Posted on

Dressing Elizabeth Bennet|Regency Undergarments

A New Exhibit at the Jane Austen Centre

Lizzie
Lizzie stands 75 cm. tall and wears a promenade dress circa 1813. She is shown in her chemise, donning stockings.

Lizzie
Here, we see her in her stays (corset) and drawers. Stays were always worn over a chemise and, during this period, were designed to push the bosom up and slim down the hips. Drawers were a new addition to the female wardrobe in the early 19th century. These are made of silk stockingette.

 

Lizzie
Next comes the petticoat, constructed with an 'apron front' and side ties which pass around the body
Lizzie
Lizzie On top of all this she wears a fine white lawn dress, also made with an "apron front". Lastly she puts on her shoes, hat and shawl and takes up her parasol, ridicule* (bag) and gloves. She is ready for her promenade

 

All these garments are based on research of fashion plates and garments C.1813 in museum collections. This amount of underclothing would have been typical for a young Englishwoman like Elizabeth Bennet. Although the dresses themselves were diaphanous, the undergarments were decorous and only the most daring style leaders (mainly in Paris) took the fashion to extremes and wore the ‘semi-naked’ look so beloved by cartoonists of the time.

“Elizabeth Bennet” (Doll and costume) was researched, designed and hand-made by Susie Ralph. Susie does do commissions – ask at Centre’s shop or email us: curator@janeausten.co.uk.

*Often mistakenly called a reticule. While `reticule’ was the proper name for a lady’s purse in later times, duing the Regency it is consistently referred to as a riducule.

Enjoyed this article? Visit our giftshop and escape into the world of Jane Austen.

Leave a Reply