All posts tagged: 18th century

A quick guide to corset & stay styles from 1750 to 1850

In last week’s (well, almost week before lasts at this point!) Five for Friday post, when I discussed transitional stays, and succumbing to the temptation to make ‘reenactor style’ Regency stays (which, you will be pleased to hear, I have not!), I didn’t make it clear what either was.  So naturally, people asked! I was going to just write about transitional stays and reenactor stays, but how can you write about a transition if you don’t show what something is transitioning from, and towards?  And how can I show something is a reenactorism if I don’t show what the reality was?  I realised that both needed more background, and deserved complete posts. So, here is the slightly longer, more complicated, post with a history of supportive undergarments (i.e. stays and corsets – read this post for the difference between the two) from 1750 to 1850.  This is intended as a very general introduction to the way the types of supportive undergarments period, rather than an in-depth exploration.  One could easily write a full blog post about the …

Rate the Dress: early 18th century Riding Habit stripes

Update: house tidied, votes tallied, and last weeks chrysanthemum and swags dress came in at 6.8 out of 10, loosing a point for awkward transitions, and lots of points for looking like eyeballs (a resemblance that I can’t see no matter what size I look at the image from, and how much I squint!) I’ll be coming back tomorrow morning to tally the votes for last weeks Japonisme-inspired ensemble, but I’m afraid I was too busy tonight getting the house ready for guests (why do you always get a spectacularly good evening when you have to vacuum the whole house instead of getting to go for a walk in the actually-balmy weather!).  For now, here is this week’s Rate the Dress for your delectation. Twenty-year old Henrietta Cavendish Holles, Countess of Oxford and heiress to one of the largest fortunes in England, is depicted in a suitably luxurious and decadent riding habit the year after her marriage to Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford. Portraits in riding dress were all the rage in early 18th century …

Rate the Dress: a dress fit for a duchess?

You didn’t quite warm up to last week’s blonde silk Lanvin frock, declaring it underdeveloped in design an execution, and it came in at a paltry 5.9 out of 10 – quite poor for Lanvin! Since not-quite-yellow designer wasn’t your thing, this week I present a properly yellow frock, purportedly from the wardrobe of a duchess. This robe a la francaise of brocaded silk is came from the wardrobe of ‘Lydia Catharine, Duchess of Chandos (m. 1736)’, the third wife of James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos. The gown shows evidence of re-styling common in mid-18th c gowns, as fabric was so valuable that even the wealthiest women often had their frocks re-made to match the current fashions. Lydia died in 1750, so the re-style would have been done by the next owner of the dress. I’m being fanciful here, but I’d like to believe the next owner might have been the 2nd wife of Henry, the 2nd Duke of Chandos.   Anne (d. 1759), a former chambermaid married Henry in 1744 (coincidentally, only 4 months after the death …