Evening Dress, April 1819

Evening Dress, April 1819Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, April 1819.
“Evening Dress”

There are so many interesting elements here, not least of which is the musical instrument. But also note the little dog, almost lost (visually) among the fussy decoration of the skirt. And, as is so often the case in fashion prints of this period, the lady’s feet are impossibly tiny!

This late Regency period uses a lot more ornamentation in skirts, sleeves, and hats. Bodices for evening wear are so abbreviated as to be barely there. (One always wonders if this is an exaggeration of the artists, or if bodices really were ridiculously small. A full-bosomed woman would certainly have difficulties with this style!)  And evening hats are seen more often than in earlier years.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“A white gauze round dress over a white satin slip: the skirt is very full, and is trimmed in a most novel style with silk net, disposed in such a manner as to represent little baskets, in each of which is placed a bouquet of small spring flowers. The corsage is tight to the shape: it is cut low round the bust; the lower part is composed of pale pink satin, the upper of white lace. The sleeve is in the Spanish style; it is of white lace, is very full, and is slashed with pale pink satin: it is finished at the bottom with a single row of fly trimming, which is a new invention, of a light and pretty description, composed of floss silk. Head-dress, the Elphinstone cap: it is a mixture of satin and net; the caul of of a moderate size, and it has a small round brim, something in the hat style: it is ornamented with a wreath of spring flowers round the edge of the brim, and another at the bottom of the crown. Pearl necklace and ear-rings. White satin slippers. Anxious to take every opportunity of gratifying our fair readers, we have presented them this month with a portraiture of the lute-harp, an instrument which is at present very fashionable, and certainly nothing can be better calculated to display the form of a fine woman to advantage.”

Come on, all you fine women out there. Let’s go round up some lute-harps!

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