Newest London and Paris Fashions for August 1824

Sea-Side Dress


Dress of levantine or gros de Naples, of a pistachio colour, with five broad folds in bias, across the border, each headed by a narrow silk cordon of a beautiful rose colour; the corsage made a la vierge, with falling divided cape, narrow, and elegantly pointed at the corners, of the same material as the dress. French long sleeves, en gigot; the part from the wrist to the elbow, sitting close to the arm, and confined by bands corded with rose colour. The waist incircled by a band, the same material as the dress, bound with a narrow rouleau of rose coloured satin, with a rosette in front. Fine muslin petticoat trimmed with Urling’s lace. Hat of pink gros de Naples, the crown ornamented with satin, in treillage work, and full blown roses with foliage on the summit. Lappets to the hat of rose gauze, in bias. Kid shoes and gloves.

Evening Dress


Dress of white gauze lisse, with superb border en treillage, of the lightest shade of rose colour, each reseau edged with narrow silver cordon. The corsage made plain, beautifully marking out the contour, with a trimming round the bust to correspond with that of the skirt. – Mancherons of treillage work, uniting with the ornament round the bust. – Rich ceinture of a delicate pink silver gauze, placed on the left side. Sicilian hat of rose transparent net edged with silver. Feathers shaded with pink. The hair arranged in full curls, (on each side of the face) on which are seen a few white roses slightly intermingled with blond. Ear-rings, necklace and armlets of pearls.


Already do some of our fashionable summer retreats begin to recieve a few of those distinguished individuals belonging to the high and polished life, for whom, as the constant, and liberal patronesses of every art, the ministers of taste and fashion, are sedulously employing their carious talents, in adding to beauty by those graceful and well made garments, that give additional attraction to the contours of a fine female form; and in setting off the charms of a fasinating countenance by elegant and becoming head-dresses, which the artificial florist embellishes by the well imitated treasures of the garden, or, over which the plumassier teaches the … the feathered tribes to wave in graceful …

The various watering places begin … fill; and, this month, when the season … borough generally begins, it is expected … recieve some of our most wealth and … families to that place of fahsionable … chosen emissaries will follow where fashion … and our usual correspondents will not be … affording us every intelligence from all the … haunts of the modish world.

The bonnets in preparation for this month are peculiarly tasteful and elegant; we shall … a few for the notice of our fair readers; one is a beautiful corn flower blue of figured gros de Naples, but it is a shade lighter than the corn flower blue that is made use of in gowns or pelisses. The bonnet is lined with white and crowned with … of blue marabout feathers: the bonnet is … ornamented with white satin, and its lappets are composed of blue satin ribbon and tulle; … is cut in bias folds; all the ornaments on this … independant of the feathers, are extremely whimsical. A very beautiful carriage bonnet is … and is made of white stiffened tulle. It is ornamented on one side, with small white fanoy flowers … in stripes; the crown is trimmed with … edged with pink floize silk trimming and … en dents de loups; the interstices filled in full blown roses, and crowned with a superb … pink marabouts. A pink carriage hat is a charming head dress for a young and … female; it is of gros de Naples, with a full … ornament of broad blond, placed underneath … whence a rose bud is seen lying on the … hat is ornamented with pink gauze, roses, and lily of the valley.

A favourite home cornette is of fine blond … satin, beautifully ornamented with small … of flowers on each side: just over the te… each side. are two ornaments, in white satin, representing cornucopias, from whence peep convolvulus, rosebuds, and lillies of the valley. All the …nettes are particularly beautiful, and vary … in the richness of their materials, and the … of their ornaments, that they are fit for every … day, though, certainly, most appropriate … costume: the flowers that adorn them are …

Turbans seem much on the decline, elegant hats have taken their place, and are more appropriate to the summer, when so much time is spent in the viranda, or the garden summer pavillion; for fetes champetres there is no head-dress so truly classical: those of peach blossom satin, sprinkled with small pearls, and crowned with white feathers, are to be preferred to those that are all white.

There is but little difference in the make of the dresses since last month; the most recent novelty that we have seen, is a beautiful Polish robe dress of gros de Naples; the colour a lovely pink; the body is only partially low, and is made a la Vierge; the sleeves are short and very full, with slashes filled in with puckerings of the same material as the dress, and these puckerings are surrounded each by blond trimming. A tucker of blond stands up all round the bust. The usual rouleau ornament on the Polish robe, that seems to form the wrapping part of the skirt, and that all round the border, consists of rows formed of a kind of double rouleau of pink satin, separated in the middle by narrow silk cordon; the rich and beautiful effect of this trimming cannot be described. The sleeves of white muslin dresses for dishabille, are made en blouse, and the borders of the skirts are ornamented with flounces, set on rather scantily, and enriched with beautifully raised embroidery; the scallops, at the edge of the flounces, are worked in light and open kind of embroidery, a row of which is also introduced between each flounce. Dresses of gros de Naples continue to be trimmed at the border with bias folds like tucks.

It is expected that pelisses of fine India muslin, lined with light coloured sarcenet, will be much worn while the warm weather lasts. The variety of taste, at present, shews itself in adopting a greater mixture of colours than we have for some time witnessed; and there is also a feature of fashion less decided than we could wish; as those who have not taste or elegance, obtrude the heterogeneous mixture of discordant colours on the eye of refinement and delicacy, and the tawdry lover of finery consoles herself, in all the hues of the rainbow, at once, that she may wear anything now, for anything is the fashion. The tasteful lady, however, is never conspicuous, and is only distinguished by the sterling materials of the different articles of her attire, and the elegance and novelty of their make: she wears, as her out door costume, the beautiful petticoat of fine India muslin, embroidered magnificently, and finished at the hem with fine lace; and over that is the spencer or pelisse of the most beautiful light summer colours, generally of gros de Naples. White satin spencers, it is believed, will be worn for morning visits of ceremony, and dress carriage airings; they are a chaste and elegant article of dress, and admit a variety of colours in the bonnet, &c. worn with them.

The colours most in requisition, are, barberry-leaf-green, canary yellow, corn-flower-blue and pisachio. Pink and etherial blue, as is usual in the summer months, are universally in favour.


At the ball of St Maur, there were Organdy blouses, worked in a feather pattern between the bias folds round the border. The most elegant head-dresses were hats of white chip, surmounted with red poppies, or plumes. The ladies had on pointed handkerchiefs of white lace, which they kept on all the time they danced.

Bonnets of gros de Naples become daily more the mode; those of pale blue are ornamented with a very large rosette of white satin, which is placed on the top of the crown; those bonnets that are white, are lined with camel’s hair yellow, and trimmed with pinked silk, en chicoree (that is like the curled leaves of endive) the same colour as the lining, and with blond.

On fine leghorn hats are seen bunches of pinks and red poppies, and green and black poppies.

There are some hats of white gros de Naples with the brims as large as those of straw; their trimming consists of a large rosette and a branch of honey-suckles, a gold wheat-sheaf, or some sweet peas.

There are some fashionists who cover the crowns of their white chip bonnets with a net a l’Espagnole, which is formed of small meshes in crepe lisse, blue and white; the point of the net hangs down on one side, and terminates by a tuft of silk or an acorn of lace work.

The lappets of some morning caps are of ribbon chequered with blue on white: they cross under the chin, and then form a bow on the summit of the head.

Cambric pelisses button before, and are reckoned very elegant; the sleeves are composed of rows of clear and thick muslin, alternatively disposed en chevrons; sometimes these chevrons are double, two and two, and then the clear muslin is let in. Two or three pelerine capes finish the pelisse.

At the crowded audience for the benefit of Madame Theodore, there were seen many leghorn hats, ornamented with three, and some with five … feathers; they were flat, and towered … the other. At the base of these feathers … double rosette of white sarsnet ribbon. … very small dress bonnets, and dress hats … in gauze, in crape gauffree, or in crepe lisse, … they were ornamented with flowers; the … favour were roses in full bouquets, with … branch of sweet peas; the full blown roses as well as the buds, fell over the brim, nearly … edge, while the branch of sweet peas was … round the crown. There were very few … only were dressed in their own hair; there were two or three head-dresses a la neige.

Long sleeves were almost universal, clear and puffed out, with … bands worked in feather stitch. On clear muslin dresses, are worn fichus of the same material, wich large square notches round the border.

D … striped shot silks of two colours strikingly … such as Evelina blue and the colour of the marshmallow blossom, are much in favour.

… green ribbon on white chip hats, and … ribbons of the same colour, forming a … the bosom, the ends concealed under a sash of the same.

All the belts are a la Leonide, the … either of gold or polished steel; at the … blouses, and other dresses that have the sleeves en gigot, a small button in gold open work, completes the wristband.

Blue continues the most appro… colour. At some milliners are to be seen … walnut-tree coloured sarcenet, bordered … honeycomb trimming, of walnut tree and … the same trimming is used on straw coloured … nets, where the honeycomb is alternately … colour, or Evelina blue.

From: The World of Fashion and Continental Feuilletons

Onward to September 1824

Back to July 1824

Newest London and Paris Fashions for July 1824

Evening Dress


Polish robe of lilac gros de Naples; the petticoat enriched at the border, with a full, and broad puckering of crape of the same colour, on which are laid flowers of lilac satin, representing the Iris, or purple fleur de lis. The tunique part, a la polonaise, trimmed with three rows of bias folds, each fold headed by a narrow rouleau. The sleeves short and full, and ornamented on the outside of the arm with one outspread Iris. The corsage made plain, with Bouffont drapery of lilac crape at the bust, confined in the centre by a white antique ornament, and near to the hollow of each arm by a white fleur de lis. A lilac belt with narrow white blond on each side, simply encircling the waist, in which belt is stuck a fan, with the outside sticks exquisitely wrought in filigree gold. A drapery of lilac gauze and silver lama, beautifully twisted, round the hair with a rosette on the left side, the ends lightly fringed with silver. Ear-rings and necklace of amethysts, or rubies, set in gold. Bracelets of gold filigree worn over the gloves, and fastened with one large ruby or amethyst, to suit the necklace and ear-rings. White satin sandal slippers.

Ball Dress, or Grand Full Party Costume


Dress of tulle over white satin, with double rouleaux stripes of satin in bias down the skirt. Border consisting of a broad puckering of tulle or gauze, on which are laid large leaves of satin edged by rouleaux, and in the centre of each a blue flower; two rouleaux of satin above this border, on which are full and spiral bouquets, richly clustered, of the convolvulus. Corsage of white satin, trimmed across with blond. The hair drest short at the ears, and arranged on each side of the face in clustered curls, and at the summit of the head, inclining towards the right side, in long bows; the same side ornamented with a diadem of pearls and precious gems, and the hair elegantly entwined with a drapery of celestial blue gauze, and a plumage of white feathers on the left side. Ear-rings and bracelets of diamonds. A necklace a l’Egyptienne, forming a serpent of gold, with the tail in its mouth; the eyes of the reptile of brilliants. Regal mantle cloak of celestial blue gros de Naples, finished beautifully, with cape and trimming of swan’s-down; the cloak fastened with silver chain, cordon, and tassels. White satin sandal slippers.


