Thoughts on Today’s Paper Doll
This is the first day of Regency Fashion Week. I am so psyched. I’ve been wanting to do historical clothing for the Jewels & Gemstones since the beginning. There’s this myth that in the past everyone was super hot and skinny (I blame Hollywood). I chose Amethyst as the model for this clothing, because there’s also this myth that everyone was white (I blame institutionalized racism).
Technically, the Regency only lasts from 1811 to 1820 in England. That’s just 19 years. However, the styles we think of as “Regency” stretch from about 1805 through about 1825 when the waist line begins to drop. It lowers steadily through the 1820s before settling at the natural waist around 1828 or so. Personally, I chose the term Regency for this week’s paper dolls, because I think it is the term most people know.
Inspiration for Today’s Paper Doll
Okay, now we get to get specific. There’s a myth that in the early 19th century women didn’t wear corsets. This is not true. Women totally wore corsets, but since the styles were changing rapidly, there wasn’t a single silhouette. No woman with actual curves wants to not wear some sort of bust support. The corsets (or stays) of this era were generally less boned than those of the 18th century and were short or long, depending on the style. I chose a long set of stays, because I have been told by folks to know more than me, that for bustier women (and the Jewels paper dolls got curves) this is a more comfortable style.
The shift our Regency paper doll wears was adapted from one I found in a museum. Shifts are kinda… not terribly changing garments and I made the sleeves a bit shorter than I think they would have been, so I could accommodate evening gowns which often had very short sleeves.
One of the quirks of shoes of this era is that a lot probably laced up the ankles, but since the laces are often missing it is hard to tell from photos from museums of they had laces or not. I erred on the side of omitting the laces, but I am not sure that was the right decision.
Specific Source Images:
Stays: This pair from the Met 1811 and this fashion plate from 1813.
Shift: This Shift from the MFA
Shoes (top to bottom):This pair from the Met from 1812. (I love these shoes so much I’ve drawn them before here). This pair from the Met circa 1810s. (I made them yellow to match the Evening Gown later this week.) This pair from the Met 1795-1805 (I made them black for more mix and match options). This pair from the Met from 1810 (I put them on the doll and made them not white, which I am kinda regretting now, but oh well…)
On the Blog: More Regency Fashion Paper Dolls and More Jewels & Gemstones Paper Dolls
Around the Internet: American Duchess on Regency Flats, A Nice Collection of Images of Free People of Color in the Regency from Mary Robbinette Kowal, the Regency Era from Wikipedia & A rare portrait of Marie-Antoinette’s sister-on-law, the Comtesse de Provence, wife of Louis XVIII, from 1810 (a very stylish plus-sized lady, love the crown)
I could write so much more on this era and why I chose what I chose for the paper doll, but we’ve got all week for this. I am going to try to space out my thoughts and if I get a bit pedantic than please, be kind. The truth is that I love history and I love historical clothing and I could talk about it for hours.
Regency week happened, because it won the poll I put out for my Patrons (actually Space Princesses surged ahead at the last minute and beat it, but I was already started on the Regency stuff, so Space Princesses will be later). I also chose it, because I really love this era’s clothing (and I have a soft space in my soul for a good Regency era romance novel.)
What do you think? Looking forward to Regency week? Not sure it’s your thing? Do you have a favorite era of historical clothing? Let me know in a comment!