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 years between 1792, the year she attended her first ball at the Basingstoke Assembly Rooms and 1812 when "Sense & Sensibility" 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 (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.
American Duchess (on Etsy)
Emma's Regency (on Etsy)
Just Plain Flats (on Etsy)
Bonnet Patterns and Custom Orders
Timely Tresses (Mandy Foster & Dannielle Perry)
Etsy (search Vintage "Georgian jewelry", Jane Austen, etc)
JA cabochon pendants (on Etsy)
CD's, scores, historians,
and concert musicians.
Dance Masters & English Country Dance Teachers
(in alphabetical order)
Don Corson, Louisville ECD LouisvilleKY
John Millar, Heritage Dancers of WilliamsburgVA
Corky Palmer, Gadsby's Tavern, AlexandriaVA
Elaine Sturgeon, Rappahannock Colonial Heritage Soc. VA
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 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) BostonMASS
Old Salem Museums and Gardens (Winston-Salem NC)
Historic Latta Plantation c.1800 (HuntersvilleNC)
Gadsby's Tavern & 18th c. Assembly Room (AlexandriaVA)
Ayr Mount c. 1815 Historic Site & Poet's Walk Park (NC)
Poplar Grove, Mr. Jefferson's Retreat (Lynchburg VA)
Montpelier, James & Dolley Madison's Estate (OrangeVA)
First Lady Dolley P. Madison
1768 - 1849