What was the well-dressed young woman wearing in 1829?
Perhaps a very sweet Walking Dress in brown, with a full skirt ornamented with tucks and full sleeves gathered into cuffs, along with a fur pelerine lined with pink satin and a deep double-ruffled lace collar...and what a hat, decorated with ultra-wide loops of fabric in pink and black and a hanging frill of lace around the brim. And look, those enormous muffs are STILL in fashion! (Ackermann’s Repository of Fashion, January):
Speaking of enormous hats...this show-stopping giant turban in coral pink and yellow certainly sets the tone for this Evening Dress in white with yellow trim. The puffy stuffed hem is topped with leaf appliqués that also appear on the ruffled short sleeves, and a pink shawl pulls the color scheme together. Note that most of the figures have very curled hair; lady’s maids were evidently busy with the curling tongs this year! (Ackermann’s Repository of Fashion, January):
Another extreme hat tops off this lovely red Morning Dress, with tucks on the lower skirt, full gigot sleeves gathered to deep, buttoned cuffs, another double van dyke lace collar, and that hat, a froth of lace and yellow and blue loops. (Ackermann’s Repository of Fashion, February):
Here’s a harbinger of the coming excesses of fashion to be seen in the next decade: a Parisian Dinner Dress. A full white skirt, fairly plain, contrasts with the black bodice made in the pointed gothic styles, which in turn contrasts with the white sleeves caught up with gold bands at the middle of the upper and lower arms. And the width of sleeves at the shoulder line! This ain’t nothin’ yet, but you get the idea that very shortly, women will have to pass through doors sideways (I’m not kidding!) A gold passementerie belt and a dramatic black hat set at a rakish angle and ornamented with pink ostrich plumes and more gold trim finishes this ensemble (Ackermann’s Repository of Fashion, February):
A more sedate Dinner Dress of white satin is next, but it still manages to pack a punch with exuberant ruffled gaze trim around the hem, pretty pleating details on the bodice, full short sleeves, and a turban adorned with broad loops of fabric. Almost bridal, don’t you think? (Ackermann’s Repository of Fashion, March):
Now here’s a question: would you have wanted to sit behind this woman at the opera? Rumor has it that one went to the opera more to be seen than to pay attention to the actions on the stage, and you’d certainly be seen in this Opera Dress. Along with the black hat copiously trimmed with white ostrich plumes and one coquettish bow, this costume features a beautifully embroidered blue cloak with a wide collar and capelet and trimmed with gold passementerie over a fairly plain white dress with full gigot sleeves and a skirt fully made of tucks. The drama wasn't just on stage, was it? (Ackermann’s Repository of Fashion, March):
This English Dinner Dress includes fashion elements we’ve already seen in the 1820s...but more so. The plain skirt features a row of triangular lappets of fabric which appear again decorating the bodice...and enormous gauze sleeves cover short puffy undersleeves. Hat trimmed with ostrich plumes and lace lappets. I’m not sure what makes this dress so English, but it is pretty! (Ackermann’s Repository of Fashion, April):
Hmm. Whatever it was that made the Dinner Dress above so English, it wasn’t restraint...witness this English Ball Dress in bright, flirty pink with rows of colorfully embroidered gauze ruffles on the skirt, topped with black and pink striped trim. Both reappear in the bodice, along with trim of black and pink. A totally Carnival kind of dress, don’t you think? (Ackermann’s Repository of Fashion, April):
We’ll end with a pair of Parisian Evening Dresses, with variation in skirt ornamentation (one plain, one with appliqués and bows) and full gauze oversleeves above short puffed undersleeves. But check out the elaborate hairstyles, with loops of braid and topknots stuck with flowers and jeweled ornaments. This is also a style that we’ll see much of in the 1830s...and what I want to know is how they managed to do this without hairspray or styling gel! (Ackermann’s Repository of Fashion, June):
Though this is not the last fashion forecast, it will be the last one featuring prints from Ackermann. Next Tuesday we’ll backtrack a little and learn more about Mr. Ackermann and his splendid journal.