“It was a good dress, a light, flimsy version of the naval blue, with white about it – no black, no concessions to Mrs Williams, for it was understood that at a ball any woman was allowed to make the best of herself; but where taste, figure and carriage are equal, a woman who can spend fifty guineas on her dress will look better than one who can only spend ten pounds.” – A description of Diana Villers’ dress, Post Captain
Now that the APG is engaged in reading Post Captain, which has much more action on land and involves more civilians (especially ladies) than Master and Commander, it seemed wise to take a look at civilian clothing during the Napoleonic Era. This gallery is full of images of extant ladies’ garments from approximately 1775-1820 in chronological order of style.
All images courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute unless otherwise noted.
Image: Madame Récamier by Jacques-Louis David.