Every artist employed in the various articles of decoration for female beauty, is now sedulously occupied in giving the most elegant versatility to the suggestions of taste, and imparting to them that splendour, so requisite to be observed amongst the titled, wealthy, and distinguished assemblage that now graces our metropolis.

The carriage bonnets are peculiarly beautiful and becoming; one, in particular, struck us by the ch … ciation of its colours, and the elegance of its fo … of lemon-coloured crape, lined and ornamented w … the crown is adorned in drapery, aux fers d … with pink fancy flowers of unrivalled delicacy … each interstice. A white satin hat is also well a … the morning exhibitions, or paying carriage … visits; it is a la Reine Marguerite, the whi … pearl colour kind, and is finished round the crown with gauze puffs edged with blond and white satin … a quilling of blond, so contrived as to lie on … gives the appearance of a cap under this tasteful … white crape bonnet, also, is expected to be much … this month, for the carriage: round the crown are … of gauze, interspersed with branches of lilac, … the edge of the brim are lighter puffings, between … which are little sprigs of lilac. Hats are in grea … they are in the shape of La Reine Marguerite …

The pelisses and spencers remain, at present, the same as last month; some slight innovations have been made in the latter, which we cannot regard as … ments; some of these lace behind, and thereby … the effect of an article so useful and appropriate …mer costume, especially for the young; the b… ill, and the bust is, by no means, improved; oth… kind of fichu, of the same material as the spencer, through which the arms are slipped, and the point before and behind fasten under the belt; we must mention the incongruities of fashion as well as her beauties; it … to shew the infatuation of many members in London who prefer the skill of French dress-makers to their own countrywomen: we speak this from … we are well assured these changes in the spen… …finitely for the worse, are fabrications of a foreig…

The summer pelisses for this month merit an … description. They are of the most tender and … colours; the one we saw, was not quite finished, but when completed, it will certainly be one of the most elegant out-door articles that ever came from the hands of an English Marchande de Modes. The colour was the beautiful blooming tint of the summer rose … down the sides in front, is an ornament that re… long ostrich plume; the feather prat is formed of narrow satin rouleaux, most exquisitely wrought, all done in a frame; the pipe part, up the centre of the feather, is formed of one well-wadded rouleau; … bust, and mancherons, are finished in a light, elegant, and truly correspondent style

Small dress hats are worn at the opera and at parties, with indented brims, and white plumage … over them; from the summit of the crown, hangs, on one side, a singular, but yet what forms a very beautiful ornament; it is a bunch of capsicums, made of white satin, tipped with silver; the brim of the hat is also edged with silver cordon; but this becoming head-dress looks best when finished with pearls. The toques a la neige, discovering the hair between in open work of intrinsic gems, are every way calculated for full dress; they are rather lofty and bind across the forehead, but not too low: their height is added to, by a fine plumage of white feathers; we saw two of these truly dignified head-dresses, finished for ladies who class amongst the highest order: one was composed of pearls and emeralds, which latter gem represented a row of green foliage on the summit of the edifice; the other was of Turquoise stones and pearls; but these, instead of being wrought into foliage, represented flowers. The Ceres turban is another unique and elegant head-dress; it is of white satin, entwined with pearls, and is ornamented with Marabout feathers, interspersed with ears of corn of a bright geranium colour, and others of gold. On the right side, just over the ear, are two broad leaves of white satin, one leaf standing up, the other depending; these are fastened by two gold ornaments, representing spears, which have each an oval head of coral and gold. The Cornette a la Nymph, is a charming head-dress for receiving friends at home; it is of tulle and blond, with a wreath of delicate blush roses: some of these home head-dresses, have a small ornament on the summit of the crown, like a little hat a l’Arcadie. Coloured gauze caps, with white blond next to the face, and lightly ornamented with flowers of suitable colours, are much in favour for home costume.

Amongst the new silk dresses, the greatest novelty in the manner of their trimming, is with a border of divided points, forming a kind of foliage, upright and reversed; the division in the middle of this ornament is fluted satin, put on en limacon: this dress was made low, and was of corn-flower blue; with it was worn a most elegant fichu of blond, with an indented ornament falling back, richly trimmed with white satin rouleaux and blond; each indenting confined by satin strap rings, of close and very narrow rouleaux. Another dress was of Pistachio colour, and was ornamented with antique rosaces; both these dresses were of gros de Naples. The morning dresses are of printed muslin, which is at present, more in favour that white; we speak merely of dejeune costume; silks are worn at all hours of the day, and India muslins, beautifully embroidered or trimmed with lace, are worn with spencers and pelisses, for white is indispensably requisite for those envelopes.

Ball dresses are superbly bordered with flowers, either in coloured beads, pearls, or polished steel, relieved by a splendid embroidery in coloured ribbon-work, the beautiful red lilac colour of the marshmallow blossom. When the tulle is embroidered with pearls, the corsage worn with it renders it a most chaste and beautiful attire. This corsage is of white satin, made in front a la Grecque. The part that represents the robings is open, and has tulle let in, edged round with pearls, which are relieved by the openings being edged with pink satin: on each side of these, next the front of the stomacher, is an embroidery in pearls, representing the Scotch thistle. The sleeves are of tulle, with straps to answer the part of the stomacher; the body is finished round the bosom with net, en tire bouchons, entwined with pearls.

The most approved colours are the rose of June, Pistachio, lemon colour, and lilac.


Several ladies who set the fashions, and young persons, wear fichus a la neige. The denomination of these fichus took its rise from Madame Pradher, in the third act of La Neige, where she wears a fichu-pelerine of muslin, cut all around in long and sharp points.

In the morning, in neglige, our fashionables were also pelisses a la Neige; these are of muslin, trimmed with lace down the sides in front, and round the border. The sleeves of these pelisses are made en blouse, and trimmed with lace at the wrist.

At the theatre Buffs, the first representation of Ricciard… …e Zoraide, several fashionables wore turbans, the cauls of which were silver brocade, and the rouleau or turban part of striped rose-coloured gauze; the plaits of the turban were laid very regularly. The hair elegantly arranged, was also seen, with a drapery of white or ponceau, for ornament, forming a diadem in front, and floating on each side of the head and shoulders, like the lappets flying loose, belonging to caps or bonnets.

Blouse dresses of India muslin have five rows of embroidery, representing the blossoms of the tree of Judea, and four bias folds; on the body are three rows of embroidery

Among the new materials for dresses, are moss muslins and Ourika muslin dresses, in open work; these light articles are particularly appropriate for blouses. All the Summer dresses except those of worked silk, are made in the blouse form; however, they begin to leave off the dull uniformity of large plaits, and the trimmings of these dresses vary like others. We have remarked several which were trimmed with three narrow flounces, set on upside down: the falling part of the flounce standing up, with the plaits tacked to prevent their falling. The bands that formed these flounces, were cut in bias, and doubled. The greater part of printed muslins are striped, as are the slight summer silks.

Hats are of striped gauze, rose-colour, lilac and white: round the crown is a puffing of satin ribbon; which being at some distance from the brim, and bending towards the border, appears like open basket work. We have seen a pretty hat of white striped gauze, surrounded with thin puffing in lilac. On one side was placed a branch of lilac, on the other a bow of lilac satin ribbon, the ends of which hung three inches over the brim of the hat. This fashion is very general. The strings fasten on one side and form a bow.

Some hats of rice straw are in the shape of a jockey cap; about the crown, which is entirely round, are placed rouleaus of satin, at equal distances.

At a performance given at the theatre de la Porta St. Martin, for the relief of the indigent, there were a great many hats of white chip. Some of these hats were crowned with a plume of white curled feathers. Others were bound with ribbon of a very conspicuous colour; either yellow, blue, or poncceau, with rows of the same coloured ribbon round the crown, and feathers of the same colour. Several hats of white Gros de Naples. camel’s hair brown, or tree of Judea, had the crowns made lower on one side than the other; they were ornamented with a very large cockade of pinked silk, placed in front. Leghorn hats were ornamented with white and red roses. Ladies who wore the pilgrim’s hat, in straw, very large, wore their hair arranged a l’Enfant: round the crown was only a simple white satin ribbon.

Spencers of silk are much worn for walking; they are many of them made in the blouse style, both in front and at the back.

Though blue is the favourite colour for riding-habits, yet there are several ladies who choose to distinguish themselves by more conspicuous colours. At the beginning of the month, a habit was remarked in the Bois de Boulofne, the petticoat of which was black, and the body was white; another lady had a nankeen petticoat, with a red body.

The prevailing fashion is a white gauze veil, fastened round the crown of the hat, and thrown back. White cotton and chip hats, or those of rice straw, have besides flowers and ribbons, rouleaux, formed by what they call levees (a technical term) made of the same material as the hat. The pilgrim’s hat, of Leghorn, is so immensely large, that the brim entirely covers the back and shoulders: a rosette of very broad ribbon, the colour a mahogany brown, walnut colour, or tree of Judea, is placed on the left side of these hats; and the puffs of the rosette are, at least, eighteen inches long. On some hats, instead of a rosette, is an aigrette, composed of seven or eight stalks or sprays, that resemble the quills of a porcupine. These stalks are striped, small as they are, with black and red, or rose colour and black, ethereal blue and white, or white and rose colour, emerald green and white, mahogany brown and white, blue and white, and jonquil and white. The small early cinnamon rose, yellow roses, and very large Provence roses are much in fashion. The dresses, at least ninety-nine out of a hundred, have all corsages a la Blouse; the sleeves very full, the upper part enormously so, two or three pelerine capes, and trimmed with four or five rows of bias folds, or flat tucks.

Dresses for the evening are made of Chinese crape, with flowers like those on the Cachemire shawls; they are trimmed with flutings bound with narrow ribbon, called a la Bayadere, which name is given to all colours in crape.

The most famous Marchandes de Modes have made some white hats of Gros de Naples, which have round the crown, three bias folds of tulle gauze, or crepe lisse, (called stuff by the French). These folds are fastened by three buckles. There are also hats of watered silk, with … brims, trimmed with puckerings and bouillons … kind of hats are ornamented with marabouts or curled ostrich feathers. The new hats of split … the form of a man’s hat, but they are entirely … the brim is bent down over the forehead and beh … cockade of white ribbon, cut in coxcombs, … ornament.

The fashionists place on their fine leghorn hats ,,, which they entwine with a band of straw, about … in breadth: this band is turned round and round, and sometimes is carried even to the summit. … hats of white chip, have, round the crown and … puffs of Gros de Naples or of ribbon, edged … Beneath one side of the brim, a band, the same … forms three buckles, which are also edged … These hats are surmounted by a plume of feather … together.

