Regency Knowledge

Leave me here, please.

It has recently come to my attention that what I know of Regency life is but a smattering. A mere tip of the proverbial iceberg. Bits and pieces gleaned from various period dramas and one very research paper. I’ve stumbled upon a few errors in my thinking recently (editors are a wealth of knowledge), and I am resolved to fill in my spotty knowledge of my favorite historical era.

Upon reaching this conclusion, I did what everyone does nowadays. I Googled. And I found a lovely blog full of information by one Maria Grace. She blogs at Random Bits of Fascination, a blog that I highly recommend for its truly interesting and well-researched posts. I particularly enjoyed this one about circulating libraries.

I’m trying to find information about clubs and societies that flourished during the Regency Period. I know about Gentlemen’s Clubs like White’s. But what of other groups? Did people during this period get together for book clubs? Did they form societies to further a common interest like history or art?

I can’t wait to find out.

Nineteenth Century Fashion

19th Century Fashion by Terrize on Deviant Art

What began as research for a vignette (more on that later), has developed into a deep dive into the history of women’s fashion in England. I’ve always loved the costumes in Austen films, but I never realized just how interesting those free flowing, form showing dresses were in regards to history.

As you can see in this lovely graphic by Terrizae on Deviant Art, the empire waist dresses with their freely moving skirts were a mere blip on the map of fashion. As early as 1830, those big skirts were back.

Beautiful as they were, the large hoop skirts made it difficult to move about in a normal way. Can you imagine just trying to sit down in one of those? I think most of us modern ladies would have a hard time managing. And let’s not even think about going to the bathroom!

So why, then, did the empire-waist come into fashion at all? According to historic-uk.com, there was a renewed interest during this time period on Classical works of art and literature. That is to say, the Greeks and Romans were cool again, and people wanted to dress like them.

What I find so amusing is the fact that these dresses, like the one Elizabeth Bennet wears in every adaptation, were considered bold and daring! I confess, I would love to have each and every one of the dresses in this pretty graphic, if only I had somewhere to wear them!