Walking Dresses, September 1800

Fashions of London and Paris, September 1800.

“Walking Dresses”

Most parasols of the period had a tilt mechanism, allowing them to be used as a sun screen when the sun fell directly on the face, without having to hold the handle at an awkward angle. Here, you see the parasol titled in this way, as if the lady had just held it down in order to smile at you.

The black lace shawl (called a cloak in the description) is not used a a mourning accessory here, especially taken together with the white dress and bright yellow bonnet. Black lace was simply very fashionable at this time. It is seen in lots of prints until around 1808, after which time it is seen primarily, though not exclusively, in mourning wear.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“Fig. 1. Round dress of white muslin; black lace cloak, made to hang full on the shoulders, and trimmed on the outside edge and on the ends with broad lace. Bonnet of yellow silk, ornamented with a wreath of roses, and tied under the chin with yellow ribbon.

“Fig. 2. Dress of white muslin, made to wrap over with one lappel, which is tied in the the girdle [ie belt], which hangs down before in a long end finished with a tassel; square silk shawl; small, round, ship bonnet, wreathed with oak leaves.”

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