1810 Ballgown

Friday’s Fashion Plate: 1810 Ballgown

This English ballgown is from Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, 1810.

Ball Dress, 1810

Ball Dress, 1810 ~ Ackermann's Repository of Arts

In 1810, the Empire style of costume was at its height. Dresses were long and narrow, with very high waists. Petticoats were slender and for modesty only; they did little to shape the slender skirts.

Here we have an ankle-length ballgown of white satin with a delicate overlay of black net. The bodice has a wide square neckline, short puffed sleeves, and a dip at the center waist. The overlay of black net is split down the center, forming a V-shape on the bodice; it’s caught together at the high waist, and again at her hips. Small black tassels trim the hem of the overlay.

To finish the outfit, she wears elbow-length white gloves, a necklace of jet beads, and a matching bracelet on her upper arm. Her hair is pulled back with curls at the temples, and is topped with a crescent moon diadem. She wears white stockings and white slippers trimmed with black.


What do you think of this ballgown? Is the hem shockingly short or just right for dancing?

About Lisha Vidler

I am a sewing instructor living near Memphis, Tennessee.
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