Friday, December 30, 2011

Riding Drefs

While searching through the Lewis Walpole Gallery last summer I came across many images of riding habits, not all of which were the typical design we are accustom to seeing.  I started collecting up these to get a better idea of when or what it was.  Although there seems to be a variance of style (two in particular), I'm just going to define what follows as "unfitted Riding Habits", meaning they lack a waist seam.  It seems to come into style along with the Polonaise gown, and some distinctly resemble it down to the wrinkles.  Some are more military in style, one fashion plate of this style defines it as a Bavarian Frock, while the others have a tapering collar with a tie for closure in front.  There were many other images that looked like they might be unfitted, but I really couldn't tell if it was just the artists quick rendition (especially since the arm usually covers the seam).
I was in the Millinery/Tailor shop soon after and Mark Hutter had made a habit based on the Polonaise style (you can see the final product on Sarah here).  He mentioned that it might even be called Riding Habit a la Polonaise.  It took me up until this month to really delve into documents to find any references to that particular style.  I found three potential references to a Riding Habit a la Polonaise (or commonly Polonese), and a few good ideas of colors and interesting comments I'll post at the bottom.

In the Public Advertiser, April 15 of 1779: PARMENTIER, lately from Paris, Ladies Robe and Mantua-maker, makes all sorts of ladies dresses in the present taste; as Polish, Circassian, Italian, and Levee gowns for the country; Caraco a la Provencale, Riding-Habits a la Polonoise, and all sorts of corsets.

In the Morning Post and Daily Advertiser, January 31 of 1775 there is a Habit-Maker advertising that he makes "Masquerade dresses, and a la Polonaise".  I can't quite guarantee he isn't referring to a gown of that style, but it's something to keep in mind once I know more about who made Polonaise gowns (probably dependent on usage since "Polonaise" seems to come up in reference to Masquerades early on).

In the Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser, January 1 or 1776 there is a long list of items available and prices beside them.  Under "Habits made of:" is Superfine 4 9 0, Cassimere 4 14 6, Neatly Trimmed a la Polonaise 5 5 0, and Ratteen for winter wear 3 13 6.

1781: The Sudden Explosion

Public Advertiser August 23 1776: Grey with Scarlet lining and Stone with Green lining.
Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser March 14 1777: A lost Riding Habit of "green striped cloth, lined with pink silk and pink silk waistcoat."
Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser February 1 1779: A "cloth coloured riding habit lined with pink silk".
Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser May 31 1779: The Duchess of Cumberland seen wearing a "Pea-green" riding dress.
Lloyd's Evening Post August 14 1780: Riding Habit of "Superfine Claret Broad Cloth".
Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser October 24 1780: A brown Riding Habit lost.

Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser August 15 of 1776: Riding Habits of kerseymere faced with silk, cloth, silk, jean, jenner, and nankeen.
Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser November 7 1776: Riding Habit of cassimere.
Bath Chronicle November 6 1777:  Riding Habits are continued to be made in the most fashionable taste in plain or superfine cloth trimmed with silk 5 5, silk waist 5 15, with high-polished steel 6 6, elegant patent buttons 6 16. A dress with French Boullion frogs, and silk waistcoat 7 17 6. Ditto with frogs of gold, silver, and different colour folio, and silk waistcoat trimmed in proportion 8 16 6. Fashionably bound with a striped or flower tissue waistcoat 9 9. Scarlet cloth, half a guinea; striped or spotted 35s. addition to the prices above-mentioned.
Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser January 31 1778: Riding Habits of cloth faced with silk 5 5 0, with gimp or frogs 5 15 6, jean 4 4 0, nankeen 3 13 6.  In "foreign or English fashion".
London Courant and Westminster Chronicle July 4 1780: Riding Habits of superfine Kerseymere fac'd with silk 5 0 0, superfine cloth fac'd with silk 4 14 6, fine jean or jennet 3 11 0, nankeen 3 0 0.
Gazeteer and New Daily Advertiser October 31 1780: A Riding Habit of cotton with metal buttons.
Caledonian Mercury December 9 1782: "Superfine printed Paoli for fashionable riding habits"

General Evening Post June 13 1778: "The only tonish undress at present among the ladies of all ranks is a scarlet riding habit, faced of the colour that distinguishes the regiment of militia in which their husbands, their lovers, or their keepers now serve, at the different encampments."
Morning Post and Daily Advertiser April 22 1780: "Ladies Riding Hats made peculiarly light, and of the best qualities; of a most delicate white, without the least dusty powder in them, a merrit no other sort of white hats can claim; are also dyed of various fine colours, and if required dyed to match habits. The black are remarkably light, and of superior quality to any yet every offered to the public."


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this wonderful round-up of riding habits. Simply fabulous as I'm just writing a scene with a lady huntress.

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