caps, which have been prepared against the termination of the mourning. The former are always of a very moderate height: the most elegant, in our opinion, are composed of white satin and gauze, or plain white satin. There are others made either in coloured gauze, or a mixture of coloured satin with white gauze: when these are worn with a dress to correspond in colour, they look very well, but they are by no means elegant with a white dress. Turbans are in general of the Turkish form, and, as well as toques, are ornamented with ostrich feathers. We have seen some in silver gauze, decorated with bunches of silver wheat-ears: they had an elegant effect.
The dress caps which we have seen were all of a round shape, with low crowns. The prettiest are te beef-eater crowns, composed of rich letting-in lace, quartered with white satin; the satin is finished round with a fine narrow lace set on full; there is a double lace border, very full, particularly over the forehead, and a bunch of flowers placed to one side.
We have seen several full dress ornaments for the hair composed of gold and pearl; they are of a diadem shape. Flowers, disposed in a similar manner, promise also to be much in request. We have seen some wreaths of leaves both in pearls and emeralds; the latter have a beautiful effect upon fair hair.
The colours which appear most likely to be in favour are, bright and dark green, ruby, French rose-colour, pale brown, fawn-colour, azure, and French grey.
A corset which has just been submitted to our inspection, appears to us worthy of the attention of our fair subscribers: it is contrived to support, without compressing, the shape, which it displays to very great advantage, by the manner in which it is cut: it is called the Athenian corset.