Friday, 4 July 2014

The Ladies Dressing Room – a 1694 A to Z


1694 - Lady in winter clothing

Women’s headdresses in the late seventeenth century were incredibly complex, and reached heights unseen since the hennin in the fifteenth century. The Ladies Dictionary, written by N.  H. and printed by John Dunton in 1694, discusses much about the fashions of the time, a facsimile reprint of this was published in 2010. 


In 1925 a collection of extracts from the Ladies Dictionary was published under the title The Closet of Beauty, and the A-Z below comes from a section of this entitled Apparel or the Ladies' Dressing Room.


To illustrate the fashion being discussed I have chosen two images. A 1694 fashion plate engraved by the French artist Jean Dieu de Saint-Jean (1654-1695) shows a lady in winter clothing, wearing, from the list below; a commode, echelles, engageants, mouche and a palatine. The second engraving is of Queen Mary II, and shows more detail of the headdress

 An Attache –is as much to say, vulgarly, tack’d or fasten’d together, or one thing fasten’e to another
A Burgoigin – is that part of the head-dress that covers the hair, being the first part of the dress.
A Berger – is a little lock, plain, with a Puff turning up like the ancient fashion used by shepherdesses.
A Campaigne – is a kind of a narrow lace, pick’d or scallop’d.
A Choux – is the round boss behind the head, resembling a cabbage, and the French accordingly so name it.
A Colberteen – is a lace resembling network, being of the manufacture of Monsieur Colbert, a French states-man.
A Commode –is a frame of wire, two or three stories high, fitted for the head, or cover’d with tiffany, or other thin silks: being now completed into the whole Head-dress.
A Confidant – is a small curl next the ear.
A Cornet is the upper pinner that dangles about the cheeks, hanging down with flaps.
A Creve-coeur – by some call’d heart-breaker, is the curl’d lock at the nape of the neck, and generally there are two of them.
A Crunch or Crunches – are the small locks that dangle on the forehead.
An Echelles – is a stomacher lac’d or ribboned in the form of steps of a ladder.
Engageants – are double ruffles that fall over the wrists.
Al-Favourites – a sort of modish locks which hang dangling on the temples.
A Flandan – is a kind of pinner joined with a cornet.
A Font-Ange – is a modish top knot first worn by Mademoiselle d’Fontange, one of the French King’s Misses, from whom it takes its name.
Queen Mary II
A Jardine – is a single pinner next the low mark or Burgogn.
A pair of Martial’s gloves so called from the Frenchman’s name, who pretends to make them better than others.
A Mont la Haut  - is a certain wire that raises the head-dress by degrees or stories.
A Mouchoir – is only that which we vulgarly call a handkerchief.
A Mouche – is a fly or black patch.
A Murtnere – is a black knot that unites and ties the curls of the hair.
A Palantine – is that which used to be called a sable-tippet, but that name is change to one that is supposed to be finer, because newer, and a la mode de France.
A Passanger – is a curled lock next to the temple, and commonly two of them are used.
A Panache – is any tassel of ribbons very small, etc.
A Ragg – is a quaint name they give to point or lace, so that the sempstresses who bring them to the chambers of the ladies are called by them ragwomen.
A Rayonne – is a hood placed over the rest, pinned in a circle.
A Settee – is only a double pinner.
A Sortie  - is a little knot of small ribbons; it appears between the bonnet and the pinner.
A Spagnolet  - is a gown with narrow sleeves and lead in them to keep them down a la Spagnole.
A Sultane – is one of these new fashioned gowns with buttons and loops.
A Surtout – is a night-hood, which goes over or covers the rest of the head-gear.
A Tour – is an artificial dress of hair, first invented by some ladies that had lost their own hair, and borrowed of other to cover their shame, but since it is brought into a fashion.
An Asasm or Venez moy –signifies a breast knot, or may serve for the two leading strings that pull a lady to her sweetheart.

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