Saturday, 16 March 2013

A Costume Book I Couldn't Resist...

Now I have to admit I do have a weakness for books on historical costume.

If it's a full size beautifully illustrated book and the content will be helpful in my research, then I will probably buy it- though I will look for the best price...

Some people collect pottery, and no one blinks an eye at how much they might pay for a teacup. I like costume books. :-)

So my most recent purchase came about via a post on Facebook by Rachel Knowles. Her blog, Regency History can be found here, and will be a useful starting resource for anyone wanting to find out more about this time period...

Go to Amazon and use the look inside option
- image from
The book reproduces a selection of the fashion plates that were published in Ackermann's Repository and covers plates from 1809 to 1820, with the description and spelling of the time they were published.

I suppose you could consider Ackermann's the Regency version of today's Vogue, or Harper's Bazaar.

The book was inspired by romance author Candice Hern who has a large collection of Georgian and Regency antiques and a great selection of images and information on the objects on a section of her website, here.

I have a few favourites in the book. There's a lovely ball dress of April 1812- " A round Circassian robe of pink crape, or gossamer net, over a white satin slip, fringed full at the feet." The "peasant" bodice was clearly designed to show off the fuller bossomed woman...

And there's a fantastic "Spanish lappelled coat of fine orange Merino cloth", part of a Promenade Dress from January 1814 that I adore.

Mantles and capes, I would happily wear them today if they were made in my size.

So that's enough, or I'll be talking for days.

Do you have a favourite costume style - from any time period?


  1. That's clever - to collect something that's useful to your writing so it's tax deductible.

    It's not really a style but I'd like to go back to when people dressed up a bit to go out somewhere special. Full evening dress for every social occasion might be a bit much but there could be a compromise between that and wearing the same outfit for work, supermarket shopping and dinner out or a party. I feel a story coming on ...

  2. I was reading about that book too, Carol. I already have lots of pictures from the original Ackerman's, as well as other books on costume, but I love collections like this!

  3. I adore those books too! So beautiful!
    I'm quite a fan of the Regency period, and the fashions of those days, but I'm pretty much a sucker for any period dress really. Until it all started to go wrong in the 60s...Couldn't agree more Patsy's comment on how there must be a compromise somewhere...

  4. I hadn't thought of that aspect, Patsy. :-)

    I have to admit I dress up to go to the writers' club, but then my social life is a bit limited with my family.

    I'm very envious, Rosemary. This book is probably the nearest I will get to them.

    Maxi, me too.
    There are a few pieces I would love- a Calash hood would be great, especially when you've been to the hairdressers and it's wet or windy outside.
    The nearest I get is my big wraps in winter, and the lighter ones in the summer. :-)

  5. My wardrobe consists of comfortable clothes, but a long cotton frock is one of my favourites. Perhaps I should dress it up with a stole and some bling?

  6. Accessories make al the difference, Lizy.
    I'm a comfortable clothes for everyday use person too. :-)

  7. I like Regency clothes, as they're fairly wearable, but I think the simplicity of 12th/13th century clothes would suit me. No frills or furbelows; long sleeves (a must!)and natural fibres, though possibly a little scratchy in the original. Pretty much anything before the introduction of stomachers, or any other form of stiffening. I'm a comfort girl, not a fashion one!


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