Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Jane Austen Inspired Outfit

A couple of months ago one of my friends turned 18, so her family threw her a surprise birthday party. That's when I decided that these people were the coolest people ever. Why?

They threw my friend a Pride and Prejudice themed party.

And this was no half-hearted affair, either. We watched the entire 6 hour long BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, we had high tea, and we decorated hats just like the Bennet girls.

Now of course I couldn't just show up to such an epic party without doing something special. The invitation said to wear 'fancy clothes.' That's when I decided to dress up like a character out of one of Jane Austen's books. I wanted to do a cross between modern and regency style. There's no better way to do that than to go to a Thrift store. I found everything I needed for a bit under $15 dollars. Here's how I did it:

I went on Google and looked up pictures of the clothes that the character wore in Pride and Prejudice:


I immediately thought that the dresses look a lot like nightgowns. Even I'm not willing to show up to a party wearing a night gown. But I took note of the long and shapeless dresses, the empire waistlines, the pearl necklaces, the puffed sleeves, the darts at the chest, and the muted colors. I decided that these were the things I wanted to somehow work into my outfit.

Then I went and tried to find modern-conversions of the Bennet girl's dresses, and found this one: 


I liked the length and the darts, but the belt was too low and the sleeves were all wrong. But since I couldn't find a better model, I decided to use this picture to inspire my own outfit. 

I wish I had taken pictures of my shopping process, but I forgot. Let me just tell you that I found these red boots that I immediately fell in love with, which I made the focal point of my outfit. I found several dresses with slightly puffed sleeves and vertical darts at the chest, but I only found one brown one. Since I didn't ever see any brightly colored clothes in the pictures of the BBC movie, I chose this one and moved the belt up high to make an 'empire waistline.' I found a white shawl that I wanted to use as a makeshift 'shrug sweater' which was popular during the Regency Era. Anyway, here is what the end-result looked like: 



My scarf/shawl/sweater is covering my puffed sleeves, but they ARE there. And yes, I did do my hair up into a Regency Updo because I just couldn't resist. This was back before I chopped off most of my hair. I had to use a lot of bobby pins and a LOT of hairspray, but it turned out well. 


Needless to say, I had a blast putting together and wearing my Jane Austen inspired outfit. And the best part about it? I would have never bought red boots 'just because,' but now that I own them I get to wear them all the time!

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