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Regency Shoes

“Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Friday, went to the Lower Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings — plain black shoes — appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed me by his nonsense.”
Northanger Abbey

Regency Footwear

Jane Austen mentions shoes more often than purses in her work and as any woman knows, the shoes make the outfit! It may come as a surprise to many readers to discover that shoes worn during the Regency did not differ much from what is worn today. Previously, both men and women wore what are now know as Court Shoes—high heeled pumps made of leather or brocade fastened with a large buckle. These elaborate shoes were in keeping with the highly stiffened and embroidered fashions of the day. As dress styles changed, however, shoes did as well.

In the year 1800, any sensible young lady of fashion would have had at least three pair of shoes—one for everyday wear, slippers for dancing in and boots for walking. This is a minimum, of course– Empress Josephine of France owned 520 pairs of shoes!

Jessamyn Reeves-Brown, a Regency fashion enthusiast, has done careful research in this area. A glimpse of her page on shoes reveals a fascinating walk through fashion history, outlining the decline of the pointed toes and heels of the early Regency and a progression towards a more ballet slipper style of shoe. Ribbon rosettes and satin ties that criss-crossed up the leg added feminine charm to shoes that were otherwise much simpler than their earlier counterparts. As in previous years, shoes were made with no difference between left and right shoes. It would be up to the owner to wear them in comfortably.

Black was a common color, but by no means standard. Pastel pink, lavender, blue and yellow also made an appearance in colored leather and satin. Stripes were also popular for a time.

According to Jessamyn, “wedding gowns were often worn to the point of being worn out. After the wedding, brides had to cherish something else. Often this was one of her wedding shoes, a natural choice given the lucky connotations of shoes in this context. Many carefully preserved satin slippers remain with notes inscribed in the instep attesting to the wearer’s wedding.”

Around 1810, half boots, ankle length boots made of cotton or kid leather, became popular as walking shoes. One can easily imagine Elizabeth Bennet donning a pair for a tramp across the fields, or Emma Woodhouse stooping to break her lace in order to contrive a reason to visit Mr. Elton’s parsonage.

Unfortunately, all such delicate fashion comes at a price and shoes of the Regency were no exception. Notoriously thin and prone to scuffs, tears and soaking in even the slightest weather; they needed constant protection and replacement. One Georgian innovation that was slow to be replaced was the patten. These lifts, as it were, fastened to one’s shoes and kept the wearer out of the snow, mud or puddles. By this time they were most often worn by servants and lower classes and made of wood or metal. They did create a racket when walked in, but to Jane Austen, it was one of the sounds of Bath.

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When Lady Russell not long afterwards, was entering Bath on a wet afternoon,
and driving through the long course of streets from the Old Bridge to Camden Place, amidst the dash of other carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling of newspapermen, muffin-men and milkmen,
and the ceaseless clink of pattens, she made no complaint.
Persuasion, 1818

Austentation: Custom Made Regency Hats and Accessories
Laura Boyle is a fan of all things Austen. She runs Austentation: Regency Accessories, creating custom made hats, bonnets, reticules and more for customers around the globe.



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Polyvore Art

Polyvore ? Jane Austen? Just what do these two have in common? Well– actually it’s a new way to enjoy your Jane Austen addiction (come on, you know you have one! You are reading this, right??!) as well as shop for fabulous Austen related or inspired clothing and accessories.

Check out these great pages made by some of our own Jane Austen Centre Staff:


Jane Austen

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Explore our giftshop for items featured on polyvore! Feel free to use them for your own collages.

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Fashion for Kensington Gardens

Preparing for Summer’s entertainments? Look no further than La Belle Assemmblée ( or Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine Addressed Particularly to the Ladies) produced by John Bell from 1806 until his retirement in 1821, and by G. & W. Whittaker & Co. from 1823–1829. La Belle Assemblée is now best known for its fashion plates of Regency era styles, but until the 1820s it also published original poetry and fiction, non-fiction articles on politics and science, book and theatre reviews, and serialized novels, including Oakwood Hall by Catherine Hutton. Other notable contributors to La Belle Assemblée include Mary Shelley. Contributions from readers were also encouraged and published.

While each number of La Belle Assemblée typically contained five plates—one depicting a member of the court or fashionable society, two depicting the latest fashions, and a further two providing sheet music and a sewing pattern—the magazine was not dominated by the frivolities of fashionable dress. Indeed, Bell separated the portion of the work dealing with the fashions of the month from the remainder of the publication. One could (at least initially) purchase either of the two divisions of the work separately; the first consisting of the bulk of the letterpress, together with two of the plates, the second (‘La Belle Assemblée’) consisting of the fashion plates and sewing pattern, together, usually, with four pages describing the plates and discussing the latest London and Paris fashions

The following “Fashions for August, 1807” offer an insider’s look at the fashionable attire of London’s elite as they travel from Kensington Garden to Vauxhall, the Opera and beyond.The spelling, while odd in places, is original to the volume, though a in a few spots, the type was badly deteriorated and unreadable.

Explaination of the Prints of Fashion: English Costume

Kensington Garden Dresses

No. I.—A plain cambric round dress, a walking length. Roman spencer of celestial blue sarsnet, with Vandyke lappels and falling collar; finished with the same round the bottom of the waist, and flowing open in front of the bosom. A village hat of Imperial chip, with bee-hive crown, confined under the chin with ribbon the colour of the spencer. Cropped hair, divided in the centre of the forehead with full curls. Gloves and shoes of lemon-coloured kid. Parasol of salmon-coloured sarsnet.

No. 2 —Round train dress of India muslin, with short sleeves, ornamented round the bottom and sleeves with a rich border of needle-work. Promenade tippet of Brussels lace, lined with white satin. Hat of white chip, or fancy cap of lilac satin, with a Brussels lace veil. Hair confined in braid; over the right temple, and formed in loose curls on the opposite side. Gold hoop earrings. Gloves and slippers of lilac kid.