Walnut-tree brown, is a colour just come in. We have seen some hats of this colour, in Gros de Naples: they were trimmed with bows and puffings … brown. Bonnets of white crape, and others of … coloured crape, or lilac, have such large brims, … and lower part of the face are entirely concealed … the binding that borders them, is a curtain … these bonnets are ornamented with the flowers … balls, or with yellow roses.

Several dress-makers make use of coloured … blouses, on which are printed bouquets of flowers … ing to the light in which they are placed, to appear either pink, lilac, or blue: they are named … dupeuses (decievers).

Amongst the embroidery in colours, may be … the American berry. These berries, which are red, have, at one end, a black spot; the berries are embroidered on a line, but separate from each other … lines are divided by bias folds.

There are collars a la Chevaliere, which have … very decidedly marked out. Some collars are of … muslin, with a letting-in of lace; these are … six points. At the public spectacles, some very … ladies have been seen, with two broad ribb … striking colours, sewn together, and crossed … necks, at the chest from whence they spread … left, like straps, the ends being concealed under…

Ipsiboe muslins prevail for blouses, Gros … a dark shade for dress gowns; the figure … striped crosswise, shaded or Scotch plaids: … much esteemed in half dress, Almazi half … are worn as a sautoir, over the gown; but … shawls. or sometimes black, of Cyprus or … are beautifully soft: they are embroidered … patterns of large flowers, with a medallion in the … shawl, surrounded with a border.

The skirts of blouses are laid in small plai … on the frills of men’s shirts.

Gauze ribbons, figured in a pattern of large … have succeeded to the plaid ribbons, lately … vogue.

Hats of split staw are yet worn in the round … Bolivar; there are some of this shape in Spa… vary the sameness of this fashion, which last year had become general, many of these straw hats are of the most whimsical form; we have seen some, the brims of which were formed of large flutings, made of Sparterie.

White chip hats are the reigning mode; the crowns are generally ornamented with a wreath of moss-rosses; and a but of the moss-rose is placed in front, on the brim. Some white chip hats have marabouts placed on them, in a spiral manner, and under the brim, on one side, which is slightly lifted up, is placed a little tuft of marabouts; instead of these kind of feathers, it is sometimes those of the ostrich, well curled, and of three different colours. Hats of white Gros de Naples, generally white, striped with mahogany brown, and this striped silk also lines the hat.

A ribbon, which is now very fashionable, either for hats, bracers, strings, sashes, &c., is of a colour called the flame of Mount Vesuvius. A kind of sautoir is made of this ribbon, when very broad; it is pointed behind, the ends crossed over the breast, and brought under the sash.

Almost all the hats are bouillones with crape lisse, gaufree. Upon the crown is a star, a cross, or a rosette of satin edged with blonde: this ornament is repeated, in miniature, under each side of the brim.

White bonnets of sarsanet, or of Gros de Naples, are ornamented with a kind of honey-comb trimming of myrtle-green, lilac, or other fashionable colours.

The trimming on Barege dresses, that are shot, and that of striped lawn, the stripes coloured and shaded, have five bias folds, put on archwise, and forming draperies, sustained by buttons of the same material as the dress; three bias folds are sometimes repeated three times, and separated by a narrow flounce, caught up under the third bias.

With a pelisse of Gros de Naples, with a Pelerine cape, a scarf is never worn, but a collar falling over, is adopted, of embroidered tulle, and a scarf of Cashemire is hung over the arm. The favourite colour in Gros de Naples is a dark walnut-tree brown.


Last year, it was the reigning mode to go in the same dress to a marriage as to a funeral; so much was black the order of the day. It is not so now; a man newly married should wear a blue coat, with gilt buttons, a quilted under waistcoat, or one of white velvet; small-clothes of black kersey-mere; silk stockings, with open clocks; shoes and buckles; his shirt friled and ruffled, with lace laid in plaits like those of cambric; a muslin cravat, tied in the English manner, with the ends floating, fastened by a large diamond pin.

The tailors now make the great coats very full next to the top of the arm, and tapering off scantier to the waist; (this is the kind of sleeve that is called en gigot), but the gentlemens’ sleeves are not so full as those worn by the ladies. The collar is hollowed out in the English fashion, and falls forming a kind of shawl.

There are now to be seen many boots and shoes of black deer’s leather.

Violet is now the prevailing colour; coats, great coats, pantaloons, under waistcoats. In the mean time componium colour, or auricular brown, is fashionable for great coats among men of ton; white satin under waistcoats, quilted … diamonds; they are also worn entolinette, in light grey, with very narrow stripes of pale pink. The form of gilets, or under waistcoats, is that of a shawl, and both sides alike.

The pantaloons form a gaiter, and are hollowed out at the ankle, but almost imperceptibly. Linen, with satin stripes, is the newest article for pantaloons. White beaver hats begin to be worn.

The riding-dress of a gentleman is green, with gilt buttons, velvet collar, and the coat cut like a hunting-dress. The hats are round, and have low growns and narrow brims: those who are addicted to anglomania, wear the crown rather pointed, and the brims of a moderate size.

Venetian pantaloons are much admired, they are of woollen manufacture, and are striped with the same colour.

Grey beaver hats, silk beaver, or straw, are worn in the morning.

Boots, with white pantaloons, loose, and not fastened under the foot; with these, shoes are often preferred.

Very few pantaloons of nankeen, but ticking and striped cotton, the ground white, and the satin stripes very narrow, generally blue or yellow, with a little cloud of lilac.

From: The World of Fashion and Continental Feuilletons

Onward to August 1824

Back to June 1824

Newest London and Paris Fashions for June 1824

Grand Costume, or Reception Dress


Grecian robe of pink satin, with white facings down the skirt, ornamented with silver frivolite bouillon, and superb silver tassels; round the border of the robe, a rich bouillon of silver frivolite covers the hem, and is surmounted by a row of white marabout feather trimming, the plumes separate and upright. The petticoat is of white tulle, with four rows of puckering of the same material; the puckers confined by diamond work of silver frivolite. The corsage is of the same material as the robe, and is an improvement on the Gallo-Greek style; the antique robings being formed of rouleaux of pink satin and blond; sleeves to correspond. Hans Holbein toque of white satin and blond, studded with silver, and surmounted by a rich plume of ostrich feathers in different directions. Earrings, necklace, and bracelets of diamonds.

Spanish Ball Dress


An Asturias robe of transparent net, faced with cerulean blue, the sides of the robe embroidered in floss silk, or applique, with white regal ornaments a la Bourbon – bows terminated with silver aiguillettes, fasten the robe in front; a rich white satin petticoat trimmed round with a ruche of tulle. The body of the robe is tastefully arranged with a rich Vandyke blond-lace, which terminates at the waist. Sleeves of tulle made tight to the arm, surmounted by a short sleeve of blue and white satin in Moorish indentings – sleeves slashed round the arm with blue satin, and Spanish satin cuffs. An Andalusian toque composed of blue satin and white tulle corded with silver, and a silver net, forming one side of the head-dress; ostrich feathers, a l’Espagnole — sandal slippers of white satin.


In addition to our numerous resources, we have been indulged with the inspection of several very elegant articles of female attire, by one of the most approved Marchande de Modes at the Court end of the town, whose taste has long been regarded by the greater part of the nobility and gentry, as the criterion of fashion, and classic elegance.

The small Parisian mob or cornette, either of fine lace or blond, according to the time of day, yet reigns the favourite head dress for in-door costume. These little tasteful coeffures are remarkable for the beautiful flowers with which they are surmounted; the half wreaths are composed of the most choice species of the frutrix, the single holly-oak blossom, and the small Guelder rose: when the queen of the parterre, the rich Provence rose is in the wreath, there are seldom any other kind of flowers, and the damask rose has only its deep tints relieved by sprigs of Portugal laurel, clematis, jessamine, or myrtle blossoms.

The turbans for evening dress are very costly; one in particular, light as well as rich, excites universal admiration: it is of tulle, ornamented all over in treillage work of narrow white satin on which is a row of … puffing, en coquilles, of white satin, forms … edged with ruby-colour, and in the centre, over head, is a large star, formed of Glauvina pins. … turban, of the coronet kind, is elegantly chaste; … entirely of white satin, profusely trimmed with pearls … the coronet part, depend pear pearls, of immens … a plume of short Marabout feathers, plays above; any long plumage would obscure the intrinsic appeal of a head-dress that can only be worn by a lady of great wealth or high rank. The most superb of them we have yet seen, has just been finished for a lady, of the latter description it is of peach-coloured tulle, with satin ornaments in stripes, underneath, adorned with pearls a l’antique; in order to display these ornaments the hat stands off very much from the face; the crown profusely scattered over with pearls and superb … white ostrich feathers, with a small plume of … at their base, finish this magnificent, and novel head dress.

Fancy, ever on the alert to bring out something new, produced a very curious and whimsical head-dress, which, nevertheless, wears on its form the stamp of high … to a pretty face, and where there is to be found … distinguee, indicative of true style, it can only be becoming. It has the appearance of a triple hat toque, the … of pale pink satin, turned up and down in various ways and united, in a manner, by a transparent caul of tulle: about and underneath the carious little … white Marabout feathers; these are lightly and … disposed, and the whole forms a unique and … head-dress for the opera.

A dress of coloured Chinese crape, of a dark … seems much in favour with ladys of rank, either as … costume, or a carriage out-door dress. It is made … high, is faced down the front with satin the … robe, and Brandenburghs, with splendid tassells … the bust, and are continued on each side of … down to the feet; a superb lace colerette finishes … throat. A dress of Canary yellow gros de Naples is much worn at social dinner parties; the body is … plain and simple, a la Vierge, and the sleeves … with but a slight fulness in the mancherons; the … enriched by a beautiful ornament of pluche de soie in bias stripes of two different colours, purple and … about two shades darker than the dress; the purple in a light colour, and that, rather of the …

Muslin and cambric petticoats, of the most exquisite embroidery, are now much in request, with pelisses in gros de Naples, either plain or figured; the latter prevail most in pelisses, but spencers, of the most … and novel kind, are chiefly of plain silks, and better for the elegant manner in which they are now ornamented. We shall only mention two we have seen, just … for ladies who rank high in fashionable life. … gros de Naples, the colour a beautiful pink; it is … at the bust, with numerous straps, entwined in each other, and forming a treillage work, that appears to stand out, distinct from the plain part; but it should be seen to be properly appreciated; the mancherons are finished in the same manner; and the trimming at the wrists corresponds, but more lightly and simply. The other spencer was of a fine and etherial blue; and the bust was ornamented with embossed vine leaves, wrought about with tendrills, in brocade embroidery, executed in the most exquisite manner.

