It’s the time of year to enjoy all kinds of overindulgences, especially at the dinner table! For such feasts, wearing your loosest jeans/sweatpants and a not-white shirt (cranberry sauce stains like no other) is the modern norm. In the past, however, fancy dinners required fancy clothes! Corsets, manners, and the meals themselves– served in courses– would have made a historical dinner party a much different adventure than today’s free-for-all feasts. Women, especially those lucky enough to be rich, would often change clothes multiple times a day, switching between a morning dress, afternoon dress, and an evening dress or ball gown, depending on the occasion. As the 19th century continued, the use of occasion dresses increased to include visiting dresses, promenade dresses, walking dresses, and dinner dresses. The heyday of the dinner dress began around 1870 and turned into a full-blown trend by 1910, so many of these wonderful, festive gowns are from those eras.
American Silk Dinner Dress, circa 1841-46
American Silk Dinner Dress, circa 1870s
Jeanne Hallée Dinner Dress, circa 1894-96
House of Worth Dinner Dress, circa 1897-1900
Rouff Dinner Dress, circa 1900-03
Dinner Dress Attributed to Callot Soeurs, circa 1908
American Silk Dinner Dress, circa 1910-12
If they are all so beautiful, why won’t I wear any of these dresses to dinner? Well, truthfully, I would love to wear all of them, but with our family track record of globs, blobs, and escapee forkfuls of buttered potatoes, it would probably be best to avoid wearing such fine dresses to any family get-togethers!
There have many Thanksgiving celebrations in late fall throughout many cultures. The first official, nation wide celebration of Thanksgiving in the United States occurred in 1863 after a declaration from President Abraham Lincoln. His hope was that a united holiday of peaceful thanks, prayer, and brotherly celebration would help calm a shattering nation. However, it was not until many years later in 1941 that F.D.R. moved Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November in an effort to boost the national economy and morale.
After stuffing yourself with tasty foodstuffs, take a moment to appreciate your blessings and indulge in a smile!