Two Fashion Plates for November
The day before Thanksgiving here in the US, I know I will be busy and suspect many of my visitors will be as well. So, rather than a lengthy blog, here are two lovely gowns from November fashion magazines during the Regency for your viewing pleasure.
This first fashion plate is an Evening Dress from Lady’s Magazine No. 11 dated November 1814.
Fashion plates were the portal to the fashion world for someone who wanted to know the latest styles in 1814. The young woman is seated on a chair with her feet on a footrest. She is bent over slightly, as if looking at her fan. She wears a white dress with an empire waistline, which is tied with a green ribbon. The scalloped hem is short enough to reveal a longer, pale green underskirt embellished with pink roses. Her Greek-inspired hair has pink and green decorations.
This second fashion plate is a Morning Dress from The Mirror of the Graces, or the English Lady’s Costume, London by B. Crosby and Co. dated November 1811.
By the early nineteenth century, fashion plates were a popular medium to display the “artistic, historical, moral, and aesthetic feeling of their time” (Ginsberg 2005, p. 66). They also kept women up to date on current fashions. This plate illustrates a morning dress, designed to be worn from early morning until around noon, depending on a woman’s social commitments for the day. Women were to be covered from the throat down, gradually showing more skin as the day wore on. The ensemble consists of a high-waisted white dress, possibly India muslin, worn under a yellow pelisse with Brandenburg closures. The coat features a white collar and Van Dyke trim at the hem and sleeve cuffs. The matching turban-like bonnet is trimmed with white feathers.
Brandenbourg closure: From the 18th century onwards, a trimming of transverse cording and tassel in the military style used on clothing of both genders. Derived from a Brandenbourg overcoat, a long loose coat for winter wear that was trimmed with cord and fastened with “frogs”, that is loops and frog-buttons. See examples to the right.
Van Dyke trim: An edge deeply cut into sharp points. Named after Sir Anthony Van Dyck, a 17th-century Flemish painter (and popular portraitist for British royalty and the upper crust), who was known for painting elaborate V-shaped lace collars and scalloped edges on both his male and female sitters. The pointed vandyke beard was named after him.