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Tuesday, April 29

Fashionable Websites Jane Austen Would Have Liked to Visit

It is nearly May when the sun becomes strong enough for young ladies to think about protecting their delicate skin from harmful rays. Visit Ruby Lane, and browse for beautiful antique items, such as this 19th century black Chantilly lace parasol with pink lining. In the image above from David Brass Rare Books, one can see two ladies strolling ahead of the group, one with a parasol and one with a shawl, two wise choices for a promenade in Kensington Gardens.

In the matter of choosing a shawl, an issue of The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine in 1851 declared: "We scarcely know a truer test of a gentlewoman’s taste than her selection of a shawl, and her manner of wearing it." - Vintage Textile

The weather is still brisk and thin muslins and silks are no protection against cool spring breezes. Beautiful shawls are the answer for a young Regency miss who wants to stay warm and remain fashionable at the same time. Vintage Textile offers several exquisite choices. Click on the link above to see a breathtaking example of a lace shawl. If that is too fancy for you, click on this link at Vintage Textiles to view a shawl one could wear in more ordinary places.

Speaking of breathtaking, this new paisley acquisition at the Spurlock Museum, University of Illinois would be worth a special visit to the museum. As described below, paisley shawls became all de rigeur during the Regency, but the imports from India were quite expensive:

By 1777 imitation Indian shawls were being made in Edinburgh. They were first popular in England in the 1780's, and did not gain popularity in France until the 1790's. At that time Indian shawls sold for as much as $:300, a stupendous sum in those days. It was the French Empire fashion at the beginning of the 19th century, with its high-waisted, willowy silhouette, the perfect foil for the long, soft shawl, decorated around the edges but plain in the center, that made the shawl fashionable. - New York Times, 1989

Just remember, before stepping out the door, a young lady's accessories of shawl and parasol would not be complete without the requisite gloves, hat, and reticule to accompany them. If the roads were muddy from the ever present spring rains, one might consider wearing pattens to protect delicate footwear.

Want your own affordable Regency style shawl? Check out these beautiful examples:
  • Antique Kashmir Shawls from $1,250 - $3,600 at Textiles
  • Pashmina Jama Shawls, Paisley, $125 USD, Click Here
Image at top: Promenade in Kensington Gardens, 1804, David Brass Rare Books, featured in Jane Austen's World: The Fashions of London and Paris, 1798-1810. View more fabulous vintage books of the era at this beautiful site, which is worth a visit, especially for bibliophiles.
Posted by Ms. Place

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