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"Hope for Charity"-Fashion/Part 3: The Aristocratic Woman

Updated: Jan 22

Welcome! Last time, we looked at fashions of working women in 18th century England. This time let's delve into the fashion of the aristocratic women of the time. From the elegant to the ridiculous, these fashion trends are worth seeing.





The Aristocratic Lady

Much of the aristocratic lady's time throughout the day revolved around fashion. Getting dressed happened not once or twice but several times throughout the day, and the process was not a quick change. Whether the occasion was the morning repast, a carriage ride around Hyde Park, or a ball at the King's palace, the Lady simply must wear the appropriate attire.


Rococo Fashion

Rococo fashion began in France in 1720, spread to England, and lasted until 1770. Hope for Charity's era, mid-18th century, was fully entrenched in this pretentious and sometimes outlandish style.

Excessively flamboyant and characterised by a curved asymmetric ornamentation and a use of natural motifs, Rococo was a style without rules. Compared to the order, refinement and seriousness of the Classical style, Rococo was seen as superficial, degenerate and illogical.

The Morning Dress


The morning dress, would have been worn around the house for activities such as writing letters or reading. This dress was usually white or pastel and looser fitting than the lady's other dresses.


The Walking Dress




As the title suggests, these pictures depict styles common for strolling out of doors depending on the seasons. The lady wore light, airy fabrics in the warmer seasons and heavier fabrics and layers with capes, hoods, and muffs for the colder seasons.


The Traveling Dress/Riding Habit


Photo credit: Christ Church, University of Oxford Henrietta Cavendish Holles (1694–1755), Countess of Oxford 1714 Godfrey Kneller (1646–1723) Christ Church, University of Oxford

Men's fashions had an influence on women's riding costumes. Here the Countess of Oxford wears a similar coat, also open to the waist, a white shirt with a neckcloth and a tricorne hat. The only item out of bounds for women's riding, however practical, was breeches.

The Formal Wear (Dinner, Balls, Theatre, and Such)


Queen Charlotte (1744–1818)

By the 1730s, the mantua had evolved from relaxed fashionable dress into a formal garment. It was required dress for court, where Queen Charlotte continued to insist on it into the nineteenth century,






“Garments were constructed in ways that allowed them to be easily adapted as fashions changed,” says Reynolds. And “they were considered valuable enough to warrant itemisation and careful description in account books, marriage contracts, wills, and even adverts offering rewards for stolen goods.”

The fashions of the Georgian era and Regency era, in general are fascinating to me. There is a plethora of information on the internet about this subject if you are interested in learning more.


 

As always, I am thankful that you have come to learn more about The Life and Times of Hope for Charity. Next month, we plan to look at women's accessories: shoes, wigs, jewelry, etc. I hope you will join me. Please subscribe if you aren't already so you don't miss any upcoming blog posts, newsletters, or updates. And may I ask a favor? Will you consider sharing these posts with your friends and family? I appreciate every effort you make on my behalf! Also, I would love to see your comments. I really want to hear from you! Every like, share, and comment makes a difference in the growth of my readership.



 



This Christmas Season, I pray that you and your families will know the Peace that only the Prince of Peace, The Lord Jesus, can give. I pray that you will celebrate His birth and all the Hope it brings. For without the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, we would have no hope because He came to earth in the human form so that He could die. For us. For our sins, not His own, to make a way of Salvation for us. Through His miraculous birth, perfect life, death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead, He made the only way for us to be made right with God, The Father. Won't you seek Him today? He is calling you to repentance and faith. May you and your families be filled with His FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE today and this Christmas Season. In Jesus' Name, Amen.



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