Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fashion Forecast: 1811

What was the well-dressed young woman wearing in 1811?

A lot of things, as it turns out. 1811 was a banner year for fashion in my opinion because of the all the lovely variations that occurred in women's clothing. No one style predominated, as we'll see happens in later years. For example, look at these high-waisted Evening Dresses from the January 1 edition of Ackermann's Repository (don't you love the way the artist sneaks in a back view?):

But just a couple of months later, this Opera Dress ensemble shows an open jacket-like garment that sits at the natural waist (Ackermann's Repository, March 1):

And there's no waist at all in this Carriage Dress, also from the March 1 edition:

Primrose yellow was definitely in, as can be seen in this sprightly, spring-like, and also waist-less Ball Dress from April 1's Ackermann's:

As in the first image, the focus is on the bust in this pretty pink Full Dress, set back at the natural waist (May 1, Ackermann's Repository):

This elegant Riding Habit also sits at the natural waist. Note the length of the skirt in back, meant to drape gracefully once the rider was ensconced in her side-saddle (Ackermann's Repository, October 1):

Similar to the Opera Dress from March with its yellow over-dress, here's a Walking Dress from October 1st's Ackermann's:

I love this next dress because it is comfortable-looking and handsome...but would you have guessed 1811? (Evening Dress, October 1, Ackermann's Repository):

Again, I think this Walking Dress could have as easily hailed from 1911 as 1811 (and oh-so-cozy with that ermine lining! November 1, Ackermann's Repository):

Equally cozy and charming is this Carriage Dress from November 1's Ackermanns:

Closing out this year of elegance is a Mourning Dress (though I've been unable to figure out for whom mourning was ordered.) I have the descriptive text for this December 1st Ackermann's plate: "A round robe of fine iron-grey cloth or velvet, with long sleeves and demi-high front, trimmed down the center of the figure, at a measured distance, with chenille fur, and clasped in the center, from the bosom to the feet, with lozenge clasps of jet; the belt confined with the same. Antique scolloped ruff of white crape; cuffs to correspond. Hungarian mantle, with double capes, trimmed with chenille fur, composed of the same material as the robe, and ornamented with rich cord and tassels at the throat. A small Eastern turban of grey and silver tissue; short willow feathers (alternately grey and white) drooping on the left side. Ear-rings and neck-lace of jet. Gloves of grey or white kid. Slippers of black queen silk, with jet clasps. Fan of black crape, frosted with silver.--This dress is furnished us by Mrs. Gill, Cork-Street, Burlington Gardens."

What do you think of 1811's clothes?


Rhiannon Hart said...

Just lovely! They look so comfortable, which surprises me. The mourning dress is exquisite.

Rachel said...

I love the riding habit. Quite elegant.

I hope you had a great holiday season!

Dara said...

Lovely. I especially love the primrose one.

I love the simplicity of these dresses. It always amazes me how it goes from this simple style to the huge hooped skirts of the 1850s and 1860s.

Marissa Doyle said...

Fashions started getting silly before that--wait until you see some of the dresses from the 1820s and 1830s.

Have a fun, safe New Year's Eve and Day, everyone! I'm going to try to see Young Victoria this weekend so we can talk about it next week.

QNPoohBear said...

I like the primrose dress the best. It's beautiful and cheerful. I hope you like Young Victoria. I loved it and I'm pretty picky about historical movies.

Gillian Layne said...

I love these pictures, thanks so much for sharing!

Happy and safe New Years to you all. :)