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ANECDOTES OF DRESS, AND THE CAPRICES OF FASHION. FROM MALCOLM'S "ANECDOTES OF THE MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF LONDON DURING THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY."
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"IN June 1722, the Bishop of Durham appeared on horseback at a review, in the King's tfain, in a lay habit of purple with jack boots, and his hat cocked, and black wig tied behind him like a militant officer.
"George II. reviewed the Guards in 1727, habited in grey cloth faced with purple, with a purple feather in his hat; and the three eldest Princesses went to Richmond in riding habits, with hats and feathers and periwigs.
"I have met with the following description of the dress of a running footman in 1730:They wear fine holland drawers and waist. coats, thread stockings, a blue silk sash fringed with silver, a velvet cap with a great tassel; and carry a porter's staff with a large silver handle.'
"The beaus of the day seemed emulous of the running fraternity in the latter part of their insignia, according to the Universal Spectator,|| which says :— The wearing of swords at the court-end of the town is by many polite young gentlemen laid aside; and instead thereof they carry large oak sticks, with great heads and ugly faces carved thercon.'
|| pursuing the change; this makes fashion so universally followed, and is the true reason why the awkwardest people are as fond of this folly as the genteelest, who give a grace to every thing they wear. I shall not busy myself with the ladies' shoes and stockings at all; it may serve to recal some ideas to the young fellows of this age, which it does not become my character and office to encourage; but I cannot so easily pass over the hoop when it is in my way, and therefore I inust beg pardon of my fair readers, if I begin my attack where the above mentioned pretty gentlemen end theirs. It is now some years since this remarkable fashion made a figure in the world, and from its first beginning, divided the public opinion as to its convenience and beauty. For my own part I was always willing to indulge it uuder some restrictions; that is to say if it is not a rival to the dome of St. Paul's, to incumber the way, or a tub for the resistance of a new Diogenes; if it does not eclipse too much beauty above, or discover too much below. In short, I am for living in peace; and I am afraid a fine lady, with too much liberty in this particular, would render my own ima gination an enemy to my repose.
"An advertisement in March 1731, mentions several articles of the dress of the time; amongst which were, 'a black velvet petticoat; "The farthingal, according to several painta rose-coloured paduasoy mantua, lined withings, and even history itself, is as old as Queen rich mautua silk of the same colour; a suit of black paduasoy; a long velvet scarf, lined with a shot silk of pink blue; a long silk hood laced, two white short silk aprons, one embroidered with silk at the edges; one green silk apron embroidered with silk and silver; three new muslin India half handkerchiefs, spotted with plated silver; two gauze half handkerchiefs, one brown embroidered with gold, silver, and silk; a short crimson satin cloak, lined with white silk; a gold and silver girdle, with buckles set with Bristol stones,
"The Weekly Register of July 10, 1731, contains the following lively survey of female dress:
"The love of novelty is the parent of fashion, and as the fashion sickens with one image it longs for another; this is the cause of the continued revolutions of habit and behaviour, and why we are so industrious in No. XLIII-Vol. VI.
Elizabeth, though it is possible it had its origin in the same manner as the hoop, and was worn as universally; but the prudes of our days revived it in stark opposition to that fashion, and boasted that while they were in that circle they were secure from temptation; nay, some of them have presumed to say that it gave them all the chastity of that heroic Princess, who died, as she had lived, a virgin, after so many years of trial.-N. B. Her Maids of Honour wore farthingals as well as her Majesty, and undoubtedly participated of the same virtue, though I submit that point to the examination of the learned.
"The stay is a part of modern dress that I have an invincible aversion to, as giving a stiffness to the whole frame, which is void of all grace, and an enemy to beauty; but, as I would not offend the ladies by absolutely condemning what they are so fond of, I will recal my censure, and only observe that even this L
female armour is changing mode continually, and favours or distresses the enemy according to the humour of the wearer. Sometimes the stomacher almost rises to the chin, and a modesty-bit serves the purpose of a ruff: at other times it is so complaisant as not to reach half way, and the modesty is but a transparent shade to the beauties underneath. This is what one inay call opening the windows of heaven, and giving us a view of paradise; the other shuts up every avenue, and makes reserve a dragon for its security: the first may give passion too great a licence, and the last may be an injury to nature: for which reason I recommend a medium; coquets are the encouragers of one, and prudes of the other.
"I have no objection to make to the tippet. It may be made an elegant and beautiful ornament; in winter the sable is wonderfully graceful, and a fine belp to the complexion: in summer the colours and the composition are to be adapted with judgment, neither dull without fancy, nor gaudy without beauty.
