The Whims of Fashion, July-September 1802

Welcome to day three of The Whims of Fashion in 1802.  If I haven’t mentioned it on the January-March and April-June posts, you can visit the selections from The Lady’s Magazine by clicking on any fashion plate within the post.

July of 1802

In Paris:

Although it wasn’t shown on June’s fashion plate, the long train is starting to shorten. By July, it has come back with full force. Robes are also getting longer in the waist too, and the colors have changed.  Apart from white, sky-blue, rose and black are popular. Wait, black? Really?  We’ve talked about black lace and black velvet caps, but dresses. Before when I looked at portraits, including the one I shared earlier this week of Lady Francis Courtenay, I have always assumed black was for mourning.  Apparently, this is untrue.

One more thing to note is the headdress. It’s similar to a handkerchief and called a fichu en marmotte. Hairstyles a la Titus (like Lady Caroline Lamb) have caught on, but The Lady’s Magazine disapproves. They refer to hair in the front being saved from the “fatal scissors,” and in the months to come will blame the style on the hot weather.

Hair a la Titus, directoire period

Pinned and plaited is the style for ladies who refuse to relinquish their long locks.

In London:

Fashions are “much copied” from the Parisian styles, but there are some differences. The Rohan hat, “made of frivolity, twist, and willow,” has been invented by a Madame Lebrun.  Green, yellow, and lilac are also the sought after colors.  Walking dresses are “short, and flounced round the bottom.”  A pretty bonnet of pink silk trimmed with black velvet and white ostrich feathers is described.

August of 1802

Again with the black and white–not nearly as fun, but July to September is colorless. Imaginations, start firing.

In Paris:

Veils are still worn, but instead of being tied under the chin, they lay flat against the hair and drape over the head. Round dresses and Marmaduke tunics prevail. Also remember when I talked about black dresses being reserved for mourning? Well, this month dresses of black crape are all the rage. They appear with full sleeves and are complemented by a black straw hat instead of the formerly favored white hat. Poppy colored ribbons, striped in black, are a common color combination–beautiful in nature and lovely on a lady:

Papaver rhoeas

In London:

Pink is in! For evening the dress of choice is a round robe of pink muslin with lace across the back. Turbans of pink, ornamented with bead and pink feathers, are worn to complete the ensemble. During the day, cambric or short dresses of nankeen, full in the front but tight in the back, are preferred. Unlike the previous Spring months, flowers are out and feathers are it. The white Spanish cloak is also worn in black now–a curious choice for the hot summer months?

September of 1802

In Paris:

Rose is back with a vengeance. I’m starting to wonder if ladies got sick of buying new things (or were reprimanded by their husbands/fathers, more like!) and simply brought back a hue that was fading a month or two before. Black and rose are the colors to pair now. As far as headdresses go, veils are used, but the style has changed. Instead of letting the fabric drape over the forehead, it’s pulled to the back of the head and pinned in place, lest it fall off.  Golden combs are used on both short and long hair. Rather than the empire waists of months past, low waists and full sleeves are everywhere. The fichus en marmotte that were so popular in July are now being worn over hair, hats, and mob caps.

In London:

I’m starting to realize London fashions change much more slowly than in Paris. For evening, pink and white round muslin dresses are still choice, but there is a mention of adding “A spencer of yellow silk, covered and trimmed with black lace.” Now that is new! Spencers are essentially boleros, short jacket that open at the bosom and have tight sleeves.  If they are pulled overhead and tightly fitted, they are called canezous or hussar vests.

early 19th century bonnet and spencerDuchess of Angouleme bonnet and spencer, early 19th century, possibly 1814, from  La Belle Assemblee.

The yellow and black spencer mentioned above is paired with a yellow hat with black lace and a yellow feather to boot.  Dresses up top are usually lighter in color to contrast with the spencer.  Daytime shows the procession of buff muslin dresses with white cambric sleeves.

One more day and we’ve come full circle in fashion plates circa 1802. See you tomorrow!

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