London Walking Dresses

No. 3.—A French jacket and petticoat of India muslin, finished at the extreme edge in Vandyke and headings of embroidery. Plain short sleeve; frock bosom, confined at each corner of the bust, where the jacket falls in easy Lappels. Full frill of French net round the neck and shoulders. Brunswick bonnet of pale jopnquil sarsnet, ornamented wtih a wreath of similar flowers. Hair waved crop; oval hoop earrings; yorltan gloves; shoes of jonquil kid; parasol of bright lavender blossom.

No. 4- A plain round gown of the finest cambric, with gored bosom and slashed sleeves. Lace tucker with shell-scolloped edge. Rose pelice of Ja..not muslin, bordered all round with needlework and Vandyke. A Gypsy hat of satin straw, with an edge a-la […] tied all across the crown , and under the chind with a handkerchief of Patterns, or coloured sarsnet. Bosom of the gown confined with a bow of ribbon to correspond. Straw-coloured kid gloves and shoes. Parsol of Shaded green sarsnet.

General Observations on the Present Style of Fashionable Decoration

Having given, in regular progression, our delineations and remarks on the various fashions of the passing season, we at length offer to our several readers a close of equal animation, attraction, and splendor. We scarcely ever witnessed a period when taste and fashion were more perfectly in unison; nor any season when elegance and grace shone with such unrivalled fascination. Not only amidst the assemblies of rank and opulence, but in those simple unobtrusive adornments appropriated to the intermediate station—in those chaste habits becoming such as move in a more domesticated sphere, have our fair country-women exhibited testimonies of their advancement in taste, and the graces of life.

The era is long since past, when the daughters of our Isle condescended to turn copyists; and the females of a neighbouring kingdom are now happy to aid their exhausted inventions, by adopting the correct graces of English style.— When, therefore, we offer a sample of Parisian decorations, it is more with a view of rendering our information extensive, various, and amusing, than from the necessity of offering to British females prototypes for imitation.

Although the metropolis is gradually losing on the score of fashionable attraction, yet do the Opera, Vauxhall, and our summer Theatres, still continue to exhibit a crowded display of beauty and fashion. Pleasure still holds her court within its walls; and her votaries, beguiled by her various allurements, seem reluctant to quit the field.

Little alteration is visible in the out-door costume since our last communication; but at Vauxhall we observe a novelty and grace of style appropriate to that place of captivating resort. The light flowing robes, and shadowy vestments, flowery ornaments, and azure veils, worn by our fashionable elegantes, conspire to render this brilliant scene truly Arcadian. Gowns and robes are now usually made round, and short; trains, even in full dress, being almost entirely exploded. We trust, however, that a speedy edict from the throne of taste, will again introduce this graceful appendage; for, however convenient and appropriate (which the short dress certainly is) to the morning, or walking costume, the distinguishing effect of a drawingroom is destroyed by this general reduction, and our females unquestionably deprived of much external dignity and elegance. Frocks of coloured muslin, or Italian crape, with a painted border of shells in Mosaic, worn over white sarsnet slips, are a new and elegant article; and French veils of coloured gauze, forming at once the head-dress and drapery, are considered as most graceful ornaments. They are usually worn with a plain white sarsnet or muslin gown, with flowers or wreaths in front of the hair, placed towards the left side, so as neatly to obscure the eye brow.

At the Duchess of M—‘s last rout, we noticed two dresses of much novel attraction. The one entitled ‘the Pomeranian mantle,’ was formed of pea green gauze, cut in irregular pointed drapery, and trimmed with a silver tufted fringe; it was worn over a Gossamer satin underdress, which had a narrow border of the hopblossom delicately painted round the bottom. The hair in alternate ringlets, and bands, was ornamented with the same flowers, tastefully disposed. A sandal of white satin, laced with green chord, fastened with a tassel above the bend of the ankle.

The second dress, which struck us as singularly attractive, was styled ‘the Cashmerian robe.’ This dress was formed of azure blue crape, with alternate spots of blue and silver foil, and ornamented at the extreme edge with silver fringe. It was worn over a white satin round dress; was fastened with a pearl brooch on the left shoulder, and fell in a kind of Roman drapery round the form in front, gradually descending till it composed the train, completing the most elegant tout ensemble that imagination could paint. The head-dress, worn with this habit, consisted of a small half-square of blue patent-net, spangled and bordered with silver. It was tied simply across the forehead, in the Chinese style, beyond which the hair appeared in dishevelled curls, and occasionally fell over the handkerchief. The shoes were blue satin, with silver rosets.

Dress gowns are still worn high in the bosom, and very low on the back and shoulders. No handkerchief is seen in full dress; but the bottom, sleeves, and neck, are frequently ornamented with borders of natural flowers. Dancing dresses of Italian tiffany, crape, or leno, bordered with the convolvolus, wild roses, daisies, violets, &c. &c. have this season given a most animated coup d’wil to the ball-room. Indeed flowers as an ornament were never introduced with a more distinguishing effect. For the hair, they are formed in wreaths, tiaras, and small bunches ; and each are placed very low on the forehead. The hair is now scarcely every seen without an ornament of this kind, or the small half handkerchief, which consists of patent net, embroidered or spangled. The latter was the distinguishing ornament of a fair bride of rank, on her first appearance at the opera, after her marriage. It was disposed in the Chinese style; but they are equally fashionable placed at the back of the head, and brought under the chin, with tiaras farmed of carnations in front of the forehead. Bandeaus of broad gold are classed amidst a fashionable selection; but the turban has long resigned its place, in the sphere of taste and elegance. That dignified and graceful ornament, the winged ruff, a la Mary Queen of Scots, seems entirely confined to a few females of rank and taste, and is perhaps more immediately appropriated to such as may claim the privilege of singularity. The Vandyke though still very prevalent, is not considered so novel, or genteel, as the shell or crescent scollop; and the promenade tippets, and French bonnets, are now become absolutely canaillish.