"As the breast-knot allows a good deal of ingenuity in the delicate choice of colours, and disposition of figure, I think it may be indulged; but very sparingly, and rather with a negligence than the least affectation.
"I come now to the head-dress, the very highest point of female elegance; and here I find such a variety of modes, such a medley of decoration, that it is hard to know where to fix; lace and cambric, gauze and fringe, feathers and ribands, create such a confusion, occasion such frequent changes, that it defies art, judgment, or taste to reconcile them to any standard, or reduce them to any order. That ornament of the hair which is styled the horns, and has been in vogue so long, was certainly first calculated by some good-natured lady to keep her spouse in countenance; and, by sympathy, the fashion has prevailed ever since.
"The high-crowned hat, after having been confined to cots and villages for so long a time, is become the favourite mode of quality, and is the politest distinction of a fashionable undress. I quarrel with it only because it seems to be a kind of masquerade; it would insinuate an idea of innocence and rusticity, though the Park is not the likeliest place to be the scene of either: in short, if a woman is dressed like a wood nymph, I expect the simplicity of manners, and full force of rural nature, which is of a piece with the character; but I am generally most egregiously disap. pointed. Some lady who was intimate with the intrigue of romances was certainly the reviver of this custom; she had read of lucky adventures in that disguise, and fancied an
amour was its inseparable companion. Oa which account I give public notice that a highcrowned hat shall be esteemed as an emblem of an amorous heart, and a signal for the first assignation that falls in the way.
"The hat and peruke, which has been some time made part of a lady's riding equipage, is such an odd kind of affectation, that I hardly || know under what species to range it; it is such an enemy to female beauty, it is so foreign to every amiable grace, it adds such a masculine fierceness to the figure, and such a shameless boldness to every feature, that neither decency nor elegance can justify it.— None hat Amazons ought to wear it; and, if any of the sex are now courageous enough to bid defiance to mankind, I must insist on their wearing the breeches too, to make their disguise complete. But I am apt to believe it is made use of on quite different motives; it must certainly take place out of a more than ordinary regard to us, and must be meant as the highest compliment. Beside, it may serve to tickle the mind with pretty imaginatious; sometimes supply the absence of a beau, and sometimes please with the resemblance. I never see one of these heroines without ascribing some such cause for her gallantry; and always surmise with what readiness she would part with the appearance in exchange for the reality.
"The riding habit simply, without the black velvet cap and white feather, is, in my opinion, the most elegant dress that belongs to the ladies' wardrobe; there is a grace and gentility in it that all other dresses want; it displays the shape and turn of the body to great advantage, and betrays a negligence that is perfectly agreeable. This fashion was certainly first invented by a woman of taste; and I am pleased to see the ladies it. general so well reconciled to it. It argues something like good sense in their choice still remaining; and
she who makes her whole actions most conformable to that standard, will always be most secure of conquests and reputation.'
"Perukes were an highly important article in 1734. Those of right grey human hair were four guineas each; light grizzle ties three guineas; and other colours in proportion, to twenty-five shillings. Right grey human hair cue perukes from two guineas to fifteen shillings each, which was the price of dark cues: and right grey bob perukes two guineas and an half to fifteen shillings, the price of dark bobs. Those mixed with horse-hair were much lower. It will be observed from the gradations in price, that real grey hair was most in fashion, and dark of no estimation.
"The following extracts will describe the dresses of 1735 :-On bis Majesty's birth-day, the Queen was in a beautiful suit, made of silk of the produce of Georgia; and the same was universally acknowledged to excel that of any other country. The noblemen and gentlemen wore chiefly at court brown flowered velvets, | or dark cloth coats, laced with gold or silver, or plain velvets of various colours, and breeches of the same; their waistcoats were either gold 、stuffs, or rich flowered silks of a large pattern, with a white ground: the make much the same as has been worn some time, only many had open sleeves to their coats: their tie wigs were with large curls, setting forward and rising from the forehead, though not very high: the ties were thick, and longer than of late, and both behind; some few had bag wigs.
