Women from 1850
Date: October 1850
Originally published in: Le moniteur de la mode.
Description: These two dresses clearly point to the thin line between day-dresses and walking costumes, they are both very elegant with a lot of trimming and lace details. Even the day-dress, the light blue one, is made to look fashionable and expensive and not just to be a practical costume worn around the house when doing the daily chores. It looks just as formal as the walking dress, the green one, which was meant to be worn when going out and when you were seen by others. The difference of function can only be spotted in the details.
The light-blue day dress is accompanied by a small lace cap on the woman's head, signalling her married status and worn all the time. The woman in the green walking dress has the necessary attributes for going out in a more formal way, she has a bonnet on her head (worn by both married and unmarried women when outside) and a big shawl over the dress - the same colours indicating they were meant to be worn together as one ensemble, though you might question how often that was done in real life since most women did not own that many dresses and most likely did not have a matching shawl for each and everyone of them for when going out.
(If you look at the photo at the original resolution - click on it - you cannot only see the dresses in high detail but also the names of the places where to buy the different details of the dresses, for example the lace comes from Cambrai - formerly spelled Cambray.)