Regency Fashion 1811

We are still in the first year of the Regency, 1811,  and what is everyone wearing?

May 1811 Evening Dress

Clearly this has all the Regency classic styling we have come to expect, with the romanesque draping to the gown and the tunic style overdress.  Personally I am not keen on the turban, but the whole outfit is very nicely pulled together by the gold and green embroidery and the diamond shapes.

A robe and petticoat of white satin with short sleeves,trimmed with green or yellow chenille, over which is worn a light green drapery of crape, fastened on the left shoulder with an amber or cornelian brooch, folded over the left side of the figure in front , nearly concealing the waist on that side. The hind part of the drapery is simply bound in at the bottom of the waist, confined underneath the drapery in front, entirely ornamented round with yellow chenille. With this dress is worn a Turkish turban of green crape, with trimming to correspond with plume on the right side. Shoes of green kid or silk.

The gowns on the right are opera dresses for the same month.

Regency Fashion ~ December

I always love the beginning of the month, when I can indulge myself in Fashion!

First, a couple of bits of information. Starting in January, I will be having a regular new contributor to my Regency Ramble Blog. Her name is Ann Lethbridge and she writes Regencies for Harlequin Historicals and is as mad about the regency as I am. It probably won't take you very long to figure out why.

Secondly, if you are a newsletter subscriber, expect a newsletter to pop into your box during the month of December, where I will be letting you in on the secret.

La Belle Assemblee 1818, Satin evening dress with feathered hat.

Invented by Mrs. Bell: A Ceres frock with a very broad border of wheat ears in straw worked on tulle and worn over a white satis slip. Toque turban of tulle, elegantly worked with straw to correspond with Turkish foldings in front and crape and straw interspersed. Henrietta ruff of fine lace, fixed low and terminating at the shoulders. White stain shoes and white kid gloves.

Isn't it gorgeous. The Henrietta ruff which frames the face is lovely. Not very practical, but to me it seems rather romantic. December would be a time for country house parties, and I think appearing in a gown like this would certainly make the wearer a hit, if rather intimidating.

This plate is from the Ladies Monthly Museum for December 1799.

These are afternoon dresses.
The first one is a Dress of pink silk, the body and sleeves trimmed with black lace; black muslin train; round cap of white crape, with a small wreath of flowers, and ostrich feather. Light blue gloves and yellow shoes.

Now what do you think of blue gloves and yellow shoes with a pink dress. Come on now, be honest. lol I notice in the picture the lace is not looking black at all, though the gloves are definitely blue.

In the description for the second dress, I am assuming the term corset is used rather than bodice because this dress is laced up at the back. And the robe is all about the skirts, which is very plain. This one I like, even with the pink shoes. It is very different from the ornamented 1818 outfit.

Corset of white satin, the body and sleeves trimmed with chenille; lace round the neck and shoulders. Muslin robe, cap of white and yellow muslin intermixed.—Pale yellow gloves, and pink shoes.

As a bonus, our fashionista gives us a hint for the Season:

Note: Black velvet cloaks and scarlet kerseymere handkerchiefs and cloaks, trimmed with fur, begin to be worn much.

Now, you would just have to rush out and buy all of those items or feel thoroughly outmoded, wouldn't you?

That's it for fashions. Until next month, Happy Rambles.

These Boots are Made for Walking

I didn't tell you I was a shoaholic, did I? Can't ever buy only one pair of shoes. Well my writer friend Mary Sullivan took me out for a special treat and I wanted to share it with you.

I know, I promised more money information, but thought we might take a little side trip. Which is exactly what I did last week when I visited the Bata Shoe Museum here in Toronto.

And no, this boot was not actually made for walking. Any guesses? I wish you could see just how big this sucker is. Anyway, it is called a "postillion's boot" from the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. They were made to be worn by a coachman over his regular boots, which accounts for the sheer size of the thing, and they were made of hardened leather to protect him from low hanging branches, or in cases of accidents, from breaking his legs when hit bit the dust. A sort of airbag device for the legs. If you look closely you can see the rowel (spurs) at the back.

Some of them, the display said, had a metal cup set in the toe where the coachman could place hot embers to keep his toes warm on winter nights. Central heating anyone?

