Summer fashions of 1822

As usual, to find out what the fashionable woman of the 1820’s should be seen wearing in the summer of 1822, ‘The Repository of arts, literature, commerce, manufactures, fashions and politics’, comes to the rescue. Needless to say, for the fashion conscious woman two outfits were needed, one for the day and one for the evening.

Morning Dress

The morning dress is composed of colonnade stripe muslin, worked round the bottom to correspond with the stripe, and trimmed with four narrow worked flounces, the upper one finished with a double row of cord. The body fastens behind, plain and high, but a little open towards the throat; trimmed with the same delicate work that decorates the cape, in which there are two rows, separated by a puffing of plain book-muslin, through which a lilac ribbon is drawn. The cape is square at the shoulder, where it finishes; but the upper row of trimming is continued to the bottom of the waist, adding to the gracefulness of the form.

Mechlin lace. Courtesy of the Metmuseum
Mechlin lace. Courtesy of the Metmuseum

The sleeve is worked at the end and tied with lilac ribbon at the wrist; above which, the work is arranged in a double angle trimmed, from each of which is suspended a small cord tassel. The cap is elegantly simple, of the cottage form, and composed of beautiful India worked muslin and Mechlin lace, tastefully decorated with fancy lilac ribbon. Shoes, lilac kid.

Evening Dress

Round dress, of delicately stripped net, over a white satin slip; the bottom of the dress extended by a double rouleau of rich white satin; above which are elegant festoons, arranged transversely, of puffed crepe lisse, confined diagonally by three narrow rouleau’s of white satin, and finished at the top with small clusters of the blue convolvulus. The corsage displays the chastest taste, cut round, and edged with a quilling of the finest tulle; the stomacher is formed of four rows of six minute folds of white satin, net appearing between each row. The tasteful trimming round the back, over the shoulder, and uniting with the stomacher to the bottom of the waist, is composed of short rows of folded satin, separated by the net at equal distances, and edged with blond, of a rich and elegant pattern. The sleeve short and full, confined by convolvuluses and divisions of small folded satin, which is again intersected by cheveronels. Head dress, turban of cerulean blue and white crepe lisse, and two white ostrich feathers. The hair parted in front, and elegant ringlets on each side. White satin shoes, long white kid gloves. Necklace and ear-rings of pearl and cornelian.

General observations on fashion and dress

It is Brighton, Cheltenham etc that we must now resort for an account of the prevailing modes among the fair votaries of fashion. We find that muslin robes made in the style of pelisses are a good deal worn for the morning promenade: the one which we are about to described is the most novel that we have seen: it is an open dress composed of cambric muslin; the skirt is of an easy fulness and less gored than they have been worn lately; the waist is the usual length; the back full, and the fulness confined by a row of points, which cross each other, and fasten in the middle of the back by buttons; the points are edged with embroidery.

The sleeve is nearly tights to the arm; and it is finished at the hand to correspond with the back, but the points are small. The collar falls over, it is rounded at the corners, and terminates in a point in the middle of the back. The trimming, which is very deep, and goes all round, is formed of clear muslin let in in a wreath of leaves; between each of the windings of the wreath is a small rose, also of clear muslin.

Spencer jacket courtesy of the MetMuseum c1815
Spencer jacket courtesy of the MetMuseum c1815

Silk pelisses are likewise in favour for the more advanced part of the day, and spencers are very fashionable. A good many of the latter button behind and are ornamented in front either with braiding and brandenburgs, or else with the same material as the spencer, disposed in various ways.

If the trimming be of brandenburgs, the half-sleeve, which is always full, is interspersed with them. These spencers are made in general without collars and are worn either with a lace falling collar or a ruff. We have seen a spencer composed on white lace, and lined with coloured sarsnet, of a very novel and pretty description; the lining was of lemon colour; the back was formed by a row of small silk buttons on each side and had a little fulness at the bottom of the waist. A short lace jacket, composed of three falls, gives the spencer a very jaunty air.

The capote. Courtesy of the MetMuseum
The capote. Courtesy of the MetMuseum

The kind of bonnet which the French capote, is a good deal in favour for the morning walk, but then it is always worn with muslin dresses. It is composed of cambric muslin, in some instances with embroidery, but not in general and has rarely any embroidery.

Silk bonnets are fashionable, but not so much as those that are transparent. Toques and turban are in favour in full dress, but not so much as head dresses en cheveaux.

Here in the Morning Post we can see an example of a London store which stocked Mechlin lace, so fabrics were readily available for seamstresses.

Here in this portrait of Henrietta Howard, c1724, we can see how fashions evolved over the 100 years.

Gibson, Thomas; Henrietta Hobart (c.1688-1743), the Honourable Mrs Howard, Later Countess of Suffolk; National Trust, Blickling Hall; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/henrietta-hobart-c-16881743-the-honourable-mrs-howard-later-countess-of-suffolk-171093