I have received multiple missives from gentle persons concerned with finding something appropriate to wear.
First, let me say that any blouse and skirt or dress that makes you feel pretty and genteel is perfectly acceptable. We do recommend flat shoes (like ballet flats) for the dancing, though. The gentlemen need not trouble themselves beyond donning a pair of nice trousers, a button down shirt, and dress shoes that are easy to dance in. The addition of a tie or cravat and vest or jacket will make a man even MORE dashing. (See this post to learn more about cravats and vests for men!).
Still want to take it up a notch?
As we are nearing the evening of our event, we know that time is short in sourcing something special for the Rout. I will to try to inspire and guide you to something that can be found as nearly ready-to-wear as possible.
Option One: Your Closet
What about that sun dress that makes you feel beautiful? Or that skirt you wear to church that always secretly makes you want to twirl? Add a filmy thrift store scarf to that dress and your favorite ruffled blouse to that skirt and you are merely an imaginations breath away from Regency beauty. Look at your closet for items that might be re-imagined as “olden time”. You might surprise yourself!
Gentlemen may be a little put off by the idea of a costume (although, if you men had any idea how “Mr. Darcy clothes” can send hearts a fluttering, you might change your mind). Go ahead and pull out that white button down shirt you wear to the office or to church, pair it with some khaki pants or darker slacks and you will be good to go. If you want to add the dash of a cravat, consider tying your regular necktie in the way illustrated below:
Take your regular everyday tie. You are focusing on the wide part here, for that reason those crazy wide ties from the 70s are kinda awesome for this.
Pop that collar up and keep it popped. Fold and loop the wide part one around and under the skinny part 1 time.
Notice all that extra skinny Part?
Tuck it in to the shirt and add a corsage pin, a lapel pin, tie tack, a little brooch, or neat little stick pin to tuck it into place.
Now admittedly this looks a bit more Edwardian era, and I like the look of it under a vest best. HOWEVER It is a fun and easy way to “olden time” up your ensemble.
Option Two: Thrift Stores
If I was to rate the activities in my life in order of most enjoyable to least I would put thrift store shopping as a solid 3 or 4. But that would be a Fib as it regularly ties for 1st. Truth.
Gentlemen first on this one, because it is really similar to the closet option:
- White button down dress shirt…Collar Popped
- Standard necktie tied as per instructions above
- Possible addition of vest (check the ladies vest section, too, as sometimes they get put there)
- Shoes of any variety EXCEPT athletic or sandal.
BOOM! All done and not too out of your comfort zone, I should think.
Ladies, for you I have more information. All images below are from one thrift store, and one trip to said thrift store. This is my favorite thrift store, actually. It is a little rough around the edges but the deals can’t be beat. I love this place and it is with great hesitation that I share this gem of a location. But the better angels of my nature have prevailed. Thrift Center.
There are chances of finding a gown perfect with no alteration needed. I found a couple pf early 90s items that would do the trick nicely. Both in white, that classic Regency colour, and both a LITTLE on the short side, but some regency women rocked a shorter skirt. They make it easy for dancing.
Here are the two I found in my thrifting search:
Let’s assume you can’t find something this close to perfect. You are still good, my dears! Let us now look at ways you can put multiple pieces together to form a look.
Another way to mix and match elements is to capitalize on the jumper type thing that the Regency had going on…and then ROCK IT, like Romola Garai’s Emma:
Here is a Regency Fashion Plate Inspiration:
Option three: Buy something online
This option requires more money but less work than the other options.
Your best bet is to Google “Regency gown” and see if any of the options look good to you on shopping sites like Ebay or Etsy.
I have never ordered anything from any of the links below, so no endorsement is intended, but couldn’t hurt to give it a go.
Of course Etsy also has beautiful handmade gowns that are made at the height of Historical Accuracy. They are priced accordingly and I am not sure you could get them by August 2nd.
This seller has couple other items ready to ship as well
Lady Kathryn’s Closet on Etsy:
And this very special gown ships from Bakersfield and so may be able to be expedited in time for the Rout (if you fit the gown, that is!). It would make a great gift for a young lady. Lady Kathryn is an especial friend of ours and she has been the belle of the ball in this gown a few times in her girlhood!
I hope this helps those of you who are fretting what to wear. The Merry Hostesses hope to see you at the Rout!