What did Jane Austen and friends wear? Early 1800s fashions 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. History Notes Book 26 Fashion Women 1805-1809. https://books2read.com/SuziLoveFashionWomen1805-1809
The Empire waist gown defined women’s fashion during the Regency Era. ‘Empire’ is the name given in France to the period when Napoleon built his French Empire. High-waisted, loose gowns were adopted by the aristocracy as a symbol of turning away from the fussy, elaborate and expensive clothing worn in the 1700s. Jean-Jaques Rousseau advocated copying peasants and returning to a simpler life and more natural fashions. Unrestricting clothing was part of the new Democracy in France and these simpler and flowing fashions were adopted all over Europe, including Britain and despite the continual wars being fought against France during the early 1800s. Not even war stopped fashions from being copied everywhere.
1815 Evening Full Dress or Annual Fete Dress, English. White dress with purple bodice and hem with matching shawl and plumed headdress. Skirt of white crape over white satin, a double row of novel and elegant trimmings on the bottom, two falls of the crape, set on full, are edged with silk. Body comes high on each side of the bosom and is shaped so as to display the neck and shoulders, and both body and sleeves are formed and trimmed in the most exquisitely tasteful manner. A superb cord and tassels confines the waist and ties in front. The Baronial Helmet is striking and made of white sarsnet or satin and white lace and superbly ornamented with feathers. Jewelry set, or Grand Parure, of necklace, bracelets. ear-rings, and small French locket of pearl. White kid slippers and gloves. Full Dress for evening would most likely be a dress of silk or satin, perhaps with a transparent overlay of netting, tulle etc., embellished with taffeta, ruffles and ribbons, and with a full range of accessories including a Grand Parure of tiara and other matching jewelry. https://books2read.com/SuziLoveFashionWomen1815-1819
La Belle Assemblee: Fashion Plate via John Belle’s La Belle Assemblée or, Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine, London. Many of the fashion plates seen in La Belle Assemblée and The Repository of Arts were designed by Mrs. Bell who had her dressmaking showroom in Bedford Square, London, and was related to John Bell who published La Belle Assemblée. It seems that she designed for at least two fashion magazines and so there is a cross-over of designs in different magazines.
Grand Parure: A Parure is a matched set of jewelry, including a necklace, bracelet, earrings, pin etc. and a Grand Parure often includes a tiara or other headdress.
1805 November Three English Ladies In Full Dress. White walking dress with high neck under a purple tunic and masculine style straw hat. Two in evening dresses, one white and one pink, fur stoles and plumed, or feathered, hats. via Vernon and Hood Poultry at The Lady’s Monthly Museum, London, U.K. These gorgeous dresses show the transition from the round dresses of the late 1700s to the Empire style dresses with the waistline high under the bust. Small trains were still worn in the early 1800s, but much more manageable than the larger and more elaborate trains of the late 1700s. Jane Austen and her friends would have worn dresses like this to their assemblies and evening events.
Definition Accessory: An accessory completes and complements an outfit. Two groups – 1. Those worn e.g. bonnets, caps and hats, boots and shoes, cravats and ties, gloves, mittens and muffs, jewelry, scarves and shawls, socks and stockings. 2. Those carried e.g. bags, fans, and parasols.
Definition Full Dress: The most formal and complete ensemble, worn for day or night events, and includes the fullest range of accessories that could be added to the outfit to make the most impressive display.
1811 May Walking Dress and Evening Dress, English. White muslin dress under green Pelisse, matching hat and reticule or bag, yellow gloves and green boots. Pink crepe dress with small train open at front over white satin underskirt with silver cord, yellow gloves, earrings and necklace of white pearls. Fashion Plate via The Lady’s Monthly Museum, London, UK. Definition Walking Dress: Worn out shopping, walking in a city park or the country estate. Presentable and warm, more fashionable than Morning Dress but not overly accessorized. Definition Evening Dress: Minute distinctions between ball, dinner, evening and opera gowns meant different quality of fabrics and designs. These are fashionable ensembles as would have been worn by Jane Austen and her family and friends during the day or for an evening event. .
1805 Evening Full Dress, French. High-waisted lemon dress with train and very small bodice, short sleeves, trimmed with white, floral headpiece, long white gloves, evening slippers, fan and earrings. Fashion Plate via Journal des Dames et des Modes, or Costume Parisien. This is the types of evening dress worn by Jane Austen and contemporaries in England as French fashion plates were obsessively copied despite the two countries being at war for many years. English fashion magazines frequently published plates copied from French fashion magazines.
1809 June Evening Full Dress, English. Lemon dress with white underskirt, short sleeves, braid decorated bodice, zig-zag hem, long white gloves, plumed headdress, full Parure of necklace, bracelet and earrings, evening slippers and a fan. Fashion Plate via John Belle’s La Belle Assemblée or, Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine, London.
Definition Full Evening Dress – Ball, dinner, evening and opera gowns but with every possible accessory added to make the most impressive display possible, such as adding a Grand Parure, or full jewelry set and including headpieces as with the feathered headdress above.
1816 May Full Evening Dress, English. The type of evening dress Jane austen and her contemporaries would have worn to formal evening event, such as a ball. A white satin slip, over which is a white lace dress, ornamented with three quillings of white lace on the skirt, intermixed with bows of white satin ribbon. The body and sleeve, both of which are richly ornamented with colored stones, are formed, as our readers will see by the print, in a very novel style. Head-dress, a cap composed of white satin, finished with a band edged with pearls, and a superb plume of white feathers. Necklace, ear-rings, and bracelets,’ colored stones intermixed with pearls. White satin slippers, and white kid gloves. We are indebted to the elegant invention Of Mrs. Gill, of Cork-street, Burlington-Gardens, for our dress this month. Fashion Plate via Rudolph Ackermann’s ‘The Repository of Arts’.
Definition Full Dress: Most formal of outfits, day or night, with all possible accessories added.
1811 January Evening Full Dress, English. Round dress of white satin, small train with pink velvet, vandyke edges, dotted with black chenille, turban cap of white satin with pearls, necklace, earrings, bracelets of gold and pearls, white kid shoes and gloves, fan of white crape and gold. Fashion Plate via John Belle’s La Belle Assemblée or, Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine, London.
Definition Van Dyke Points: V-shaped lace and trims named after a 17th Century Flemish painter, Sir Anthony Van Dyck, known for painting V-shaped lace collars and scalloped edges on sitters.
Definition Velvet or Velour: Silk with short, dense and smooth pile produced by pile warp raised in loops above ground weave through introduction of rods during the weaving.
Here is an example of when English magazines copied French fashion plates. 1815 December Left: French fashion plate Ensembles French and English via Journal des Dames et des Modes. White short length ball dress with tiny bodice. Right: English fashion plate by Rudolph Ackermann in the Repository Of arts. Blue sarsnet Pelisse, or Walking dress, or Redingote. Decorated with white lace trim on neck, vertical front, and hem. Carrying red shawl and with high plumed bonnet.
Typical of the outfits worn by Jane Austen and her contemporaries for daytime and evening activities. An Empire style, or high-waisted white dress with jewelry for evening and for daytime a Pelisses or Walking Dress or Redingote or coat for warmth and with pretty hats, shawls and shoes.