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 January Walking Dress in the English style worn by Jane Austen and her female relations and friends. Pelisse of scarlet Merino cloth, buttoned down front and up arm with small gold buttons, collar and cuffs of purple velvet, empire tippet pointed in back, Scarlet bonnet turned up with velvet, veil through front, scarlet cloth boots trimmed with velvet. Fashion Plate via John Belle’s La Belle Assemblée or, Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine, London.Jane Austen and her contemporaries wore long coats like these to keep warm when out and about, visiting, shopping etc. The thin muslin dresses worn in the early 1800s were little protection against European winters.
Definition Merino Wool: Finest quality wool, originating in Spain. During Napoleonic wars, Merino sheep exported to Britain and other parts of Europe. Napoleon supported Merino growth in France. In 1808, after French invaded Spain, King George purchased additional 2000 Merinos for royal flock but Britain too wet for thriving industry. Other countries i.e. Australia, began producing fine quality Merino.
Definition Velvet: Historically made with silk pile on silk backing, or cheaper backing e.g. linen. Velvets were also made from cotton or wool. Today, silk velvet is usually rayon pile on silk backing so you only see the rayon and not the silk.
1810 White Promenade Half Dress, English. Draped yellow shawl and yellow parasol and a fitted hat with a long lace veil. A muslin dress with long sleeves and low neck, a French scarf of yellow silk, yellow silk bonnet with lace veil, yellow Parasol with a white fringe, gloves and shoes of yellow kid. Fashion plate via John Belle’s ‘La Belle Assemblee’, England. Typical of the outdoor outfit worn by Jane Austen and her contemporaries. An Empire style, or high-waisted white dress worn with a gorgeous yellow scarf and matching yellow fringed parasol.
Dress – Half Dress: Between undress and full dress, half dress is a respectable outfit but without an excess of formal accessories. Can be worn either during the day or evening.
What Did A Young Lady Do In Jane Austen’s Times, Or the Early 1800s, Or Regency Era? An early 1800’s glimpse into both the frivolous and more serious occupations filling a young lady’s day in the lifetime of Jane Austen, or the Regency Era. Historic images and historical information show her fashions and frolics. Young Lady’s Day Regency Life Series Book 4 by Suzi Love. https://books2read.com/suziloveYLD
1809 September. Garden Promenade Dresses. Empire style gowns, shawls, hats, and parasols for walking in the park, to see and be seen, in London or at fashionable resorts. More elegant than walking dresses, which are usually morning dresses with outerwear and more elaborate headdresses. These are the sort of ensembles that Jane Austen and her family and friends would have gone walking in. Foreground lady has a silk shawl mantelet trimmed with an amber silk fringe and fastened on the bosom with a pebble brooch, amber hoop earrings, white Morocco leather shoes, York tan gloves and a blue parasol with a fringe. Straw hat with flowers. Background lady wears a Nun’s hood that falls over her shoulders and holds a purple parasol. Fashion Plate via John Belle’s La Belle Assemblée or, Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine, London.
1811 Evening Dress, French. Red cashmere dress over white under shirt with short puffed sleeves, carrying a white shawl, long white gloves, earrings and white evening shoes. Fashion Plate via Journal des Dames et des Modes, or Costume Parisien. Though this is a French fashion plate, the outfit is typical of the dresses worn by Jane Austen and her contemporaries. An Empire style, or high-waisted, dress with a white underdress and for warmth there is an extra layer with the shawl.
Definition Cashmere: Soft, fine wool, historically used for costly dress fabric, usually in twill weave. Originally made of yarn handspun from the wool of Cashmere goats but later from other soft wools. Used for dresses, infants’ coats.
1811 January Evening Dresses, English. Standing Figure: French frock with half train of black imperial gauze worn over a slip of white sarsnet or satin, ornamented with a Vandyke border of white velvet or thread lace. White velvet hat ornamented with two curled ostrich feathers, with a silver or beaded band. White kid gloves and shoes. Sitting Figure: Grecian robe of silver grey crape worn over a white satin under-dress, ornamented at the hem and each side with a light and tasteful border of black bugles. Stomacher edged with black beads, corresponding with those which finish the bosom and sleeves. Earrings, necklace, and bracelets of jet. Hair in waved curls on each side of the face, divided in front of the forehead with a full plait and barrel comb of jet. White satin slippers with black jet clasps or bugle rosettes. White kid gloves and a fan of silver-frosted crape. Back-ground figure: Dress of black Venetian velvet with short Circassian sleeve, gathered in a knot of white beads or pearl, bosom and stomacher to correspond, pearl necklace, ear-rings, and bracelets. Belt of white velvet with mother-of-pearl clasps. Convent veil of white cobweb net confined with a pearl crescent, à la Diana. Sandal slippers and gloves of white kid and fan of carved ivory. Fashion Plate via Rudolph Ackermann’s ‘The Repository’ of Arts.
Definition Evening Dress: Minute distinctions between ball, dinner, evening and opera gowns meant different quality of fabrics and designs. A Ball Gown differed from an evening dress as expensive silk fabrics were usually worn, light or heavy, decorated with lace, embroidery or beading, with low-cut bodice, short or no sleeves, and full skirts. In the early 1800s, white cotton dresses were considered suitable for many evening events, but not for balls. And definitely not for an evening event in a palace. White dresses with white embroidery for evening were considered fashionable and exclusive as only the wealthy could afford them.