Friday, March 1, 2013

Colors of Spring, 1806

I imagine I’m not the only one eagerly awaiting signs of spring.  The crocuses are all in bloom here, and with them the heather.  I know daffodils and tulips can’t be far behind.  Around this time of year, I also start looking at what fashion pundits predict will be the “in” colors for the spring/summer season.  Nineteenth century young ladies were no different, and they turned to La Belle Assemblée.

That venerable ladies magazine included some of the lovely fashion plates Marissa so graciously shares with us.  But it also included general observations of what was likely to be “in” for the Season.  Take this advice from 1806:
“The general style of forming dresses is very high in the bosom, so as to preclude the necessity of the neckerchief; plain fronts, uniting in the centre with a clasp, and a demi wrap over it, finished on the left side, where the dress closes, are uncommonly elegant. We observed a dress of this formation at the Duchess of G___’s assembly, let in all round, and up the left side, with the most delicate Mechlin lace, and tied with tassels of cut steel.”

Or this one:
“The hair is chiefly worn in disheveled curls, exhibiting much of the forehead. Bandeaus of diamonds, garnets, or emeralds, are considered elegant; and the rainbow coronet, formed of diverse precious stones, worn by the Marchioness of E_____ on a late splendid occasion, excited universal admiration, from its singularity, brilliancy, and beauty.”
In 1806, the colors for the Season were olive, celestial blue, apple blossom, lavender, jonquil, lilac, and dove-brown.

Other recommendations include wearing a chip or straw gypsy hat, lace or needlework of leaves, white satin jackets trimmed in chenille with Van Dyke lace, and for pity’s sake,
“It should be remembered that the morning costume, according to the present standard of fashion, is considered vulgarly deficient without a cap.”
Excuse me while I go find a cap, as I would not wish to appear vulgar!


Marissa Doyle said...

I'm still under snow crocuses for a while! And you would look as sweet as anything in a cap. Preferably one including a bandeau of diamonds, of course. :)

QNPoohBear said...

The dress in the fashion plate is very pretty. I choose a gypsy hat. I bought a little one in Colonial Williamsburg.

I'm ready for spring but it won't be spring until all the snow melts.

Regina Scott said...

Thank you, Marissa!

And thank you for posting the picture, QNPoohBear! So sweet!

Wishing you both snow that melts slowly enough that you don't get flooding but quickly enough that you don't have to wait too long for spring!

(Is there a quota for the number of exclamation points in a comment? I think I may be exceeding my limit.)