The Gipsy hat, and robe pelice, form an elegant morning costume: the former are generally of chip with silk crowns, and the latter of white, or coloured muslin trimmed with thread lace. The French cloak of white sarsnet, is very generally esteemed; this article is also trimmed round with broad lace; and it is formed somewhat like the capuchins worn by females of old. Caps are considered an indispeasble in the morning costume. These are variously formed ; but the Anne Bullen cap, and the Brunswick mob, are those in general […], both for their novelty, simplicity, and elegance. A large bonnet, styled the woodland poke has lately been introduced. It forms a complete shade for the face; and is particularly adapted for those ladies, who, on the public prommenades, or by the sea side, would be otherwise exposed to the scorching rays of a summer’s sun. These bonnets, so conspicuous for unobtrusive neatness, are best formed of clear leno, with the raised pea spot. They are lined with coloured sarsnet, agreeably to the taste of the several wearers; trimmed round the edge and crown, with a Vandyke lace, and simply confined with a ribbon under the chin. The French jacket and petticoats, of cambric, edged with a beading of embroidery, are the last new article for morning attire: the jacket is made with a square collar, and long sleeves; shaped to the form of the arm. Sometimes it is cut with a round frock bosom; and worn with an embroidered shirt. Trinkets have undergone little change since our last information. The sapphire necklace, earrings, and brooches, are most distinguishable on females of taste, but pearls, diamonds, emeralds, and the union of gold and hair, must ever be ranked amidst the most chaste and elegant ornaments in this line. Gloves and shoes admit of little variety. The kid slipper for walking; and the sandal of satin, for full dress, are generally adopted.

The prevailing colours for the season are pink, lavender blossom, green, and jonquille.

From La Belle Assemblee or, Bell’s Court, 1807.

Garside, P. D., J. E. Belanger, and S. A. Ragaz, authors, A. A. Mandal, designer. “La Belle Assemblée, or Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine”. British Fiction 1800–1829: A Database of Production, Circulation, and Reception. Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, Cardiff University.

“Belle Assemblée”. Science in the 19th Century Periodical: An Electronic Index.

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Court Dresses for ‘the Birth-day’ of the King

court dresses

In July, 1807, the ‘Court’ was invited to celebrate King George III’s Birthday– one of the last he would entertain as reigning monarch. The following description of the Court Dresses worn, will dazzle, while offering up some very familiar names, including the Princess of Wales, the Duchess of York and even a Miss Cavendish! Enjoy this treat for the imagination.


Fashions For July, 1807:
Explanation of the Prints of Fashion.

English Costume

No. 1.— Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales in Her Court Dress, As
Worn On The Birth-day.

This dress, for taste and magnificence, stood unrivalled amidst the
splendour and elegance displayed on the Birth-Day of our justly revered
Sovereign; and we consider ourselves fortunate in having it in our power to
procure a representation of it for our fair correspondents.

The body and ground of the drapery was formed of a rich silver and lilac
tissue; with a most superb border, composed of emeralds, topazes, and
amethysts, to represent the vine-leaf and grapes. The train and petticoat of
silver tissue; bordered all round like the drapery ; and each terminated
with a most brilliant silver fringe of a strikingly novel formation. Rich
silver laurel and arrow on the left side, to loop up the train. Head-dress
of diamonds and amethysts, tastefully disposed; with high plume of ostrich
feathers. Neck-dress, the winged ruff, a la Mary Queen of Scots; sleeve
ornaments to correspond. Ameythyst necklace and earrings, with
Maltese cross; diamond armlets and bracelets. White satin shoes, with rich
silver rosettes. French kid gloves, above the elbow. Fan of Imperial crape,
studded with amethysts and topazes.


Parisian Fashions

No. 2.- Taken From a Group Of Conversation Figures at the Frescati, In

Ladies Dress.—A white Italian crape robe, over a white satin slip,
ornamented round the bottom and drapery with a border of shells, painted to
nature. Plain scolloped bosom cut very low, and made to sit close to the
form. Waved sleeves, easily full, formed of alternate stripes of crape and
pink satin. Hair, bound in smooth bands, confined on the forehead, and
ornamented behind with wreaths of wild roses. Earrings and necklace of
pearls. Shoes, pink satin, trimmed with silver. White kid gloves, rucked.

General Observations on the Fashions for the Season

With a complete List qf Ladies in their Court Dresses, as worn on the

As there is little alteration in the general style of personal decoration
since our last communication, and as our elegant and extensive collection of
Court Dresses will occupy much space, and we doubt not, prove highly
acceptable to our readers, we shall simply notice a few particular articles,
which strike us as most novel and graceful, and hasten to give our
delineations of Court splendour.

The most distinguishable style of hat is a complete gipsy, with the lowest
possible crown; 2nd some of our elegant females wear an entire round flat
chip, tied across the crown with a coloured patent-net handkerchief,
embroidered in a border of natural flowers. The small French bonnet, and
cottage poke, are also in general request. The former are composed of
coloured figured sarsnet; the latter of muslin, or leno, lined with coloured
Persian; and each we usually worn with the promenade tippet, of the same

For a morning, the fugitive coat, of cambric, or muslin, with a deep collar,
pointed in front, and finished with the acorn tassel, is considered simple
and elegant. With these last mentioned articles, the gipsy hat, of satin
straw, with the magic or bee-hive crown, is most appropriate and becoming;
but no flowers can be consistently admitted in the morning costume. The
round French robe, the Algerine vest, and the mantle wrap, are each amidst
the last offerings of taste and fashion ; and are formed of undrest crape,
Angola silk, or muslin. Dresses and robes are often seen in plain coloured
muslins, ornamented with Vandyke lace; and with them is worn the Anne Bullen
cap, which is considered the most novel and simple article of the kind that
has been introduced for a length of time. The head-dress continues in the
antique and Grecian style; and the hair is parted on the forehead a-la-Cleopatra, or Madona.