"The ladies wore flowered silks of various sorts, of a large pattern, but mostly with a white ground with wide short sleeves, and short petticoats: their gowns were pinned up variously behind, though mostly narrow. Some few had gold or silver nets on their petticoats, || and to their facings and robings; and some bad gold and silver set on their gown sleeves, like flounces: they wore chiefly fine escaloped laced heads, and dressed mostly English. Some few had their hair curled down on the sides; but most of them had it pinned up quite strait, and almost all of them with powder, both before and behind. Some few had their heads made up Dutch, some with cockades of ribands on the side, and others with artificial flowers; they wore treble escaloped laced ruf fles, one fall tacked up before, and two down, but all three down behind; though some few had two falls tacked up, and one down before. Laced tippets were much worn; some had diamond solitaires to hook them together; others had their jewels made up bows and ends. Those without tippets had mostly very broad laced tuckers, with diamond necklaces and ear-rings. Diamond buckles were much worn in the shoes both of the gentlemen and ladies. Lord Castlemain made a very splendid appearance among the young noblemen in a rich gold stuff coat; as Lady Harcourt did among the ladies, in a white ground rich silk embossed with gold and silver, and fine coloured flowers of a large pattern.'
tainment, but am debarred that diversion by
"When our present Queen landed in Eng-
"General Napier lost by robbery in the same year a painted silk negligée and petticoat, the ground white, a running pattern of flowers and leaves, the edges of the leaves painted in silver, and the veins gold, with some birds and butterflies painted thereon.'
"The author of Historical Remarks on Dress,
Judge Finch introduced the band in the time
"The Editor of the London Evening Post has whimsically described the dresses then prevail"The Countess Dowager of Effingham was ing, under the character of Miss Townley, in robbed of the robes which she wore at the coroone of his papers for December 1738, who ob- nation, and other dresses; and thus described serves :-' I am a young woman of fashion, them in an advertisement :- Coronation who loves plays, and should be glad to frequent robes with a silver tissue petticoat, the gold them, as an agreeable and instructive enter-trimmings to the petticoat, and the tassels, &c.
You will perhaps be surprized when I tell you it is the cork rump. To explain this technical
to the robe taken off, and put into papers; a scarlet-flowered damask mantua petticoat, very richly embroidered with silver; an uncut red-term, you are to know that the ladies have flowered velvet mantua petticoat, trimmed thought it conducive to elegance to make cork with silver flounces of net with silver tassels; under the straps of their stays, in order, that a very rich blue and silver mantua petticoat, by the protuberance of this new additional with a figured ground; a mantua petticoatrump, their waist may seem the smaller and white and gold, with figured ground; a white the more delicate.' satin gown and petticoat; a brown satin sack richly brocaded with silver; a new satin sack and petticoat, white satin ground brocaded yellow; a scarlet unwatered tabby sack and petticoat; a white tissue flowered sack and petticoat; a white and silver sack; a red satin fly petticoat, with a broad silver orrice at the bottom; a quilted red silk petticoat; and a blue and gold Turkey silk sack and petticoat.'
"A person whose name is not mentioned, influenced by the same cause as the Countess, described cloaths as follows: A brocade, lustring sack with a ruby-coloured ground and white tobine stripes trimmed with floss; a black satin sack flowered with red and white flowers trimmed with white floss; a pink and white striped tobine sack and petticoat trimmed with white floss; and a garnet-coloured lustring night-gown, with a tobine stripe of green and white, trimmed with the floss of the same colour, and lined with straw-coloured lustring.'
"Such were the gawdy fashions of our dames c'rca 1763. Are we not improved in our taste, good reader?'
"The ladies head dress in 1765 is said to have exactly resembled that of Mary Queen of Scots as represented in her portraits.
"Court mournings were continued for a most unreasonable length of time previous to 1768, and became very prejudicial to the manufacturer and retailer; but remonstrances from the city of London procured the ensuing notice, which was inserted in the Gazette:
"His Majesty, in compassion to such manufacturers and people in the trade as by the length of court mournings are, in this time of general scarcity and dearness of provisions, deprived in a great measure of the means of getting bread, hath been pleased to give directions for shortening all such mournings for the future: and the Lord Chamberlain's orders for court mournings will be issued hereafter conformably thereto.'
"The subject of dress is now nearly exbausted; but I cannot part with the follies of thirty years without permitting an observer to speak of one of them :
Among the many enormous exuberances of modern dress, I believe there is one lately sprung up which you may not have noticed.
"Some of the then and subsequent exuberances shall now be brought to recollection. And first, the head-this we have seen covered with a cushion, as it was termed, generally formed of horse-hair, and something like a porter's knot set upon the ends; over this the hair was combed strait, the sides curled, and the back turned up, and the whole powdered; diminutive caps of gauze, adorned with ribands, and miniature hats, generally of black silk trimmed, were stuck on the tower of hair with long pins. The waist was covered by a longbodied gown, drawn exceedingly elose over stays laced still closer; the hips sometimes supported a bell hoop; the shoulders alternately small cloaks and cardinals, the former of muslin and silk, and the latter almost always of black silk richly laced.
