La Belle Assemblée, June 1813.
All the interest in this dress is given to the back, where the open skirt is fastened up the back with ribbons, and the back of the bodice is trimmed in a flattering V shape. It is interesting that the dress is described as a “walking length,” a term generally used for walking dresses of this period, which were finally made a bit shorter to avoid muddy hemlines. But as this dress is named in the description a Ball Dress, the shorter length would have been appropriate for dancing.
The print is described in the magazine as follows:
“BALL DRESS. Frock of straw colour crape, over a white sarsnet petticoat; it is made a walking length, open behind and trimmed round with white silk fancy twist. A rich French lace set on full, edges it at the bottom, and it fastens up behind with bows of white ribband. The body of this dress is formed in a novel and peculiarly becoming style, it is made very low all round the bosom and the back of the neck. The back, as our fair readers will see by the Plate, is shaped by the trimming which goes up on each side; it is very narrow at the bottom, and displays the shape to great advantage; the front is composed of lace set in the form the shape of the bosom. Sleeves bout half way to the elbow, if crape and white lace let in. Hair turned up behind à la Grecque, and braided on one side of the forehead; on the other a few careless ringlets fall over, and nearly shade the eyebrow; a light laurel wreath is put on very much to one side. Necklaces, ear-rings, and bracelets of pearl. White kid gloves, and white figured silk slippers cut very low in front. An azure silk scarf which is very light, but extremely rich and beautiful, is thrown occasionally over the shoulders by some of our elegantés.”