The backs of dresses are a little advanced in fashionable circles, since our
last information ; and the bosom is usually made to sit close to the form.
In full-dress, the sleeve is shorter than ever; but in the morning (and
frequently in the evening dress) the long sleeve is adopted universally.

Walking dresses are now made rather longer than we have witnessed for some time; so that, in walking, they just offer a graceful occupation for the hand. Trains again form a part of the evening costume, except for dancing, when they are invariably made short, and formed in the Arcadian style.

Vandyke and shell-scollop trimmings, in lace or work, ornament almost every article of fashionable attire; and pointed drapery, tastefully disposed, has entirely exploded almost every other. The Flemish spensers, with flowing scarfs, are now become too general to find a place amidst a fashionable selection. The spenser is, however, so convenient and generally becoming an article, that we still continue our recommendation of it to those females who wish to adopt the intermediate style. Scarfs are less seen this summer than we ever remember them; but the Etruscan mantle, and the order of the gipsy and Spanish cloak, are still conspicuous amidst the gay and fashionable throng. Flowers, in full dress, are at this time the prevailing ornaments, both as decorations for the head, and trimmings for robes. Wreaths of the oak leaf, of the hop blossom, wild roses, | honey-suckle, pea-blossom, horse chesnut, rocklily, etc. etc. will be found distinguishable ornaments on the Birth-day.

The following correct list of Court Dresses, will at ouce exhibit the
standard for full dress; as well as the most prevailing colours forlhe
season. We give them en train.

Her Majesty.—A lilac and silver tissue petticoat, trimmed with draperies of point Brussels lace, with point lace of the same description, flowered round the pocket holes; the front of the draperies superbly ornamented with large diamond rosettes, from which were suspended diamond bows and tassels. The under drapery fancifully ornamented with diamonds in diagonal stripes. The mantle to correspond with the drapery.

Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales.—The drapery and body of rich silver and lilac tissue most magnificently embroidered with emeralds, topaz and amethyst stones, to form vine leaves and grapes, entwined with wreaths of diamonds in stars and shells; at the bottom of the drapery a very rich silver fringe of quite a new pattern; the train and petticoat of silver tissue, with a border all round to correspond with that on the drapery; also a rich silver fringe all round the train and petticoat, with rich silver laurel to loop up the drapery and pocket-holes: the head-dress of diamonds and ostrich feathers. (Plate)

Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte of Wales.—A pink and sliver slip, with a beautiful Brussels lace frock to wear over it, and a pink and silver girdle.

Her Royal Highness the Princess Augusta.—Yellow crape petticoat richly embroidered with silver; a sash across with a border of honey-suckles, and rich pointed embroidered draperies. Body and train to correspond.

Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth.—A superb dress of apricot and silver tissue. The right side of the dress a magnificent drapery, composed of an Etruscan net of large silver beads, tastefully divided at distances by a thick bullion of beads, chains of beads in dead silver relieved with bright bullion, elegantly ornamented with many wreaths of laurel in silver foil, and bouquets of chesnut blossoms, with the kernel bursting from the shell, formed the tout ensemble of this strikingly novel and elegant dress, which, for taste and effect, surpassed any dress of the kind we have observed. The bottom finished with a wreath of laurel in raised foil and beads. The whole looped up with large silver cords and tassels. Robe of apricot and silver tissue, trimmed with broad Vandyke silver fringe, point lace and diamonds.
Her Royal Highness Princess Mary.—Wore a magnificent dress of brown crape, embroidered with silver and pink roses over a petticoat of royal purple; oval draperies, richly spangled all over, and terminated with marking borders of dead and bright foil in vandykes, with roses beautifully interspersed lightly in the embroidery, the whole completed with elegant cords and tassels. Robe of brown, purple and silver tissue, trimmed with broad vandyke fringe, point lace, and diamonds.

Her Royal Highness the Princess Sophia.—A pea green petticoat, over which an elegant scarf drapery of the same colour, most magnificently embroidered in silver pines and branches; on the right side a wing of scale-embroidery of uncommon richness, and on the left a richly spangled drapery, most tastefully hung round the bottom of the petticoat. The robe of green and silver tissue, most elegantly trimmed with silver, and looped up on the sleeves with silver chains and acorns. Head-dress, an elegant plume of green and white feathers, with a profusion of diamonds.

Her Royal Highness Princess Amelia.—Petticoat of white crape richly spangled, and border a mosaic pattern. Draperies of purple Albany net with silver acorns; pockets formed with rich sprigs of laurel; train of handsomely embroidered purple tissue; on the left, a beautiful formed drapery of shell work, ornamented with Parisian trimming. The whole in appearance truly elegant and becoming to her Royal Highness, and we think it one of the handsomest dresses at Court.

Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York.—A white sarsnet petticoat, richly embroidered with an Etruscan border in silver draperies, a silver tissue drawn up and ornamented with a wreath of silver hoops, which had a very novel and elegant appearance. Train, silver tissue trimmed round with the wreaths of hop leaves; Brussels lace sleeves, with diamond armlets and broaches. Head- dress, diamonds and feathers.

Her Royal Highness Princess Sophia of Gloucester—wore a splendid dress of white and silver, superbly embroidered, and was much admired for taste and effect, the whole finished with a massy border at bottom. Her Royal Highness wore a robe of lilac and silver tissue, with rich embroidered sleeves and fronts.

