The 1830s in Fashionable Gowns: A Visual Guide to the Decade

Individual Images of Gowns via Met Museum and V&A Museum.
Individual Images of Gowns via Met Museum and V&A Museum.

The 1830s was another transformative decade in 19th century fashion.  Like the 1820s, it was a span of years which stood between the Regency era (1811-1820) and the Victorian era (1837-1901), providing a bridge from the often extreme, gigot-sleeved confections of the 1820s to the tight-sleeved, form-fitting bodices of the 1840s.  The 1830s was also the decade in which the pendulum of fashion swung from large, ornate sleeves to large skirts embellished with various pleats and trimmings.  Or, as fashion historian C. Willett Cunnington describes it, the decade in which women’s gowns moved from the “exuberantly romantic” to the “droopingly sentimental.”[…]Continue Reading

Mrs. Ellis's Pumpkin Pie: A 19th Century Thanksgiving Recipe

Home To Thanksgiving, published by Currier and Ives, 1867.
Home To Thanksgiving, published by Currier and Ives, 1867.

Thursday November 26th is Thanksgiving here in the United States.  Originally a commemoration of the First Thanksgiving (a 17th century feast between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans), it is now one of the major holidays and, for many of us, the official start of the Christmas season.  There was no Black Friday or Cyber Monday during the 19th century.  Instead, the Thanksgiving holidays were a time for family to gather together from near and far and share a holiday meal.  This usually involved the women of the family cooking a Thanksgiving dinner with roast turkey and all the fixings.  Amongst these fixings was one of the most traditional Thanksgiving desserts: pumpkin pie.[…]Continue Reading

The 1820s in Fashionable Gowns: A Visual Guide to the Decade

1820s Gowns Collage
Individual Images of Gowns via Met Museum

There were many important, transitional years for women’s fashion during the 19th century.  For example, in a single decade sleeves might transform from slender and straight to enormous gigot or leg o’mutton style sleeves.  While skirts which began a decade flowing loose around the legs might end the decade standing several feet wide atop a crinoline.  In my previous post on the evolution of 19th century gowns (available HERE), I gave a brief, decade-by-decade visual overview of the ever-changing silhouettes of women’s silk dresses in the 1800s.  For the transitional years, however, a single image can never sum up an entire decade.  With that in mind, I bring you the first in my new series of visual fashion guides to those decades of the 19th century during which women’s fashion underwent the most extreme change.[…]Continue Reading

Kissing an Italian Greyhound: A 19th Century Attorney Cites the Law

Un lévrier reposant sur la chaise by Jacques Raymond Brascassat, 1836.
Un lévrier reposant sur la chaise by Jacques Raymond Brascassat, 1836.

An 1860 edition of England’s Bedfordshire Mercury reports a “curious scene” from Paris.  An attorney was walking his Italian Greyhound on the Boulevard Beaumarchais when he realized that the delicate little dog had strayed.  Retracing his steps, he found his pet in the arms of a dog thief.  The villain had already removed the dog’s collar and identification tags and was attempting to stifle its cries.  The attorney was, according to the article, “a man of great muscular power” and quickly “mastered the delinquent.”  Once he had the thief within his grasp, he gave him two choices – he could either be consigned to the police or he could kneel down on the street and kiss the little dog.[…]Continue Reading

The Evolution of the 19th Century Gown: A Visual Guide

Individual Images of Gowns via Met Museum
Individual Images of Gowns via Met Museum

The silhouette of women’s gowns changed a great deal over the course of the 19th century. Most of us can easily identify the lines of an early Regency gown or the shape of a late-Victorian dress with a bustle.  But what about those transitional years?  The 1820s, 1830s, and 1870s, for example.  Sometimes styles of these decades are harder to pinpoint.  With that in mind, I present you with a decade-by-decade visual guide to silk gowns of the 19th century.[…]Continue Reading

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