Fashion Plate: 1829, Tassels and Gold Leaves

Gaskell Blog © Katherine C.

Evening Gown


Plate © UW Fashion Plate Collection

Off-the-shoulder collars would become more prominent in the 1840s, but snugly fitting instead of the current mode where they remind one of wings. The Renaissance flair continues; tassels have reemerged to decorate gowns and continue appearing in fashion plates until the mid 1830s. The leaves are a curious choice, are they representing Autumn? Or perhaps a personal victory?


4 Comments Add yours

  1. My mother inherited several volumes of Godey’s Ladies’ Books from about this time to the 1860s but sold them a long time ago so my memory is sketchy. I think I remember in the 1830s the skirts got much wider and very fancy pantaloon hems were allowed to show beneath the skirt hem. This period (1830s-1850s) strikes me as the fussiest fashion period of the century. I think we can look at today’s plate as the tipping point — it’s right on the edge before it all gets excessive. It’s lovely and quaint. Thanks for this series of fashion posts!

    The time frame for this plate is post-Josephine Bonaparte, pre-Empress Eugenie, right? Do any Gaskellblog followers know who inspired this turn of fashion away from the sleek Empire sytle?

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Naima! 🙂

      Yes, they did get very wide, both skirts and sleeves. Looking at many of these plates I can’t help but wonder if they are like our modern fashion magazines; exaggerations of what people wear to ‘inspire’ everyday looks or if people really wore it exactly as in the plate– as many of the dresses from this period that are shown in museums are much more wearable, I’ll be posting some pictures of them later on.

      You’re correct post-Josephine and pre-Empress Eugenie; I’m not certain who created this drastic turn; complete opposite of the Regency, but I believe it was partially influenced by the Renaissance ( Ex. portrait by Raphael Sanzio) as I keep finding little hints of it within quite a few of the plates.

  2. Thank you, Katherine. I think you may be right about the Rennaissance as inspiration for fashion circa 1830-1850. I’m reminded of BBC & Masterpiece Theater movie versions of the classics, in which all the fashionable women wear turbans or soft, draping caps with feathers — also a Rennaissance touch (but worn by young men at that time). Speaking of fashion, the Raphael Sanzio painting you linked to shows a woman who is the spitting image of model/actress Lily Cole (Google image-search Lily Cole model). What goes around, comes around!


  3. phylly3 says:

    That is a very pretty costume. I even like the hat! Perhaps the leaves are meant to represent laurel leaves as a throw back to a classical greco-roman theme?
    As for the change in clothing styles from the freedom and comfort of the Regency era dresses to the later more intricate and more confining styles, I think that the fashion conscious were just reverting to their old habits of using fashion to differentiate the rich from the poor as they must have tired of that brief experiment in freedom and equality which was inspired by the French Revolution.

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