Princess Castelcicala.—An elegant dress of lavender-coloured crape, fluted in divisions, trimmed with broad black lace, and ornamented with wreaths of fancy flowers, same colour as the dress and bows of ribband; robe of black lace trimmed all round with flowers.

Duchess of Northumberland.—A white crape petticoat, richly spangled in silver, and ornamented with silver grapes; train to correspond.

The Duchess of Rutland was elegantly dressed in a beautiful petticoat and train of straw coloured crape, with rich silver vine-leaves, and ropes of silver arrows.

Duchess of Dorset.—A rich embroidered silver crape, ornamented with lilac crape and silver tassels; train lilac crape.

Duchess of Leeds.—A brown dress, very richly embroidered with gold.

Duchess of Montrose.—A yellow crape petticoat, with a rich painted Grecian border; train yellow crape.

Duchess of Athol.—A white satin petticoat, with a lace drapery of Reine Marguerite flowers, appliqued on white satin; lace train.

Duchess of Buccleugh.—A very rich dress of brown and silver, superbly embroidered; brown train, elegantly ornamented with silver; head-dress brown and silver, with a profusion of diamonds.

Marchioness Dowager of Bath.—A petticoat of violet crape, embroidered in rich silver draperies, with a silver foil border, pocket holes richly trimmed, silver cords and tassels; body and train to correspond.

Countess of Cardigan.—A most beautiful rainbow green crape petticoat, with rich silver foil border; the drapery superbly spangled with rich embroidered border, ornamented with silver mellon beads, and silver cords and tassels; the body and train to correspond.

Countess of Malmsbury – (and the two Ladies Harris, her daughters) each simple elegant dresses of pale green crape, decorated with flowers; head-dress to correspond.

Countess of Uxbridge— A sky-blue crape petticoat, richly grounded with Imperial silver rings, a silver Vandyke border, with stripes of silver lama, representing wreaths of oak and lilac, tastefully worked on the petticoat; blue crape body and train.

Countess of Grosvenor.— A white crape petticoat grounded with silver Imperial rings, with draperies richly bordered with silver embroidered wheat ears and silver lama; the petticoat embroidered in waves, with an elegant foil border, Vandyke pocket-holes, with silver cords and tassels; body and train to correspond.

Countess of St. Vincent.— A white crape petticoat, grounded in silver spangles, and richly embroidered border, pocket-holes trimmed with silver, and silver cords and tassels; train to correspond.

Countess of Galloway.— A white crape petticoat, with rich silver foil border, the drapery richly embroidered with Trafalgar net border; body, sleeves, and train, richly ornamented with silver embroidered shell-work.

Countess of Oxford.— A white satin petticoat, with lace draperies, trimmed with pink French beads and wreaths of apple blossom; train to correspond; head- dress, feathers and diamonds.

Countess St. Martin De Front.— A dress of pale blue crape in draperies, ornamented with borders of net work, in beads and bands of the same, with handsome beads and tassels; robe pale blue sarsnet, trimmed with vandykes and beads, point lace, &c.

Countess of Kingston.— A white crape petticoat, most tastefully embroidered with silver wheat-ears; also embroidered drapery, drawn up with a very rich silver cord and tassels; the body and train of white satin, richly embroidered with silver, and trimmed with point lace.

Countess of Mendip.— A white crape petticoat, with a rich Vandyke silver foil border, edged with the real silver Lama; under this border was a silver chain, linked with the Prince’s plume; on the right side a Grecian drapery with a double Vandyke border, with sprigs of lilies of the valley; this drapery was looped up with a rich silver cord and tassels; the left drapery beautifully embroidered with silver roses, with the same border, and edged with a Trafalgar fringe; pocket-holes fancifully trimmed with wreaths of silver roses; train of silver tissue, trimmed to correspond.

Countess of Chesterfield.— A very rich dress of blue crape, embroidered with wreaths of rose leaves in the real silver; Oriental lame crescents, ornamented with large silver cords and tassels; train of blue crape, trimmed with silver; head-dress a plume of blue ostrich feathers and diamonds.

Countess of Dartmouth.—A white satin petticoat, with Mazarine crape draperies, tastefully embroidered in silver, fastened with silver cord and tassels; head-dress feathers and diamonds.

Viscountess Castlereagh.—A magnificent dress of apple-green crape, richly embroidered in silver, the whole spangled with silver, and trimmed with large silver zephyr and Vandyke fringe, the draperies tied up with rich tassels and cord; train to correspond; the body and sleeves fully trimmed with point; head-dress, a profusion of diamonds, and nine ostrich feathers.

Viscountess Allen.—A dress of green spider gauze, ornamented with wreaths of oak-leaves; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

Lady Young.—A dress of white crape, richly embroidered with gold, gold cords and tassels; robe of white crape, ornamented with gold; the head-dress was of white feathers and diamonds.

Lady C. Harbold.—A Brussels dress, lined with topaz colour.

Lady Arden.—A white crape petticoat and drapery, very beautifully embroidered with silver, and interlined with pea-green sarsnet; body and train of pea green sarsnet, ornamented with silver and point lace.

Lady Moseley.—A splendid dress of white and silver, superbly ornamented and embroidered; the form of the draperies were in the Grecian style, loped up with a rich cord and tassels, train to correspond, richly ornamented with diamonds; head-dress, beautiful plumes of ostrich feathers, magnificent diamonds, and point lace.

Dowager Lady Bagot.—A superb dress of lilac, richly embroidered in silver.

Right Hon. Lady Mary Lennox.—A petticoat of lavender blue silk, ornamented with superb lace draperies; the train to correspond; head-dress diamonds and feathers.

