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First Floor Passage - - DAYWEAR 1750-1799

During the 18th century, clothing was thought of in terms of "Dress" and "Undress"- terms we think of today as formal and informal, although, as in contemporary use, these definitions were somewhat flexible.

"Dress" included garments suited to formal events, elegant occasions, or ceremonies; "undress" was everything else - from semi-formal daytime clothing, suited for afternoon tea, to a man's banyan, a sort of casual lounging robe.

Spanning the 18th century, fashions in daytime clothing were varied and fascinating, and ranged from the English origins of the panniered Colonial silhouette to the "classical" draperies of the early Napoleonic era.

#29 DAYTIME DANDY c.1790's

A "dandy" was a young man who dressed at the height of fashion, but managed to keep it within the bounds of decency. Other terms such as "macaroni" and "incroyable" were used to denote those who went over the top and into the realm of extremism. During the 1780'Ős, a style change was taking place in menŐs fashion. The coat became cut away in front, waistcoats rose to the waist and collars became enlarged. Stripes were all the rage, as can be seen in this purple and gray striped coat with silver buttons and the vertically striped socks. Breeches were now being tied at the knee instead of buckled and ties were added to fashionable shoes. The black wool round hat is the forerunner of the 19th century top hat and, since wigs were going out of style, these could now actually be worn. This reproduction was created using a pattern from The Cut of Men's Clothes 1600-1900 by Norah Waugh (diagram XXIX). ST



The style of this striped silk jacket, with its back peplum and pointed front, was very popular in the latter part of the century. Sleeves were now more often full length (to the wrist) and fringe became the trim of choice. The fichu is now worn more puffed and is used to give the illusion of a large chest. Hats became enormous confections and were given names such as this "chapeau a la Charlotte" (the French interpretation of a hat worn by the English queen Charlotte). The jacket was based on observation of a number of original garments; the hat was taken from an original fashion plate in Stella Blum's Eighteenth-Century French Fashion Plates in Full Color. The fan design was copied from an original 1780 fan depicted in Susan Mayor's Collecting Fans. ST


With the changing political and social revolutions at the end of the eighteenth century, the world of Fashion could not go unaffected. Gone were the yards of flowered, delicate silks, gone the shimmering taffetas, gone the ornate brocades and lace trimmings. It was a period of transition for the textile industry - large floral patterns which had dominated design for most of the century gave way to small patterns, delicate spots and woven stripes. Reflecting these newer styles, this lady's outfit has discarded all hoops and uses numerous petticoats to support a skirt of unadorned white cotton. Over this is worn an "open robe" done in striped brown, russet and cream silk. A long sleeved, shaped and pleated "Pierrot jacket" bodice features a front diamond-shaped vest or 'zone', a front hook and eye closing, and has a graduated-length basque, or peplum, edged with a cream-colored silk fringe. A black straw wide-brimmed hat is decorated with a crown and large poufs of coffee-colored silk. Ostrich feathers rise from a back knot of rust ribbon and an antique black silk embroidered band. Gown based on a pattern (diagram XXVI) in Norah Waugh's The Cut of Women's Clothes 1600-1930. LS


#31 FORMAL ROBE c.1795-1800

By the end of the 18th century, a new silhouette evolved, influenced by classical Greek styles. The rigid corset gave way to a more curved bust support and the artifice of panniers and padding was dispensed with. What remained was the chemise dress (a more voluminous style evolved from the chemise undergarment) with an outer decorative robe. This chemise dress exhibits the very popular chain stitch embroidery called tambour work. The over robe is constructed from silk with a woven silver border pattern on the train. Both garments have the popular raised waistline, which will be the prevalent fashion for the next two decades

. Many decorative confections graced the head. Shown is an exotic turban of silk, jeweled buttons and feathers. The chemise dress was adapted from an original garment depicted in The Cut Of Women's Clothes 1600-1930 by Norah Waugh (diagram XXV), and the pattern for the outer robe was taken from Patterns of Fashion 1 by Janet Arnold (pgs. 44-45). The turban is based on period fashion plates. ST


By the fourth quarter of the 18th century, the back seams of the gown began to move toward the center back, thus making it almost impossible to cut the back panels in one with the skirt. The waist seam was extended all the way around, and the front of the dress came together and attached with hooks and eyes. The polonaise effect (the skirt draped in three sections) was created by rings and tapes inside the skirt. The fabric of this dress is a reproduction of a painted Chinese export silk, the original of which is in the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It has been hand-painted in the correct manner using watercolor paint. The hat is of straw covered with pinecone scales, the original of which is in the Snowshill collection in England. This dress from a pattern taken from an original garment in The Cut of Women'Ős Clothes 1600-1930 by Norah Waugh (diagram XXII).ST

Although usually worn for formal occasions, this sack has been paired with a quilted silk petticoat and the skirts have been pulled through the pocket slits (holes in the dress to gain access to the pockets underneath) to drape the dress "retrousee dans les poches" to create an informal style. The decoration consists of self-fabric rouching (gathered or pleated material) scalloped on the edge by a pinking tool, and was a popular decoration on the lighter silks. Although the basic style of dress spanned over 50 years, some of the details for this later date include the hook and eye front closure, lack of sleeve ruffles and narrower pleating. A neck ruffle of the same rouched and pinked silk is garnished with a garnet necklace. These reproductions were created from a pattern (diagram XX) in Norah Waugh'Ős The Cut of Women's Clothes 1600-1930. The fan was copied from an original in a private collection and is depicted in Collecting Fans by Susan Mayor (p. 61). ST

The style of this late jacket was known as a caraco, and is constructed from multicolored block printed cotton. With the blue linen petticoat, gold silk mitts and gray silk calash (hat), she is the epitome of 18th century bad taste! It was not always possible to coordinate clothing colors, as fabrics were costly and scarce. 90% of the cost of a garment was for the fabric. The calash was designed to cover the ever-increasing height of the fashionable coiffure without crushing it. The front string was used to steady the structure in high wind. Her whitework apron (white on white embroidery) is only for show and not for use. The calash pattern, and (most of the) apron embroidery has been taken from original garments. The jacket pattern is based upon an original can be found in Janet ArnoldŐs Patterns of Fashion 1, and the mitt pattern came from Diderot's Encyclopedie (1751-1772). ST
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