April 1812’s fashion plates feature a “Morning Dress” and a “Ball Dress,” both topped by the loveliest of headgear. For casual wear, a “Flora cap” of white satin and lace; for evening occasions, a “Spartan or Calypso helmet cap of pink frosted crepe, with silver bandeaus, and embellished with tassels, and rosets” to match those on evening gown. Did those tassels and rosets make a charming tinkling noise when my lady took to the dance floor, I wonder?
Before reading the description, I assumed the fabric in sample #1 & #2 was meant for a lady’s gown. But to my surprise, I read that it is intended not for women, but for gentlemen’s waistcoats. A popular item, it would seem, especially among members of the “Whip Club,” who “distinguished themselves by double-breasted waistcoats of this attractive article.” As the fabric resembles “tambour work,” or what appears to be embroidered netting, it seems a rather delicate choice for hard-driving bucks. But perhaps that is part of the appeal: a true pink of the ton would be able to handle his horses so smoothly that there would be no danger of tearing the fabric of his oh-so-fashionable waistcoat.
An extra plate this month, featuring an engraving of a “Ladies’ toilette dressing-case.” Equipped with not one, not two, but five separate mirrors, the dressing-case allows his owner to judge the success (or failure) of a particular hairstyle or dress adornment “more quickly and accurately than is possible with the usual accommodation.” I wonder how much Mssrs. Morgan and Sanders charged for such an extravagant piece of fashionable furniture?