Morning Walking Dresses, October 1796

Gallery of Fashion, October 1796.

“Morning Dresses.”

These are named Morning Dresses, but as they are clearly outdoor dresses, they were basically Walking Dresses intended for activities that took place in the early part of the day. Other magazines call them Morning Walking Dresses.

The high empire waistline was first seen only eight or so years earlier than this print, when neoclassic styles came into vogue just before the French Revolution. The simple white muslin dress was a part of this new style, looking back to the white tunics of ancient Greece and Rome. The dress in the foreground here is a bit fussier than is typical for this time, with the very atypical deep flouncing. The skirts are still a bit full. The narrow Regency silhouette won’t be seen for another four or five years.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“Fig. CXIV. The toupee short, and frizzed in easy curls; the hind hair in ringlets. Bandeau of plain muslin, with a bow in the front, and on the right side, crossed with green striped riband. Dress of plain muslin; a double flounce of the same, headed with green striped riband; the body [ie bodice] in small plaits, trimmed round the neck with lace and riband; short sleeves, with epaulettes trimmed with silk cord and lace. Gold ear-rings. Yellow gloves and shoes.

“Fig. CXV. The hair in ringlets; a small cap with a double border of broad lace; white chip hat, trimmed with lilac riband. Round gown of plain thick muslin, short sleeves, trimmed with narrow lace. Light yellow silk shawl, with a colored border. Grey coloured gloves. Yellow shoes.”

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