A debutante dress is a white
evening gown, accompanied by white glovesand pearlsworn by young women at their debutante ball. Debutante balls were traditional coming of agecelebrations for eligible young ladies ready to be presented to society as ready for marriage.
History of the Debutante Gown
"For more information see
Required rules of dress
A young ladies gown was regulated by a set of meticulously defined rules which were strictly enforced. These rules varied from Monarchy to Monarchy and didn't always follow the fashion of the time. White was the preferred color for her gown, although soft colors such as ivory or eggshell were acceptable as long as they were over a white background. The headdress always included feathers and a veil although the number and size of the feathers varied with the time. Married women were required to wear a tiara.
thumb|left|A young lady in a Georgian era debutante gown. During the reign of
King George IIIand Queen Charlotte, the debutante dress featured a hoop skirtand elaborate trimmings which included a single ostrich plume worn on the head, even though simple dresses with high waists were favored. During the reign of King George IV, the hoop skirtwas excluded and the style for a debutante gown became a variation of whatever was considered popular for formal evening wear during the period.
For a young woman of this time, It was not an un-common practice for women to have their debutante gown modified into a wedding dress. These gowns were often made with two different
bodices, one being for the presentation and the other one for her wedding. The dresses of this time were almost always short-sleeved and had to have a low neckline.However a doctor's certificate could be presented at the time stating that low cut was injurious to the young woman's health. Queen Victoriawas said to have hated small feathers, so orders were sent out that Her Majesty wished to see the feathers.
thumb|right|Mrs. Ethel McLaughlin in her 1904 court dress showing the Prince of Wales plume as the young lady approached. Late in Queen Victoria's reign and into the court of
Edward VII, the necessary headdress was three feathers arranged in a Prince of Wales plume. A center feather slightly higher than the two on each side worn slightly on the left side of the head.
For young ladies and women to be presented who were in mourning, it was acceptable for their dresses and veils to be black. No matter how cold the weather was on this special day, absolutely no cloaks, shawls, capes, or wraps of any kind were permitted to be worn. Those items remained in the lady's carriage.
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