Right Hon. Lady Elizabeth Spencer.—A most beautiful lavender silk train and petticoat, richly ornamented with draperies of superb point lace, looped up with beads and bead tassels; the bottom of the petticoat trimmed with point lace to correspond; head-dress of ostrich feathers and beads.

Lady M. Walpole.—A very beautiful dress; the petticoat elegantly embroidered with silver sprigs, and tastefully ornamented with rock lily; the drapery looped up with flowers; the body and train of white sarsnet, ornamented with silver and point lace.

Lady Lavington.—White dress, very richly embroidered with silver, in beautiful flowers; lilac train, elegantly embroidered, and ornamented with silver.

Lady Eleanor Butler.—Dress of pale pink crape, richly trimmed and wreaths and bunches of full blown roses and buds; head-dress, a profusion of diamonds and ostrich feathers.

Lady Perth.—A white and gold trimming, and rich gold tissue train.

Lady Crofton.—A purple gauze petticoat, ornamented with lilac flowers and cord; train to correspond.

Lady Hume.—A rich gold embroidered petticoat, on lavender blue sarsnet, train of the same.

Lady Banks.—An elegant blue and silver applique petticoat; train blue sarsnet.

Lady C. Duncombe.—A white and gold petticoat with draperies of purple crape; train to match.

Four Ladies Percy.—White satin petticoats, with blue crape draperies, and a rich applique border of blue and silver; the draperies tastefully drawn up with chains of massy silver; train blue crape; head-dress, a plume of blue and white feathers.

Lady E. Murray.—A pink crape petticoat, with rich net applique drapery; pink crape train.

Lady C. Wynn Belasyse.—A blue crape petticoat, elegantly ornamented with white fancy flowers; train blue crape.

Lady Bagot.—A most superb and elegant white dress, richly embroidered with silver in wreaths of oak, with a profusion of diamonds and feathers.

Lady Fluyder.—A white crape petticoat and draperies, with oak border in silver; train, lilac tissue; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

Lady Imhoff.—A silver gauze petticoat, richly trimmed; lilac train; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

Lady Metcalfe.—A pearl coloured sarsnet petticoat, painted with yellow roses, and apple blossoms, the draperies tied up with liburnum, and finished in a most tasteful manner, with steel beads and tassels; robe, head-dress, and feathers to correspond, with diamond bandeau and sprig, and feathers fastened with diamonds.

Lady Radstock.—A petticoat of lace, over a lavender silk; the train of the same colour, forming a drapery richly ornamented with beads.

Lady Bruce.—A petticoat of white crape, richly beaded, with a mantle or train of lilac sarsnet, trimmed with very rich point, suspended from the shoulders, falling in folds from the back, and fastened at the side in a festoon, with beads; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

Lady Chambers.—A rich dress of white crape, embossed with gold and edged with rich borders, looped up with bunches of purple flowers.

Lady Sophia Lumley.—A dress of white crape, embroidered with silver, with bunches of pink frosted flowers.

Lady Rowley.—A white spider gauze dress, richly trimmed with silver, in rich Vandyke beads.

The Ladies Greville.—White and silver dresses, trimmed with pink flowers.

&n bsp; Hon. Lady J. Cavendish.—Petticoat of white crape, ornamented with fine lace drapery, fastened up with branches of white lilac, terminating on the left side with a Circassian sash, trimmed to correspond; train of white crape; head-dress feathers and pearls.

Lady Georgiana Morpeth.—Petticoat of white crape, tastefully ornamented with wreaths of ivy; draperies trimmed with blond; body and train to correspond; head- dress, feathers and ivy.

Dowager Lady Essex.—A gold and white taffety petticoat and train, with crape draperies, ornamented with gold fringe and green wreaths.

Lady Courtenay.—A rich white crape dress, beautifully ornamented with a shower of gold and wreaths of roses.

Lady Louisa Adderly.—A very rich dress of amber crape, with borders of embossed silver, à-la-Grec pattern. Head-dress, a bandeau of diamonds, and a single ostrich feather of straw colour.

Lady Birch.—A white sarsnet robe or petticoat, richly embroidered in silver. Head-dress to correspond.

Lady Mary Parker.—A dove-coloured petticoat uncommonly richly embroidered with silver in elegant chains across; the border serpentine pattern, a fall of embroidered points on the side; robe and head-dress to correspond.

Lady A. Clavering.—A white petticoat, trimmed round the bottom with china pearls, and yellow; the drapery of yellow crape, with very rich border, embroidered in china pearls, antique Mosaic pattern, with scarf of yellow sarsnet, profusely ornamented with pearl; the robe of yellow elegantly trimmed with pearls, and beautiful Brussels lace. The head ornamented with yellow and white feathers and diamonds.

Lady Francis Pratt.—A primrose sarsnet petticoat, covered with rich Brussels lace draperies, the bottom of the petticoat elegantly ornamented.

Lady Molyneux.—Body and train of lilac crape, ornamented with blond lace and bugles; white crape petticoat, with a rich embroidered border of bugles, and satin drapery of the same, drawn up with tassels, &c. &c.

Lady De Dunstanville.—United elegance and simplicity in her dress, which consisted of a white crape petticoat, ornamented with a beautiful border, composed of rich point lace, inter-mixed with blue crape, which produced an effect at once pleasing and elegant; head-dress, diamonds and feathers.

Lady Beauchamp.—A white crape petticoat elegantly ornamented with rich bandeaus of beads, and a chain of rich figured satin; her Ladyship’s head dress consisted of white feathers and diamonds most tastefully arranged.

Lady Wills.—We have seldom witnessed any thing more splendid that her Ladyship’s dress: she wore a petticoat of white Imperial net bordered with silver, the draperies were of lilac crape, ornamented with a most superb silver Vandyke, and fastened with large silver tassels, train of Imperial net, Vandyke border of silver to correspond with the train; head-dress, a profusion of beautiful diamonds.