I should mention that the museum is very kind about allowing pictures, provided one does not use a flash. I tried really hard to comply, but sometimes my camera had a mind of its own and some of the pictures are a bit on the dark side.

This was the first case we looked at, and I was simply charmed out of my flip flops. These were cinderella shoes from around the world. It seems that each culture has its own version of the Cinderella story and they all involve a prince and a slipper. Who knew Cinders got about that much. In this display case there were Korean and Egyptian slippers.

Throughout the ages, porcelain or glass slippers have been considered an appropriate wedding memento. Could have some connection with the modern tradition of tying an old boot to the honeymoon car. lol

These were French, but as you can see they are of the ornament variety, and one pair is of course glass. So pretty. A bit hard to see, since they are clear, but I thought them quite lovely.


Now what the devil are these for?

Well I'm not going to tell you. You are going to have to guess. And if you guess right, I will send you a set of Jane Austen Correspondence Cards that I bought at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath for just such an occasion. However, if no one guesses right, I will draw from those who comment. Similarly if I have more than one correct guess, I will draw from those. I will post the correct answer on Monday along with the name of the winner. Don't be shy. You have to comment, or guess to have a chance at winning.

I can see I am getting close to the limit of my attention span -- I really don't like blogs that go on and on, but since I am a shoeaholic it is very hard for me to stop.

Just one more. What shall I pick?

If you guessed these were Napoleon's socks, you'd be right!

They were worn by him on St Helena. All right, so they aren't shoes. But think of the famous tootsies that once wriggled inside them. Or that stomped around the headland, staring out into all that nothing and wondering if he would ever go home again.

That is it. We will have more shoes on Monday and probably Thursday too. Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Regency Fashions for April

I had a wonderful time in England and Wales searching for signs of Regency England, to share. I will be at Romantic Times next week. I will sign No Regrets. I do hope you will drop by. Now we need to take a peek at what our Regency lady would be wearing in April. By the way, we had snow in the south of England! Yes, and enough for the folks to drag out their toboggans. Not that they got more than a slide or two before they hit mud. Anyway, more of that later.

Regency Fashions for April

I chose this image because it not only has a lady, but it also has men. We do not often get fashion plates of our Regency gentlemen. Unfortunately, I do not have a description, I only have the year, which is 1809. Just a little before the actual Regency, but noteworthy are the frill on the shirt of the man on the left. Also note, he is wearing a chapeau bras, literally "hat arm", a hat he could flatten and tuck under his arm when indoors. He is very much dressed for the morning call. The other gentleman looks as if he is dressed for riding, with his boots and buskin breeches and of course that wonderful plaid waistcoat peeking out from his coat. Note the pin in his cravat and the fobs hanging from their pockets. The brushed forward hairstyle is typical of this era.

And what of the lady, you might ask. Well I would say, this is an afternoon dress. she is wearing the classic high-waisted white muslin, with just the smallest amount of embroidery around the hem, but the train suggests to me that it would not do well for walking, especially not in rain and wind and snow, although the coat, which is quite short is quite lovely and certainly would get her from the carriage to the house. Her bonnet is very plain, almost more like a cap to be worn under a bonnet. I could certainly see using this as a gown one of my heroines might wear.

These are from 1812 and again we are missing the magazine descriptions, but they are so lush I wanted to show them. This is an afternoon gown and and morning gown. The latter is clearly intended for walking given the length. The heavy shawl and closely buttoned spencer with its warm looking trim indicate that cool weather is to be expected.

The afternoon gown is blatant in its classical origins, right down to the bracelet around her upper arm. The cap sleeves with inserts of lace which make the drape are quite delightful, in my opinion. I do wonder about the hair ornament though. It is supposed to represent a crescent moon, but I think it might poke out an eye if one bowed ones head at just the wrong moment.

That is all from me for this time. We are going to have some flora and Fauna, next Thursday and then we will be back on track and I will start posting my the pictures from my Travel. Until next time, happy rambles.

Regency Fashion For March

What were they wearing in March during the Regency? Well As usual, I have a couple of treats for you.
I did want to tell you about my exciting news - if you haven't heard already. No Regrets was nominated by Foreword Magazine for the Book of the Year Award. Now we have to wait for the result, but just being nominated is an honor.

