6/30/2008

Fashion of the week - Riding habit and walking dress of 1856


One lady in a riding habit and one in a walking dress, 1856. The fashion-plate is French, but I do not know the exact origin, what magazine it is from.

The riding habit for ladies differed little from the usual fashion, this was after all the time when ladies were supposed to know how to ride - but do it in a lady-like manner, that is to say to use a side-saddle with both legs on one side of the horse's back. That way the woman did not risk to expose too much of her legs. The colouring of the habit was often in some dark colour - after all the most practical thing if you did not wish to look dirty just after leaving home. The dresses were often inspired by the male fashion of the day when it came to the upper part of it, at least. There was no extra frilliness and the hats looked like an ordinary male top-hat, but often with a veil.

The other dress is a walking dress, which is kind of a vague name. Most people did, of course, not have a specific type of dress for just walking outdoors. But you had dresses that were more or less well suited for the purpose of walking on muddy roads. In this case the dress is quite typical of the ordinary fashion of day-dresses, but accompanied by a jacket and bonnet - of course not meant to be worn indoors. The influence of male fashion can be clearly seen on the light gray jacket which is obviously influenced by military jackets. (That is an ongoing thing in 19th century fashion for lady and can be seen now and then.)

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