Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dinner Dresses thru the 19th Century

Today's tidbit are a few dinner dresses down through the 19th Century. First I'm sharing some tidbits from "The College of Life Or Practical Self" a description regarding dressing for Dinner.

How Ladies Should Dress.
Dressing for dinner only presents points of difficulty to the ladies; the rule to be followed by gentlemen is simple enough.

Several considerations serve to embarrass the gentler sex. For a “great” dinner, a lady dresses in a style which would be extravagant and out of keeping with a “small” dinner; yet the invitation is in both cases couched in the same terms. Moreover, a dinner is often the prelude to an evening party, or a visit to the opera, or some other form of amusement; and the style of dress must be suited to these contingencies also. One or two general rules may be laid down.

Full dinner dress means a low dress; the hair arranged with flowers or other ornaments; and a display of jewelry, according to taste. For a grand dinner, a lady dresses as elaborately as for a ball; but there is a great distinction between a ball dress and a dinner dress. Let no misguided young belle who is invited to a great house rush to the conclusion that it will be right for her to appear in a dress that she has worn in a ballroom. The style of thing required is wholly different. In the ball-room everything should be light, floating, diaphanous, ethereal, and calculated to produce a good general effect.

A dinner dress must be good in quality; it should be of silk of the latest make, with an ample train. By way of setting the dress olf, rich lace may be worn—Brussels, Mechlin, Honiton, Maltese or Cluny; but such light materials as blonde, tulle, areophane, tarlatane, etc., are quite out of place as trimmings.
Jewelry of almost any value may be worn at a great dinner—diamonds, pearls, emeralds, rubies, any kind ; but it is not in good taste to wear too much jewelry at any time.

As accessories, an opera-cloak, a fan, and a pair of perfectly white and perfectly fitting gloves must not be forgotten.

In dressing for an ordinary dinner—say a dinner of six or eight, or a dinner at a country house—the demi-toilette is sufficient. The dress should be made with a low body; is in good taste, and the shirt-studs may be choice, but should be in proportion to the means of the wearer.

It may be as well to remark that dinner~ parties are not supposed to be given on Sundays, and, therefore, when an invitation is accepted for that day—or when, on a visit, host and guests dine together—it is not necessary to dress; the ladies appearing in high dresses, or the demi-toilette at most; gentlemm in walking-dress.




Unfortunately in my files I don't have an "Dinner Dress" between these two dates.







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