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Fashionable Ballgowns

“I see what you think of me,” said he gravely — “I shall make but a poor figure in your journal tomorrow.”

“My journal!”

“Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Friday, went to the Lower Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings — plain black shoes — appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed me by his nonsense.”

“Indeed I shall say no such thing.”

“Shall I tell you what you ought to say?”

“If you please.”

“I danced with a very agreeable young man, introduced by Mr King; had a great deal of conversation with him — seems a most extraordinary genius — hope I may know more of him. That, madam, is what I wish you to say.”

Northanger Abbey

In the minds of many a Regency lass nothing could be more delightful than a ball– planning for it, dressing for it, dancing at it and, afterward, meeting with friends to talk it all over. In the forefront, therefore, of every girls’ mind, must be how best to present oneself, and to this end, the pages of popular fashion magazines would have been indispensable. The following plates track the changing styles in Ballgowns from 1800-1824, a time in which Jane Austen’s writing flourished and she too would have been concerned with “the style of sleeves now worn”.

Right: Ball Dress, 1800, from Journal des Luxus und der Moden, 1800-14. This dress actually seems a little awkward for dancing with the tight fit of the sleeves and bodice and the train on the overdress.

Left: Ball Dress, 1801, from Journal des Dames et des Modes, also called Costume Parisien, 1797-1839. Plate is labeled “An 9.” This ball dress is so daring that the lady’s left bosom is showing, which may not be visible at this size and resolution. This dress was copied by The Ladies Magazine in their February of 1801 issue (see right figure), but the neckline has been raised. The train is trimmed with two rows of fabric roses, while the darker overdress is fringed.

Right: Ball Dress, February 1801, from The Lady’s Magazine, or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex, Appropriated Solely to Their Use and Amusement, 1770-1837. This ball dress was copied from a more daring plate in the Paris Journal des Dames (see left figure). The roses trimming the train, the darker overdress with fringe are the same as the Paris plate, but the neckline is much higher.

Left: Ball Dress with Shawl and Turban, 1805, from Journal des Dames et des Modes, also called Costume Parisien, 1797-1839. The words above and below this illustration (not visible in this cropped image) read “An 13. Costume Parisien. Turban de Drap d’Or. Aigrette d’Oiseau de Paradis.” The lady’s feet reveal that we are seeing the back of this dress, not the front. The dress dips to a low v on the back. The collar of lace is vaguely in the Tudor style, while the short sleeves are trimmed with puffy rouleaux. The shawl is clearly a cashmere shawl in the popular pine style, a style that we see in the portrait of Josephine wearing a dress made from a cashmere shawl and wearing another.

Center: Ball Dress, 1817, from Wiener Modenzeitung, later called Wiener Zeitschrift fur Kunst, Literatur und Mode, 1816-1848. This ball dress is heavily trimmed with green satin petals and satin roses. Lace forms the collar of the dress and decorates the gloves. More satin roses are worn in the hair.

Right: Ball Dress, 1818, Wiener Modenzeitung, later called Wiener Zeitschrift fur Kunst, Literatur und Mode, 1816-1848. A heavily festooned dress- -this dress has artificial flowers on the overdress and two bands of leaf trim on the petticoat. The overdress is split up the back of the dress to display the petticoat beneath ribbon ties. The long sleeves have lace cuffs.


It may be possible to do without dancing entirely.Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively, without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind; — but when a beginning is made — when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt — it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.

Left: Ball Dress, 1820, from Journal des Dames et des Modes, also called Costume Parisien, 1797-1839. Clusters of pink roses and bands of white lace trim this pretty ball gown. A wreath of pink roses is the only headdress, while a diamond and ruby necklace adorns the lady’s neck.

Right: Ball Dress, 1824, from Rudolf Ackermann’s The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashion, and Politics, 1809-1829. This yellow silk ball dress is trimmed with yellow satin bows. A yellow satin inset forms a stomacher, or part of the dress’s bodice. The sleeves are covered with a network of satin accented with satin knots and bows. The hem is trimmed with satin rouleau. The turban has a border with a gold net pattern on it that echoes the yellow satin net of the sleeves. The top of the turban is white crepe. Gold tassels dangle off the turban. The jewelry is gold set with sapphires. The gloves and shoes are white, like the top of the turban. The silk scarf that falls around the lady’s waist is blue; however, it is a much lighter blue than the sapphires. This lady is eating an ice, a common evening delicacy.


Originally written for Cathy Decker’s Regency Fashion Page.

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Muffs and Tippets


“Inquiries and communications concerning brothers and sisters, the situation of some, the growth of the rest, and other family matters now passed between them, and continued, with only one small digression on James’s part, in praise of Miss Thorpe, till they reached Pulteney Street, where he was welcomed with great kindness by Mr and Mrs Allen, invited by the former to dine with them, and summoned by the latter to guess the price and weigh the merits of a new muff and tippet.”
Northanger Abbey

A muff is a fashion accessory for outdoors usually made of a cylinder of fur or fabric with both ends open for keeping the hands warm. It was introduced to women’s fashion in the 1500s and was popular with both men and women in the 17th and 18th century. By the early 1900s muffs were used in England only by women. A tippet is a stole or scarf-like narrow piece of clothing, worn around the arms and above the elbow. This evolved in the fourteenth century from long sleeves and typically had one end hanging down to the knees. In later fashion, a tippet is often any scarf-like wrap, usually made of fur or wool, such as the fur-lined capelets worn in the mid-18th century.

When Elizabeth Bridges married Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Austen (Knight), in 1791, her mother provided a detailed list* of the clothes and household linen that she provided as part of her trousseau. Such a detailed list (found here) may seem unimportant at the time (except that Lady Bridges gave exactly the same to her two other daughters married within the same two week window–eat your heart out, Mrs. Bennet!) but it provides us with an in depth look into the “necessities” of housekeeping and a year’s worth of clothes for a young lady of fashion. As a side note, Elizabeth and Edward’s first child, Fanny Austen, became a dear friend of her Aunt Jane’s, who considered her “almost another sister”.


Included in this list of linen and clothing are:

1 Muff and Tippet, sable.

Popular in 1791, this muff and tippet combo would remain as popular winter accessories for another 50 years or more.

The following images from a variety of fashion magazines show the variation in style of muffs during the Regency and their pairings with both Tippets and the warmer Pelisse (long coat).

Of particular note is this image, purporting to be Jane Austen, painted by James Stanier Clarke (librarian to the Prince of Wales) in 1815, around the time that he actually met the author while giving her a tour of the library at Carlton House (and, incidentally, informing her of the prince’s granting her “permission” to dedicate Emma to him).


From Left:

Le Beau Monde, March 1807

A Morning Walking Dress, for Gentlemen is composed of a dark brown superfine cloth great coat, ends of the collar in the front cut into a heart; dark blue under coat only visible in front; toillinette waistcoat blue striped with a white and yellow ground, fawn coloured pantaloons, and half boots.