The Indian or Japanese rose-red, for pelisses, was still in favour the latter end of May; becoming as it is to almost every complexion, it seems, however, ill-suited to the refulgency of a summer’s sun; it is still seen on very distinguished females, but will, no doubt, very soon be laid aside; the pelisses of gros de Naples, of this colour, are ornamneted with a representation of oriental foliage, worked in narrow rouleaux, across the bust and down each side in front, and give to this out-door envelope a truly classical appearance: the beautiful light and cheerful colours for summer, require but little trimming, and what they have, is extremely simple: the diversity of ornament seems most displayed across the bust and at the mancherons: the collars chiefly stand up and turn down again; but this rule is not without exception; some collars are broad, pointed perceptibly at each corner, and fall over the shoulders. The Cachemire shawls have no longer white grounds; the favourite colours for the ground-work are bright gold-colour, or olive green; the borders are finely variegated, and they are all of the square kind.

A favourite material for carriage bonnets is white tulle over stiffened net: one we find particularly elegant; it is ornamented with a full half-wreath of flowers, representing the Scotch thistle, and sprigs of Highland heath; and these delicate blossoms, as well as the thistles, are all made of feathers; to the flower of the thistle, this material gives a semblance that may be mistaken for nature. Figured gros de Naples bonnets are also much in request; they are of various colours, but when of pink, they are generally crowned with full bouquets of roses. A carriage dress-hat, for paying morning visits of ceremony, is of pink crepe lisse, with separate pink feathers of the Marabout playing beautifully over the front. Bonnets for morning exhibitions and the public promenades, are of gros de Naples; the favourite colour a light lavender-grey, lined with white; this bonnet is ornamented with blossoming branches of the mezereon.

We cannot forbear drawing the attention of the members of the fashionable world to the unrivalled excellency of the flowers made this season; art is so closely taught to imitate nature, that a superficial observer cannot distinguish them from the choicest treasures of the garden; they are formed of fine cambric, and some, where the texture and appearance of the flower will permit, are of feathers: there are flowers, that like a watch, require several different hands in their composition; the wealthy, therefore, by patronising this delightful art, while they adorn themselves with that ornament, the most appropriate to female beauty, are encouraging and aiding to support, the sons and daughters of ingenuity and industry.

The material chiefly admired for ball dresses, is of tulle with a broad border of fancy flowers, wrought in … beads: the corsages are light and generally … straps of white satin, edged with narrow rouleaux laid across the bust over tulle; blond ornamnet … added, and sometimes form the short sleeve, which is generally surmounted by a flower or trimming to … border on the skirt: where the ball is very splendid, … ladies in grande costume, the favourite trimming is … bullion, now called frivolite bouillon, from the novel manner in which it is twisted.

The colours most approved are pink, Canary yellow, lavender, and light lavender-grey.


“We have lost every thing, my dear friend,” said the youthful Emma, the moment I entered her dwelling last …day morning; “we have lost everything: except our nour.” — “To have invented the most graceful trimming for a dress, that could have appeared this spring,” replied … as I saw displayed, on a sofa, the pretty dress, intended to be figured away in at the Thuilleries, “and of which, we today, shall set the fashion; in effect, nothing can be more simple, nothing can be more elegant, although for these … first days, we have distinguished several dresses as remarkable for the brilliancy of their colours, as for their novelty. How much do robes of different colours, such as rose, blue, lilac, and yellow, predominate over white? But those colours are many of them shot; this pale lilac and iron-gray, become opal, and this seems the favourite trimming of the …. Canary yellow, with a slight tinge of pistachio, is called primrose. Ingenious effect of human skill! By the most innocent stratagems, the art is discovered of giving to former fashions all the charm of novelty.”

The corsage-blouse, (or drawn body,) is now formed of large flat plaits, which surrounding the waist, seem drawn together by the belt. The collars of pelisses are cut … points, and these points are edged with narrow fringe and puffed beading; at the front of the corsage are two or three flat plaits, which are carried down the length of the petticoat, leaving a space between them about two hadns in breadth; on each side of the last plait in front, are placed ribbons, of which are formed large bows, that are set at equal distances down the middle of the skirt.

Pelerines and coleretts are round, whether a la … (which is the name given to those collars which are slashed and bordered with plaiting of lace or muslin,) they are worn alike over high or low dresses. The sleeves are wide, and a number of little wristbands, very close to each other, …cend almost as high as the elbow. We counted more than twelve of these wristbands on a dress of opal-coloured Cachmire gauze, lined with slight silk of the same colour; the body of this elegant dress was in flat plaits; at the bottom of the petticoat, about a hand’s breadth apart, were three rows of double quilling, in gauze. There is every appearance of this being a favourite trimming this summer.

The greatest novelty are blouses of Florence silk or Marceline, with tucks, and a row of embroidery, in silk, between each tuck; the embroidery represents branches of blue-bells, and coquelicots, in wreaths.

Rice-straw is much in favour for hats, perhaps, because these hats are generally worn by very young or very pretty women. Their form is round, and this shape is the most fashionable, whether the hat is of gauze or gros de Naples. The various ways of ornamenting them is a difficult task to explain; we must first undertake to account for the versatility of taste, and the caprice of fashion. The Ipisboe hat is, indeed, original, whether we regard its shape or the whimsical association of its colour with its ribbons, or the three aigrettes, which surmount it, which are red, yellow, and black.

We have distinguished some beautiful hats of Canary yellow gauze, ornamented with full bouquets of blue-bells; these flowers are spread out in such a way, as to cover a great part of the crown in front, and some of them droop on one side, over the brim. We have remarked also, some hats of straw, or of gros de Naples, where a single flower, with a thousand leaves, is placed in front: this new flower gives to these hats an extreme elegance and grace. Some hats are adorned with all sorts of verdure, in flowers and foliage made of feathers, particularly four little pine-balls, and white thistles.


Except Leghorn hats, which they dare not cut away too much, on account of their value, there is scarce a hat that has any brim behind, and, indeed, very little at the sides; this brim neither stands up nor falls, so that the face remains discovered. The fashion being uniform, it is the ornament above and round the crown of these hats to which the chief attention is paid in our Magasins de Modes. Sometimes it is a corded ribbon, in large puffs, placed in bias, from the top of the crown to where the brim commences; sometimes round this crown, it is a pipe of ribbon, rolled in a spiral manner, with a fringe hanging from it. One of the most distinguished trimmings for a Leghorn hat, consists in a branch of the peach-tree, with its blossoms, and a few little peaches just formed: it is placed in front of the crown, and comes forward a little way on the brim. Some straw-hats are of a square form, and are broad in the brims. The trimmings on Sparterie, or open chip-hats, consist in cockle-shell puffings of taffety, edged with a stripe of Sparterie. Bonnets of taffety, and those of gros de Naples, either in white lilac, or myrtle-green, are trimmed with puckerings, and are as general as they were last year.

Light coloured spencers of gros de Naples are much worn; some are made with loose bodies, en blouse, and with very full sleeves; others with strait backs, like a riding-habit; some are ornamented with Brandenburghs, laced across, and have a falling collar. A muslin petticoat, with three bias folds at the border, is worn with spencers.

On blouses of Organdy silk, are seen rose-buds, with leaves of two shades of green; or, sometimes, purple lilacs, with foliage. Others are trimmed with double SS, and have sweet peas between the SS. The manner of placing the SS depends on taste; some are upright, others incline, others are cross-wise, and the sweet-peas are sometimes round, sometimes long. Green foliage, in embroidery, very often represents the wall-ivy.

From the Journal des Dames

The colours most admired for silks by the fashionables are American green, peacock’s-neck green, and the River Jordan; this latter colour is a dark grey. If a bonnet is of this colour, a plume of feathers float over it, the colour of the tree of Judea, or ribbons of that colour.

The first time L’Auberge Supposee was performed there was a very full audience at the Theatre Feydeau … elegant ladies wore white hats, ornamented with … of the acacia, or dress caps with heath in … hats were of cane. A Hungarian plime, made of … feathers, of rose colour, lilac, and white, formed … of some white hat made of cotton.

At the benefit of Madame Barroyer, at Les … a hat of white crape, trimmed with blond; the … square, and was formed of white satin ribbons; … feathers overshadowed the crown, and part of the … white chip hat was surmounted by a plume of … three colours, white, … and blue. There … turban-toques of Lyones silk, these were of … and worked in with gold.

White gowns are yet but little worn, either at the … or the promenades. B… silks, lawn, cirsakas… and printed muslins (principally checked) predominate.

Barege dresses are made in blouse; the sleeves … pelisses of jaconot muslin … of the bark of trees … or two pelerine capes ane are fastened with … from the top to the bottom.

Half-handkerchiefs of black lace have appeared since the warm weather came in. Silk scarfs also are worn … saca brown, or of marshmallow blossom colour. … are ornamented by a broad layer of yellow satin.

From another Number of the Journal des Dames

In the place of ribbons it is now the mode to … lappets of crape or or gauze to tie down the hats; … placed underneath the brim, are cut in bias, … ribbon, or trimmed with blond, and … rosette.

Some hats or white chip are worn turned up on one side; they are ornamented with a full plume of … feathers, or a bunch of early roses, and leaves … the form of a packet of feathers.

Hats of Sparterie (a material very much reser… willow) are trimmed with a very broad ribbon) of … brown. The fichu of Sparterie that ornaments th… these hats and the front is bound with ribbon. … are also ornamented, sometimes with blue gauze … a fan round the crown, and which serves to su… puffs of a rosette in front.

Several Leghorn hats are simply ornamented with a satin rosette, placed on one side, the ends of … fringed.

The crowns of transparent hats, either of gauze … are trimmed round the crown with crape in plaits; … of a horse-shoe. These hats are ornamented be… blue-bells.

On split straw hats large bouquets of various flowers are worn, interspersed with gauze and detached … yellow jasmine.

Little dress caps are ornamented with flowers … petals, and are black at the bottom of the cup, … a heart or a black point; these are called Ourika, and every mixture of red and black, or black and red, is called a l’Ourika.

Some straw bonnets have crowns that are higher on the right side than on the left.

The new dresses and pelisses, which have pele… have a collar formed of two rouleaux; there is … at the top of the sleeve.

From: The World of Fashion and Continental Feuilletons

Onwards to July 1824

Newest London and Parisian Fashions for September 1838

Plate the First

An Assemblage of Fashionable Head-Dresses 

Plate the Second


Fig. 1. – Indian green gros de Naples robe, the corsage half-high, and the sleeves demi-large; the border is trimmed with four flounces, set on rather full, and cut in sharp dents; India muslin mantelet, trimmed with point de Paris, set on very full and surmounted by a rose-ribbon run through the brim. Drawn bonnet of white pou de soie, trimmed with white ribbon edged with green, and the interior of the brim ornamented with light gerbes of foliage.


Fig. 2. – Robe tablier of India muslin, over an under-dress of pale blue gros de Naples; the tablier is formed by a muslin bouillon, through which blue ribbon is run, and a row of lace is attached to it on one side; a similar trimming borders the skirt; a low square corsage, decorated en coeur, with folds, and a bouillon, upon which a knot of ribbon is laid on the shoulder; the sleeves are disposed in bouffants from the shoulder to the wrist. Tulle cap of the Babet form, decorated with lappets of the same, and blue ribbon.


