Wacky Wednesday– Regency Male Costume

I’ve posted about female Regency era fashion a few times. Today, I want to talk about male fashions–specifically the wacky ones. You probably have something close to this in your head for male clothing of the era.












I’ve gone through a lot of fashion prints and these are pretty standard examples of the era. Oh, but there’s more. I wonder what Mr. Bennet would say about the lace some of these men wore.

Like this guy…

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There’s also the issue of hats. Here’s what we think of for Mr. Darcy

darcy top hat

Instead, there’s this:

Ben Franklin wouldn’t have needed a kite for his electrical experiment. He could have waited a few decades and just used his ginormous hat! They’ll fly away in a gust of wind!

For ladies, the Regency era was generally light on embellishments. They certainly had them but nothing compared to the finery of decades past or that the Victorians would bring back. Making this set of trousers all the more curious.

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Speaking of trousers, there were high waters in the 19th century. Steve Urkel would be proud!

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Well, there’s a taste of the wacky male costuming I’ve discovered this week. To be honest, though, I would surely prefer any of these to skinny jeans or sagging. Sigh.

However, to solve the recent debate of what Mr. Darcy must have looked like in which “historians” gave a rendition of a sickly looking man with a powdered wig looking more akin to George Washington than any contemporary hearth throb, we luckily have portraits and fashion plates! Thankfully, they prove the adaptions more likely to be correct. Thank heavens!

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Ball Gown in the making! Part 1

It’s been awhile but doing this ball gown thing has never been far from my mind. A few weeks ago I decided to do a mock up using two skirts that were too small. I was going for this look.

evening dress_la belle assemblee_june 1812

Here’s how it turned out. I did the sleeves differently (ugh. I did them wrong like 14 times first!)

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I actually made it too big. I didn’t really measure so the middle panel ended up taking up too much space. And I had problems with those stupid sleeves. They kept sliding down.

I’ve gone back and forth a few times on thinking I could do this or not. I’m moving out of state and spent all of last week with my husband and kids in a hotel house hunting in the new town. The weekend before that I was at the beach with my mom’s side of the family. It rained the whole time. Actually, it rained all of last week too. And it’s supposed to rain most of this week. I’m very tired of rain!

Anyway, tonight I decided to give it a go. I figured if it didn’t work I’d just wear one of my other modern dresses. I felt a little bad cutting up my wedding dress with little guarantee this would work but it’s just sat in my closet otherwise, so why not? Below I’ve cut off the tulle for the crinoline underneath and the organza overlay.

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It took a few false starts. I realized I didn’t have enough fabric (from the train) to do a cut all the way down the middle like I did in my mock up. So then I tried just doing part of it and that was not working. So I cut off the bodice and made a new one from train. I threw straps on it last minute to help hold it up. They may not stay since I do plan on doing sleeves still. It was almost midnight and I just wanted this phase to be done, so don’t worry the chest will lay flatter. I know it looks more like a 1950s negligee or something but have patience.


Tomorrow I’ll do the bodice overlay and sleeves. The petticoat will be longer so you won’t see all of my legs like you do in in the pic.

Here’s the bodice I’ll be cutting up to do the laced corset overlay.


It’s a lot of white so I think I’ll do a colored ribbon for the corset look. Of course, white was the color to use back then, but it feels weird to me. So, it should end up looking a bit like these:

ball gown_la belle assemblee_august 1812 evening dress_la belle assemblee_december 1812

Sleeves may end up kind of like the above right or like this one.

Ackermann's_August 1812_sleeve

So, I think it’s not bad for being entirely free and me having no earthly idea what I’m doing and have never followed a pattern in my life. It only needs to survive a few hours of dress up. I should finish it up tomorrow!

Ball gown update!

Last weekend I was looking for new housing as we’re moving out of state in the next 4-6 weeks. I had planned to do a good bit of reading and writing but had a mild case of food poisoning Friday night. Instead I browsed more fashion plates. The Jane Austen Society of North America Annual General Assembly in October is on my mind. Because if we move on October 1 then we’ll only be in the new place for a few days before leaving for AGM.

I posted before, that I want to use parts from my wedding gown. Well…it’s been almost 11 years. And the New Year’s plans to diet and exercise were not followed through. So, the dress is too small. When I looked up ways to fix that laced bodices were recommended. I hadn’t thought that was a Regency fashion element, but I found some! I chose only English gowns from 1811-1813.

Ackermann's_August 1811 afternoon dress_lady's monthly museum_may1812 ball gown_la belle assemblee_august 1812 evening dress_acermann's_may 1813 evening dress_la belle assemblee_june 1812 vauxhall vittoria fete dress_la belle assemblee_july 1813

I am still thinking about what to do with the sleeves but I found some more inspiration pics. Some are slightly off the shoulder (and the same as pics above) and one even looks like it would have a bare underarm.

vauxhall vittoria fete dress_la belle assemblee_july 1813 full dress_ackermann's_july 1813 evening dress_la belle assemblee_june 1812_off shoulder evening dress_la belle assemblee_june 1812 evening dress_la belle assemblee_december 1812Ackermann's_August 1812_sleeve

The gown in it’s original state also has a side swept “apron” and since it’s so much white, I may look for some colored silk or netting to do a similar overlay with. The bonus being that I don’t have to buy a large piece of it.

evening dress_la belle assemblee_june 1812_off shoulder evening dress_la belle assemblee_jan 1813 evening dress_la belle assemblee_december 1812 evening dress_acermann's_may 1813 Ackermann's_August 1811

I just find this pic interesting. In case you need a peplum!

evening dress_la belle assemblee_jan 1812

And, while October is not very cold, I wore a faux fur wrap for my December wedding and I think I may wear it briefly here as well. Just because I can.

opera_mirror of the graces_jan 1811

Again, these pics are only from 1811-1813 and you  can see the waist lines are all over the place. Check out my first post for more plates spanning the era as I discuss that and other image myths about Regency gowns.

Regency ball gown from a wedding dress??!!

Last night I took an old button up shirt that was too small and cut holes on the opposite side and tried out the corset front. I think it looks good! I’m going to do a mock up from things I either already have or thrift store pieces before I cut into the dress though. I’ll update again soon!