An Elegant Walking Dress, is a straw gypsy hat, tied down with a white silk or a rich half lace handkerchief; a muslin gown, ornamented with knotted work crossing the shoulder to correspond with the bottom of the dress. The body is made quite plain to draw round the bosom, and fulled in the back to imitate the frock waist, with a light yellow sarsnet or camel hair scarf, richly drapered at the ends with various colours; the scarf is worn so that the dress may be exposed, tastefully tied with a careless knot in front. Lilac gloves and half boots made of kid, a beautiful white down muff, adds much to the elegance and splendour of this much admired Walking Spring Dress.

La Belle Assemblee

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The Masked Ball

Masked Ball

On Twelfth Night we had a delightful evening…about our dress King and Queen, W Morris was King, I was Queen, Papa– Prince Busty Trusty, Mama– Red Riding Hood, Edward– Paddy O’Flaherty, G.– Johnny Bo-peep, H.– Timothy Trip, W.– Moses Abrahams, Eliz.– Mrs O’Flaherty, Ma.– Granny Grump, C– Cupid (by his own desire), Louisa– Princess Busty Trusty, Uncle H.B.– Punch, Aunt H.B.– Poll Mendicant, Jane– Punch’s Wife, Mary– Columbine, Uncle John– Jerry the Milkman, Mrs Morris– Sukey Sweetlips, Sophia– Margery Muttonpie.

Soon After, according to a preconstructed plan, some of us retired upstairs to dress Jane as Punch’s wife, in a witches hat, a green petticoat and a scarlet shawl (the remains of our last year’s masquerade) Mrs M.J. and I in beggars clothes to sing carols at the parlour door, and myself in a long scarlet cloak for a royal robe and a wreath of natural primroses (which we had gathered and made up in the morning for whoever would be queen) around my head.

Fanny Austen to Miss Dorothy Clapman
February, 1812


Masked Ball

A masquerade ball (or bal masqué) is an event which the participants attend in costume wearing a mask. Such gatherings, festivities of Carnival, were paralleled from the 15th century by increasingly elaborate allegorical Entries, pageants and triumphal processions celebrating marriages and other dynastic events of late medieval court life. Masquerade balls were extended into costumed public festivities in Italy during the 16th century Renaissance. They were generally elaborate dances held for members of the upper classes, and were particularly popular in Venice. They have been associated with the tradition of the Venetian Carnival. With the fall of the Venetian Republic at the end of the 18th century, the use and tradition of masks gradually began to decline, until they disappeared altogether.

They became popular throughout mainland Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, sometimes with fatal results. Gustav III of Sweden was assassinated at a masquerade ball by disgruntled nobleman Jacob Johan Anckarström, an event which Eugène Scribe and Daniel Auber turned into the opera Gustave III. John James Heidegger, a Swiss count, is credited with having introduced the Venetian fashion of a semi-public masquerade ball, to which one might subscribe, to London in the early eighteenth century, with the first being held at Haymarket Opera House. Throughout the century the dances became popular, both in England and Colonial America. Its prominence did not go unchallenged; a significant anti-masquerade movement grew alongside the balls themselves. The anti-masquerade writers (among them such notables as Samuel Richardson) held that the events encouraged immorality and “foreign influence”. While they were sometimes able to persuade authorities to their views, enforcement of measures designed to end masquerades was at best desultory.

Masquerade balls were sometimes set as a game among the guests. The masked guests were supposedly dressed so as to be unidentifiable. This would create a type of game to see if a guest could determine each other’s identities. This added a humorous effect to many masques and enabled a more enjoyable version of typical balls. The idea of masks and costumes was particularly popular during Twelfth Night revels.

The picturesque quality of the masquerade ball has made it a favorite topic or setting in literature. Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Masque of the Red Death” is based at a masquerade ball in which a central figure turns out to be exactly what he is costumed as. Another ball in Zürich is featured in the novel Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. “Regency” romance novels, which are typically about Britain’s upper class “ton” during the 1800s, often make use of masquerade balls as settings, due both to their popularity at the time and to their endless supply of plot devices.

The following fashion plates show suggested costumes for various masked events.

Masquerade Dress
Galerie des Modes

This image is from a French fashion journal c. 1778-1787. Note the feathered evening hat. In Isabelle de Charriere’s 1782 Letters from Mistress Henley, Mistress Henley and her husband argue over her wearing such a hat to a ball. Such a hat is also seen in the famous Gainsborough, Hon. Frances Duncombe c. 1777, now used as the cover picture of the Oxford University Press edition of Frances Burney’s Cecilia (1782).


An Egyptian Costume, July 1807
Le Beau Monde

The head-dress is composed of a rich handkerchief of white lace, which crosses the back part of the head; each corner of the handkerchief, a small distance from the shoulder, falls on the front of the neck; the handkerchief is trimmed round with a magnificent border of peals, and each corner is finished with a bunch of the same; the hair is curled on the top of the forehead with small thick curls, separated with a band of diamonds, which crosses the forehead, and continues round the head; two small curls down the side of the face. A rich white figured sarsnet dress made with a short train, and scolloped back; sleeves very short and covered with a broad flap of white lace; the undersleeve is trimmed round with small French pearls; also the lace, which is fastened to the back part of the sarsnet sleeve with a star of pearls; the front is made full each way, and covered with rich lace fastened in the centre with a star to correspond with the sleeves. An Egyptian train of lilac spider net, showered with pearls, and worked in the centre with a large star of the same, cut in the form of a half handkerchief, wider a one end than at the other; one end is cut square, and gathered up full on the left shoulder with a pearl star; a piece of sarsnet, from under the left arm, richly ornamented, crosses the front, and is fastened with the middle corner of the train to the right knee with a bunch of pearls; the other corner, which reaches to the bottom of the dress, is finished with a large pearl tassel; the dress and train are trimmed round with pearls to correspond. White kid gloves and shoes.

Masquerade Dress, 1826
Wiener Modenzeitung

After the biweekly Wiener Modenzeitung began publication in 1816, it became the voice of the Viennese couturiers. Artists like the painter Johann Ender (1793-1854) and Philipp von Stubenrauch (1784-1848), director of the costume workshops of the imperial theaters, illustrated the original designs of the Viennese designers, which were often produced as hand-colored fashion plates. The magazine was renamed the Wiener Zeitschrift fur Kunst, Literartur und Mode when it changed its editorial scope and became a general-interest publication.

Historical information from Fashion plates and descriptions from Cathy Decker’s Regency Fashion Page.

Find your own Masks online at Dressing Up

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18th & 19th Century Whitework Embroidery

“Go, by all means, my dear; only put on a white gown; Miss Tilney always wears white.”
Northanger Abbey

We have come to associate the Regency period with fine white, high-waisted muslin dresses that were beautifully detailed and embroidered. Until quite recently in human history, a lady did not roam far from her sewing basket. She would mend, sew, and embroider whenever she had spare time. (Even the finest lady in the land could be found plying her needles.) During the day she would sit near a well lit window or even outdoors, and during the long evening hours she would sit by the fireside in a room with other family members, sharing the light from expensive candles (sometimes a single one). For entertainment, one of the men would read aloud from a book, or other family members would play musical instruments. Jane Austen was well known for her sewing skills and examples of her needlework are shown in the Jane Austen Museum in Chawton.

