Gentleman’s Full Dress, November 1806

Le Beau Monde, November 1806.

“A Fashionable FULL DRESS for Nov 1806.”

It is a bit of surprise to read in the description of this print that “hair is invariably powdered.” Again in the General Observations it is mentioned that for full dress, hair “should be powdered.” I had thought that by 1806, powdered hair would be considered a bit old-fashioned. In 1795 a tax on hair powder was introduced, and helped to hasten the decline in its use. And yet this magazine, though short-lived, attempted to appeal to a male audience as well as female (for this month in particular, the entire section on fashion was devoted to gentlemen), so one would think that only the most fashionable modes of dress would be presented. Perhaps powdered hair was making a come-back among some members of the ton? If so, it did not last.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“EVENING DRESS is almost universally of dark bottle green double-breasted coat with buttons of the same colour, covered or basket; the sleeves wide, but to fit at the shoulders, and the skirt reaching down to the hollow of the knee. The waistcoat white, and the breeches a light drab. The hair is invariably powdered, dressed high in the front, and somewhat over the forehead in curls. Buckles or strings at the knees and in the shoes are equally worn, but buckles are decidedly the most dressed.”

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