Debutante Gowns in The Old Days

by Shu Wang
debutante gowns in the old days

A debutante gown is a white gown, accompanied by white gloves and pearls worn by girls or young women at their debutante cotillion. Debutante cotillions were traditional coming of age celebrations for eligible young ladies ready to be presented to society as ready for marriage.

Georgian era

During the reign of King George III and Queen Charlotte, the debutante gown featured a hoop skirt and 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 skirt was excluded and the style for a debutante gown became a variation of whatever was considered popular for formal evening wear during the period.

Victorian era

Debutante gowns were almost always short-sleeved and had to have a low neckline. After a debutante married, if she had married appropriately she would be re-presented at Court as a married woman, usually wearing her wedding dress with alterations.

Queen Victoria was said to have hated small feathers, so orders were sent out that Her Majesty wished to see the feathers 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.