Decorative trims are the highlight of February 1814’s two fashion plates. The bottom of the gown in Plate 11, an “Evening or Dancing Dress,” features not one but three rows of trim: a row of blue satin or velvet in “puffs” is sandwiched between two rows of puckered net. This triple trim is mirrored on the cuffs of the gown’s short sleeves. On her head our lady wears a “large transparent Mechelin veil” which looks remarkably similar to the swags of lace decorating what looks to be a refreshment table beside her. I hope she doesn’t mistake one for the other and sweep up a dish of fruit instead of her veil . . .
Plate 12’s gown is decorated with “a deep border of needlework round the bottom”—perhaps embroidered in the larger needlework pattern of the two featured at the back of this month’s magazine (see below)?
I got a bit excited when I saw the lady in Plate 12; at first glance, it appears she has red hair! (yes, I’m a redhead, and proud of it). But alas, the splash of color is merely the “morone velvet” lining the lady’s “helmet bonnet,” which matches the trim on her Russian mantle. When you look more closely, you can see that her hair is a very ladylike brown. I should have known better; despite the many historical romance novels that feature redheaded heroines, prejudices against red hair that had been prevalent since the Middle Ages (red hair being associated with Jewishness) had not at all abated by the Regency.