Fig. 3. – Peignoir of rose-colour taffetas, the corsage is made up to the throat, and is trimmed, as is also the skirt, with Valenciennes lace; under-dress of jaeonut muslin, the border ornamented with entre deux of open work ; muslin mantelet of the shawl form, trimmed with rose-ribbon and lace. Hat of blue pou de soie, the crown trimmed with ribbons and ostrich feathers to correspond, the interior of the brim decorated with small pink flowers.


  1. — Pelisse -robe of lilac gros de Naples. Cottage bonnet of pink pou de soie, trimmed with ribbons to correspond, and a lace drapery.
  2. — Muslin robe, embroidered in feather stitch. Round cap of tulle, trimmed with oiseau ribbons.
  3. — Green cashmere shawl, and drawn bonnet of pale pink gros de Naples.
Plate the Third


Fig. 1. — Striped gros de Naples pelisse-robe, the front of the skirt is fastened by ornaments of the same material of a novel form ; the corsage tight to the shape and descending a little in front, is trimmed with a full fall of lace ; the sleeves are very large at the lower part, and tightened into moderate bouffants at the top. Rice-straw hat, profusely trimmed with groseille ribbon and flowers.


Fig. 2. — India muslin robe; the border is trimmed with a flounce of the same material edged with Valenciennes lace, and surmounted by a bouillon; a high corsage, trimmed with a small round pelerine of English point lace ; sleeve a la Duchesse d’ Orleans. Italian straw hat, the interior of the brim decorated with a wreath of roses, and the crown ornamented with a bouquet of white ostrich feathers.


Fig. 3. — The robe is blue tulle, over pou de soie to correspond; the corsage is low, square, and draped in a very novel manner; the sleeve full in the centre, but with the fulness confined by rouleaus at bottom and top; the trimming of the skirt corresponds. Rice-straw hat; it is a chapeau camaro, decorated with marabouts, and small blue flowers.


  1. — A back-view of the hat of fig. 1.
  2. — Promenade bonnet of blue pou de soie, trimmed with ribbons to correspond, and a sprig of green foliage.
  3. — Half-dress bonnet of white pou de soie, trimmed with white ribbons and a sprig of velvet flowers.
  4. — A back-view of the hat of fig. 2.
Plate the Fourth


Fig. 1 . — Pelisse-robe of India muslin, lined with pale straw- coloured gros de Naples, the border and fronts of the robe are worked in feather stitch; the corsage, half high and tight to the shape, is partially covered by a fichu, embroidered to correspond; the sleeve is tight, and finished at the top with two falls of lace, from thence to the wrist it is full. Italian-straw hat, trimmed with violets and white ribbon.


Fig. 2. — Striped gros de Naples robe; the front of the skirt is trimmed with a rouleau, disposed in waves, and edged with lace; tight corsage, and sleeves demi-large, trimmed, as is also the fichu, with lace. White gros de Naples hat, ornamented with white ribbon and roses.


Fig. 3.— French grey pou de soie robe; the border is finished with a deep flounce of antique lace; a tight corsage, and short sleeves, tight just below the shoulder, and from thence disposed in bouillons; pelerine-fichu of lace to correspond with that on the skirt, and fastened down the front with rosettes of pink ribbon. Pink pou de soie hat: the interior of the brim is trimmed with gerbes of roses, a lace drapery intermixed with roses adorns the crown.


  1. — Social party dress.— Green pou de soie robe; embroidered muslin pelerine, en coeur. Embroidered tulle cap, of a round shape, decorated with moss roses and pale rose-ribbons.
  2. — Carriage hat and shawl. — The first is of rice-straw, trimmed with blue ribbons, and white ostrich feathers tipped with blue. The shawl is of India muslin, embroidered, and trimmed with lace.
  3. — Half-dress cap of blond lace, trimmed with lemon- coloured ribbons and gerbes of foliage.
Plate the Fifth


Fig. 1. — Robe tunique of organdy, the skirt is trimmed with bouillons, through which rose ribbon is drawn; the tunic is formed by a bouillon, arranged down the front and round the border ; it is edged with English point lace. Corsage low and square, short tight sleeves with demi Venitieene mancherons. The hair is arranged in a twisted roll at the back of the head, and ringlets at the sides ; it is adorned with gerbes of roses.


Fig. 2. — Robe of vert chin gros de Naples. Mantelet of filet de Soie (moyen age) of a peculiarly light and transparent pattern, and of a very large size. Drawn bonnet of white crape, trimmed in a very novel style with pink ribbon.


Fig. 3. — Robe of flesh coloured gros de Naples, square corsage, and sleeves demi large. Scarf mantelet of black filet de soie. Turban cap of tulle, ornamented with roses, and a rouleau of rose coloured ribbon.


  1. — India muslin robe, the corsage is partially covered by a heart pelerine, trimmed with lace, and a lilac ribbon in bouillon. Bonnet a la Charlotte Corday, ornamented with roses and lilac ribbon.
  2. — Cambric robe, a square corsage, and sleeve of an easy fulness. Fichu a la paysanne of black filet de soie, and tablier of lemon coloured gros de Naples. Small round cap of tulle, ornamented with a half wreath of flowers.
  3. Mousseline de laine robe, a pink ground spotted with white. Embroidered muslin fichu. Cap of tulle blonde, trimmed with blue ribbon and flowers.
Plate the Sixth


Fig. 1. — Robe of grey gros de Naples chine; the corsage a little pointed at bottom, and draped on the shoulders; the sleeves are drawn close at bottom and top, but full in the centre; the skirt is finished with two flounces. Italian straw hat, trimmed with ribbon to correspond, and black lace.


Fig. 2. — Organdy robe, spotted with blue cashmere worsted; the border is trimmed with flounces headed by a bouillon; corsage drape en coeur; the sleeves are full in the centre, but finished with bouillons at top and bottom. Pink pou de soie hat, trimmed with flowers and ribbons to correspond.


Fig. 3. — Robe of pink pou de soie glace de blanc; the corsage made tight to the shape, cut low, and square; short sleeves, forming a double bouillon; pelerine-mantelet of filet de soie, ornamented with a knot of pink ribbon. Capote of oiseau crape, trimmed with ribbons to correspond.


The time is at last come when the genius of Fashion seeks a little repose, passing almost at once from the extreme of splendour to that of simplicity. We might be tempted to imagine that she was actually idle ; but such is never really the case. It is quite an error to say that there are no new fashions ; there may not, indeed, be striking novelties, but there will always, to an observant and critical eye, be changes ; which, though apparently slight, have still a material influence on dress, for as our readers well know, the placing of a feather or a flower, or a trifling alteration in the size or shape of the brim of a hat or bonnet, often produces a great effect upon the countenance. In like manner the figure maybe either embellished or injured by the depth of the point of a corsage, or the arrangement of a trimming. Let us now see what fashion has done for or against our fair readers in these respects, since our last number.

NEW MATERIALS. — Although it is yet too soon for new autumnal materials to appear, we have, nevertheless, been favoured with a sight of some that our fair readers will find worthy of their attention. One that is uncommonly beautiful, is a rich silk, striped in alternate marbled and damasked stripes ; another has a sort of levantine ground, very stout and close, figured in a very small pattern of vivid colours ; a third kind is a pelenot, striped alternately in satin and gros de Naples stripes of equal breadths, and strewed with small flowers, figured in different colours. We have also seen some soft satins, of a very rich quality, figured in small patterns, and changeable silks of new and brilliant hues ; and from the information that has reached us, we have no hesitation in affirming that the silks in favour for the ensuing autumn will be of great richness and beauty, and that changeable silks will enjoy considerable vogue.

SHAWLS. — There is a great variety at present, and we may cite among the most elegant, those of plain cashmere, fringed with cashmere wool. Nothing can be more graceful than those shawls with exquisitely light fringe that every breath of air agitates ; white ponceau and light blue are most in vogue. The rice crape shawls are also come again very much into favour, but they must be embroidered. Blue and ponceau are favourite colours for these shawls, but white ones are more numerous. India muslin shawls, embroidered in gold, have at once a rich and beautiful effect. We must, however, observe, that in some instances the embroidery appears to us too heavy for the material ; and we like those better in which the embroidery is a mixture of cotton and gold. We may cite as one of the most elegant of these latter, a very large shawl, the embroidery of which was of rose-coloured cotton and gold.

BONNETS. — Several have appeared, both drawn and plain, of straw-coloured pou de soie, trimmed with ribbons, plaided in straw colour and black, the union of these two colours is expected to remain in favour during the whole of the autumn. Summer bonnets are, however, still the most in request; those of crape and organdy have lost nothing of their vogue; they are trimmed very sparingly with white ribbon, and a sprig of roses with their foliage.

HATS. — Several of those of Italian straw are trimmed with groseille or deep blue velvet, and a single white ostrich feather, tipped to correspond with the velvet. Rice straw hats continue their vogue; but we have nothing new to announce concerning their trimmings. Pou de soie hats begin to be a good deal seen, and we observe that the majority are made without curtains at the back; we congratulate our readers on the abandonment of a mode so generally unbecoming; it is succeeded by a small piece trimmed up at the back of the crown, beneath which is a few puffs, or a knot of ribbon.

MANNER OF WEARING HATS. — Although fashion is in many respects less despotic than usual, she has yet established one law which none of her fair votaries ventures to transgress, that of wearing the hat very far back upon the head ; this style is exceedingly becoming to some ladies, and quite the reverse to others, but it is adopted by all ; what renders it more particularly unbecoming is, that the brim which descends very low on the cheeks, encircles the face like a cap, and is very full trimmed with flowers, blond lace, or ribbons. This fashion, if adopted in moderation, would be very pretty, but it is carried to the greatest excess; however, we hope I hat as the winter approaches it will be laid aside.

PELISSES are a good deal in request in carriage dress; we may cite, among others, those composed of the new plaided foulards, cherry colour and white; the fronts are trimmed with rosettes of ribbon to correspond, diminishing gradually in size from the top to the bottom. Another style of pelisse — one that seems likely to remain in favour, is composed of shot silk, the front trimmed en tablier, with scallops, which are edged with effile. Pelisses are all made with the corsages, opening in front in the heart style; some are finished with a small lappel, and others arranged in folds which come from the shoulder. Early as it is in the season we have seen a few pelisses trimmed with swan’s-down.

