Today I’m hosting my friend and fellow author Ella Quinn. She’s going to be discussing the basics of a Regency ear lady’s wardrobe. Take it away Ella!
I’m so thrilled to be on your blog, Lauren.
While we were kicking around ideas, Lauren thought I should post on what a well-bred Regency lady would wear. Now, to go though the entire wardrobe would make for a very long post, so this is by no means exhaustive.
There were day gowns, usually of thin muslin and worn at home, walking gowns, carriage gowns, riding dress, evening gowns and ball gowns, and this list is not exhaustive. The typical Regency lady could change up to 6 times a day.
Here is a Regency Evening Gown:
What young unmarried ladies wore differed in color and material from what older or married ladies could wear.
But let’s let start with the undergarments. The first thing a most women would don is a chemise, also called a shift. Think of a modern petticoat, but made of muslin. It tied in the front so it could be adjusted. Over that she’d wear stays. Some people like to call them corsets, but to me corsets are the heavy ones used during the Victorian era. Regency corsets varied and could tie in the front or back, and be long or short.
Over the stays a lady wore up to five petticoats to add fullness to the gown. The petticoats were also of thin muslin. At some point, she’d don stockings made of cotton, silk or wool. Cotton was usually worn during the day, unless it was cold, which is where wool comes in. For evening she’d want silk. These are not the fine thing silk were used to seeing today, but a fairly heavy silk that was quite opaque.
Here is an example of Regency Stays:
Over all that, she’d wear her gown. For everyday it might be muslin, cotton, or twill, and fine cashmere and velvet for cooler weather. For evening young lady, just out, would most likely wear muslin in pastels. Strong colors weren’t considered proper for a young lady. An older or married lady would wear any of the wide verity of silks, or in colder weather velvets.
Here is an example of a Regency day gown:
To accessorize, there were huge shawls, kid gloves, reticules, in the winter large muffs, and, of course, bonnets. A lady did not leave the house without wearing gloves, and her bonnet. Skirt pockets went out of fashion because of the line of the Regency gown, and reticules were used as a purse.
I’ll finish with shoes. Generally ladies wore half-boots to go walking in. They were made of heavy cloth, such as jean, or leather. For evening they wore slippers.
Here's a pair of Jean-half boots, leather half-boots and slippers:
One thing to remember is that though there were second hand stores, ladies in the ton would have all their clothes made. Shoes were also custom made. Fabric was very expensive, so clothes were re-cut and styled. New trimmings added. Sometimes gowns were died.
Thank you so much for stopping by League of Rogues and making such a great fashion presentation Ella!
Meet Author Ella Quinn
Robert, Viscount Beaumont remembers all too well what it feels like to be in love. That is why he must keep his distance from Serena. He’s only felt his pulse stir the way it does now when he made the mistake of loving the wrong woman once before. Yet the more he strives to resist his feelings, the nearer he is to falling under Serena’s seductive spell…
Meet Author Ella Quinn
Ella’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape.
After stint in the Army, where she was the first woman to be assigned to a Green Beret unit, and serving in Guam and Germany, she decided to return to university where she earned a B.A. from North Carolina State University and M.S. in International Relation and a J.D. from Campbell University, NC. which led to another term in the Army as a JAG officer.
When they were dating, Ella’s husband convinced her he was really a Viking warrior, that was thirty years ago. They have a son and granddaughter, Great Dane and a Chartreux. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa and in Europe, she and her husband decided to make St. Thomas, VI home.
Ella is a member of the Romance Writers of American, The Beau Monde and Hearts Across History. She’s extensively researched the Regency era, immersing her stories with the flavor and feel of the era so that readers lose themselves in the time period. She also belongs to the Historical Romance Critique Group.
In addition to writing and reading, Ella likes water sports, traveling and discovering new foods.
Want to have a taste of Ella's Sexy Traditional Regencies? Check out The Temptation of Lady Serena below!
Ella Quinn’s bachelors in The Marriage Game series are charming and cunning when it comes to the ways of love—until the right woman captures their unsuspecting hearts…
Custom-made gowns…nights at the theater…and a host of eligible bachelors. Accustomed to living a quiet life in the Scottish Borderlands, Lady Serena Weir has never had any of these luxuries. But when Serena’s brother demands she finally have a Season in London, she’s thrust into a glamorous world she’s only dreamed of…
Serena entered Madame Lisette’s shop on Bruton Street with Phoebe and their two aunts.
Madame, a small lady, her dark hair streaked with silver, greeted them “Ah, the new mademoiselle. Bien.”
“My dear Lisette,” Aunt Ester said. “Lady Serena Weir, my niece, desperately needs your help. She requires everything!”
“Bon.” Madame walked around Serena. “I have made some designs that are comme il faut. Just the thing.”
Aunt Ester tapped her chin. “She’ll need several walking, carriage, day, evening, and two or three ball gowns within the week. That should be enough to start.”
Serena’s eyes rounded at the list her aunt rattled off. She’d never even heard of some of them. How could she hope to wear as many as her aunt was ordering? She’d have to change several times a day to make use of them all.
Madame measured her. “I have a few things ready from the information sent me, my lady.” Madame clapped her hands and what seemed like a parade of garments was carried out for their inspection. “They are très élégante for Lady Serena.” Madame called to an assistant then left them.
Looking at the number of gowns the modiste expected Serena to have fitted, she whispered, “Phoebe. Is shopping always like this?”
“Only at first. Madame will soon learn your taste and then it’s not so chaotic. Give it some time. Once we have some carriage and walking gowns, we’ll look for hats, and shoes. Oh, and we can’t forget fans, reticules, gloves, and muffs.”
Serena plopped into a chair. “I’m exhausted just thinking about it. This is as busy as harvest time. How do you keep up?”