by Linore Rose Burkard
Let’s take a look at some fabulous fashion plates from that most-regency of publications, Ackermann’s Repository.(Most of the following comes directly from my latest newsletter. If you’re not yet subscribed, sign up in seconds on my website. It’s free!)
Caught all the Episodes of The Bargain
Rudolph Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashions, Manufactures, &c. was a much-enjoyed magazine for people of the regency, second only in importance to women of fashion after “La Belle Assemblee.”
Above: Walking Dress 1819. Note that each of the illustrations here are from SPRING publications of Ackermann’s for the year designated. Seems that England (or France, in some cases) must have been rather chilly, even up to June.
Walking Dress, Jaconet Muslin (“Round Dress”) 1819
Morning Dress, 1819
French Dress, 1819
1819 Evening Dress
1819 Evening Dress
1829 Evening Dress
Strictly speaking, 1829 is post-Regency (George, Prince of
Wales, became Regent in 1811 and then King in 1820. Since he reigned until 1830, I include his reign in my definition of the “regency”. Society was distinct beneath his regency and reign.)
Walking or Carriage Dress, 1829.
Muffs were popular since Georgian days. I had a fluffy white muff when I was in first grade and still remember it with fond affection. (sigh)
English Dinner Dress 1829
The bonnets during this period were amazing concoctions, weren’t they? I saw a spoof about bonnets in an old periodical recently. I’ll have to try and dig it up. (Editorials of the day often included commentary about current fashions, and more often than not, they were critical.)
May 1829, English Morning Dress
In some cases, morning dress seems to have referred to something a lady would wear only in her home, such as the earlier pics (above) of 1819 morning gowns. In this case, the designation of “morning” appears to mean a day-dress (walking dress) which is obviously meant for outdoors, while emphasizing that it isn’t dinner or promenade or evening attire. The head-dress is much simpler in style also.
1829 Dinner Dress
Notice how the 1829 fashions are almost Victorian in appearance? Think about this: Victoria didn’t take the throne until 1837–not for another 8 years! In this and the next illustration, you can clearly see that the lower waist had returned to women’s clothing long before the young Victoria was crowned.Nevertheless, most people would look at the above and think “Victorian.” (But now you know better.) : )
March 1829 Opera Dress
Hasn’t this been fun? The contrast between 1819 and 1829 fashions is very evident. It’s not always so easy to tell different decades apart!