Friday, November 16, 2018

High Society

Tea Gown (1898).
Photo courtesy of MET.


Although today we have different options to dress at our closet for various social situations, there is nothing compared to what it was in our always loved nineteenth century (at least for me). Ladies (and gentlemen), the ladies of that time did not put on a dress and spent all day with it (no, no, no), they were owners of a wide range of costumes according to each hour of the day (I guess they did nothing but dress and undress, since the dresses of yesteryear took time to put on). So, I thought that this would not be a good material to write about it.





Promenade Dress (1862).
Photo courtesy of MET.
If we have to start with something, then we will start at the beginning as it should be: the tea gown that was, let's say, the dress to be around the house. You got out of bed and it was the first thing you put before starting the routine. They were not "dresses" (I do not know whether to properly consider it like a dress in my humble opinion) of very structured lines and they were made of light fabrics. The day passed and then they decided it was a good idea to take a walk to stretch their legs, go shopping and be seen, of course. So they put on the walking dress or also  promenade dress. Our elegant ladies were not willing to go unnoticed and got dressed in the most fashion of the moment, adding a hat and gloves like essential accessories. The quiet afternoon came and it was time to do some social life in a more intimate way. The afternoon dress was the used one for tea and garden parties (very common in those times). Elegant dresses without being ostentatious. It also happened that, sometimes, there was nothing to do out of the ordinary, so they took out the day dress from the closet. It was an informal dress to be worn every day.


Ball Gown (1860).
Photo courtesy of MET.
At the end of the day, they could be relaxed at home or attend some formal event where to wear their best clothes (remember that we are talking about the ladies of high class, obviously). Here we already have different options depending on the kind of event and the time. If it took place before 6 pm, then the morning dress was the right one to wear. After that time, the evening dress was the protagonist. These dresses were real wonders made of fabrics such as velvet, satin, gauze ... but the indisputable queen was silk (it was when women shone with all their splendor). Finally we have the ball gown for events of the highest level. Unlike the previous one, this dress had the widest skirt and the shoulders can be left exposed. The fabrics were also of great luxury, but they were also adorned with ruffles, lace and pearls (and let´s dance!). I do not know if I forgot some (the mourning dress will have a blog for itself), if so let me know, it's always good to be learning. I have to go, there are things that must be done and ... I still do not know which dress to wear!


See you next week, vintage lovers!



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