P is for Pelerine

 

The Alphabet Posts are back!  Now that I’m not all over the place, I hope to make it through the rest of the alphabet before the end of the year!

Today P is for pelerine, a short woman’s cape made of lace, silk, or fur, with pointed ends at the center front and popular during the 19th century.

Printed wool afternoon dress (with matching pelerine), American, ca. 1835. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Printed wool afternoon dress (with matching pelerine), American, ca. 1835. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Pelerines could be of the same material as the garment worn, or of a different material.

According to one source, the pelerine was “often associated with relatively casual situations. The fashion press suggested ensembles including pelerines for visits to the country or the seashore.”

There were, however, also more formal  and elaborate pelerines. such as this one from 1835, made of embroidered silk.

Pelerine, British c. 1835 embroidered silk. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Irene Lewisohn Trust

Pelerine, British c. 1835 embroidered silk. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Irene Lewisohn Trust

In March of 1853, Godey’s Lady’s Book suggested lace pelerines for “ladies who, for convenience or lightness of dress, wear low corsages [bodices] in the evening, but do not like to leave the neck entirely exposed.”

Pelerine. American c. 1835. Cotton.  Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.

Pelerine. American c. 1835. Cotton. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.

“This is a quintessential example of the multi-tiered pelerine collars of the 1830s that lay on top of the large gigot dress sleeves. The combination of floral embroidery, saw-tooth borders and various pointed edges creates a visually compelling effect.” Metropolitan Museum of Art

And my favorite, a formal pelerine made of jet and silk.

Pelerine, American 1890, jet, silk. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at Metropolitan Museum of Art

Pelerine, American 1890, jet, silk. Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at Metropolitan Museum of Art

Or this gorgeous specimen:

Silk satin Pelerine, glass bead embroidery, machine lace, silk lining . c. 1880. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Silk satin Pelerine, glass bead embroidery, machine lace, silk lining . c. 1880. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

One sometimes envies the fashions of prior eras, when elegance was a way of life.

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17 Responses to P is for Pelerine

  1. Julia Tagan says:

    Thanks so much for posting this – great photos and such sumptuous fabrics!

    Like

  2. Daisy Banks says:

    These are beautiful, so delicate and feminine. I surpose they are a bit like a pash these days but much more decorative. Nice post.

    Like

  3. melissakeir says:

    Beautiful fashion. I can see us wearing them today with the changes in temps inside and outside buildings. The black beaded one would be perfect for school!

    Like

    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      It would be, Melissa. My office is always either too hot or too cold and then going outside the building the weather always seems to be the opposite. This would be stylish wrap to combat those temps.

      Like

  4. These remind me of a less formal version of the bertha — though they have different purposes. I like the shape of the pelerines. I can see how they’d be particularly flattering to some figures. The jet and silk one is gorgeous. And to think, about all we have today are sequins. Great alphabet post, Jenna! This is information I can use.

    Like

  5. They are all pretty. I just don’t like the gowns. Shared on FB and tweeted.

    Like

  6. D'Ann says:

    My fave is the white silk one.

    Like

  7. I have seen these short capes before but didn’t realize there was a special term for them. The designs are gorgeous and the embroidery is amazing. So much work went into the creation of each of those lovely garments.

    Like

  8. I love the one of jet and silk…gorgeous!

    Like

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