Century Wrap-up :

Keeping warm the 18th century way


As an elegant woman, you spend a lot of time and energy getting dressed. The lacing, the pulling, the tying…and that's just the corset! Once you are dressed, and looking your best, the last thing you probably want to do is put a cloak over your gorgeous frock to go outside. Lucky for you, you live in a time where you have lots of different options in wraps. A lady must also see that her man is kept warm while braving the cold. Let's look at some different ways to keep warm throughout the century.

Great Coats!

One chic way for your favorite guy to top his garments is with a greatcoat. The greatcoat reminds one of his suit-coat, but is longer and bulkier, designed to protect the wearer from the sleet and snow. This woolen coat will make your Georgian gentleman feel like a real man with its dark colors and heavy woolen fabrics. The cut of the coat is roomy enough for many layers to fit underneath. This is especially handy when your man opts to wear a waistcoat, whose length began to creep towards the waist as the century crept forward. According to Helena Chalmers, "the wide skirts of the coats were stiffened with buckram and wire, which held them out from the figure in a jaunty fashion".

In the radical 40's, suddenly a coat of light blue with silver buttonholes was a must-have (Chalmers, 212). In the 50's, English men wore the justacorps, which boasted large cuffs and an even ampler skirt. The modern man favors the double-breasted, close fitting overcoat, though. A slimmer, neater profile flatters a man while the high collar is practical while being hip! And for traveling to far-off festivities, don't forget your traveling cloak. It can get very cold in that coach!




Hot Wraps

Ladies, it doesn't have to hurt to be beautiful! You can now match your outer garments to your frock. A cape can be wrapped around party dresses, or you can sport a mantelet, which stops at the waist to reveal pretty petticoats or huge hoops. Some stylish ladies even opt to substitute a dress for a coat! The redingote dress can also be called a "coat dress", and is very popular this season, especially for ladies with equestrian inclinations (see photo at left). If you've already got a special gown for a ball or New Year's bash, why not just cover up in a shawl? They are back and bigger than ever! Try one with loose sleeves and a hood for extra cozy comfort.



-Melissa Mares, Fashion Editor

Enlightened Elegance

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