Now to our March Fashions, my favorite part of the month, with thanks and acknoledgements to Moonstone Research and Publications. See the link in the sidebar. This bit of elegance is a morning dress or a carriage dress from 1811. It is quite lovely, in my opinion. And very suitable for the blustery winds of March.

LA Belle Assemblee describes it as follows:

"A bias corded muslin dress, a walking length, with long sleeves, made high in the neck, with collar; buttoned down the front of the waist with narrow lilac satin ribband. Sash tied in a bow in front; a border of plain muslin, or lace, round the bottom. A square of lilac satin, with richly embroidered border in white silk, and tassels to correspond, is thrown over the shoulders in the form of a shawl, and is cut down the back to give it a more easy and graceful appearance about the figure. A simple white chip hat, tied round the crown in a bow in front of lilac satin ribband. The hair in full curls over the forehead. Pearl earrings. Gloves and shoes of pale lemon, or lilac coloured kid."

These next two are from the Ladies Monthly Museum. A morning gown and an evening gown as you can see. Very ornate, already losing the classic drapery of the fashions above, they show heavy trim around the hem. The lacy overdress on the evening gown is beautiful, with a lace edging and the wavy hem trimmed with tassles is a lovely effect for the underskirt.

The crown of roses for the evening gown must have made this young lady walk with great trepidation. It would be like having a book on your head I should think. Worse than any up-do we suffer through these days.

This last is from 1810 La Belle Assemblee. To me these almost look like two versions of the same gown using different fabrics.

Evening Full Dress.
A white satin round dress, with half yard train, laced up the back and seams with gold twist, ornamented round the neck with a full twill of frosted stain or white crape, and down the front and at the wrist with gold braiding, and small drop buttons. It is made to sit high on the neck; cut to a point in the centre of the bosom and back: a gold band encircles the waist. A white satin Emsdorf helmet trimmed with gold, ornamented with two white craped ostrich feathers. White satin shoes embroidered with gold; white kid gloves; gold necklace and ear-rings; cornelian brooch. The hair dressed in ringlets on each side of the face, with a long Theresa curl falling over the left shoulder.

Second Evening Dress
An India muslin train over a white satin petticoat. A bodice of green velvet, ornamented at the seams with gold braiding, and trimmed round the neck with a twill of green crape or velvet. A Spanish cap, with green craped ostrich feathers.

Personally, I am not keen on the Emsdorf helmet, but is apparently fashioned after the helmet worn by the 15th light dragoons who defeated the French at Emsdorf in 1760. So I assume it had a patriotic attraction.

Well that's it for my rambling today. Hope to see you next time.

Regency Fashion For January and News

You can't believe how happy I am to be back on line. It has been a difficult four weeks for me and my family. My mother passed away on Christmas Eve, and it has been a very sad holiday season. It is hard to believe that a little over a month ago, she and I were touring Bath. She enjoyed herself enormously, was vibrant and interested and ready to point out all kinds of interesting things. And that is the way I will always remember her.

I arrived back from England to some interesting news. It is strange how life feels like a roller coaster. My unpublished historical novel, "Gus Landen, the Price of Justice", is a quarter finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. Oh my. You can find the excerpt at Amazon. You can write a review if you wish, or simply click yes for the reviews that are there to show you found them helpful (or no if you did not).

No Regrets seems to be doing well, listed at number 25 on Amazon in Regencies. Not sure what that means exactly, but I am feeling pretty good about it.

The Anthology Brides of the West from Highland Press is now in proof form from the publisher and we hope to see it ready for purchase around Valentines Day. So I will be running a contest nearer that date. However, this is not a Regency, it is a Western and Victorian. A departure for me, but a fun one.

Well that is all of my writing news for now, but here is the promised fashion for January.

Isn't this just so sweet and to me so very Regency in style. But look how slender this model is. Is it any wonder my heroine in "No Regrets" had self-image problems because she wasn't as thin as a pin!

