1810 ca. Spencer, Or Short Jacket, Of Printed Cotton, Europe. White base with rose and zigzag motifs in pink, red, yellow and green. via Mode Muze, Netherlands ~ modemuze.nl. Spencers were needed to cover the flimsy dresses made of lightweight fabrics of the Regency years, to provide warmth and some protection from windy conditions when the transparency of gowns might cause modesty issues. Jane Austen and her contemporaries often walked to places and so would have needed the warmth of a Spencer over her dress in the cold British winters.
Definition Spencer: Short body-hugging jacket worn for warmth and modesty. Said to have originated in an accident to Lord Spencer while hunting when his coat tails were torn off and he wore it as a short jacket.
19th Century Early Chemise or Shift, American. Linen and embroidery. Chemise: Worn next to the skin under stays or corset. via Metropolitan Museum New York City, U.S.A. metmuseum.org
Chemise Or Shift: Sleeveless, mid-calf length garment of white cotton or muslin was worn next to the skin under stays or corset. Called ‘Shift’ from early Georgian (1700-1750) until Late Georgian (1750-1790) to replace ‘Smock’. By 1800, name replaced by ‘Chemise’.
Subscribers to Almack’s were allowed to bring a guest to a Ball, if they were approved first. They called at the Rooms in person and were either granted a Strangers Ticket of admission or were banned. Rooms were open for supper, gaming dancing lasting the night. At eleven o’clock, doors were closed and no one, not even celebrities were admitted. Once a young lady making her debut during the London Season had been granted a ticket to Almack’s, her social standing was assured. The Patronesses introduced the debutante to people of importance and selected her dance partners.
1819 Lady in Red Redingote In The Gardens of the Tuileries, Paris, France. via Modes of Paris. Woman in a red Redingote and a plumed bonnet. Illustrations by François Courboin from Octave Uzanne’s Les Modes de Paris. Variations du goût et de l’esthétique de la femme, 1797-1897, L. Henry May, Paris, 1898, or from the English translation of the same work: Fashion in Paris : the various phases of feminine taste and aesthetics from 1797 to 1897, William Heinemann, London, 1898.
1810 ca. Cotton Dress Ensemble With Train, French. Cut out in back, lace shawl with sequins can be added to cover shoulders, small low cut bodice, all over embroidery and very short decorative sleeves. Front, Back and Side Views. via Metropolitan Museum New York City, U.S.A. metmuseum.org. I can picture Jane Austen and her female friends and family wearing this sort of dress to a dinner party or musical evening.
1805-1810 ca. Dress With Train as worn in the time of Jane Austen, or the early 1800s. Ivory silk, plain weave with multicolored silk embroidery in padded satin, buttonhole, and whipped running stitches and French knots running down the dress in stripes, and around the sleeves, square neckline, and train. Philamuseum.org
What did Jane Austen and friends wear? This book looks at early 1800s fashions, which were elegant and pretty with high waists and fabrics that were almost transparent. These Empire style gowns, named after Napoleon’s first Empress, became popular throughout Europe, and were then copied around the world. Colorful outwear was added to make an ensemble more attractive and warmer.
1817 December Black Walking Mourning Dress, English. Black bombazine dress with a black crepe hem, with tight bodice wrapping across to the right side, trimmed with a piping of black crape that looks like braiding and finished by rosettes of crape, in the center of each of which is a small jet ornament. Long sleeves trimmed similarly at the wrists, half-sleeve of a new form trimmed with crape, high standing collar displaying a mourning ruff. Claremont bonnet, named because it is the same shape as one worn by the Princess, whose home with her husband, Prince Leopold, was called Claremont. Black crape over black sarsnet and lined with double white crape. Low crown but large front and tastefully finished by black crape with a bunch of crape flowers on one side. Black shamois gloves, and black shoes. “We have again to acknowledge our obligations to the lady who favored us last month; and we understand that the dresses from which our prints this month have been taken were also purchased from Mrs. Bell of St. James’s-street.” Fashion Plate via Rudolph Ackermann’s ‘The Repository of Arts’.
Mrs. Bell ‘invented’ fashion plates and as well as publishing in La Belle assemblee, she also sold them to other magazines. Hence the crossover we often see where the same plate, or a similar version, appears in different magazines.
1809 Messrs. Harding Howell and Co., London, UK. View of interior of Harding Howell and Co., draper’s shop on Pall Mall. Ladies examine latest fashions and fabrics which they could then request of their dressmakers. This house extended 150 feet from front to back and was divided by glass petitions into four departments, furs and fans, haberdashery, jewellery, ornaments and perfumes, and millinery. bl.uk