CARRIAGE DRESS. — We cannot do better than cite a few ensembles of the most elegant carriage dresses that have lately fallen under our observation. An India muslin robe, the bottom is simply finished with a broad hem ; the corsage is in crossed drapery ; the sleeves are made full below the shoulder, and are finished at the elbow by a fall of lace, headed by a bouillon, through which a coloured ribbon is drawn. The head- dress is a bonnet which as just appeared, but which, we think, very likely to be a great favourite; they are made both in crape and in silk, the one of which we speak was in crape ; the crown is placed very backward, the brim of the usual shape, but arranged en bouillons, with a slip of whalebone between each ; the edge of the brim is terminated by a bouillon, which has less of fulness than the others. The shawl is white china crape, embroidered in flowers with silks of vivid colours. Another favourite style is, a peignoir of white organdy, striped with stripes formed of a single coloured thread; the border is trimmed with a single flounce a quarter of a yard in depth. An Italian straw hat, the interior of the brim is decorated with a wreath of Marguerites, and the upper part with a bunch of raspberries and their foliage. A Spanish mantelet of black pou de soie, trimmed with black lace, completes one of the most simply elegant toilettes that we have seen for some time.

FLOWERS. — Every day produces fresh ones, and certainly nothing can be prettier than some of those fancy flowers. We may cite as the most elegant among them, the rose-acacia, which is so named, we presume, because its foliage resembles that of the acacia very much: the roses are of the natural form, and nothing can imitate nature better. There are two on the sprig, with a number of birds. This ornament is employed both for hats and for the hair, in either case it is placed on one side and falls very low.

ROBES. — Flounces are more adopted than ever, and there is now more variety in them than one would suppose possible, owing to the different manner in which they are made. Some are cut in large, moderate, and small dents, others in cocks’-combs , and some that are cut bias, are finished at the edge by double pipings. A novel style of trimming, and one that has a pretty effect, is composed of four or five flounces which diminish in width from the top to the bottom.

CORSAGES open on the bosom, are universally adopted in half-dress, this form which is at once becoming and appropriate to the demi-toilette, is expected to remain in favour.

APRONS are in very great vogue, the majority of those worn in home neglige are of plaided taffetas, trimmed either with black fringe or black lace, they are also made in mousseline de laine, a plain ground embroidered in coloured silks with bouquets of flowers, which terminate under the palelots, so that the apron appears almost covered with embroidery. Some young persons wear bibs and aprons, each corner of the bib being fastened by small gold pins. These bibs are composed only of plain pou de soie, either grey or green, and are adopted only by very young ladies. Where an apron is worn in elegant neglige, it is frequently of plain grey silk, with a narrow embroidery in rose colour ; or else an embroidery in ecru, on a plain blue ground. We see also some of muslin, trimmed with lace, and lined with rose or blue sarsnet ; but the most novel are of velours epingle, embroidered in black, in imitation of lace, and finished at the bottom by a deep and rich black lace laid full upon the apron.

MANCHETTES are now made of the round cuff kind, they are either of cambric, muslin, or organdy; a good many are trimmed with narrow lace. Several are also ornamented with open work as well as edged with lace.

EVENING COSTUMES — We shall cite as the two most elegant models, a robe of organdy, figured in white and gold; the skirt trimmed with two bouillons; they are confined by chefs d’Or. A tunic also of organdy, and trimmed to correspond, is worn over the robe ; the ceinture is a chef d’Or with two short ends, edged with a narrow gold fringe. Corsage a la Grecque, with short sleeves, ornamented with chefs; the draperies of the corsage are retained in the centre of the bosom by a cameo. Coiffure a la Berthe, decorated with white roses. The other dress is also robe of organdy, striped in very narrow stripes of the palest pink : the skirt is trimmed with three flounces of the same material, raised on one side by knots of rose ribbon. The corsage is draped, and the sleeves, which are short, are a double bouffant, ornamented with lace and rose ribbons. Coiffure a la Sevigne, decorated with a bandeau of pearls and a sprig of roses.

HEAD-DRESSES IN EVENING DRESS. — Those of hair have not altered since last month. Flowers continues their vogue, but we see also a good many decorated with ribbons, and some with velvet ; the latter, however, are not very general. Turbans are still in favour for grand parties ; they are of an elegantly simple kind, composed of tulle, and of a round form, finished on each side by a lappet, or rather we should call it a scarf of the same material, which is very long, and floats on the shoulders. Some of these turbans have flowers placed inside of the folds, which seen through their transparency has a very pretty effect.
FASHIONABLE COLOURS. — Although light hues are still predominant, we see also that full colours begin to be partially seen, — groseille, violet, and some dark shades of green, blue, and grey, have appeared.


Simplicity and taste are, this Autumn, the handmaidens of fashion, and well, indeed, do they perform their task — as our plates will testify. There is a good deal of variety as well as elegance in the fashionable costumes of the different watering-places, and though it is yet early in the year, there seems a strong tendency to the demi-saison costume; but this, generally speaking, only shews itself when the weather is more than ordinarily cool. Proceed we now to select for our fair readers such novel information as may be at once useful and acceptable to them.

CAPOTES. — A material has just been employed for them by some fashionable marchandes des modes, which we mention only to protest against the use of it — it is changeable silk— nothing can be prettier for robes and mantelets, but it has a very bad effect for bonnets, because the variations of the colour is produced only by the movement of the folds in the reflection of the light. We may venture to predict that this fancy will be merely the caprice of the moment, and will neither last nor be resumed. Capotes of gros de Naples or pou de soie of various colours ; glace de blanc, are very generally adopted, particularly those of lilac, citron, and rose-colour. Capotes of crape have diminished a little in favour, but those of gaze iris and organdy continue their vogue. Several of the latter have the edge of the brim trimmed with a ruche of the same material, but this is not so general as one of tulle. A great many morning bonnets of sewed straw have the interiors of the brim trimmed with a full ruche of blond or tulle, without any intermixture of ribbons or flowers. The crown is trimmed with ribbon only, but very sparingly, and simply arranged in a knot on one side, and another of a smaller size behind.

CHAPEAUX.— Several of those of sewed straw are trimmed with a yellow silk cord, which passes several times round the crown, and has the ends fastened in a running knot terminated by tassels. Some straw hats of other kinds are also trimmed in a similar style, but with the cord and tassels of straw. As the season advances the rage for trimming Italian straw hats with fruit and its foliage increases. We perceive, during the last month, that miniature vine leaves, and those of gooseberries and currants, are the most in favour ; but whatever the foliage may be, the fruit is either red or purple. This style of trimming and feathers, particularly follettes, is in the highest favour for straw hats. We have, however, within the last few days, seen some decorated with velvet, of rich full hues, tastefully intermingled with blond lace; the effect is strikingly elegant, and we have reason to believe the fashion is one likely to continue during the autumn, for which, indeed, it is particularly well calculated.

SHAWLS. — During several years past the spring and autumn have afforded our elegantes an opportunity of displaying their superb cashmeres, and this year we may cite the autumnal ones as peculiarly beautiful. Some have the ground of one colour only, with a very rich border en rosaces; others are of the Turkish kind, and others again of those lizarre patterns that are styled Egyptians. There is certainly a singular charm in fashion, for these last are positively ugly, notwithstanding which they are adopted by the most distinguished of our elegantes. We must observe that these shawls are all square, and of a very large size.

MANTELETS may be said to divide the vogue with shawls, for when the day is too warm for the latter, the former still continue to be adopted. We must observe, however, that lace and muslin ones are very little seen; black silk ones enjoy great favour, and those of changeable silk trimmed with black lace still greater. Those made with the pelerine descending in the lappel style are decidedly the most in request, but as to the form there is no actual novelty, nor indeed can any be expected at present. We have reason, however, to believe that as the winter approaches mantelets will increase in size ; we shall be very sorry if they do, for at present they are the very perfection of the juste milieu.

PROMENADE DRESS FOR THE WATERING PLACES.— Several of our most distinguished elegantes have lately appeared in redingotes of nankeen, with the front of the corsage and skirt trimmed with three rows of buttons spreading in the fan form. Some have the olives joined by brandebourgs instead of buttons. The sleeves are large in the centre, but made close at bottom and top, and ornamented with brandebourgs. Pretty manchettes of Valenceinnes, and a lace to correspond, encircling the throat, are generally adopted with this costume, which is completed in the most tasteful style by a straw hat trimmed with plaid ribbons, or else with a ribbon striped in the narrowest possible stripes of black and straw colour, and a black ostrich feather which falls very low upon the brim. The first hats of this kind that have appeared made really quite a sensation, and pretty as they are allowed to be, an improvement has recently taken place which renders them still more elegant— it is a new kind of feather, half black and half straw-colour, which promises to be in very great request this autumn. A bird of Paradise, dyed black, is sometimes employed instead of a feather of this kind, but though more expensive it is by no means so fashionable.

MORNING DRESS. — We have but few observations to make upon it at this moment ; the peignoir form is the most decidedly in request, and muslin still predominates. We have seen, however, some peignoirs of mousseline de laine, the fronts trimmed with a puffing of ribbon, corresponding with the ground of the robe ; a small pelerine-fichu crossed upon the bosom is also trimmed to correspond.

HALF-DRESS PEIGNOIRS are in great favour; they are always composed either of organdy or gauze ; the back of the corsage is tight, the front loose. When the wearer wishes to confine it to the shape she adopts a long ceinture of the same material, forming a rosette with long ends. There is something at once very tasteful and simple in this style of half-dress. Robes of the tunic form continue to be worn, but they are not so numerous. A great many half-high robes are trimmed with a bouillon so disposed on the corsage as to have the appearance of a fichu-pelerine; others have the bouillon disposed in such a manner as to have the effect of a pelerine en coeur; in either case the robe is trimmed with flounces, there are generally two, each surmounted by a bouillon. Where peignoirs are adopted in evening dress, which at present is often the case, the corsage is always disposed en coeur, on purpose that it may be made rather low. Organdy is very much in favour, so also is Scotch cambric, the first material has, however, the greatest vogue ; several dresses of it have appeared sprigged with coloured worsteds, and others trimmed with velvet en application, but ladies of acknowledged taste give a decided preference to the material in its elegant native simplicity. Festoons divide at present the vogue of flounces, several of which are festooned in coloured silk or worsted, with cockscombs or dents de coup. We see also some fichus a la paysanne, and even collars, ornamented in the same manner. Some redingotes are made with the bottom of the corsage edged with one or two rouleaus that are extremely small; when this is the case a ceinture is not used ; the waist consequently appears longer. This is, in our opinion, a graceful fashion.

Transcribed from: The World of Fashion and Continental Feuilletons

Onward to October

Back to August

Extant Embroidered Jacobean Jackets

A garment of which there are huge numbers of surviving examples, as well as painted depictions, is the late 16th century – early 17th century woman’s waistcoat or jacket. Such garments seem to be almost entirely English, and their survival is perhaps mainly thanks to their small size and intricate embroidery. It’s not very easy to cut them down and turn them into anything else!

English woman's jacket in undyed linen embroidered with silver and gilt-silver yarns and spangles in daffodil scroll pattern, trimmed with metallic lace.
English woman’s jacket in undyed linen embroidered with silver and gilt-silver yarns and spangles in daffodil scroll pattern, trimmed with metallic lace, c. 1610-1615 with later alterations, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Such garments were informal wear for noble women, while the gentry considered them formal wear. Decoration varied from simple wool embroidery on fustian to metallic threads on linen or silk, complete with hundreds of metal spangles.

