Fashion Plate, December 1799

Print 228-Afternoon Dec 1799 2.jpg

Subject

Illustration

Title

Fashion Plate, December 1799

Date

December 1799

Format

original size 7 inches x 5 inches (17.78 cm x 12.7 cm) current size 6 5/8 inches x 4 1/4 inches (15.87 cm x 10.5 cm)

Description

Afternoon Dress for December 1799

The American and French Revolutions remain emblems of the political and social upheavals taking place during the 1700s. By the century's end, fashions had changed dramatically. This metamorphosis is found most readily in the clothing of the wealthy. In France, it was no longer fashionable to wear heavy, highly decorated clothing associated with those likely to be condemned to the guillotine. In America, plain cloth produced in the new nation was in vogue, an attempt to promote fabrics made in the United States and establish independence from Great Britain's textile industry.

Napolean Bonaparte's (1769-1821) conquering of the Italian pennisula in 1795 helped to spur an interest in ancient Greece and Rome; the clothing seen on antique sculpture and architecture was the opposite of earlier fashions, and perhaps seen as suitable for a new direction in fashions. By the time of Napolean's expedition to Egypt in 1798, Europe was absorbed in a fascination for all things ancient. 

These two dresses, with high waistlines and voluminous skirts, and with modest decorations, reflect the simplicity of women's dresses at the beginning of the 19th century. These elements come directly from the influence of ancient Greek and Roman clothing.

Fashion plates helped women understand not only which styles were popular, but what was appropriate for specific times of the day. This image depicts afternoon dresses suitable for activities outside the home. The dresses have empire waistlines and elbow-length sleeves. Long gloves kept arms warm on a winter’s day. Their turban-like bonnets are trimmed with feathers. Other images from the same magazine – The Lady’s Monthly Museum – reveal that while dress styles did not change much from morning to afternoon, bonnets did. Chip or straw bonnets were worn in the morning. Turbans and feathers are seen only with ensembles labelled “afternoon” or “full” dress.

The original description of these fashions is found on page 476 of the Lady’s Monthly Museum, December 1799, vol. 3. The page is labeled “Cabinet of Fashion, with Elegant Coloured Engravings.”

Afternoon Dress.

Frist Figure. Dress of pink silk, the body and sleeves trimmed with black lace; black muslin train; round cap of white crape, with a small wreath of flowers, and ostrich feathers. Light blue gloves, and yellow shoes.

Second figure. Corset of white satin, the body and sleeves trimmed with chenille; lace round the neck and shoulders. Muslin robe, cap of white and yellow muslin intermixed. – Pale yellow gloves, and pink shoes.

References

A number of the Lady's Monthly Museum periodicals have been digitised by The New York Public Library and are available through The HathiTrust, a partnership of academic and research institutions offering access to millions of documents from collections around the world.

Source

Donor: URI Purchase

Identifier

URI 1955.99.18

Contributor

Lauren Stamps
Susan J. Jerome, MS '06

Creator

The Lady’s Monthly Museum or Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction: Being an assemblage of whatever can tend to please the Fancy, interest the Mind, or exalt the Character of The British Fair.

By A Society of Ladies. Vol. 3
London
Published by Verner & Hood, Dec. 1, 1799

Publisher

The Lady’s Monthly Museum or Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction: Being an assemblage of whatever can tend to please the Fancy, interest the Mind, or exalt the Character of The British Fair.

By A Society of Ladies. Vol. 3
London
Published by Verner & Hood, Dec. 1, 1799

Relation

See Fashion Plates June 1799, October 1799, July 1799, December 1799

Collection

Citation

The Lady’s Monthly Museum or Polite Repository of Amusement and Instruction: Being an assemblage of whatever can tend to please the Fancy, interest the Mind, or exalt the Character of The British Fair. By A Society of Ladies. Vol. 3LondonPublished by Verner & Hood, Dec. 1, 1799, “Fashion Plate, December 1799,” Historic Textile and Costume Collection, accessed August 8, 2022, https://uritextilecollection.omeka.net/items/show/403.

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