Ball Dress, June 1815

Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, June 1815.

“Ball Dress”

Ball Dress June 1815

Note that the hem length is shorter here than in earlier years, a trend that continues through the end of the Regency period. Some evening dresses may still show hems almost to the floor, but a ball dress was meant for dancing, and the shorter hemlines allowed for better movement, but also provided observers with both a tantalizing glimpse of ankle, as well as a clear view of the lady’s footwork in the dance. Even the stockings are mentioned in the description below, and they would seldom have been seen beneath earlier full dresses.

This is one of the earliest mentions I have found of elastic stockings, though stretchable fabric, such as stockinette, was invented at the end of the 18th century.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“A frock of French figured gauze, worn over a slip of white satin; the frock trimmed at the feet with a deep flounce of blond lace, and decorated with wreaths of lilac; the fronts of the body ornamented with a cope of blond lace; short full sleeve, trimmed to correspond. Stockings of elastic silk. Slippers white kid or silk. Gloves French kid, drawn over the elbow. Hair in irregular curls, blended with a wreath of lilac.”

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