“White work is a broad term, one that may be said to encompass any white-on-white needlework, that is, needlework that uses a white yarn or thread on a white ground to create a pattern. Various techniques are employed to make these patterns stand out in high relief against their monochrome background, with the result that many white work pieces have an intensely sculptural quality

All over the country, women carried their needlework with them on visits, and traded patterns among friends.

These techniques include embroidery, drawn work, pulled-fabric work, stump work, stuffed work, cording, quilting, candlewicking, and, later, weaving, both by draw loom and machine. –

From Lap to Loom: The transition of Marseilles white work from hand to machine

Whitework embroidery was frequently used on muslin dresses, fine lawn caps, handerkerchiefs, tablecloths, and bed linens. Patterns were featured in Ladies Periodicals, showing many different motifs, some fancier than others.

“The finest whitework was done on cambric and fine muslin, or netting. This was called French embroidery, or French Hand Sewing. The most delicate threads and techniques were utilized to make gorgeous, lacy handkerchiefs, veils, bonnets, cuffs, collars and baby clothes, as well as gifts to very special friends…

Christening gowns and robes of the time were very heavily embroidered and were most treasured by their owners. Lots of different patterns and stitches were used, with lots of feather stitching all over, leading to flowers made of satin stitch, eyelets, and buttonhole stitches so tiny as to be difficult to see, and almost all with matching bonnets and slips or petticoats. French knots decorated edges.

Wedding gowns, too, were embroidered with these techniques, and some of the grooms’ clothes, too, were embroidered to match!” –
Whitework Embroidery

Related Links

18th Century Embroidery Designs
19th Century Embroidery Techniques
18th Century Embroidery Designs
Whitework techniques and 188 designs

Vic Sanborn oversees two blogs: Jane Austen’s World and Jane Austen Today. Before 2006 she merely adored Jane Austen and read Pride and Prejudice faithfully every year. These days, she is immersed in reading and writing about the author’s life and the Regency era. Co-founder of her local (and very small) book group, Janeites on the James, she began her blogs as a way to share her research on the Regency era for her novel, which sits unpublished on a dusty shelf. In her working life, Vic provides resources and professional development for teachers and administrators of Virginia’s adult education and literacy programs.

This article was written for Jane Austen’s World and is used here with permission.

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Fashions for October 1807 from La Belle Assemblee

La Belle Assemblée (in full, La Belle Assemblée or, Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine Addressed Particularly to the Ladies) was a British women’s magazine published from 1806 to 1837, founded by John Bell (1745–1831). These fashion plates and descriptions hail from the October 1807 edition and highlight not only suggested new fashions but also “General Observations on the Most Prevailing Fashions for the Season.”

English Costume No. 1
A Lady and her Child Attired in the Most Elegant Fashions of the Season

Explanation of the Prints of Fashion

Lady’s Dress.—A round gown with short train, ornamented at the feet in flutings of
muslin or needlework; a long sleeve rucked, with full top; frock back, and lappelled bosom
cut low, and trimmed with scolloped lace. A Chapeau A la bocage, of imperial chip or
sarsnet, ornamented with a wreath of ivy or jonquille; a single sprig of the same in front of
the bosom in lieu of a brooch. A shawl of Chinese silk, thrown negligently over the
shoulders. Hair in a single band across the forehead, relieved by loose curls in front and at
the sides. Hoop earrings of amber or cornelian. Straw-coloured kid gloves and shoes.

Child’s Dress.—A frock and trowsers of fine cambric, bordered at the bottom in rich fancy Vandyke; French back, and bosom cut very low, and ornamented with the same ; Circassian sleeve very short. The Moorish boot, or high pomposa; of bright yellow kid, laced with purple. Sash to correspond, tied in shorthows and ends behind.

Parisian Costume. No. 2.
A Parisian Dancing Figure.

A round frock of Italian crape, over a white satin slip, ornamented at the bottom with a pink
and silver ribband. Long waist, laced up the back with pink or silver chord; a plain bosom
cut very low, trimmed tel que la robe. The melon sleeve, formed of alternate stripes
of pink satin and white crape; a narrow sash of pink ribband, tied loosely behind. Hair
combed straight from the temples, and leaving a few simple curls on the forehead, is formed
in full braids at the back of the head, confined with a coronet comb of pearl, and ornamented
with a bunch of auricula or clove-carnation. A bouquet composed of the rose and myrtle.
Necklace, earrings, and bracelets of fine Chinese pearl. Gloves of French kid, and slippers
of pink satin, tied round the ankles with silver ribband. Plain silk stockings, a French

General Observations on the
Most Prevailing Fashions for the Season

As our metropolis cannot at this period be properly termed the theatre of fashion, we of course direct our attention to those places of public and private resort, where she still reigns triumphant. Genius and talent are confined to no period or clime,—taste and fancy are their offspring, and fashion their conductor and Chaperon.

The celebrated watering place exhibit at the moment an assemblage of beauty and elegance; the balls and theatres, public walks and libraries, were never more crowded; and the splendour, luxury, gaiety, and hospitality displayed at the seats of our nobles, and the villas of our females of fashionable eclat, are emblematic of that national prosperity which, spite of our Continental foe, is still the pride and boast of Albion.

It is to the opportunity of observation afforded us from the above-mentioned sources, that we are enabled to give a delineation more copious and select than at this season of the year it might otherwise be in our power to procure, and which, we are proud to say, will he sought for in vain amidst the pages of any cotemporary work. Our fair readers will be sensible that at this intermediate season no great degree of novelty presents itself; but still amidst our general information, we shall hope to pourtray some variety in individual articles; while we at the same time endeavour to direct the taste in its selection and combination of that attire which produces an attractive and elegant tout ensemble. Attention to the morning and intermediate costume, we strongly enforced in our last; it will therefore only be necessary here to specify such articles as are most worthy of distinction in this and every other style of fashionable decoration. The Carmelite, or Convent cloak, of coloured sarsnet; the Pedlar’s cloak, and Rugen mantle, of Chinese silk, trimmed with Vandyke brocade ribband; the large Angola, or silk shawl, near two yards square, gathered full around the throat, and tied in a full bow on the shoulder, the ends falling irregularly down the left side, and finished with tassel, are considered the most distinguishing in this style of ornament. The hat a la Diana– of black chip, with coloured net embroidered handkerchiefs; the Spanish hat, of black satin-straw, ornamented in front with autumnal flowers; straw, or white chip hats, with Vandyke and scolloped edges’, and small Scotch bonnets, of fancy sarsnets, edged with French binding, and trimmed with a full Angola fringe, are selected by females of the first rank and fashion. The curled ostrich feather placed across the crown of the head is much introduced in full dress, and has a most novel and appropriate effect.