This plate is from Ackermann's Repository. Don't you love that name. So formal and flowing. The Magazine description goes something like this. "A round robe of Cambric muslin, with long full sleeves, and simple short collar, confined in the center of the throat with a stud or broach; the same fastening at the wrist. A robe pelisse of bright morone velvet formed quite plain, simply meeting in the front, with rounded collar; trimmed entirely round with spotted ermine, and confined at the bottom of the waist with a ribband of corresponding shades, tied in front. A Flora cap, ornamented with ribband and small flower on the left side. A village hat of morone velvet, with open edge of black chenille; a flower similar to that which ornaments the cap, placed on the opposite side, and tied under the chin with the same ribband. Half-boots of morone velvet, or kid. Gloves of pale tan or amber kid. Ridicule of morone velvet, embroidered with gold."

Morone is a peony red, rather than a type of velvet and I find it interesting that her boots are of the same fabric as well as the village hat. One really must wonder how good velvet boots would be in rain and the odd snow fall, 'though they also mention kid as an alternative. I love this ensemble although I suppose the ermine trim is probably not feasible today and the thought of wearing both a cap and a hat makes my scalp itch. lol

My next plate is evening wear from earlier, 1806. The classical influence is very obvious in these two gowns. And I mention, just for interest though I expect most of you know this, that dresses were often plain white because they thought the ancient romans wore white robes based on the statues, when in fact it was simply that in many cases, the color had worn off over time. The description from the Cabinet of Fashion is as follows: The Walking Dress. A Scarlet Kerseymere Cloak. A Bonnet of the same, trimmed round with White Swansdown and dress of White Cambric, richly worked round the Bottom. Buff Gloves. Not much detail, but enough. By the way Kerseymere is a fine woolen cloth with a fancy twill weave.

The full dress or evening dress is marvellously simple and effective. It is described as a: White Sarsnet Dress, ornamented with embroidery. A clear Leno Apron, trimmed with a plain Gold Cord. Hair fashionably dressed, with a Wreath. White Kid Gloves and Shoes. The term Leno refers to an open weave fabric, which of course would allow the dress to show through, and I assume it is termed an apron because it looks as if the sides are open,or maybe it refers to the bib front. A lovely fashion for a young slip of a thing.

I know I am late, but I do wish you all a Healthy and Happy New Year and look forward to sharing more Regency rambles with you over the coming months.

Michele Ann Young

Regency Fashion for October

Wow, here we are heading for the Canadian Thanksgiving next week end. After that I will be in Seattle at the Emerald City Writers Conference and my first booksigning for No Regrets with my American Title sister Gerri Russell.

October of course signals that winter is just around the corner. But what did our fashion mavens decide we should wear.

Here we are in the year before the Regency actually begins in October 1811.

Now just look at this outfit from La Belle Assemblee. This is a tunic of sky-blue-silk, the buttons down the front are self covered with the same silk. Over that is loose short dress of plain India Muslin. the long sleeves and the front of the dress is trimmed with a quilling of lace, and tied down with bows of white satin ribbon and deep French lace flounced round the hem. Ribbons blue Persian confine the arms and form the sash. A white lace hood, lined with blue, and double quilling of French net in the front tops of the outfit. It is worn here with pale buff kid slippers.

I must say I am not so keen on the hood, but the gown itself looks comfortable and the high neck would help keep our lady warm in the cooler mornings of October.

This gown is from 1814, and is clearly an evening gown. This one comes from Paris via the Journal des Dames et Des Modes. the triple row of lace at the bottom of the underskirt is stunning as is the embroidered decoration on the overdress. I just can't get with the turban though. Still, if it is all the rage, I am sure we are wearing it.

These two plates seem to really show the progression during this period. The earlier gown is flowing and more classic, the later one the fuller skirt leading into the hoop skirts of the next era. Yet the high waist still lingers, along with the low cut neckline for evening. Remember that at this time, English women had just discovered French fashions again. By 1818, Napoleon was safely ensconced on Saint Helena. Poor man. He caused lots of trouble, but that does seem like a very uncomfortable thing to do to a person.

I have a friend who comes from Saint Helena. His mother still livers there. One of these days I would love to visit that tiny isolated island.

That is all until next time. Until then Happy rambles.