A short, waist-length jacket (ie following the high waist of the current fashions, not the natural waist), with or without sleeves. Generally an outdoor garment worn in the morning or afternoon, but could also be part of an evening ensemble, when it was most often sleeveless. The spencer was adapted from a short, double-breasted men’s jacket, without tails, that was named for the 2nd Earl Spencer, who is said to have started the fashion in the 1790s.

The print shown is a detail of "Parisian Home Costume" from La Belle Assemblée, July 1817.

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