Last week I showed you a ca. 1890 high-society half-mourning dress. Some of you were totally behind the dress, until you saw the behind of the dress (yes, I have been waiting a whole week to use that!). Some of you loved it, stripey ‘I backed into a fireplace and did the world’s most awkward mend’ and all. And some of you disliked the whole thing: stripey back panel, lace sleeves, ribbon trim, velvet bow and all. It frequently got points for ‘entertainment value’ if nothing else, coming in at
I’ve been drooling over 1840s frocks recently (helped by Sarah’s amazing 1840s paisley maternity dress), so thought I should post something along those lines. This one isn’t paisley, but it is an even more classically 1840s pattern: plaid. The colour schemes of muted blues, ambers and browns is also classically 1840s.
The dress is associated with the wedding of Laura Phillips nee Battle, to Charles Phillips, held at Chapel Hill, Orange County, North Carolina on Dec 8th 1847. Laura is believed to have worn the dress as a ‘second day’ dress, for a reception or events held the day after her wedding. The NC Museum of History also hold Laura’s wedding dress: a lovely confection in white organdy and lace, shoes and stockings, and various other articles associated with her wedding (search ‘Laura Phillips’ to see them).
While her wedding dress is gorgeous, I thought this one was more interesting for being wearable for events afterwards. To make it even more versatile, the dress came with a matching pelerine cape. In a number of other 1830s and 40s dresses I have seen with matching capes, the cape hides a lower neckline, and makes an evening dress suitable for daytime wear. In this case the neckline is already suitable high (and would have been worn with a collar), but the cape gives it a different look.
The dress is a tiny bit too small for the dressform, but that does at least give us a rather nice look at the tidy row of hooks that fasten the back!
What do you think? Is this classically 1840s dress classic and interesting?
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