4/26/2008

Fashion of the week - Lady in coat, 1843

This is a print from the French fashion magazine Petit Courrier des Dames, issued in November 1843. It shows a Parisian lady in a checkered dress and coat and bonnet.

The silhouette of the 1840's was still rather slim compared to how it would look like just ten years later and this is enhanced by the cloak the woman is wearing.

You can see very little of the red dress she is wearing, apart from it having long sleeves - this is not evening wear but day-wear and then the dresses had long sleeves and did not show off any more skin than absolutely necessary.

The light yellow coat with light blue lining and tassels and ribbons but with no arms is very typical of the time. Note that this is the November issue so you were supposed to wear this in the winter-time too, and not just during summer.

The whole ensemble is finished off with a black little bonnet with plumes. Bonnets were the most common type of head-wear at this time, a time when you were supposed to wear something on your head at any given time you were outdoors. This bonnet-fashion gives a good illustration to why the hair-dos looked like they did at this time. The bonnet made it necessary to have the hair very flat, but since they opened up around the face there was plenty of room for curls and ringlets there.

The magazine Petit Courrier des Dames was being published in Paris, and was considered to have some of the finest prints of fashion at the time. It was first published in 1821 and had weekly issues until 1865.

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