Are YOU a Regency Era fashionista? Do you know a reticule from a parasol? Are pantaloons and chemisettes both undergarments? And what is with all those hats!? For today I thought a visual guessing game would be fun. Test your knowledge of fashion accessories for ladies, entering your answers and/or thoughts in the comments section. I do provide the answers at the end of the post in a hidden spoiler box. Like I said, this is just for fun!
#1) Yes, the images below are of HEADWEAR for ladies. Too easy! Not all hats were the same, obviously. A milliner would require the proper name for the TYPE of covering a lady wished to have made. Do you know the correct name for the headwear represented by the images below? *HINT: “bonnet” will not do!
#2) Made of wood, ivory, or bone, this object slipped into a pocket in the front of a corset and was tied in place with a thin piece of lace or ribbon. The purpose was to keep the breasts separated while forcing proper posture. As noted in the examples to the right, these things were often carved, decorated, or inscribed with messages, and were popular gifts from men to their sweethearts and wives.
#3) In use since at least the 12th century, the objects pictured below are a type of overshoe, usually with a thick wooden sole and a leather (or metal) top that slipped over the regular shoes. Secured with a buckle or tie, it served to protect the costly, fragile slipper-shoe and to lift the foot away from mud, snow, or the general filth that collected in early modern city streets.
#4) We can easily recognize the generic SHAWL worn as the basic and most common accessory thrown over a lady’s shoulders for warmth and protection. Do not be fooled, however, because there were a plethora of garment choices to wrap around the upper torso beside the shawl! The difficulty is in naming them, particularly problematic due to the variations in style and constantly changing descriptions. Below are examples of three different cover-ups, the descriptions corresponding to the images. What are they called?
A. A long slender boa-type fashion accessory used to wrap the neck area. Could be made of fur, or fabrics from thick brocades or velvet, all the way to transparent lace or muslin.
B. These varied in shape from a rectangle to a triangle and were folded in some way, to then either cover the exposed neckline over the gown or tuck into the gown’s neckline. Some were long, although typically not, and the fabrics were predominately sheer and delicate.
C. The Regency version of this fashion accessory was cape-like with a short length in the back and long, narrow, usually pointed ends hanging down in front. Fabrics occasionally were lightweight and thin, but more commonly thick and lined. Fur as an accent or as the primary construction was also common.
#5) CAPE versus CLOAK. Which one is which?
A _____ falls well below the knees and usually to the ground. It is a functional garment worn for warmth and protection from severe weather, and as such, it completely covers the wearer from head to toe and front to back. It may not have a hood but almost always does, is fastened at the neck, and does not have sleeves but will have slits for the arms to pass through. Fabrics lean toward heavy and tough, including thick fur, in colors that are neutral and in darker shades.
A _____ is shorter, falling to the waist or buttocks, and worn in part for warmth but more often as a fashionable accessory. It will always cover the back but may be open in the front, is fastened at the neck or shoulder, might have a hood but typically does not, and is more likely to be embellished with decorative trim. It does not have sleeves, nor will there be a slit due to the shorter length. Fabrics tend to be lighter weight in a wide range of colors and patterns.
Did you enjoy testing your fashion know-how? I hope so! For more fashion examples from the Regency, both in extant samples and prints, visit my Pinterest Boards for thousands more. Visit my website for all sorts of awesome Regency-related information, AND, of course, to read about The Darcy Saga sequel series!