Promenade or Opera Dress, May 1810

Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, May 1810.

“Promenade or Opera Dress”

This half dress would have been worn as shown for a late afternoon fashionable promenade in Hyde Park. For the opera, the parasol would have been discarded, and perhaps slippers would have replaced the half boots. The very stylish hat could have been worn for either occasion.

What sets this type of dress apart from an ordinary walking dress, and makes it appropriate to wear into the evening, is the elegance of the fabrics. The blue shot sarsnet of the pelisse is a fine-woven silk with an iridescent appearance, and the tippet is made of satin. Both of those fabrics lift the ensemble above typical day wear

The print is described in the magazines as follows:

“A round robe of jaconet muslin, with high French ruff, and appliqued border of narrow lace round the feet. A cassoc coat or demi pelisee of cerulean blue shot sarsnet, finished round the bosom with a basket border, extended on white satin, confined at the bottom of the waist with a silver or steel clasp, and to the bottom with three regular, divided silk cords as tassels. An Austrian tippet of white satin, with full floss binding, and tassels to correspond. Arcadian hat, composed of the same materials as the coat, and ornamented with full curled feathers. The hair in ringlet curls, with caul of white or amber net; a small spring flower is occasionally added. Half-boots and parasol of cornelian blue en suite. Gloves of lemon-coloured kid.”

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