As you may have noticed in my heading picture, I'm wearing a bow and flowers at the center of my gown. This is known as a breastknot. I have seen reference to these....but I can't recall where at the moment. If you google "breastknot"....you're in for some shocking...and informative....images and descriptions. NOT the ones I am talking about!!
Simply put, in the 18th and 19th century, breastknots were worn to add color and decoration to an outfit. They could be made of fresh flowers as well as from paper or silk flowers. You may also find breastknots made of ribbon and tied into a simple bow. Once you start scanning images and paintings from the 18th and early 19th centuries, you'll be surprised to find quite a few examples, and quite a few variations.
It's a very simple item that can enhance an outfit....giving a different focal point, and dressing up a simple gown or outfit. By changing the colors of the breastknot, if using a neutral colored base gown, you can get an entirely different look.
Below are a few images I found and have on my pinterest page:
|Sarah Cook 1775|
|Mrs. Mary Orange Rothery 1773|
|1809 fashion plate|