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First Floor - The Ladies' Parlor


Early 19th century

Like many grand homes, The LaPorte House designated first floor rooms for multi-purpose uses.

The Front room known as the Ladies' Parlor is charmingly informal, with personal pieces ready to host the ladies of the house for a visit or needlework session in its bright cheery interior.

Shown here are two ladies of the early 19th century, just ready to depart for an elegant evening or formal dinner.

An additional gown is laid on the sofa, and is described below.

Purple Velvet Ball Gown

As the 19th century moved into its second decade, waistlines began to slip downwards, the shoulder-line began to widen, and the slim, "classical" skirt became fuller.
The silhouette is moving slowly into the next cycle of fashion. The high waistline is a shade deeper; within a decade it will approach the natural waistline once more. Sleeves, still short and moderatley puffed, will soon expand into the "melon" style of the late 20's and early romantic era of the 1830's.

This formal gown, of deep violet velvet, for the winter season, shows the beinnings of styles to come. The bodice has a low, square-cut neckline. Sleeves are made of gold tissue overlaid with purple velvet 'petals' edged in trim and clasped by faux amethysts. Antique multi-color metallic floral banding outlines the high waistline and low neck.



Adapted from a formal wedding dress of the era, this gown exhibits some of the more ornate decoration of the early "Romantic " period

. An example of the transitional styles, the color and trimming of this example no longer echo the Regency preferences for pale or even light colors. The balance of the gown is made in brilliant changeable blue and purple silk, and accented by lilac silk for the vandyked, lace-edged collar, lower sleeve puffs and applied skirt trim.

Although still high-waisted, the ever-growing width of the gathered sleeves is balanced by the full hem, here, now lightly padded to retain the fullness. A matching turban headdress is worn with the outfit.



Under the candlelight of evening events, elegant dresses were seen to their best advantage.

This ensemble, though simple, is sophisticated. The underdress is of matte gold satin, high-waisted and wide-skirted. Large puffed sleeves and a padded hem hint at the fuller silhouette fo the coming years.

The piéce de resistance of the outfit is the dramatic lace overgown of black and metallic gold lace in a quatrefoil pattern. The high front bodice features a crossover V-neck trimmed with antique gold lace; wrist length 'gigot' sleeves are full and gathered at the shoulders and tight at the wrists.

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