Flowers are much worn, and variously disposed; the barberry, the ranunculus, the clove- carnation, and Labrador rose, we observe to rank highest on the list of fashion. Habit shirts of lace or embroidery, with a deep Vandyke falling frill, and the shirt with lace introduced in the melon form, gathered round the throat with a border of the same, are articles perfectly new and attractive. The style of gowns vary little since our last communication. The morning dress is made high in the neck as usual, and formed in a plain cambric robe, a walking length ; with belts a la Diana, and deep Vandyke ruff, or in jackets and petticoats ornamented with work, lace, or muslin. French coats, or breakfast wraps, continue their station in the morning wardrobe, and this style of costume is considered incomplete and inelegant without a cap; this latter ornament usually consists of the Brunswick mob, French quartered cap, or nun’s hood of lace, lined with coloured sarsnet, and edged with a narrow rich Vandyke, the latter is an article comprising much novelty and elegance. Round gowns of muslin, either short or with trains, edged at the feet with narrow Vandyke, or cut in large crescent scallops, and edged with a fine pearl net, worn with a military sash of white sarsnet, must ever be ranked amidst a chaste and fashionable attire. Robes of coloured muslin or crape, worn over white satin, trimmed with fancy trimming of chenille, beads, or silver, and a cestus to correspond, are considered uncommonly elegant and attractive, painted, or embroidered borders representing natural flowers, on muslin or tiffany robes, it is thought will be much introduced in full dress during the winter, at present we only notice a few in the very first circles of rank and fashion. Grecian drapery, folded in a picturesque style round the figure, is also observable in the ballroom; but at this season of the year to he considered of fashionable distinction, public decoration should be chaste and elegant, rather than showy and splendid.

In the- evening parade, the hat may be ornamented with a flower; but we wish that many of our females would distinguish and regulate with greater nicety, and not allow those ornaments to form any part in the morning decoration. The Provence hat, Cottage bonnet, or small straw hat and veil, are appropriate to the morning walk, and flowers (that animating and consistent decoration of the evening dress)-must ever be considered in the above-mentioned costume a vulgar supernumerary. We have lately seen a dress which, from its simplicity and elegance, attracted universal attention; it consisted of a plain short gown of leno or crape, worn over a white satin slip; at the bottom was laid a broad satin ribband, finished at the extreme edge with a narrow Vandyke lace; a Spenser waist with short sleeve, composed entirely of crape and satin ribband formed in plaits; a winged ruff of scolloped lace ornamented the back and shoulders ; and a small hat of the Spanish form, with a willow feather, frosted with silver, waving over the crown towards the left side where the hat inclined, composed the head-dress. The trinkets were entirely of brilliants set in the most fashionable form; the shoes were white satin, with silver rosets; the fan of white tiffany, with lilies of the valley in silver; and a bouquet consisting of the myrtle, mignionette, and Provence rose, completed this almost celestial attire. Dresses of black, or coloured net, over white satin slips, with rich appliqued borders in coloured chenille or white beads are the distinguishing decoration of many females of rank on public occasions. White and coloured embroidered net handkerchiefs, are still considered extremely fashionable, both as ornaments for the hair and to tie down the gipsy hat. Tuckers of net, formed in the honey-comb edge, or trimmed with Vandyke or scolloped lace, are introduced with those dresses which are cut low in the bosom. Bindings of embroidery continue a favourite ornament for muslin and cambric dresses, and it is now not only introduced round the bottom and bosom but up the seams of dresses, and we have not witnessed an embellishment more neat and appropriate. The short sleeve, if formed of lace or with a Vandyke cuff, must only be of an easy fullness; if of the same material as the dress, they are disposed in the melon or bishop form, but each very short, finished with hair or pearl armlets.

We have seen nothing in the long sleeve more elegant than those described in our last; nor can there be any covering for the arm more becoming and attractive than the Catalani and surplice twisted sleeve, confined at the wrist with elastic bracelets of gold or hair. Some dashing elegantes have lately sported stockings of brown and purple silk, with coloured clocks and open-wove anklet. But we cannot help remarking that this feature of the human form, when rendered conspicuous by the singularity of its decoration, will attract without pleasing; we naturally turn with disgust from that species of art which obscures and disguises the symmetry of nature; we confess ourselves a votary to neatness and elegance combined; and therefore wish not to see the above mentioned fashion become general amongst females who have been celebrated for unobtrusive loveliness, simplicity, and virtue. We have little to remark on the articles of trinkets, they have undergone little alteration since our last Number; the wedding hoop-ring, with a single brilliant, ruby, emerald, or amethyst in the centre ; the Carmelite cross, the jessamine brooch, with bottles formed of Egyptian amulet wood embellished with correspondent characters, are the only ornaments in this line which strike us as worthy of observation.

Gloves and shoes are governed by no particular Standard, but left to the choice of the wearer; the prevailing colours for the season are, rose, green, purple, salmon, and melbourn brown.

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Court Dresses for ‘the Birth-day’ of the King

court dresses

In July, 1807, the ‘Court’ was invited to celebrate King George III’s Birthday– one of the last he would entertain as reigning monarch. The following description of the Court Dresses worn, will dazzle, while offering up some very familiar names, including the Princess of Wales, the Duchess of York and even a Miss Cavendish! Enjoy this treat for the imagination.


Fashions For July, 1807:
Explanation of the Prints of Fashion.

English Costume

No. 1.— Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales in Her Court Dress, As
Worn On The Birth-day.

This dress, for taste and magnificence, stood unrivalled amidst the
splendour and elegance displayed on the Birth-Day of our justly revered
Sovereign; and we consider ourselves fortunate in having it in our power to
procure a representation of it for our fair correspondents.

The body and ground of the drapery was formed of a rich silver and lilac
tissue; with a most superb border, composed of emeralds, topazes, and
amethysts, to represent the vine-leaf and grapes. The train and petticoat of
silver tissue; bordered all round like the drapery ; and each terminated
with a most brilliant silver fringe of a strikingly novel formation. Rich
silver laurel and arrow on the left side, to loop up the train. Head-dress
of diamonds and amethysts, tastefully disposed; with high plume of ostrich
feathers. Neck-dress, the winged ruff, a la Mary Queen of Scots; sleeve
ornaments to correspond. Ameythyst necklace and earrings, with
Maltese cross; diamond armlets and bracelets. White satin shoes, with rich
silver rosettes. French kid gloves, above the elbow. Fan of Imperial crape,
studded with amethysts and topazes.


Parisian Fashions

No. 2.- Taken From a Group Of Conversation Figures at the Frescati, In

Ladies Dress.—A white Italian crape robe, over a white satin slip,
ornamented round the bottom and drapery with a border of shells, painted to
nature. Plain scolloped bosom cut very low, and made to sit close to the
form. Waved sleeves, easily full, formed of alternate stripes of crape and
pink satin. Hair, bound in smooth bands, confined on the forehead, and
ornamented behind with wreaths of wild roses. Earrings and necklace of
pearls. Shoes, pink satin, trimmed with silver. White kid gloves, rucked.

General Observations on the Fashions for the Season

With a complete List qf Ladies in their Court Dresses, as worn on the

As there is little alteration in the general style of personal decoration
since our last communication, and as our elegant and extensive collection of
Court Dresses will occupy much space, and we doubt not, prove highly
acceptable to our readers, we shall simply notice a few particular articles,
which strike us as most novel and graceful, and hasten to give our
delineations of Court splendour.