Lady Gardner.—A petticoat of brown crape richly embroidered with gold, and festooned with large gold cord and tassels; draperies also of brown crape beautifully spangled with gold; her Ladyship’s petticoat looked very elegant.

Lady Rendlesham.—A petticoat of green crape richly spangled, and drapery to correspond, fastened with gold cords and tassels; her ladyship looked extremely well.

Lady Milnes.—Elegant white crape petticoat, ornamented with rich blond lace, and satin train of lilac sarsnet, ornamented with silver.

The Hon. Mrs. Drummond—White crape petticoat, tastefully embroidered with silver leaves; at the bottom of the petticoat a beautiful wreath border, embroidered with silver; the drapery of primrose crape, ornamented with silver and pointed lace.

The Hon. Mrs. Cornwall.—Petticoat of primrose crape, most beautifully and richly embroidered with silver draperies of the same in a mosaic pattern; ornamented with silver Parisian trimming, and confined tastefully with cord and tassels.

The Hon. Mrs. George Herbert.—A magnificent silver robe and coat, entirely covered with a shower of spangles, the draperies tied up with very large zephyr and cords, and finished with a superb silver fringe. Head-dress a beautiful pearl wreath, and seven ostrich feathers.

Hon. Mrs. Percy, presented on her marriage, was most appropriately dressed in an elegantly simple white crape dress, trimmed with daisies and liburnums.

Mrs. C. Long.—A yellow crape petticoat and drapery, with Mosaic border, superbly embroidered in silver; train yellow crape, with silver.

Mrs. Vernon Graham.—A superb petticoat of pale yellow crape, elegantly embroidered with a deep silver border, draperies of ditto richly grounded with spangles, and borders to correspond, finished with large silver rope and tassels; body and train of pale yellow, richly embroidered with silver, and finished in summer-point. Head-dress, yellow feathers and diamonds.

Mrs. Fisher.—A white and silver dress, with a lilac robe.

Mrs. Huskisson.—A yellow crape petticoat, with a painted Etruscan border; train to correspond.

The Hon. Miss Roche.—Lilac and silver.

Mrs. Gambier.—Blue crape petticoat, with elegant draperies of crape and beads, ornamented with cords and tassels of beads; blue crape train, beautifully trimmed to correspond.

Mrs. Champnets.—White crape body and train, trimmed with lace; petticoat of the same, drapery fastened up with large bunches of wall-flowers.

Mrs. A. Stanhope.—A dress of blue crape, richly embroidered in silver; head- dress, plume of feathers and diamonds.

Mrs. Cruchly.—A splendid dress of white, richly embroidered in silver, the draperies edged with wreaths of matted silver shells, looped up with chains of matted silver; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

Mrs. Lawrell.—A dress of green satin and gauze, richly trimmed with chains and fringe of green bugles, ornamented with bunches of flowers.

Mrs. O’Brien.—A very handsome dress of white satin and crape, richly embroidered with silver spangles, the drapery fastened up with silver rope and arrows; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

Hon. Miss S. Coleman.—Rich white satin petticoat, with bunches of fine ostrich feathers fringe round the bottom, white crape mantle, draperies edged with the same fringe, and fastened up with ropes and tassels of gold beads; train ornamented the same.

The Hon. Miss Townshend.—Yellow and silver dress, the draperies formed in antique borders, and ornamented with silver tassels; yellow crape train, embroidered with silver.
The Hon. Miss Wilmot appeared in a very elegant dress of white crape and satin.
The Hon. Miss M. Elphinstone.—A petticoat of white crape, trimmed round the bottom with Turkish gold, and draperies of Turkish crape, richly ornamented with gold cord and tassels; train of yellow crape.

The Hon. Miss Crofton and Miss A. Crofton.—White sarsnet petticoats, with rich lace draperies ornamented with beads and white roses; trains white crape trimmed with roses.

The Hon. Miss Brudenell.-Yellow crape petticoat and draperies, trimmed with broad fringe and tassels; yellow crape train.

The Hon. Miss Monson.—A blue sarsnet petticoat, with lace draperies; train to correspond; head-dress, feathers and silver ornaments.

The Hon. Miss Shore.—A dress of white crape, edged with sprigs of embossed silver, and ornamented with bunches of flowers.

The Hon. Miss Bassett.—A dress of pale green crape and silver, draperies edged with borders of embossed silver, in Vandyke; head-dress, feathers and diamonds.

The Hon. Miss Allen.—A handsome dress of pink spider gauze, ornamented with wreaths of frosted flowers.

The Hon. Misses Cust.—Lace dresses, lined with blue.

Three Hon. Misses Irby.—Dresses of prim-rose crape, embroidered with steel bugles, and ornamented with beads and bows of ribbon; robes of primrose crape, trimmed to correspond with the dress.

Hon. Miss Drummond.—A superb rich silver gauze petticoat, ornamented with wreaths of grapes and rich lace; train lavender blue crape.

Miss Garth—Yellow crape dress, tastefully ornamented with silver.

Mrs. Every.—A white crape petticoat, richly embroidered with wreaths of silver grapes and vine-leaves; an elegant drapery covered with bunches of grapes, in dead and bright foil, the effect of which was beautiful and novel; round the bottom a wreath of silver grapes; this drapery terminated with a sash embroidered to correspond, and fastened with superb cord and tassels; train elegantly trimmed with silver and pearls. The head-dress, plume of ostrich feathers, magnificent pearls, and lace point.

Mrs. Macleod.—A dress of white crape, trimmed with satin ribbon.


