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Formal Dress

Updated: Aug 3, 2021

FULL DRESS was worn only for very formal occasions, such as a ball or a formal reception or party. Evening Dress and Ball Dress would fall into the category of Full Dress. The style of formal dress is fairly consistent over the Regency period, a high waistline and a narrow silhouette and the neckline low. In the later years, the simplicity of the classical Greek style gives way to more decoration and embellishments, skirts and sleeves gradually widen. The simple ribbon and lace of the hemline gradually becomes deeper and more elaborate with deep flounces. White remains the predominant colour throughout the period and popular fabrics are satin, crepe and sarsnet for the main dress and sheer, delicate fabrics such as muslin or tulle for the overdress. A train might be a part of the outfit. Long gloves, usually white, were always worn and were made of kid. Jewellery and shawls were usual accompaniments, the shawls often Paisley patterns from Kashmir. Shoes of satin or kid, often richly embroidered finished off the outfit.

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