The most distinguishable style of hat is a complete gipsy, with the lowest
possible crown; 2nd some of our elegant females wear an entire round flat
chip, tied across the crown with a coloured patent-net handkerchief,
embroidered in a border of natural flowers. The small French bonnet, and
cottage poke, are also in general request. The former are composed of
coloured figured sarsnet; the latter of muslin, or leno, lined with coloured
Persian; and each we usually worn with the promenade tippet, of the same

For a morning, the fugitive coat, of cambric, or muslin, with a deep collar,
pointed in front, and finished with the acorn tassel, is considered simple
and elegant. With these last mentioned articles, the gipsy hat, of satin
straw, with the magic or bee-hive crown, is most appropriate and becoming;
but no flowers can be consistently admitted in the morning costume. The
round French robe, the Algerine vest, and the mantle wrap, are each amidst
the last offerings of taste and fashion ; and are formed of undrest crape,
Angola silk, or muslin. Dresses and robes are often seen in plain coloured
muslins, ornamented with Vandyke lace; and with them is worn the Anne Bullen
cap, which is considered the most novel and simple article of the kind that
has been introduced for a length of time. The head-dress continues in the
antique and Grecian style; and the hair is parted on the forehead a-la-Cleopatra, or Madona.

The backs of dresses are a little advanced in fashionable circles, since our
last information ; and the bosom is usually made to sit close to the form.
In full-dress, the sleeve is shorter than ever; but in the morning (and
frequently in the evening dress) the long sleeve is adopted universally.

Walking dresses are now made rather longer than we have witnessed for some time; so that, in walking, they just offer a graceful occupation for the hand. Trains again form a part of the evening costume, except for dancing, when they are invariably made short, and formed in the Arcadian style.

Vandyke and shell-scollop trimmings, in lace or work, ornament almost every article of fashionable attire; and pointed drapery, tastefully disposed, has entirely exploded almost every other. The Flemish spensers, with flowing scarfs, are now become too general to find a place amidst a fashionable selection. The spenser is, however, so convenient and generally becoming an article, that we still continue our recommendation of it to those females who wish to adopt the intermediate style. Scarfs are less seen this summer than we ever remember them; but the Etruscan mantle, and the order of the gipsy and Spanish cloak, are still conspicuous amidst the gay and fashionable throng. Flowers, in full dress, are at this time the prevailing ornaments, both as decorations for the head, and trimmings for robes. Wreaths of the oak leaf, of the hop blossom, wild roses, | honey-suckle, pea-blossom, horse chesnut, rocklily, etc. etc. will be found distinguishable ornaments on the Birth-day.

The following correct list of Court Dresses, will at ouce exhibit the
standard for full dress; as well as the most prevailing colours forlhe
season. We give them en train.

Her Majesty.—A lilac and silver tissue petticoat, trimmed with draperies of point Brussels lace, with point lace of the same description, flowered round the pocket holes; the front of the draperies superbly ornamented with large diamond rosettes, from which were suspended diamond bows and tassels. The under drapery fancifully ornamented with diamonds in diagonal stripes. The mantle to correspond with the drapery.

Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales.—The drapery and body of rich silver and lilac tissue most magnificently embroidered with emeralds, topaz and amethyst stones, to form vine leaves and grapes, entwined with wreaths of diamonds in stars and shells; at the bottom of the drapery a very rich silver fringe of quite a new pattern; the train and petticoat of silver tissue, with a border all round to correspond with that on the drapery; also a rich silver fringe all round the train and petticoat, with rich silver laurel to loop up the drapery and pocket-holes: the head-dress of diamonds and ostrich feathers. (Plate)

Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales.—A pink and sliver slip, with a beautiful Brussels lace frock to wear over it, and a pink and silver girdle.

Her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta.—Yellow crape petticoat richly embroidered with silver; a sash across with a border of honey-suckles, and rich pointed embroidered draperies. Body and train to correspond.

Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth.—A superb dress of apricot and silver tissue. The right side of the dress a magnificent drapery, composed of an Etruscan net of large silver beads, tastefully divided at distances by a thick bullion of beads, chains of beads in dead silver relieved with bright bullion, elegantly ornamented with many wreaths of laurel in silver foil, and bouquets of chesnut blossoms, with the kernel bursting from the shell, formed the tout ensemble of this strikingly novel and elegant dress, which, for taste and effect, surpassed any dress of the kind we have observed. The bottom finished with a wreath of laurel in raised foil and beads. The whole looped up with large silver cords and tassels. Robe of apricot and silver tissue, trimmed with broad Vandyke silver fringe, point lace and diamonds.
Her Royal Highness Princess Mary.—Wore a magnificent dress of brown crape, embroidered with silver and pink roses over a petticoat of royal purple; oval draperies, richly spangled all over, and terminated with marking borders of dead and bright foil in vandykes, with roses beautifully interspersed lightly in the embroidery, the whole completed with elegant cords and tassels. Robe of brown, purple and silver tissue, trimmed with broad vandyke fringe, point lace, and diamonds.

Her Royal Highness the Princess Sophia.—A pea green petticoat, over which an elegant scarf drapery of the same colour, most magnificently embroidered in silver pines and branches; on the right side a wing of scale-embroidery of uncommon richness, and on the left a richly spangled drapery, most tastefully hung round the bottom of the petticoat. The robe of green and silver tissue, most elegantly trimmed with silver, and looped up on the sleeves with silver chains and acorns. Head-dress, an elegant plume of green and white feathers, with a profusion of diamonds.

Her Royal Highness Princess Amelia.—Petticoat of white crape richly spangled, and border a mosaic pattern. Draperies of purple Albany net with silver acorns; pockets formed with rich sprigs of laurel; train of handsomely embroidered purple tissue; on the left, a beautiful formed drapery of shell work, ornamented with Parisian trimming. The whole in appearance truly elegant and becoming to her Royal Highness, and we think it one of the handsomest dresses at Court.

Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York.—A white sarsnet petticoat, richly embroidered with an Etruscan border in silver draperies, a silver tissue drawn up and ornamented with a wreath of silver hoops, which had a very novel and elegant appearance. Train, silver tissue trimmed round with the wreaths of hop leaves; Brussels lace sleeves, with diamond armlets and broaches. Head- dress, diamonds and feathers.

Her Royal Highness Princess Sophia of Gloucester—wore a splendid dress of white and silver, superbly embroidered, and was much admired for taste and effect, the whole finished with a massy border at bottom. Her Royal Highness wore a robe of lilac and silver tissue, with rich embroidered sleeves and fronts.

Princess Castelcicala.—An elegant dress of lavender-coloured crape, fluted in divisions, trimmed with broad black lace, and ornamented with wreaths of fancy flowers, same colour as the dress and bows of ribband; robe of black lace trimmed all round with flowers.

Duchess of Northumberland.—A white crape petticoat, richly spangled in silver, and ornamented with silver grapes; train to correspond.

The Duchess of Rutland was elegantly dressed in a beautiful petticoat and train of straw coloured crape, with rich silver vine-leaves, and ropes of silver arrows.

