7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In Ye Olden Days - Fashion Babies

Ever wonder how people kept up on fashion back in the day? I mean, in the 18th century fashion was EVERYTHING. Even here in the colonies--in fact, a London man described our balls and gowns as far more fashion-forward than anything to be seen in London. (Not his exact words, but that's the gist, LOL.) But it wasn't exactly the age of full-color magazines . . . nor of Fashion Weeks. They didn't have Style or E! and certainly couldn't browse Ideeli daily for awesome bargains on designers.

So they looked at dolls. Yep, that's right. Marie Antoinette was more than a leader of France in the late 18th century, she was the unanimously agreed upon leader of fashion the world over. And whenever Marie Antoinette appeared in a new style, her peeps would make miniature versions of it for dolls and send those dolls to every major port.

It may have taken two months, but those "fashion babies" arrived on our doorsteps and brought detailed examples from the Queen of Fashion into our lives. And so, though it moved at a snail's pace compared to our changes from season to season now, styles changed far more quickly than they had in centuries prior.
All thanks to prettily made up baby dolls. =)


  1. What a great way to see the styles, but looking at them 3D in miniature. I would love to have one of those dolls!! And I'm sure they were precious for any little girl who might find a way to obtain one of her own for play.

    Thanks for your interesting post about this!

  2. Cool. Do you know if they were still doing this in the 1800s?

  3. Wow, how exqusite they are and something any woman would hold in high regard. They must be great collecter's items, are any still in this world to collect I wonder. (just day-dreaming a bit, perhaps lol)

  4. Oh, I love that little doll pic a the bottom! I have seen a few of those at museums. So precious. And it really does make sense to promote them in such a fashion - a win-win as we'd say today.

  5. Susan Craft said...

    Very interesting post, Roseanna. The picture of the doll is fabulous. Wondering if I can write this into my next novel where my character is walking down a mercantile street in Charleston.

  6. Carla actually found that picture for me (THANKS, CARLA!!!!!)

    Dina's, I've only ever heard of them originating with Marie Antoinette, and she died in 1793. But it's certainly worth looking into! I would think someone might have continued the tradition, I just have nothing to base that thought on. ;-)

    Maggie Ann, I'm not sure if there are any available for collectors, but wouldn't that be divine!! =)

  7. Susan Craft said ...

    Since we're talking about fashion, I found this interesting tidbit about makeup at Court --An 18th Century toilette began with a heavy white foundation made from white lead, egg white, and a variety of other substances. This was overlaid with white powder (typically potato or rice powder), rouge, and deep red or cherry lip color.

    Tiny pieces of fabric, known as patches, in the shapes of dots, hearts, stars, etc. were applied to the face with adhesive. The fashion is thought to have originated as a way of disguising pox scars and other blemishes, but gradually developed coded meanings. A patch near the mouth signified flirtatiousness; one on the right cheek denoted marriage; one on the left cheek announced engagement; one at the corner of the eye signified a mistress.

  8. That's a cool tidbit, Susan!

    Dina, fashion plates (printed illustrations) were first made in Paris in 1778 and used in America in the 1830's. I don't know when the dolls stopped being used (actually they got bigger and became what we now see as mannequins). But with the designs published that became a more broader way to show current trends to the fashionistas of the day.

  9. Thanks, Carla. I can use that in the story I'm working on.


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