Promenade Dress, October 1814

Promenade Dress October 1814Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, October 1814.
“Promenade Dress”

This is one of the most widely reproduced of all Regency fashion prints. I’m sure all of you have seen it in one form or another, but it’s worth studying for the details. The green parasol held by a strap handle at the tip. The shoes laced up like ballet slippers, called sandals, and the shorter length skirt to show them off. The lace ruff collar high on the neck. The quizzing glass on a gold chain. The huge soaring crown of the straw bonnet. (This was the year when bonnet crowns sometimes reached ridiculous heights. In the years that followed, the brims became the focus, achieving enormous pokes.) And the lace cap beneath the bonnet. Anchoring all this lovely fashion detail is the beautifully painted, wistful-looking face. Taken altogether — the fashion, the face, the elegant rendering of the background — this becomes the quintessential Regency fashion plate.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“A celestial blue, or French grey silk skirt, buttoned, and trimmed down the front with a full border of lace, gathered on a plain heading, terminating at the bottom with a deep flounce of the same; high-drawn body, made either of sarsnet or India muslin; long full sleeve, confined at the wrist by a bracelet of blue satin bead and emerald clasp. Lace ruff round the neck. A net handkerchief crossed over the bosom and tied in bows behind. Full-bordered lace cap, ornamented with a small wreath of flowers on one side. A French straw bonnet, lined with white sarsnet, and trimmed round the edge with a narrow quilling of net lace; a small plume of ostrich feathers in the center of the crown. Sandals of blue kid. Gloves, York tan or Limerick.”

  • In A Garden Folly,

    Candice envisioned Catherine wearing a walking dress of pale blue muslin and a high-crowned bonnet trimmed to match the dress when she first encounters Stephen in the gardens at Chissingworth.

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