Duchess of Dorset.—A rich embroidered silver crape, ornamented with lilac crape and silver tassels; train lilac crape.

Duchess of Leeds.—A brown dress, very richly embroidered with gold.

Duchess of Montrose.—A yellow crape petticoat, with a rich painted Grecian border; train yellow crape.

Duchess of Athol.—A white satin petticoat, with a lace drapery of Reine Marguerite flowers, appliqued on white satin; lace train.

Duchess of Buccleugh.—A very rich dress of brown and silver, superbly embroidered; brown train, elegantly ornamented with silver; head-dress brown and silver, with a profusion of diamonds.

Marchioness Dowager of Bath.—A petticoat of violet crape, embroidered in rich silver draperies, with a silver foil border, pocket holes richly trimmed, silver cords and tassels; body and train to correspond.

Countess of Cardigan.—A most beautiful rainbow green crape petticoat, with rich silver foil border; the drapery superbly spangled with rich embroidered border, ornamented with silver mellon beads, and silver cords and tassels; the body and train to correspond.

Countess of Malmsbury – (and the two Ladies Harris, her daughters) each simple elegant dresses of pale green crape, decorated with flowers; head-dress to correspond.

Countess of Uxbridge— A sky-blue crape petticoat, richly grounded with Imperial silver rings, a silver Vandyke border, with stripes of silver lama, representing wreaths of oak and lilac, tastefully worked on the petticoat; blue crape body and train.

Countess of Grosvenor.— A white crape petticoat grounded with silver Imperial rings, with draperies richly bordered with silver embroidered wheat ears and silver lama; the petticoat embroidered in waves, with an elegant foil border, Vandyke pocket-holes, with silver cords and tassels; body and train to correspond.

Countess of St. Vincent.— A white crape petticoat, grounded in silver spangles, and richly embroidered border, pocket-holes trimmed with silver, and silver cords and tassels; train to correspond.

Countess of Galloway.— A white crape petticoat, with rich silver foil border, the drapery richly embroidered with Trafalgar net border; body, sleeves, and train, richly ornamented with silver embroidered shell-work.

Countess of Oxford.— A white satin petticoat, with lace draperies, trimmed with pink French beads and wreaths of apple blossom; train to correspond; head- dress, feathers and diamonds.

Countess St. Martin De Front.— A dress of pale blue crape in draperies, ornamented with borders of net work, in beads and bands of the same, with handsome beads and tassels; robe pale blue sarsnet, trimmed with vandykes and beads, point lace, &c.

Countess of Kingston.— A white crape petticoat, most tastefully embroidered with silver wheat-ears; also embroidered drapery, drawn up with a very rich silver cord and tassels; the body and train of white satin, richly embroidered with silver, and trimmed with point lace.

Countess of Mendip.— A white crape petticoat, with a rich Vandyke silver foil border, edged with the real silver Lama; under this border was a silver chain, linked with the Prince’s plume; on the right side a Grecian drapery with a double Vandyke border, with sprigs of lilies of the valley; this drapery was looped up with a rich silver cord and tassels; the left drapery beautifully embroidered with silver roses, with the same border, and edged with a Trafalgar fringe; pocket-holes fancifully trimmed with wreaths of silver roses; train of silver tissue, trimmed to correspond.

Countess of Chesterfield.— A very rich dress of blue crape, embroidered with wreaths of rose leaves in the real silver; Oriental lame crescents, ornamented with large silver cords and tassels; train of blue crape, trimmed with silver; head-dress a plume of blue ostrich feathers and diamonds.

Countess of Dartmouth.—A white satin petticoat, with Mazarine crape draperies, tastefully embroidered in silver, fastened with silver cord and tassels; head-dress feathers and diamonds.

Viscountess Castlereagh.—A magnificent dress of apple-green crape, richly embroidered in silver, the whole spangled with silver, and trimmed with large silver zephyr and Vandyke fringe, the draperies tied up with rich tassels and cord; train to correspond; the body and sleeves fully trimmed with point; head-dress, a profusion of diamonds, and nine ostrich feathers.

Viscountess Allen.—A dress of green spider gauze, ornamented with wreaths of oak-leaves; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

Lady Young.—A dress of white crape, richly embroidered with gold, gold cords and tassels; robe of white crape, ornamented with gold; the head-dress was of white feathers and diamonds.

Lady C. Harbold.—A Brussels dress, lined with topaz colour.

Lady Arden.—A white crape petticoat and drapery, very beautifully embroidered with silver, and interlined with pea-green sarsnet; body and train of pea green sarsnet, ornamented with silver and point lace.

Lady Moseley.—A splendid dress of white and silver, superbly ornamented and embroidered; the form of the draperies were in the Grecian style, loped up with a rich cord and tassels, train to correspond, richly ornamented with diamonds; head-dress, beautiful plumes of ostrich feathers, magnificent diamonds, and point lace.

Dowager Lady Bagot.—A superb dress of lilac, richly embroidered in silver.

Right Hon. Lady Mary Lennox.—A petticoat of lavender blue silk, ornamented with superb lace draperies; the train to correspond; head-dress diamonds and feathers.

Right Hon. Lady Elizabeth Spencer.—A most beautiful lavender silk train and petticoat, richly ornamented with draperies of superb point lace, looped up with beads and bead tassels; the bottom of the petticoat trimmed with point lace to correspond; head-dress of ostrich feathers and beads.

Lady M. Walpole.—A very beautiful dress; the petticoat elegantly embroidered with silver sprigs, and tastefully ornamented with rock lily; the drapery looped up with flowers; the body and train of white sarsnet, ornamented with silver and point lace.

Lady Lavington.—White dress, very richly embroidered with silver, in beautiful flowers; lilac train, elegantly embroidered, and ornamented with silver.

Lady Eleanor Butler.—Dress of pale pink crape, richly trimmed and wreaths and bunches of full blown roses and buds; head-dress, a profusion of diamonds and ostrich feathers.

Lady Perth.—A white and gold trimming, and rich gold tissue train.

Lady Crofton.—A purple gauze petticoat, ornamented with lilac flowers and cord; train to correspond.

Lady Hume.—A rich gold embroidered petticoat, on lavender blue sarsnet, train of the same.

Lady Banks.—An elegant blue and silver applique petticoat; train blue sarsnet.

Lady C. Duncombe.—A white and gold petticoat with draperies of purple crape; train to match.

Four Ladies Percy.—White satin petticoats, with blue crape draperies, and a rich applique border of blue and silver; the draperies tastefully drawn up with chains of massy silver; train blue crape; head-dress, a plume of blue and white feathers.

Lady E. Murray.—A pink crape petticoat, with rich net applique drapery; pink crape train.

Lady C. Wynn Belasyse.—A blue crape petticoat, elegantly ornamented with white fancy flowers; train blue crape.

Lady Bagot.—A most superb and elegant white dress, richly embroidered with silver in wreaths of oak, with a profusion of diamonds and feathers.

