A word about "period dress" because for some reason it can be contentious which is rather odd since it is merely fashion.
If one is academic one would spend time pointing out the differences between early Regency period style gowns (1790-1800) compared to later Regency gown styles, so beautifully depicted in the painting, at left.
This late Regency style - very high-waisted with puffed short sleeves - is the one most familiar to us and is most commonly seen in Jane Austen movies. Simple to sew & comfortable to wear, it is an easy, authentic choice.
Menswear was similarly neutral: shirts were white and suits were black. However a man's waistcoat (vest) offered a jot of color in the overhwelmingly white landscape of the early Regency fashion scene. It would not be until after 1815, that colors such as vivid yellow, garnet, blue & shades of green, reappeared as stylish choices once again.
Dramatic changes in fashion occurred in Jane Austen's lifetime, especially in the twenty-one years between 1792, the year she attended her first ball at the Basingstoke Assembly Rooms and 1813 when "Pride & Prejudice" was a bestseller. It is no wonder that her personal letters are filled with exasperated comments about it!
So - if you are like Miss Austen in that you enjoy fashion for itself, please feel free to wear your white muslin gown, new bonnet or favorite waistcoat . . . . . . . . OR NOT!
Modern dress or period dress - BOTH are welcome at all Regency Assembly living history events.
For those who have decided to adventure in the world of period dress, might we suggest Mara Riley's indispensable book "Whatever Shall I Wear? A Guide to Assembling a Woman's Basic 18th Century Wardrobe" ($13) OR consult our links for free guidance. There is no time like the present to begin!
Friends & Links
Where in the world would we be without our friends who helped us get started and continue to provide advice, morale support and great products to help us look our Regency best? Our sincerest thanks to each of them!
Sutlers and Specialty Merchandise
Burnley & Trowbridge (Fabrics, books, shoes & more)
Jas. Townsend (Off-the-Rack period clothing & more)
Spencer Mercantile (Regency accoutrements)
Regency Revisited (Fine period fabrics)
96 District Fabrics (Fabric, lace, silk ribbon, etc)
Boone Fabrics (Silk taffeta in stock & special order)
(Greensboro location on West Market near Sandy Ridge Road)
Blue Cat Buttonworks(18th c. death's head & early 19th c. reproduction buttons)
Nancy Glass & Patrick Andrews, Historic Clothing Williamsburg VA
Contact: silkywool at verizon dot net or call 757.229.3126 (one-stop source for custom ladies' & gentlemen's historic clothing & consulting for any era, including modern wedding gowns.)
The Mistress Threadneedle
Trish Hardison, Colfax NC (Tel: 336.665.6498)
Basic 18th c. & early 19th c. clothing & accessories for living history enthusiasts of all ages.
(on Etsy & the Web)
Just Plain Flats
Fugawee Period Footwear
Bonnet Patterns and Custom Orders
Timely Tresses (Mandy Foster & Dannielle Perry, professional milliners)
Etsy (search Vintage "Georgian jewelry", Jane Austen, etc)
(JaneAusten cabochon pendants on Etsy)
www.colonialmusic.org AND www.warof1812music.org
CD's, scores, historians,
and concert musicians.
Syllabub Raleigh NC
Mara Shea (violin), Julie Gorka (keyboard) & Walt Robinson (recorder)
Dance Masters & English Country Dance Teachers (in alphabetical order)
Don Corson, Louisville ECD LouisvilleKY
Jack Maus, The Cuckoo Assembly, Louisa VA
John Millar, Heritage Dancers of WilliamsburgVA
Corky Palmer, Gadsby's Tavern, AlexandriaVA
Elaine Sturgeon, Rappahannock Colonial Heritage Society, Fredericksburg VA
Louis Vosteen, Williamsburg VA
Nine Waltz Positions ca. 1819
TurtleDoves@etsy.com - Jane Austen inspired collage art
Tempus Fugit - a witty living history website & blog
Pemberley.com (all things Jane Austen)
Jessamyn's Regency Costume Companion (comprehensive)
The Society of 18th c. Gentlemen
Organizations & Comprehensive Websites
Jane Austen's World (comprehensive blogsite with links)
The Regency Society of America
The Regency Society of Virginia
The Napoleonic Historical Society of America (NHS)
The Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA)
The Jane Austen Centre (Bath UK)
The Sun Assembly ECD (Raleigh NC)
The Hampshire Regency Dancers (UK)
Colonial Music Institute (colonialdance.org)
CDSS (Country Dance and Song Society) Boston (MASS)
Museums and Historic Sites
The High Point Museum (NC)
Old Salem Museums and Gardens (NC)
Historic Hope Plantation c.1803 (WindsorNC)
Historic Latta Plantation c.1800 (NC)
Gadsby's Tavern & 18th c. Assembly Room VA
Ayr Mount c. 1815 Historic Site & Poet's Walk Park (HillsboroughNC)
Poplar Forest, Mr. Jefferson's Retreat (VA)
Montpelier, James & Dolley Madison's Estate (OrangeVA)
Mordecai House & Park (RaleighNC)
Ships of the Sea Museum (Savannah GA)
Greensboro Historical Museum (NC)
Tryon Palace National Historic Site (NC)
First Lady Dolley Payne Madison
1768 - 1849