Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dress of the Day: Blue Tartan Dress

This fashionable young lady (i.e. me) is in Scotland and must choose her attire carefully to suit her surroundings. And what can be better suited to the green vastness and natural beauty of Scotland than this gorgeous blue tartan dress?    

Dress, 1845, England. Source: Victoria & Albert Museum  
Date: 1845
Country: United Kingdom
Materials: Silk satin, trimmed with velvet ribbon, lined with linen and silk, hand-sewn
Credit Line: Given by Lady Lindsey
The dress is blue tratan silk satin trimmed with black velvet bows that are decorated with agate stud buttons. The bodice is piped, lined with cotton and boned. The long tights sleeves have open epaulette and the skirt is lined with yellow and white silk. As the fashion of the time dictated, the gown has a high, round neck and a long, pointed waistline.

Did you know that tartan was banned by an Act of Parliament in 1746? The British government was not particularly happy with the unruly Scots and wanted to keep them in check by prohibiting traditional dress such as tartan and kilts. The kilt was still allowed as part of the military dress, though. But when the law was repealed forty years later everyone rushed to stock up on their plaids. And by the 1840s, tartan fabrics like this one were all the rage. The fad was  fueled by Walter Scott's exciting, brooding adventure novels and Queen Victoria's new royal residence at Balmoral, Scotland.

I fully intend to find myself a castle and sit by a window reading Ivanhoe in this beautiful blue tartan.    

Source: Victoria & Albert Museum

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