Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fashion Forecast: 1824

What was the well-dressed young lady wearing in 1824?

This year and next can almost be viewed as the calm before a sartorial storm: the fashions of the 1820s will become progressively more elaborate and exaggerated, until we hit the delightful absurdities of the 1830s. But for now…

If she were stepping out for a stroll, a fashionable young lady might wear this very natty fur-and-embroidery-trimmed Promenade Dress from January’s Ackermann’s Repository. The deep band of fur at the hem appears to be ermine. Note the waist creeping down from just under the bust to nearer the natural waist, the high neck with ruffles, and the adorable shell-shaped purse:

For a quiet morning at home, this is certainly a vibrant Morning Dress, in striped fabric with decorative applique at the hem and a deep frill of lace at the neck which must have been very highly starched to stand up that way! On a less fashion-focused note, did you see how the letter she’s reading was folded and sealed—we’re in the pre-envelope era here! (Ackermann’s Repository, March):

Feathers were definitely “in” for Court Dresses this year, as can be seen in this image from the June Lady’s Magazine—the poor dear’s head is nearly eclipsed by them! But the flower-trimmed pink satin train and the scalloped lace of the hem are charming, I think:
The detail on this Ball Dress from June’s Ackermann’s is lovely: note the ribbon applique on the sleeves and bodice, the ruching around the hem, and the pleated silk turban with tassels hanging coquettishly to one side…and best of all—she’s eating ice cream!
Also from June’s Lady’s Magazine is a dainty white satin Opera Dress trimmed with stuffed appliques at the hem and a pink satin cloak trimmed with swan’s down and gold tassels:
Here’s another print I wish I had the caption for: I’d love to know what the beautiful aquamarine fabric was made of. It looks to be subtly striped, with two heavy wadded decorative bands called rouleaux at the hem separated by a row of blossoms which also decorate the bodice and hem. An altogether charming Ball Dress from August’s Ackermann’s:
Here’s another elegant Promenade Dress that showcases several emerging fashion trends for this and the next few years: the sleeves caught in puffs down the length of the arm in a rather Renaissance-ish style, the larger hat with lappets left hanging free (see them also in the Opera Dress above) and the waist at the natural waistline (Ackermann’s Repository, October):
Here are those gathered and puffed sleeves again in an Evening Dress from November's Ackermann's, with a heavier wadded rouleau at the hem as well as daintier gold embroidery which can be seen as well around the low neckline. Notice her curls? You’ll be seeing lots of them over the rest of the 1820s, along with crimped waves reminiscent of a 30s Hollywood starlet. Smooth hair was definitely not in!
What do you think of 1824’s fashions?


Stephsco said...

This was so interesting! I admit I don't know much about historical fashion, but I see this as an in-between phase from late 1700s to mid 1800s fashion, it seems to encompass both spectrums with the high waists and little sleeves.

I saw a great exhibit at the Chicago History Museum about wedding fashion through the years. One regret I have is not visiting the Fashion Museum in Bath (England) - didn't have enough time :/

Gillian Layne said...

I think they are charming, and the detail work is so lovely.

So as the waistlines fall...are the undergarments, the stays and such, starting to change a lot, or are they much the same as in the teens?

Marissa Doyle said...

The stays do change shape as the waistlines fall, in order to provide the proper outline. Chemises don't really change, but as the skirts get larger, more petticoats are required to give them their shape. By the 1830s, women's clothes weighed a lot!

Beebs said...

The morning dress and court dress are a little too elaborate for me and some of those head-dresses are way too ott.

I like the other dresses though, very elegant.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Oh, I LOVE this! So fun! I love to read historical fiction (both for adults and young adults) and I try to imagine how they must have dressed, but this made those gown descriptions come to life. And I enjoyed your commentary immensely, too.

Marissa Doyle said...

Thank you, Caryn! We started back in 1809, if there are any specific years you're interested in.