Lady Fluyder.—A white crape petticoat and draperies, with oak border in silver; train, lilac tissue; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

Lady Imhoff.—A silver gauze petticoat, richly trimmed; lilac train; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

Lady Metcalfe.—A pearl coloured sarsnet petticoat, painted with yellow roses, and apple blossoms, the draperies tied up with liburnum, and finished in a most tasteful manner, with steel beads and tassels; robe, head-dress, and feathers to correspond, with diamond bandeau and sprig, and feathers fastened with diamonds.

Lady Radstock.—A petticoat of lace, over a lavender silk; the train of the same colour, forming a drapery richly ornamented with beads.

Lady Bruce.—A petticoat of white crape, richly beaded, with a mantle or train of lilac sarsnet, trimmed with very rich point, suspended from the shoulders, falling in folds from the back, and fastened at the side in a festoon, with beads; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

Lady Chambers.—A rich dress of white crape, embossed with gold and edged with rich borders, looped up with bunches of purple flowers.

Lady Sophia Lumley.—A dress of white crape, embroidered with silver, with bunches of pink frosted flowers.

Lady Rowley.—A white spider gauze dress, richly trimmed with silver, in rich Vandyke beads.

The Ladies Greville.—White and silver dresses, trimmed with pink flowers.

&n bsp; Hon. Lady J. Cavendish.—Petticoat of white crape, ornamented with fine lace drapery, fastened up with branches of white lilac, terminating on the left side with a Circassian sash, trimmed to correspond; train of white crape; head-dress feathers and pearls.

Lady Georgiana Morpeth.—Petticoat of white crape, tastefully ornamented with wreaths of ivy; draperies trimmed with blond; body and train to correspond; head- dress, feathers and ivy.

Dowager Lady Essex.—A gold and white taffety petticoat and train, with crape draperies, ornamented with gold fringe and green wreaths.

Lady Courtenay.—A rich white crape dress, beautifully ornamented with a shower of gold and wreaths of roses.

Lady Louisa Adderly.—A very rich dress of amber crape, with borders of embossed silver, à-la-Grec pattern. Head-dress, a bandeau of diamonds, and a single ostrich feather of straw colour.

Lady Birch.—A white sarsnet robe or petticoat, richly embroidered in silver. Head-dress to correspond.

Lady Mary Parker.—A dove-coloured petticoat uncommonly richly embroidered with silver in elegant chains across; the border serpentine pattern, a fall of embroidered points on the side; robe and head-dress to correspond.

Lady A. Clavering.—A white petticoat, trimmed round the bottom with china pearls, and yellow; the drapery of yellow crape, with very rich border, embroidered in china pearls, antique Mosaic pattern, with scarf of yellow sarsnet, profusely ornamented with pearl; the robe of yellow elegantly trimmed with pearls, and beautiful Brussels lace. The head ornamented with yellow and white feathers and diamonds.

Lady Francis Pratt.—A primrose sarsnet petticoat, covered with rich Brussels lace draperies, the bottom of the petticoat elegantly ornamented.

Lady Molyneux.—Body and train of lilac crape, ornamented with blond lace and bugles; white crape petticoat, with a rich embroidered border of bugles, and satin drapery of the same, drawn up with tassels, &c. &c.

Lady De Dunstanville.—United elegance and simplicity in her dress, which consisted of a white crape petticoat, ornamented with a beautiful border, composed of rich point lace, inter-mixed with blue crape, which produced an effect at once pleasing and elegant; head-dress, diamonds and feathers.

Lady Beauchamp.—A white crape petticoat elegantly ornamented with rich bandeaus of beads, and a chain of rich figured satin; her Ladyship’s head dress consisted of white feathers and diamonds most tastefully arranged.

Lady Wills.—We have seldom witnessed any thing more splendid that her Ladyship’s dress: she wore a petticoat of white Imperial net bordered with silver, the draperies were of lilac crape, ornamented with a most superb silver Vandyke, and fastened with large silver tassels, train of Imperial net, Vandyke border of silver to correspond with the train; head-dress, a profusion of beautiful diamonds.

Lady Gardner.—A petticoat of brown crape richly embroidered with gold, and festooned with large gold cord and tassels; draperies also of brown crape beautifully spangled with gold; her Ladyship’s petticoat looked very elegant.

Lady Rendlesham.—A petticoat of green crape richly spangled, and drapery to correspond, fastened with gold cords and tassels; her ladyship looked extremely well.

Lady Milnes.—Elegant white crape petticoat, ornamented with rich blond lace, and satin train of lilac sarsnet, ornamented with silver.

The Hon. Mrs. Drummond—White crape petticoat, tastefully embroidered with silver leaves; at the bottom of the petticoat a beautiful wreath border, embroidered with silver; the drapery of primrose crape, ornamented with silver and pointed lace.

The Hon. Mrs. Cornwall.—Petticoat of primrose crape, most beautifully and richly embroidered with silver draperies of the same in a mosaic pattern; ornamented with silver Parisian trimming, and confined tastefully with cord and tassels.

The Hon. Mrs. George Herbert.—A magnificent silver robe and coat, entirely covered with a shower of spangles, the draperies tied up with very large zephyr and cords, and finished with a superb silver fringe. Head-dress a beautiful pearl wreath, and seven ostrich feathers.

Hon. Mrs. Percy, presented on her marriage, was most appropriately dressed in an elegantly simple white crape dress, trimmed with daisies and liburnums.

Mrs. C. Long.—A yellow crape petticoat and drapery, with Mosaic border, superbly embroidered in silver; train yellow crape, with silver.

Mrs. Vernon Graham.—A superb petticoat of pale yellow crape, elegantly embroidered with a deep silver border, draperies of ditto richly grounded with spangles, and borders to correspond, finished with large silver rope and tassels; body and train of pale yellow, richly embroidered with silver, and finished in summer-point. Head-dress, yellow feathers and diamonds.

Mrs. Fisher.—A white and silver dress, with a lilac robe.

Mrs. Huskisson.—A yellow crape petticoat, with a painted Etruscan border; train to correspond.

The Hon. Miss Roche.—Lilac and silver.

Mrs. Gambier.—Blue crape petticoat, with elegant draperies of crape and beads, ornamented with cords and tassels of beads; blue crape train, beautifully trimmed to correspond.

Mrs. Champnets.—White crape body and train, trimmed with lace; petticoat of the same, drapery fastened up with large bunches of wall-flowers.

Mrs. A. Stanhope.—A dress of blue crape, richly embroidered in silver; head- dress, plume of feathers and diamonds.

Mrs. Cruchly.—A splendid dress of white, richly embroidered in silver, the draperies edged with wreaths of matted silver shells, looped up with chains of matted silver; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

Mrs. Lawrell.—A dress of green satin and gauze, richly trimmed with chains and fringe of green bugles, ornamented with bunches of flowers.

Mrs. O’Brien.—A very handsome dress of white satin and crape, richly embroidered with silver spangles, the drapery fastened up with silver rope and arrows; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

Hon. Miss S. Coleman.—Rich white satin petticoat, with bunches of fine ostrich feathers fringe round the bottom, white crape mantle, draperies edged with the same fringe, and fastened up with ropes and tassels of gold beads; train ornamented the same.