"This description of female dress altered by degrees to the present fashion: the head insensibly lowered; the horse-hair gave place to large natural curls spread over the face and ears; the cap enlarged to an enormous size, and the bonnet swelled in proportion; hoops were entirely discontinued, except at court; silks became unfashionable, and printed cali
coes and the finest white muslins were substi tuted, and still hold their influence. The ladies have at length, much to their honour, thrown aside those hateful attempts to supply nature's deficiencies or omissions, the false breasts, pads, and bottoms; and now appear in that native grace and proportion which distinguishes an English woman: the hair, cleansed from all extraneous matter, shines in beautiful lustre carelessly turned round the head in the manner adopted by the most eminent Grecian sculptors; and the form appears through their snow-white draperies in that fascinating manner which excludes the last thought of impropriety. Their hats and bonnets of straw, chip, and beaver, are generally well proportioned and handsome; and their velvet pelisses, shawls, and silk spencers, are contrived to improve rather than injure the form.
"But in the midst of this praise I must be permitted to make one observation; and that is, some thoughtless females indulge in the licence of freedom rather too far, and shew their person n a manner offensive to modesty.
"The male dress changed almost insensibly || than the rest of the dress in the aggregate; it from formality to ease. This was effected is enough to say, the neckcloth has been commerely by altering the cut of the cloaths: thepared to a towel tied under the chin. materials are the same they were a hundred "The hair was a long time dressed or frizzed years past; the colours however are more high on the head, like a negro's wool, and pergrave. Deep blue, dark browns, mixtures, fectly whitened with powder, and alternately and black, are worn by the sedate and the gay, plaited and turned up or queued behind. The the young and the old the former indeed powder-tax occurred, and thousands of heads sometimes appear in coats rather large for their became in an instant black and brown; and, persons; but they compensate for this oddity as the revolution in France deserved imitation, by stretching their pantaloons almost to burst- the fierce republican head of Brutus stared us ing, and wear something that resembles the full in the front, mounted upon the shoulders waistcoat of a boy seven years old. The mo- of Ladies and box-lobby loungers composed of dern hat is very convenient-a high flat crown puppies rather than men. and narrow brim, pressed down before and behind, and turned up at the sides. Square toed shoes have been revived; and half and whole boots are, I believe, every thing but slept in. The modern neckcloth should not be omitted, especially as it has undergone more ridicule
"Since those days of horror powder again makes its appearance with the hair cropped close, except above the forehead; there it is turned erect in imitation of a cock's-comb.
"And now, fashion, I bid thee, in perfect good humour, heartily farewel!"
THE SPORTS AND PASTIMES
USED IN TIMES OF OLD IN LONDON.
"LET us now (saith Fitzstephen) come to
the sports and pastimes, seeing it is fit that a
"The scholars of every school have their balls or bastions in their hands: the ancient and
back, to see the sports of the young men, and to take part of the pleasure in beholding their agility.
city should not only be commodious and seri-wealthy men of the city come forth on horseoes, but also merry and sportful. Whereupon, in the scales of the Popes, until the time of|| Pope Leo, on the one side was St. Peter fishing, with a key over him, reached as it were by the hand of God out of heaven, and about it this verse-Tu pro me navem liquisti, sasc pe clavem. On the other side was a city, and this incripsion on it-Aurea Roma. Likewise to the praise of Augustus Cæsar, and the eity, in respect of the showes and sports, was written-Nocte pluit tota redeunt spectacula mene, &c.
"Every Friday in Leut a fresh company of young men come into the field on horseback, and the best horsemen conduct the rest. Then march forth the citizeus' sons, and other young men, with disarmed launces and shields, and there they practised feats of war.
"Many courtiers, likewise, when the King lieth near, and attendants on noblemen, do repair to those exercises, and while the hope of
"Alluight it rains, and shows at morrow-tide victory doth inflame their minds, they shew by
"And Cæsar with Almighty Jove bath match'd
an equal reign."
good proof, how serviceable they would be in martial affairs.
"In Easter holidays they fight battles on the water; a shield is bung upon a pole, "But London for the shoves upon theatres, fixed in the midst of the stream; a boat is preand comical pastimes, hath holy plays, repared without oars, to be carried with violence presentations of torments wherein the con- of the water, and in the fore-part thereof stancy of martyrs appeared. Every year also, standeth a young man, ready to give charge on Shrove Tuesday (that we may begin with upon the shield with his launce. If so be he childrens' sports, seeing we all have been break his launce upon the shield and doth not children:) the school-boys do bring cocks of fall, he is thought to have performed a worthy the game to their master, and all the forenoon deed. If so be without breaking his launce he they delight themselves with cock-fighting.runneth strongly against the shield, down he After dinner all the youths go into the fields falleth into the water, for the boat is forced to play at the ball. with the tide; but on each side of the shield