All posts filed under: 19th Century

Rate the Dress: mid-century plaid

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 …

Rate the Dress: A visit to Paris, ca 1890

Last week I showed you a luxurious silk frock inspired by simple folk embroidery.  The scores were all over the place: mad love, complete revulsion.  Quite a few of you expressed doubt that it would look good on most women, which didn’t help its score.  Overall, the dress came in at 6.9 out of 10 – very close to the 7 that was the most commonly given score. This week, we’re leaving peasant chic behind, and going very upscale: Paris couturier fashions in the 1890s.  It’s not quite Worth, but this gown reflects the decadence of late 19th fashion that he helped to inspire, and the caché that his work lent to Parisian fashions. This gown was purchased by American heiress Cara Leland (née Rogers) Broughton, either on a European tour just before her first marriage, or after she was widowed a year later in 1891, but  before she married (only slightly) upper class Englishman, Urban H Broughton in 1895.  His work as an MP and during WWI led to Cara being given the title of Lady Fairhaven after …

The ‘Downs Self Adjusting Corset’

Sometimes having friends who point out things that you might be interested in is fabulous.  And sometimes it is…dangerous. Like when you are just going along, minding your own business, not finding things that you don’t need to buy on Trademe, and then a friend emails you and says “Just saw this auction and thought of you!”  And the auction is corset advertising cards from the early 1880s.  And you say “thanks, but I really don’t need them”.  And you keep saying that.  And then somehow (you really can’t explain it, it was like an out of body experience) you end up buying them. So now I am the proud/slightly ashamed owner of two ‘Downs Self Adjusting Corset’ trading cards from the early 1880s. The first one features a fashionable (albeit slightly garishly clad) lass and her pug on a quest for a Downs self adjusting corset’: And the second one features a smug miss who has already achieved the goal (an accomplishment which has inexplicably earned her a pair of over-the-sleeve bracelets and an ermine trimmed …