Margaret Layton Jacket, 1610-1615 (altered 1620), V&A Museum
Margaret Layton Jacket, 1610-1615 (altered 1620), V&A Museum

Possibly the most famous jacket is the Margaret Layton one, since not only does the jacket still exist, so does a portrait of it being worn! Such a survival is rare for something for so old, and it gives valuable insight into how such garments were worn.

“The waistcoat has long, tight sleeves, narrow shoulder wings, semi-circular cuffs and a small curved collar at the back neck, dating it to about 1610. Made of linen, it is hand sewn and lined with coral silk taffeta. Originally the jacket was fastened with pink silk ribbons. In the 1620s, an edging of spangled silver-gilt bobbin lace was added. Fragments remain of the original silk ribbons used for fastening. The waistcoat is embroidered in detached buttonhole, stem, plaited braid, chain, couching and dot stitches, with knots and speckling, with coloured silk threads, silver-gilt threads and spangles.”

V&A Museum
Margaret Layton Portrait, c. 1620, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
Margaret Layton Portrait, c. 1620, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger

The jacket had the lace added in the 1620s, but as fashion was changing, waistlines had risen. Rather than further alter the jacket drastically, Margaret Layton instead wore her petticoat higher up over the jacket, hiding its lower waistline.

For more pictures of the jacket, see its page on the V&A website. There are nearly 100 detailed pictures of the embroidery and construction!

Margaret Layton Jacket, 1610-1615 (altered 1620), V&A Museum, Detail
Margaret Layton Jacket, 1610-1615 (altered 1620), V&A Museum, Detail

Another jacket held by the V&A with a huge number of images is this loose fitting one from c.1590-1630.

Loose fitting linen jacket c.1590-1630, V&A Museum
Loose fitting linen jacket c.1590-1630, V&A Museum

“This simple unlined jacket represents an informal style of clothing worn by women in the early 17th century. Unlike more fitted waistcoats, this loose, unshaped jacket may have been worn during pregnancy. A repeating pattern of curving scrolls covers the linen from which spring sweet peas, oak leaves, acorns, columbine, lilies, pansies, borage, hawthorn, strawberries and honeysuckle embroidered in coloured silks, silver and silver-gilt threads. The embroidery stitches include chain, stem, satin, dot and double-plait stitch, as well as knots and couching of the metal threads. Sleeves and sides are embroidered together with an insertion stitch in two shades of green instead of a conventionally sewn seam.

Although exquisitely worked, this jacket is crudely cut from a single layer of linen, indicating the work of a seamstress or embroiderer, someone without a tailor’s training. It has no cuffs, collar or lining, and the sleeves are cut in one piece. The jacket was later altered to fit a thinner person. The sleeves were taken off, the armholes re-shaped, the sides cut down, and the sleeves set in again.”

V&A Museum
Loose fitting linen jacket c.1590-1630, V&A Museum, Detail
Loose fitting linen jacket c.1590-1630, V&A Museum, Detail

Unlike many other extant jackets, it is embroidered entirely in silk, without the use of metallic threads or spangles that are so visible on so many of the others. The fact that it survives while still being so loose fitting is also interesting, since it wouldn’t have been difficult to cut it down into on of the more fashionable jackets of the later 1630s.

One jacket that has been cut down and altered is this one.

Waistcoat, c.1610-1620, altered 1620s, V&A Museum
Waistcoat, c.1610-1620, altered 1620s, V&A Museum

The neckline has been cut down, cutting into the embroidery, probably so that it could be worn as a masque costume. The sides have been taken in, and the armscyes made smaller by adding pieces to them. It doesn’t seem to be a particularly skilled job, but since masques tended to take place in the evening, in candle light, it is unlikely that anyone would have noticed!

A jacket that was also altered for a masque (though in a very different way!) is also held by the V&A.

Waistcoat, 1600-1620, altered 1620s, V&A Museum
Waistcoat, 1600-1620, altered 1620s, V&A Museum

“Four pieces forming a woman’s waistcoat made of bleached linen and embroidered with coloured silks, silver and silver-gilt filé and spangles. The pattern of the embroidery comprises a lattice of geometric strapwork in plaited braid stitch with threads. Worked inside the strapwork compartments are flowers, fruits and leaves in coloured silks in detached buttonhole stitch. The grapes are similarly worked, but raised for a three-dimensional effect.

The waistcoat was probably altered in the 1620s to wear as masque costume. The fronts were removed, shortened and new gores added, then sewn to new silk backs (not meant to be seen when worn) The waistcoat probably had a scattering of silver-gilt spangles. Many more, each topped with a glass bead, were added, filling the linen ground and almost obscuring the pattern of the embroidery…

…The British philosopher and writer Francis Bacon (1561-1626) wrote an essay, ‘Of Masques and Triumphs’, in 1594, advising on the colours and decorations most effective for masque costume. He recommended spangles, ‘as they are of no great cost, so they are of most glory. As for rich embroidery, it is lost, and not discerned.’”

V&A Museum

On that note, I think I’ll just present you with a collection of some of the other beautiful embroidered jackets still in existence!

Chemise a la Reine?

Marie Antoinette, 1778, by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun.

French court fashion in the last half of the 18th century was excessive. Marie Antoinette set the trend, paving the way for fast fashion as we know it today. She would spend up to £20,000 a day, reportedly commissioning 300 dresses a year, and hardly wearing anything twice.  At a time when fashions changed slowly, fashion plates were being printed every 10 days to keep up with her!

Such silk gowns were worn over the top of structured underthings: after putting on a shift or chemise, stays, panniers, and petticoats would be used to help the wearer achieve the ideal fashionable figure. Silk was the most popular fabric for gowns and coats: the aristocracy at court kept the French silk industry afloat, and their clothes were a display of their patriotism in doing so.

Marie Antoinette en gaule, 1783, by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun.

Taking French Court fashions into mind, it is little wonder that this portrait caused such a scandal when it was exhibited publicly in 1783!

Marie Antoinette has shed the visible indicators of the fact that she is queen, and there’s no evidence of her husband (the King) anywhere! She’s not even wearing any jewellery, and there’s certainly no subtly placed crown in the corner.

The dress is loose fitting, with no panniers beneath the skirts to hold them out.  You can barely tell that she is wearing stays! On top of that, its made of cotton muslin, not French silk.

Finally, (and arguably most scandalously) the dress looks a lot like a chemise or shift: the under most linen or cotton garment worn by women, which was easily washable and served as protection both for the body from stays rubbing, (think wearing a tight shoe without any socks), and preventing sweat from soaking into the unwashable stays and outer gown.

Marie Antoinette in a posthumous portrait, 1800, by Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun.

However, fashions rarely materialise out of the blue. They all have their origins somewhere, and this dress was not thought up by the Queen for her pastoral fantasy at Le Petit Trianon.

Vêtement dit a la Créole, Galerie des Modes et Costumes Francais, 1779

Vêtement dit a la Créole, composé de celui que portent nos Dames Françaises en Amérique: c’est un grande robe de mousseline, à manches justes qui se serrent au poignet; la robe est un peu ajustée  à la taille et dégagée autour de la gorge dans le gout d’une chemise: elle est cependent sortaisée et ouverte par devant; on l’áttache en haut avec une épingle lorsqu’on veut qu’elle joigne, et a la ceinture avec un ruban comme la Lévite; par dessus un caraco à coqueluchon sans manches; celles de la robe forment l’amadis. Cette figure est coëffée d’un chapeau dit à la Grenade.

A dress a la Creole, made up of that worn by our French Ladies in America: it is a large muslin dress, with fair sleeves that tighten at the wrist; the dress is a little tightened at the waist and clears around the throat in the way of a chemise: it is however taken off and opened at the front; you fasten it at the top with a pin when you want it to join, and at the waist with a ribbon like a Levite [a member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi]; over this a short sleeved caraco jacket; those of the dress form the lower sleeves. On her head is a hat a la Grenade.

[Apologies for the slightly dodgy translation: my French is rather rusty…]

Agostino Brunias, West Indian Creole woman, with her Black Servant ca. 1780

The Chemise a la Reine was rarely called such in the C18th, and was instead known by a variety of other names, primarily (and most notably) the Robe a la Creole. Such a garment began to appear in fashion plates from 1779 in the Galerie des Modes et Costumes Français, as the “Vêtement dit à la creole,” described in the caption  as being “made up of that which our French ladies wear in America.” What the title tells us (that the caption does not) is that the French ladies in America were copying the dress worn by black freewomen (and quite possible enslaved people as well), which approximated European fashionable dress using the materials these women had available to them. Since such clothes were less restrictive and better adapted to the warmer climates, it didn’t take too long for white colonial women to begin wearing them too.

Detail from Linen Market in Dominica, Agostino Brunias, 1780s, “Robe en chemise de mousseline,” Cabinet des Modes, 1786

Marie Antoinette succeeded in popularising the simple cotton dress amongst her friends, but it took the French Revolution for cotton to become so vital to fashion. Luxurious silks and excessive dresses, as a symbol of the fallen aristocracy, were anathema to the revolutionary ideas. The dramatic simplification of dress in the late C18th – early C19th fuelled the rise of the slave trade, and made it possible to later declare that “Cotton is King.”

Agostino Brunias, Linen Market in Dominica ca. 1780

For more, see:

Sonia Ashmore’s book “Muslin,”

Creole Comforts and French Connections

The Little White Dress

The Origins of the Chemise a la Reine

A Brief History of the Fashion Magazine Part 3

In the 16th and 17th Centuries, the most popular printed materials were newspapers, pamphlets, and broadsides. Unfortunately, in the early 18th Century, the English government realised that an awful lot of political propaganda was spread through these cheap, easily made publications, and so decided to stick a tax on them. In order to cover everything, the tax was on “single and half sheet publications.” Publishers responded to this tax by printing lengthier material less frequently, and so the magazine was born in England.

16th Century Broadside

However, other magazines had begun to appear in the late 17th century, in Germany, France, and the Netherlands. It was easier for publishers to have a regular schedule, but it would be difficult to say that the magazines they produced were particularly easy reading: they tended to be intellectual and fairly heavy going, until the publication of the Mercure Galant in 1672, combining news, pleasurable reading, and images.

The rise of female literacy rates meant a new market for publishers, too, and the Lady’s Mercury appeared in 1693, intended specifically for women: the Athenian Mercury ran an advice column that was so popular with women, a separate magazine was briefly created. It was not truly a magazine as we would recognise it today, however, being printed on two sides of a single sheet of paper. The Review, the Tatler, and the Spectator all emerged in the early 18th Century, and likewise grew offshoots aimed specifically at a female audience.

The first Fashion Magazine after the Mercure Galant, however, did not appear until 1770. The Lady’s Magazine (an offshoot of the Gentleman’s Magazine (1731-1907)) lasted until 1847, and contained detailed illustrations of clothes alongside fiction, biographies, music, medicine, and news. Middle and upper class women found it of equal appeal: the court dresses shown helped those of higher rank keep up with the fashions, while the middle ranks could attempt to emulate it on a smaller scale.

