The Royal Lady's Magazine

August 1831

The fashion plates for August are missing. I've included a picture of the Duchess of Kent, Queen Victoria's mother, from the June issue to add a little interest to what would otherwise be a very plain page.

English Fashions

General Remarks

It affords us great pleasure to observe the manifest change which has taken place in the dress of our fair country-women, during the present season. The good sense and elegant taste of the English ladies, encouraged by the example so conspicuously set them by our gracious Queen, have given proofs that they have at length rejected Parisian absurdities, and that they have found talent and taste among those long-neglected beings, English dress-makers and milliners. The ladies of this country are well qualified to lead: why should they be contented to follow those confessedly their inferiors? Fashion alone could have solved the query at any period.

The is much and very general alteration in the style of female costume, since the commencement of the spring season. Dresses are worn with very little in the way of trimming on the skirts for morning and carriage costume. But for all descriptions of evening dress, the make and ornaments are very elaborate. We have seen several which were truly beautiful, but our press of other matter will not allow us to describe them. The skirts of dresses are quite as full as last month, but more sloped at the top, and rather longer. Sleeves are still worn very large at top, but not near so tight to the arm as in the early part of the season. The corsage for morning dress is generally made plain, and over it the light and elegant canezou is seen, in numberless varieties of form and texture, at once rich and graceful. Bonnets for morning and carriage dress are mostly of the cottage variety, than which none is more becoming to an English face though some of our belles seem to prefer those of the gipsy form; but whatever be the shape of the bonnet, the trimming of it is very moderate. Blonde caps, of a simple form, are favourites for morning wear. Dinner dresses are much worn of rich British silks. They are generally much trimmed, both bodies and skirts; and, with the splendid coiffures worn with them, present a magnificent tout ensemble. For evening and ball costume, there is an almost endless variety of forms and materials, but richly embroidered crape or tulle is the general favourite. The hair, for evening dress, is always dressed so as to rise very high on the crown of the head, and is almost invariably ornamented with a high comb at the back. Very young ladies have their hair simply braided across the forehead, and finished with two or more coques at the top. Flowers, for head-dress, are not so much in favour as in our last; those worn are of the most lively colours, and from the most striking contrast with the luxuriant dresses they adorn. Since the introduction of that lion of violinists, Paganini, we have been expecting some striking changes in opera dress, but there is really less of novelty in this than in any other resort of the beau monde The eternal opera head-dress, so unreasonable in its dimensions, seems determined to make a stand here, in despite of all that good taste, not to say good nature, would do to replace it with something more moderate, and, perhaps as graceful, at all events more pleasing. But we think another opera season will exhibit a great alteration. The most admired colours are celestial blue, lilac, pink, bright green, and white. Jewellery is extremely rich and massive, and among the gems worn by our belles, the beautiful chrysoprase holds a pre-eminent place

Plate 1, Fig. 1.

Promenade dress of English chintz muslin. The skirt is made without trimming, but very ample in dimensions, and set in full entirely round the waist. Sleeve very full at the top, and not quite so close at the lower part as they have been worn for some time past. The corsage is plain at top, and slightly full at bottom. An elegant canezou of moiree, colour, the evening primrose, and edged with a rich silk fringe is worn with this dress. Colerette of tulle, interspersed with rays of gauze ribbon, the same colour as the canezou. Chapeau a la reine of primrose-coloured moiree. The hair is open, and of moderate size, with rayons and mentonnieres of blonde, and gauze ribbon. The crown is low on the right side, and ornamented with pointed feuilles of moiree, bound with satin, and edged with blonde: small sprigs of purple heath-flowers are mixed with the trimming of the crown. Agraffe and bracelets of gold and amethysts; gloves and boots of lilac kid.

Fig. 2.

Evening dress of celestial blue crape, superbly embroidered in white floss silk, worn over white satin. The sleeve short and very full, finished with a band of embroidery. The corsage is cut quite plain, and is richly worked at the upper part of the bust. A brace of worked crape crosses the bust, and terminates in an acute point, a little below the ceinture. The skirt is very full, and has a splendid border of work at some distance from the bottom, but not so high up the skirt as in our last. The hair is parted in front, and arranged in full curls on each temple. The back hair is disposed in four coques, and a broad Grecian plaid, on the crown of the head. A comb of tortoiseshell inlaid with gold, is placed at th back, and a double row of pearls, with an agraffe of pearls and rubes crosses the forepart of the head. Ear-rings, necklace and bracelets of pearls and rubies; shoes of white satin.

Plate 2, Fig. 1.

Ball dress of pink gauze over a pink satin slip. Corsage a la Donna Maria, with a full tucker of blonde net, headed by a narrow trimming of blonde, and a small rouleau of pink satin. Sleeve of blonde, set in a band of satin, and finished with a fall of blonde. An epaulette cut in double scallops, reaches halfway down the sleeve. Three noueds of satin ribbon are placed on the epaulette, and from each descends a band of ribbon which meet at the bottom of the sleeve. The skirt is of the usual width, and has a light and graceful garniture running round the top of the hem, which is moderately deep; it is composed of deeply serrated leaves of satin, forming a serpentine over seven small rouleaux of the same. The hair is simply braided in front, and arranged in three coques at the top of the head. A coloured gold comb, with a very high gallery, supports the coques, and a delicate gold chain, with a small ornament of gold and chrysoprase, is placed rather low on the forehead. Shoes of pink satin.

(We should recommend this graceful costume as one peculiarly adapted for a very youthful votary of Terpsichore.)

Fig. 2.

Carriage Costume.

Dress of emerald green satin, made high. The corsage is made in an entirely novel style. It is cut in points from the shoulder to the waist, the points becoming smaller as they descend, and partially displaying a chemisette of white crepe lisse, laid in very close plaits over the bust. The points of the corsage are held together from the throat to the waist by small enamelled buttons. The sleeve is full at top, and the fulness extends further down the arm than those lately worn. It is terminated at the waist by a pointed cuff of satin, confined by a bracelet of plain gold. An epaulette, composed of five pointed leaves, fastened on the shoulder with a bow of satin, forms an elegant ornament of the brace kind, and displays a fine shape to very great advantage. The skirt has a beautiful trimming of bell-shaped ornaments, terminating in obtuse points at the bottom of the hem. A very elegant bonnet accompanies this dress; it is made of lilac gros-de-Naples, and straw-coloured satin. The front, which is rather open, is lined with straw-colour, and has a deep fall of blonde, set on full. The crown is low, and flat at the top, sloping a little forward, and trimmed on one side with a light garniture of indented leaves of a straw-colour edged with lilac, and relieved with bunches of the Chinese aster. The hair is arranged in soft ringlets, which fall rather low at the sides. Boots of green silk; gloves of straw-coloured kid.

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