Dresses of the 1830s, with their full balloon-like sleeves and increasingly wide skirts, presented their wearers with a quandary over a practical choice of outerwear. One solution was to be found in a garment such as this, simple enough in shape to be placed over and sit upon the top of the enormous sleeves and rest over the front of the skirt. Made in dark brown velvet and lined in dull pink fine silk twill, its upper section covers the shoulders and the top of the arms, over which are layered a large square cut collar and a smaller curved collar, and extends down each side of the front in the form of broad scarf-like panels that are curved around their base. This relatively unconstructed garment relied for decorative impact upon its borders of petal shapes of copper-coloured satin, attached at their stems and joined together at their centres with a strip of fabric running along the back. In some places their pink twill lining has worn away to reveal an interlining of unspun wool.
Similar garments made of lighter weight fabrics were known as fichu pelerines, and were fine enough to be worn belted in the waist.
The mantlet pelerine is shown worn over a dress in the John Bright collection dating to the mid 1830s.