Lady In Red

1780s habit2
Habit, c. 1780s

This week’s post fulfills my promise to showcase red gowns. There are numerous extant examples, ranging from habits (red is a very common habit color, and the most common color for cloaks from what I can tell) to day dresses, to fancy evening gowns. They come in every fabrication possible (wool, silk, netting, linen, cotton) and appear across classes (you see plenty of reds in the scraps preserved in Threads of Feeling). Frankly, Pinterest is overrun with examples.

open robe 1790
Open Robe, c. 1790
1795 round kci
Round Gown, c. 1795
red net dress
Shawl Gown, c. 1800
Printed Gown, c. 1800-1805
1808 example front
Red Dot Apron Gown, c. 1800-1810
net dress 1811
Red Net Gown, c. 1810-1815
1820 1822 red muslin evening dress
Red Muslin Evening Gown, c. 1820


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8 Responses to Lady In Red

  1. peggy quidor says:

    Thanks for shareing pic. of gowns I love anything red.

  2. HJ says:

    Thank you for this post. In those days before synthetic dyes, how was red dye obtained? I am wondering if one reason for its popularity might be that it was an easier (and therefore cheaper?) dye than most other colours, and / or it was easier to fix or kept its colour better than other colours. Also, perhaps it worked particularly well with wool and heavier fabrics and that’s why it was so popular for cloaks and riding habits?

    • Isobel Carr says:

      Red dyes from the era could have been made from madder root, commonly known as Turkey red (cheap) or for a brilliant (and more expensive) crimson, they would have used kermes (dried eggs of a Mediterranean insect) or Cochineal (ground up beetles from Mexico). So there was something for everyone.

  3. Oh. The Red net gown. It’s so pretty!!!!

  4. I know many petticoats were red for many reasons, some of them silly. Frex, the colour was considered to keep you warmer.

  5. Ella Quinn says:

    Thank you, Isobel! Tweeted and shared on FB.

  6. Another round of yummy dresses – yay! I particularly love the dress with the printed leaf pattern. Very pretty indeed!

    And wasn’t Cochineal also used for red gummibears once upon a time?

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