Evening dress and walking dress from 1846
Originally published in: Unknown
Description: Two women in what is supposed to come off as natural poses where they are to show off the latest fashion.The naturalness of the picture is somewhat hampered by the woman to the right wearing a walking dress, and the woman to the left an evening dress - a combination that would rarely have been seen in reality. Especially not since it is hinted (with the bench one of the women is sitting on) to be outside.
The sitting woman in the walking dress is wearing a light blue dress (probably painted darker in original - the print has been somewhat bleached by the sun) with frills not just on the skirt but also on the sleeves, a detail that is not that common. She also has the usual attributes for a proper lady being out-doors: a bonnet on her head, gloves on her hands and a shawl behind her. The shawl is supposed to be worn over the shoulders, instead of a coat, which was quite popular at the time.
The other woman, the one who is standing up, has a dress a lot in common with the other woman's - in spite of this being an evening dress. The silhouette is the same, with sloping shoulders, V-shaped neck-line, the corset-created slim waist and a wide skirt (still not as wide as it would become some ten years later, but still wide enough to require a lot of undergarments). The thing that gives away that this really is an evening-dress are the short sleeves. A proper lady did not show her bare arms in the day-time. And if you spotted that, the lower neck-line hints at the same thing (even though it is far from as low as it could get). The fabric is very light, there are a lot of additional details to the dress, both to the bodice, sleeves and skirt, and is obviously made for showing off at social gatherings and dancing. And of course she is wearing gloves - because that is what you did at a dance.