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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.

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