The main difference between magazines aimed at women and men in this period was the manner in which politics was treated. While men were being prepared to take military roles in upcoming wars with neighbouring countries, women were reassured that all was safe, and there was nothing to fear, so that no upset was caused in the domestic sphere.

Cabinet des Modes, 1785

While the Lady’s Magazine was varied in its material, and contained relatively few fashion plates, other magazines, such as The Gallery of Fashion (1794-1803), Gallerie des Modes et Costumes Français (1778-1787), and the Magasin des Modes Nouvelles Françaises et Anglaises (1786-1789) consisted almost entirely of fashion plates. These were (unfortunately) more expensive to produce, hence their short lifetimes, but the fashion magazine as we know it today was born!

These magazines gave very detailed descriptions, elaborating on colours, materials, styles, and how such items might be procured. Adverts for various manufactures were included, too.

Such plates could be hand tinted before distribution, coloured by hand once bought, or, more unusually, turned into “dressed prints” with colour being added through the use of fabric and glue.

While these magazines were ostensibly aimed at women (though that is not to say that they didn’t also include male fashion plates too!), they also contained a voyeuristic element for men, from the high fashion of the 1780s involving women’s breasts showing over their necklines, to the form revealing fashions of the 1790s and 1800s.

The effect of these fashion magazines was a homogenisation of European fashion. Marie Antoinette’s constant spending and ever changing styles led to them being printed every 10 days to keep up with her, and while some small regional variation remained, fashion at the end of the 18th Century was very similar all across Europe, with the same silhouettes, styles, trims, and headwear rendering it virtually impossible to tell where someone was from by their clothes. When countries were at war, efforts were made to avoid imitating the styles of the country you were fighting against, but that tended towards small details.

One notable feature of dress that remained radically different depending on location was court dress. Strict rules were in place, dictating what could be worn in front of a country’s monarch, from silhouette to train length, and such things as sleeve length and headwear varied depending on occasion and time of day. As can be seen above, the English retained the paniers of the mid 18th Century, raising them with the waistline, while the French adopted the new fashion of slim skirts.

Such magazines continue to this day in much the same manner as the first 1770 Lady’s Magazine, containing everything from fashion and news to fiction, biographies, and recipies.

For more on fashion magazines, and the history thereof, see (in no particular order:


John L. Nevison’s “Early History of the Fashion Plate

British Library’s Article on Fashion Magazines

Articles in the Lady’s Magazine

Fashion Plates in the National Portrait Gallery

Julia Jones’s “The Fleeting Art: Fashion and Culture in Eighteenth Century France”

Matthaeus Schwarz’s Fashion Book

The Gentleman’s Magazine

The Lady’s Magazine

Slashing and Pinking

Pearls, spangles, laces, metallic thread, and embroidery, were all expensive in the Early Modern period (and still even today), and so decoration of clothing tended to be the preserve of the rich. While labour during the period was cheap, the materials needed were expensive, especially in the quantity needed to decorate sets of clothes. You can see the quantity of pearls and gold trim in the portrait below, all of which would have been incredibly expensive, and (naturally) beyond the reach of most of the middle classes.

Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon, c.1515

Likewise in the below portrait, while the time and labour involved in the vast quantity of embroidery would have been relatively cheap, the gold and silk threads would have been hugely expensive: unlike the plastic gold threads we have access to today, 16th Century gold thread generally consisted of gold (as in the metal) or silver gilt strips wrapped around a silk core.

Portrait of (possibly) Lady Dorothy Cary

However, a breakthrough in the late 15th and early 16th Centuries enabled far more people to decorate their clothes.

Landsknechte, etching by Daniel Hopfer, c. 1530

The origins of slashing and pinking are unknown, but there are various theories. Soldiers returning from the battlefield with slashed, torn clothes are possibly the origin of the fashion for making pointless cuts and holes in fabric. Other stories involve the Swiss army beating Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgandy, in 1476, stealing the clothes amongst his possessions, and patching the luxurious fabric onto their own in repairs, or (more mundanely) that soldiers cut slashes into their leather tunics to give more ease and manoeuvrability. Whatever the precise origin, it appears to have had military roots.

Landsknecht mercenaries with arquebuses (Tapestries of the Battle of Pavia by Bernard van Orley, between 1528 and 1531)
Landsknecht mercenaries with arquebuses (Tapestries of the Battle of Pavia by Bernard van Orley, between 1528 and 1531)

The thing that helped the trend to spread like wildfire, however, was its simplicity. It didn’t require any extra items to be bought for embellishment: it was embellishment in and of itself. It took nothing but time, and some very simple tools.

Pinking and buttonhole cutting set, The Tudor Tailor

Tailors used scissors anyway, and these could be used for large slashes, or to cut the fabric into strips. For smaller cuts, or more subtle designs, a chisel like tool, a hammer, and a block of wood covered in lead were used to make patterns. These slashes and holes in garments could then show another fabric beneath: just the lining, or (if you had more money) another, expensive fabric.

Lady Diana Cecil by William Larkin, (1614-18) (Ranger’s House, Suffolk Collection)

The fact that the chisels could be used over and over, create countless designs, and took only labour without requiring extra materials rendered this ever popular decorative technique available to the middling classes who had a little money to spend on fashion, not just practical clothes.

Above, you can see slashing on the clothes of some English ladies, a boy from Sienna, and a German lady. For the majority of middle class people who wanted to show off their money through their clothes, slashing and pinking were the way to go, along with applied cloth strips to serve as guards on the hems of skirts, since they served the triple purpose of being decorative, replaceable, and prolonging the life of the skirt.

16th Century German Tailor’s workshop

The majority of fashionable trends in the 16th century were localised, and relatively short lived. Pleated clothing, in Germany and the surrounding area, for example, never spread very far, and with the homogenisation of European fashion in the 18th Century, it died away.

Slashing and pinking, however, continued in popularity all the way through the Early Modern period and into the 19th Century, with women complaining in the 18th Century of careless men letting their swords catch on their dresses in the street, resulting in the tearing of their silk gown. It changed very little in essence and technique, though from the 18th Century onwards, circular holes made in fabrics as well as scalloped edges were far more common.

Despite these changes, slashing in its original form made a comeback in the Regency period on some dresses! While the 1790s-1820s are known for their neoclassical fashions, some dresses were also made to emulate the renaissance period, mixing the high Italian waistlines with slashed sleeve puffs and ruffly chemisettes.

“Frizzled” Hair Styles

Europeans in the 18th Century saw hair as an indicator of character: hence so many of the cartoons mocking women with overlarge, overly elaborate hairstyles. Smooth hair was “civilized,” while African hair, particularly the most tightly coiled, kinky hair was seen as mere wool: an indicator to their white contemporaries that they were “wild and disorderly”. The Europeans did not see African hairstyles as remotely important, when in reality they date back over 3000 years, and could contain complex communications, indicating occasion, religion, family, status, age, marital status, and occupation.

Agostino Brunias, West Indian Women of Colour with a Child and Black Servant, c. 1780

However, forced labour in America meant less time to spend on hairstyles, so they became simplified, and mingled different cultures together. In many cases enslaved women working in households were forced to cover their hair with headwraps by the Tignon laws and thanks to the jealousy of their mistresses – tightly coiled African hair with its height and volume is (ironically) far more suited to the elaborate high hairstyles of the white upper classes.

Agostino Brunias, Servants [Enslaved People?] Washing a Deer, c.1775

While some Black people in colonial America used hair powders, it is of note that even they kept their natural hair texture, as a form of passive resistance against white beauty standards and control over their bodies.

Antoine Vestier, Portrait of a Lady with a Book, c.1780

In the later 1770s through to the beginning of the 1790s, many European women adopted a “frizzed” hairstyle, very similar to an afro. They weren’t shy about where they had acquired the style, either:

French women are “covered with a vast load of false hair, which is Frizzled on the forehead so as to exactly resemble the wooly heads of the Guinea negros.”

Tobias Smollet, 1760s
Galerie des Modes, 39th issue, 3rd Illustration

1780s fashion plates displayed the “Coiffure a la Jamaique” alongside such styles as the “Robe a la Creole”.

While “wooly” hair was seen by Europeans as morally degenerate when it was on the heads of Black people, on the heads of white European women it was evidence of their status: they had the time and money to be able to twist and set their hair into the volume required by fashion. Such appropriations of Black hairstyles continue to this day: such styles that are looked down on as “unprofessional,” “ghetto,” or “ugly” on the heads of Black people are seen as “chic,” “stylish,” and “groundbreaking” when worn by white models and celebrities.

Even the legislation against Black hair has continued, with girls being sent home from school for their afros being “too big,” or for wearing their natural hair, or women being denied jobs if they don’t cut off their dreadlocks. There is a complete lack of understanding within modern day white society about the sheer quantity of cultural significance that Black hairstyles contain, and I will confess to being guilty of only knowing about them in the context of the 18th Century in America.

Agostino Brunias, Market Day, Rosaeu, Dominica

For more information on this subject, it is very much worth looking at Cheyney McKnight’s essay in the American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty, and also at her YouTube channel, Not Your Momma’s History.

A Brief History of the Fashion Magazine Part 2

Louis XIV as a Young Man, Jean Nocret, 1655, Museo del Prado

The French Crown was, unfortunately for its finances, unable to tax the nobility, thanks to the law rendering them exempt. Louis XIV (or rather, his finance minister Colbert) found a clever way around this, however. By investing Crown money into the manufacture of luxury goods: silk weaving, glass blowing, and lace making, for instance, and then encouraging the nobles to spend vast quantities of money on these luxuries, it was possible to enrich the country and the state.

Fashion is to France what the gold mines of Peru are to Spain.

Jean-Baptiste Colbert
Jean-Baptiste Colbert by Philippe de Champaigne, 1655

This encouragement of consumerism met with the rise of the early newspaper, and in 1672 the combination resulted in the publication of the Mercure Galant. Published by Jean Donneau de Visé, it reported on who was wearing what when, and where different items could be bought or made.

Mercure Galant Frontispiece

The new female couturiers (who gained guild status in 1675), were able to respond to demand far quicker than the male tailors, and were helped enormously by the publication of this magazine. Between them, trends could be set far more quickly, and the concept of fashion “seasons” emerged. It should perhaps be mentioned that female couturiers initially gained their business from the import, appropriation, and imitation of several forms of eastern dress (including the Japanese Kimono and the Indian Jama), but I’ll deal with that in more detail in a separate post.

Habit d’Hiver, Mercure Galant 1678

The Mercure Galant, while effective in its spreading of French fashions and the concept of the seasons, was the only one of its kind for nearly a century after its first publication. It did, however, cement France as a centre of fashion in Europe, something that Colbert had always been working towards.

Habit d’Este, Mercure Galant, April 1676