When she rose in the morning, the 1850s Victorian lady covered her head with a cambric cap with narrow lappets and edged with a waving frill of Valenciennes. She wrapped herself in a stylish morning robe of some pale tint, high at the neck, and gathered fan-shaped at the back of the waist. This garment was fastened from chin to toe with little frogs, and the wide sleeves fell back over the arms. Beneath it peeped out a close-plaited chemise with a plain collar and falling frill. Her feet were thrust into heelless slippers known as nonchalantes, embroidered with brightly colored braids.
Thus dressed, she gave audience to her servants, grooms, footmen, saddler, dressmakers, and milliners. She went into every matter methodically, inquiring about her horses, looking through her tailor’s bills, as well as those of her milliner and shoemaker, settling tradesmen’s accounts, saying a word to her florist, and retiring finally to her boudoir, to change her dress, and make herself ready to receive her expected female visitors.
This morning robe is of white merino. The back is plain and the front cut is without division at the waist. A deep pattern of grape leaves and tendrils graduates from the bottom of the robe to the waist. The stems and tendrils are of delicate round braid. The leaves are of blue silk appliqué, vined with a delicate cord. This vine ascends up the front to the shoulders, where it meets a small rounded collar, overrun with a light braid pattern. The sleeves are formed by a deep cap overlapping two flounces, all edged with blue embroidery, like that on the skirt. The middle flounce is looped to the cap with a cord and tassel. The dress is fastened down the front with blue silk buttons, and girded to the waist by a long blue silk cord terminated by rich tassels.
The Victorian morning robe is made of a fine blue merino. The back is gathered with some fullness. A facing of deep blue silk turns back on each side of the front, terminating about six inches wide at the bottom and narrowing at the waist to about half that width, whence it grows broad again and spreads over the entire front of the chest. The sleeves are a flowing pagoda shape, turned up with blue silk. The skirt falls open from the waist, revealing the front of a puffed under-skirt. Double rows of fancy buttons unite the corsage above the waist and form a pretty trimming to each side of the skirt. A round collar, enriched with French needlework, is worn with the robe. A heavy cord and tassel are also worn at the waist.
This elegant morning robe is of fine white cambric, the back slightly full, and drawn in at the waist with three shirrs. Three rows of delicately wrought cambric insertion, separated by puffings of cambric two inches wide, forming a mass of superb trimming which covers the entire front at the shoulders and decreases to the width of four inches at the waist. The skirt is long, and flows about the person in ample drapery. The sleeves are long and bordered with a cuff, four inches deep, which folds back on the sleeve and is formed of bands of insertion and puffings of cambric. The edge is finished with a frill of needlework. A round collar forms a pretty finish to the neck; like the trimming of the sleeves, it is formed of puffings of cambric, alternated with bands of insertion and edged with a needlework frill. The front is secured by small lace buttons and brought into graceful form at the waist by wide cambric strings edged with needlework.
Although this morning robe is cut in the usual form with a plain sacque front and plain back, what designates its elegant style is its extraordinary trimming. This ornamentation, commencing about six inches wide on each side of the opening, is graduated to about half that width at the neck. It is formed of ribbon, one inch wide, of the same rich colors as the dress, drawn in the form of a ruffle, which is placed at equal distances, in groups of three each. The front is secured by heavy silk buttons with drooping tassels. The sleeves are of the usual length, in the pagoda style, and bordered with three rows of the trimming. A pretty trimming ornaments the inside of the arm; it consists of a single row of the ribbon trimming arranged in the form of a gore, which is six inches wide at the bottom and extends the full length of the sleeve; two groups of the trimming cross it at equal distances, corresponding with the front trimming. The neck is finished with a small round collar, edged with two rows of ribbon. A heavy silk cord and tassel fastens the waist.