The Hon. Miss Townshend.—Yellow and silver dress, the draperies formed in antique borders, and ornamented with silver tassels; yellow crape train, embroidered with silver.
The Hon. Miss Wilmot appeared in a very elegant dress of white crape and satin.
The Hon. Miss M. Elphinstone.—A petticoat of white crape, trimmed round the bottom with Turkish gold, and draperies of Turkish crape, richly ornamented with gold cord and tassels; train of yellow crape.

The Hon. Miss Crofton and Miss A. Crofton.—White sarsnet petticoats, with rich lace draperies ornamented with beads and white roses; trains white crape trimmed with roses.

The Hon. Miss Brudenell.-Yellow crape petticoat and draperies, trimmed with broad fringe and tassels; yellow crape train.

The Hon. Miss Monson.—A blue sarsnet petticoat, with lace draperies; train to correspond; head-dress, feathers and silver ornaments.

The Hon. Miss Shore.—A dress of white crape, edged with sprigs of embossed silver, and ornamented with bunches of flowers.

The Hon. Miss Bassett.—A dress of pale green crape and silver, draperies edged with borders of embossed silver, in Vandyke; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

The Hon. Miss Allen.—A handsome dress of pink spider gauze, ornamented with wreaths of frosted flowers.

The Hon. Misses Cust.—Lace dresses, lined with blue.

Three Hon. Misses Irby.—Dresses of prim-rose crape, embroidered with steel bugles, and ornamented with beads and bows of ribbon; robes of primrose crape, trimmed to correspond with the dress.

Hon. Miss Drummond.—A superb rich silver gauze petticoat, ornamented with wreaths of grapes and rich lace; train lavender blue crape.

Miss Garth—Yellow crape dress, tastefully ornamented with silver.

Mrs. Every.—A white crape petticoat, richly embroidered with wreaths of silver grapes and vine-leaves; an elegant drapery covered with bunches of grapes, in dead and bright foil, the effect of which was beautiful and novel; round the bottom a wreath of silver grapes; this drapery terminated with a sash embroidered to correspond, and fastened with superb cord and tassels; train elegantly trimmed with silver and pearls. The head-dress, plume of ostrich feathers, magnificent pearls, and lace point.

Mrs. Macleod.—A dress of white crape, trimmed with satin ribbon.


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Fashions from December and January


What might Jane Austen have been reading to while away a dull moment? We know she enjoyed novel reading. Regency ladies also had magazines specially written for them.

The Lady’s Monthly Museum (LMM), first published in 1798, was written and edited by a ‘Society of Ladies.’ A ‘Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction,’ it aimed to ‘please the Fancy, interest the Mind, or exalt the Character of the British Fair.’

The magazine contained moral essays and biographical pieces on famous women such as the actress Dorothy Jordan; it even had an agony aunt. And, of course, the LMM contained fashion plates with the latest modes. You can find out more about the LMM and its fair rivals in Sue Wilkes’s feature article for Jane Austen’s Regency World
The following fashion plates, from a monthly feature entitled “The Cabinet of Fashion”show different styles of winter wear favored by society ladies. The Cabinet of Fashion also noted “General Observations on the Fashions”, describing new styles seen on display at different venues and gatherings.

Cabinet of Fashion:
December 1805
From The Lady’s Monthly Museum

Walking Dress

A Straw Gipsey Hat, trimmed with French Gray. Morning Dress, Spotted Muslin. Habit Shirt of the same. Cloak of Black Velvet, trimmed with Deep Lace. Swandown Muff and Buff Gloves. Buff Boots.

Full Dress

Evening Dress of White Satin, Silver Tassels. Crimson Shawl, tied close round the Neck. Deep White Lace Veil. White Muff and Gloves.

Cabinet of Fashion: January 1808
From The Lady’s Monthly Museum

Walking Dress
A Scarlet Kerseymere Cloak. A Bonnet of the same, trimmed round with White Swansdown. Dress of White Cambric, richly worked round the Bottom. Buff Gloves.

Full Dress
White Sarsnet Dress, ornamented with embroidery. A clear Leno Apron, trimmed with a plain Gold Cord. Hair fashionably dressed, with a Wreath. White Kid Gloves and Shoes.

General Observations on the Fashions for January
The Hair continues to be worn with little Variation from the Style of the preceding Month; it is drawn in a plain Band across the Forehead, and fastened on one side with a single Gold Comb, from which the Ends descend in light and tasteful Ringlets; the only Ornaments worn on the Head are embroidered Handkerchiefs, of coloured Net, which are most elegant in Gold; these are arranged according to the Fancy of the Wearer, and particular Contour of Feature–The prevailing Colours are Amber, Orange, Pink, and Crimson.

The Robe, in full Dress, is chiefly composed of Muslin, with White Satin trimming. In walking Dresses, coloured Muslin, with embroidered Borders, are most fashionable; the Sleeves are made very full on the Shoulder, and high across the Boson, with a Chemisette vandyked round the Throat. The Ornaments most prevalent are, Cornelian, Agate, or Egyptian Pebble, Beads, with Broaches to correspond: earrings of small coloured Beads, twisted in a large Ring, are very beautiful. Shoes of Black Velvet, with coloured Binding, are the newest Mode, which are chiefly made to tie high on the Instep.Pelisses, or Mantles of Scarlet Cloth, trimmed with broad Fur, and Turban Caps of the same Materials, have a rich and seasonable Appearance; they are made with pointed Capes descending from the Collar. Evening Mantles, instead of Fur, have a rich Border of Black Velvet, embroidered in Devices.


Sue Wilkes is the author of Regency Cheshire (Robert Hale, 2009). Her new book, The Children History Forgot, which looks at the lives of Georgian and Victorian child workers, will be published in 2011 by Robert Hale’.

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Dressing Elizabeth Bennet|Regency Undergarments


A New Exhibit at the Jane Austen Centre

Lizzie stands 75 cm. tall and wears a promenade dress circa 1813. She is shown in her chemise, donning stockings.

Here, we see her in her stays (corset) and drawers. Stays were always worn over a chemise and, during this period, were designed to push the bosom up and slim down the hips. Drawers were a new addition to the female wardrobe in the early 19th century. These are made of silk stockingette.


Next comes the petticoat, constructed with an 'apron front' and side ties which pass around the body
Lizzie On top of all this she wears a fine white lawn dress, also made with an "apron front". Lastly she puts on her shoes, hat and shawl and takes up her parasol, ridicule* (bag) and gloves. She is ready for her promenade


All these garments are based on research of fashion plates and garments C.1813 in museum collections. This amount of underclothing would have been typical for a young Englishwoman like Elizabeth Bennet. Although the dresses themselves were diaphanous, the undergarments were decorous and only the most daring style leaders (mainly in Paris) took the fashion to extremes and wore the ‘semi-naked’ look so beloved by cartoonists of the time.

“Elizabeth Bennet” (Doll and costume) was researched, designed and hand-made by Susie Ralph. Susie does do commissions – ask at Centre’s shop or email us:

*Often mistakenly called a reticule. While `reticule’ was the proper name for a lady’s purse in later times, duing the Regency it is consistently referred to as a riducule.

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