Promenade Dress, June 1810

La Belle Assemblée, June 1810.

“Promenade Half Full Dress”

The title of this print is confusing. This is clearly a promenade dress, as she is carrying a parasol. But a half full dress would suggest something worn during the evening — not quite the formal style of full dress, but a step up from the half dress one would wear to the opera or theater. Perhaps this particular dress was was meant to be worn during the fashionable late afternoon when Society promenaded through Hyde Park, to see and be seen. One would wear one’s finest walking dress during such an occasion. Or perhaps the title is simply a printing error, which does occur now and then in this magazine. The description calls it a walking dress.

Since the description does not mention a yellow bodice trimmed to match the scarf, I suspect what we are seeing is the long scarf wrapped tightly about the bodice, perhaps even tied in the back, then tossed over the shoulder in front.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“WALKING DRESS. A round dress of plain white India muslin, with long sleeves, made a walking length, and trimmed round the bottom with a broad French lace, made low in the neck, over which is carelessly thrown (as suits the taste of the wearer) a French scarf of pale yellow silk, with rich border. A bonnet of pale yellow to correspond with the scarf, with white lace veil. The hair in full curls over the face, divided rather towards the left side. Parasol of light yellow, with white fringe. Gloves and shoes of yellow kid.”


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