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Jane Austen On-line: Period Fashion and Patterns

Le Beau Monde, June 1808Everyone is familiar with the Empire waists and Grecian silhouette of the early 19th century. The classic styles and light fabrics were, no doubt, a relief from the heavily embroidered fashions of previous centuries. This simplification, which began during the French Revolution, transformed the fashion industry. Waists were raised to just below the bosom; sleeves were shortened and puffed; skirts became narrowed and elegant. Clean lines had come into vogue.

While these elements fluctuated during the next twenty years, the look remained much the same. Fabrics such as cotton prints and muslin replaced rich brocades and velvets. White was the color of choice. The desired effect was “Girlhood Innocence.” Cathy Decker, a fashion historian, has collected many original fashion plates from the early 1800’s, and has made them available for viewing on her website, The Regency Fashion Page.

Jenny Beavan, S&S
Costume designers for the recent Austen films have carefully studied period plates to provide viewers with a smorgasbord of historically accurate ensembles. One of the most famous designers, twice Oscar-nominated Jenny Beaven, created fashions for both Sense and Sensibility and A&E’s Emma. Dinah Collins’ gowns in Pride and Prejudice are stunning, though the necklines are a little low for the projected time period. Alexandra Byrne, costume designer for Persuasion, gets the most praise for period correctness. Her fashions, from the opulence of the titled elite to the humblest fisherman’s wife, appear close to perfect.

In 1996, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion vied for the Best Costume Design BAFTA. Similar to an Oscar, the BAFTA is awarded by the British Academy of Film and Television Awards. Persuasion won.

With all these sources of inspiration, it’s easy to desire your own Regency ensemble. The hardest part is deciding how to get started. Jessamyn Reeves-Brown has created a fascinating page full of links to resources, tips, fashion plates and historical information. Jennie Chancey, a noted seamstress, designed what many call the easiest Regency gown pattern. Her site, Sense and Sensibility Creations, is a treasure-trove of information, help and links. Her patterns can be purchased from the site. One other site, Austentation, focuses on Regency fashion accessories– hats, bonnets and reticules. They supply a list of most of the Regency gown patterns available, along with other period costumes, seamstresses, supply sources and historical information.

Originally printed in the JASNA-NY Newsletter, Spring 2002. Reprinted and modified with permission from the author. For a complete study of Jane Austen film fashion, read Jennie Chancey’s article at Celluloid Wrappers.

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Toothpicks, Snuffboxes, Card Cases and Canes

[Mr. Robert Ferrars] was giving orders for a toothpick-case for himself; and till its size, shape, and ornaments were determined, all of which, after examining and debating for a quarter of an hour over every toothpick-case in the shop, were finally arranged by his own inventive fancy, he had no leisure to bestow any other attention on the two ladies than what was comprised in three or four very broad stares; a kind of notice which served to imprint on Elinor the remembrance of a person and face of strong, natural, sterling insignificance, though adorned in the first style of fashion.
-Sense and Sensibility


Tooth Pick Silver toothpicks were commonly carried regency accessories in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. They could be quite elaborate with a jewel on the end like the example shown here. Continue reading Toothpicks, Snuffboxes, Card Cases and Canes

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Clothing Warehouses of the Regency

Displaying the Latest Fashions

When I read the following quote from Sense and Sensibility, I wondered in what way the wedding clothes were displayed at the warehouse.

“The rest of Mrs. Palmer’s sympathy was shown in procuring all the particulars in her power of the approaching marriage, and communicating them to Elinor. She could soon tell at what coachmaker’s the new carriage was building, by what painter Mr. Willoughby’s portrait was drawn, and at what warehouse Miss Grey’s clothes might be seen.”

Jenny Beavan's gown, designed for Lucy Robinson, used by permission from William Kemp Though head forms of paper Mache or wicker were used for hats and wigs, the invention of the mannequin and the hanger were more than a half century away. How then, were Miss Grey’s clothes displayed? There are several possible methods. The dresses may have been suspended from pegs using the pair of ribbon loops sometimes included in better clothing even today. We currently use them to help hold gowns on the hanger by looping the ribbons over the hook of the hanger, but the ribbon loops are the relic of a time when gowns were hung from two pegs. Another method of display was to pass a dowel through the arm holes and suspend the ends of the dowel in holders or from a pair of knotted cords. Finally clothes might be laid out on white linen on a table.

In the early part of the nineteenth century, before the invention of photography, fashion conscious women relied on prints of drawings of clothing in such fashionable magazines as La Belle Assemblee, The Lady’s Magazine, and Ackerman’s Repository . Other methods of viewing the latest fashions included: fashion dolls dressed in the latest mode, viewing the wedding clothes of the ton at warehouses, or watching the elite enter the theater. I imagine the traffic generated at a cloth warehouse by women coming to view the wedding clothes of the about to be married Ton misses benefited sales. Perhaps a discount was given on cloth if the clothing was displayed at the cloth warehouse.

Cost of Cloth in 1791 1 yard of good poplin cost 3 schillings 2 pence (tuppence). Wholesale cost of 168 yards of crape was 12 guineas and 14 schillings.

Have a look at our online giftshop and buy our ever popular Regency dress patterns! click here.

Sharon Wagoner is the webmistress of The Georgian Index. Visit her site for a treasure trove of little known information about the Georgian period. A fascinating collection!

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The Mirror of Graces

“It is vain to expend large sums of money and large portions of time in the acquirement of accomplishments, unless some attention be also paid to the attainment of a certain grace in their exercise, which, though of a circumstance distinct from themselves, is the secret of their charms and pleasure-exciting quality.”
A Lady of Distinction
The Mirror of Graces, 1811

The Mirror of Graces
RL Shep, the publisher who had the foresight to reprint this wonderful book first published in 1811 deserves all the compliments in this world (and the next) for recognsing this book as a classic. It is at once hilarious to our modern eyes, and a startling insight into life of the well bred miss in Regency Times. Continue reading The Mirror of Graces