Morning Walking Dress, September 1814

Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, September 1814.

“Morning Dress”

Labeled a morning dress, this was an outdoor morning dress, which is the equivalent of a walking dress, but worn during the morning hours. I am convinced that many of these sub-categories of dress were invented by the fashionable modistes, and conveyed to the magazine editors, in order to convince affluent women that they needed to buy all these different types of dresses for different times of day. I see no reason that this dress would not serve just as well as an afternoon walking dress.

It also looks as though the sleeves are detachable. Short sleeves would make this an appropriate dress for informal evening wear.

A woman of the gentry class who had to watch her pennies — a woman like Jane Austen, for example — would surely try to get as much use out of such a dress as possible, wearing it, perhaps with different accessories, with or without long sleeves, for various occasions. But don’t expect the magazines or the fashionable modistes to suggest that this dress might serve multiple purposes. They would much rather sell three dresses instead of one!

The details of this print are especially lovely. The scene is the sea shore, and you can see a sail boat in the distance. And the lady holds a large spy glass to get a better look.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“A round robe of lilac or evening primrose-coloured sarsnet, trimmed entirely round the bosom with a quilling of blond lace, edged with chenille; sarsnet flounce, headed with tufts or quilling of blond, corresponding with the top of the dress; long full sleeve, partially drawn up and fastened with bows of silk cord; a lace cuff. The French hat, composed of white and lilac satin; the crown trimmed with tufts and bows of ribbon, and ornamented with a large cluster of flowers. Slippers of lilac kid. Gloves pale tan.”

Related Regency World Articles: