Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fashion Forecast: 1825

What was the well-dressed young woman wearing in 1825?

She might step out for the evening in this gorgeous purple Evening Dress (January, Ackermann’s Repository). Full sleeves caught in with ribbon are making an appearance again this year; here they’re pulled in just above the wrist. Though you may not be able to see it here, her belt is decorated with a cameo clasp, and her hat is a turban of lavender and yellow striped silk. Very distinguĂ©e!
Remember those huge muffs of the earlier years of the century? They’re still around, as we can see in this Promenade Dress from February’s Ackermann’s. This one appears to be made of something like Persian lamb, as the texture is curly. The skirt of the dress is ornamented with woven trim in the same color as the fabric…and what a hat, worn over a ruffled cap!
The Ball Dresses of this year seem curiously unfit for dancing in…just look at the enormous rouleau at the hem of this Ball Dress from March’s Ackermann’s Repository! Don’t you think that would get in the way of a lively country dance? However, the rest of the dress is charming in pale pink with faux lacing up the front of the bodice and ribbon applique on the sleeves:
Here’s a simple but handsome Morning Dress in a lovely purplish blue, with a lace scarf crossed over the bust and tied in back. She’s wearing a rather large and heavy-looking cross necklace as well as a quizzing glass…all the better to read The Times with! (May, Ackermann’s Repository):
It looks like there was no rest for weary moms, even in 1825. Perhaps she was having a last snuggle before venturing out in this Evening Dress in sky blue decorated with delicate lace ruffles and appliques on the skirt, with a matching lace ruffle around the neckline. And that could be either a boy or girl child—clothes were pretty unisex until about the age of 4 or so. I’m wondering if the child’s red bead bracelet isn’t a teething ring—coral beads were popular for that purpose. (May, Ackermann’s Repository):
Here’s another crazy Ball Dress from July’s Lady’s Magazine, with the original description: Dress of yellow striped gauze over white satin, with a very broad full border, bouillonĂ©, of gauze, confined by wreaths of full-blown roses; the centre rose much larger than the others; the wreaths are placed rather in a zig-zag direction. Corsage of yellow satin, with a bouffont drapery of gauze across the bust. Sleeves very short and full, and adorned next the shoulder with a bouquet of roses. The hair arranged in full clusters of curls, interspersed with bouquets of roses and silver wheat ears. Necklace, formed of three rows of fine pearls. Pear-pearl ear pendants, gold bracelets, fastened with a clasp composed of a large topaz, set round with pearls. The above dresses were furnished us by Miss Pierrepont, Edward-street, Portman-square:
This Dinner Dress from August’s Ackermann’s Repository is a curious mix of styles: the striped sleeves and bodice, with slashing and puffs of an underdress poking out, hearken back to the Renaissance, while the skirt is a blend of modern and Renaissance. Note the sleeves tied off close to the wrist as in the Evening Dress above:
I couldn’t resist including this charming muslin Morning Dress from September’s Ackermann’s. Note the large collar, or pelerine—these will grow to enormous sizes in the dresses of the 1830s—as well a waistline that seems to be dropping ever closer to the natural waist. And what about the child’s costume—a nod to the craze for all things Scottish that had started to sweep society, thanks to the Prince Regent’s fascination with Scotland and the popularity of Sir Walter Scott’s novels:
We’ll finish up with a Garden Costume—whatever that is!— from November’s Ackermann’s. This dress hearkens back to 15th century houppelandes, but with the 1825 sleeves caught in at the wrist and what looks like a white eyelet underskirt. And I adore her parasol!
What do you think of 1825’s fashions?


Regencyresearcher said...

Some dresses still manage to look lovely but quite a few seem illsuited to a teen -- even if girls were marrying in laate teens. Most of the fashions look more suitable for matrons. The outfit with the muff and the ball drss with the padded hem are particularly pleasing. Some of the others look as though the ladies are wearing the shoulder pads of present day football players.

Grace said...

I enjoyed the costumes immensely but have to agree that I found it difficult to associate them with teens of any era. But it was delightful to see some elegant clothing that was neither tubular Regency nor hoop-skirt Victorian.

Marissa Doyle said...

Don't forget that the concept of teenhood as an age (and consumer)category didn't exist until well into the 20th century. Alas, Ackermann's Repository didn't have a teen fashion section...

Gillian Layne said...

I think these are gorgeous! Thanks for pointing out the distinctions of each category. And the Garden gown is very pretty...funny to think of a specific gown simply to take a turn through the garden. :)

Marissa Doyle said...

Glad you enjoyed them, Gillian!