February 16, 2014

Review #9 : Fashions in the Era of Jane Austen by Jody Gayle



"Two hundred years after the era of Jane Austen we are still delighted and inspired by the fashions of nineteenth-century England."


I am a bit of an Austen-geek so I really enjoyed reading this short history of the era's fashions.  I love the short detailed annotations along with the illustrations.  There are two annotations with illustrations for every month from 1809 to 1820.  Usually one is a walking/promenade dress or a morning dress, while the second one is fancier like an evening dress,opera dress, or ball gown.  Most of the information comes from Ackerman's Repository of the Arts.


I learned a ton of new words describing these fashions (which I have included below).  Here is an example of one of the detailed explanations:





Ball Gown May 1809:

"White satin slip, under a crape dress, made to fit the figure very exactly, cut open in front, and bound all round with white satin ribbon and a row of beads, linked together in front with bands of beads loosely suspended at distances; short sleeves the same.  Fan richly spangled.  Pearl necklace, with diamond clasp in front; earrings and bracelet to suit.  White shoes striped in scarlet or blue.  Hair in ringlets on the forehead, and lightly turned up behind with a diamond comb.  Petticoats very short." 









I was also fascinated by the number of various cultures that Regency fashion took inspiration from - Indian, Persian, Moravian, Angolan, Cossack, Egyptian, Peruvian, Spanish, French, Turkish, Grecian, Flemish, Roman, Tuscan, Chinese, Circassian, Moorish, Sardinian, Russian, Scotch, Swedish, Brussels.  I know I, at least, had no knowledge that Britains took fashion ideas from around the world. 


Here is a sampling of some more illustrations:


Promenade Costume July 1811

Opera Dress May 1814


Walking Dress March 1815
French Bonnet with Ostrich Feathers

Carriage Dress January 1818


Court Dress July 1820



Words/Terms that Were New to Me:

My Kindle Dictionary REALLY came in handy during this book!

ermine
stomacher - I just knew this as a corset, not that it was in fact part of one
sarcenet
pelisse
evince
cambric
vandyke
Mirza
marcella
kerseymere
nankeen
pelerine
tufted
jaconet muslin
leno
unella veil - I couldn't find anything about this.  Does anyone know?
dimity
tucker
Mechlin
Merino
oppenoch -I couldn't find anything about this.  Does anyone know?
ribband - What they mean by this is ribbon in a band around the head, not the shipbuilding ribband variety
spencer
habiliments - fancy word for clothing
Chinchilli - I *think* this is chinchilla?  
festoons
yewer - I don't know if this has to do with yew or something else.
levantine
Fichu
Cornette
rouleaus
Leghorn
epaulettes
bombazeen - I actually knew this at one time but had forgotten.
diadem

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