Have you ever dreamed of opening up your closet and it’s packed with dresses from another time?
Of course you have or you wouldn’t be here reading!
Isn’t it fun to dream of silk dresses, wool coats and bonnets? To think of afternoon tea and reading Pride & Prejudice as a contemporary novel?
So let’s take a look at what that “closet full of shelves” would hold in the Regency/early 1800s time.
Note: Items listed are based on existing originals in museums and gathered from many of our fans on our popular Facebook page. Since we’re dreaming here, quantities are based on historical wardrobe lists as well as the imagination. 🙂
Where else to start a fashionable silhouette but with the undergarments! These basic items are necessities, get washed frequently as they are worn regularly, and are entirely plain and functional.
Shift/Chemise – 12
Long line corset (stays)
Stockings – 12 pair
Petticoats – 3
Nightgowns – 2
Back bustle pad
Caps – 4, for house wear and sleeping
Chemisette – 2, plain and ruffled collar
I did not include pantalets (drawers) as they were generally not worn until later in the 1820s and 30s,
Now, we’re looking at a Regency wardrobe with a 21st C. costumer perspective. So you’ll notice this list is not class specific. The poorer classes will naturally not have an opera gown or even one silk dress. If you are building a wardrobe to a particular class level, adjust accordingly (and to your creativity).
Working dress – 2 everyday functional ones
Day dress – 5
Riding habit – skirt and bodice
Dinner/Evening dress – 2
For fitting tips when making your main garments, check out the sewing handbook.
For protection from the cold over those thin gowns. And besides… one can never have too many spencer jackets. 😉
Spencer jackets – 5, wool and silk
Coat or Redingote
This is the bread & butter of our dream wardrobe. It’s not complete until you have adorned the proper accessories.
Handkerchief – 6 or 12
Fichu – 3
Bonnets – 3
Turban – 2, fabric strips to wrap or sewn one
Reticules – 3, plain/everyday and one for balls
Gloves – 6, everyday kid and fancy colored ones, very long ones and short functional ones
Shawls – 2
Fans – 2, sandalwood and painted paper
Ribbons for belts and sashes
Feathers for hair and hats
Earrings – 3 pair
Necklaces – 2, simple cross and amber beads
Hairpieces – buns and face curls
Mr. Darcy – for elegant town events
Mr. Ferris – for quiet country walks
Mr. Willoughby – a rake for ???
What would you add to this list in your dream Regency wardrobe? (Check the Pinterest board for more inspiration!)