Regency ladies are out and about in this month’s edition of the fashion plates: two promenade dresses, as well as five different fashionable headdresses. I’m especially taken by headdress #3, “composed in the antique or old English fly-cap, of crimson shot silk, finished at the edge with two rows of pearls or beads, and a star or small rosette in front.” It almost might be worth wearing a simple white gown, as Arbiter Elegantiarum advises, if you could top it all off with such a splendid creation.
And this month, Arbiter Elegantiarum outs his gender. Yes, his—he refers to himself as “Mr.” Arbiter Elegantiarum throughout this post. And he continues his long-running rant against long stays, this time using a class-based argument:
“Yes; however alarming it may be, it is, nevertheless, true, neither the long stay, corset, nor divorce, can any more become a distinction of rank, nor a mark for the boundary of the empire of fashion. The shopkeeper’s wife, the haberdasher’s apprentice, nay, even the common household drudge, the servant of all-work, is now become as fashionably habited, in regard to this article of dress, as the lady of the first distinction, and is equally proud of her stiff back, and her inability to move.” His joking solution to this problem? “wear the corset over, instead of under, their other dress.” Don’t think many readers took his advice…
Would you wear a print named “The Regent’s Plume” (#3)? Or perhaps it is mean as a upholstery print; the brief description doesn’t specify. Nice that you can pay homage to the ruler-in-waiting with a fabric that is “reasonable in price.”