Random questions

This is the result of watching too much tv and not finding local access to extant garments. Blame Miss Austen and Miss Eyre.

Seasonality - how did the garments change to suit the different seasons -  were there different garments, different fabrics, more layers, less? Were some  staples, worn all year round, in the way that we wear jeans? The Gilray print of the 3 graces in a high wind makes the point about the limitations of the fashionable dress.  But still with a parasol.
 From our own experience we would expect heavier fabrics, wools, furs for winter, lighter, softer fabrics, the classic muslins for the summer.  From La Belle Assemblee-

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON FASHION AND DRESS. Votaries and observers of fashion, but not her slaves, we follow her through her versatile paths, catch her varied attractions, and present her changes to our readers as they pass before us in gay succession. Now the pelisse reposes safely in the cedar press, and the velvet and fur are embued with spicy odours, the preservatives of Turkey leather, camphire, and cedar shavings, which defend their warm and rich texture from the destructive moth, till winter shall again re- assume her frozen empire.

To these comfortable shields to the female form, have succeeded the spenser, the mantilla, and the scarf shawl ; the former of these articles is most in favour for walking, with a bonnet of the same: these bonnets ire now bent over the forehead, and the flower is transferred from beneath to the front, or round the crown of the bonnet ; but the most favourite ornament is a long white ostrich feather.

There are several passages, I admit not as flowery, which show the seasonality of the clothes but it seems that the general trends continue from one season to another, the shapes are much the same but the accessories and fabrics alter. Parasols appear all over the place. Was it perhaps the head gear that altered the most?  It would make sense, from my own experiences making these clothes by hand is a serious investment of time and effort so a few weeks wear would not be a good return. The cloth was also relatively expensive, there are many examples of dresses being remade, repaired, restyled. Even the Museum of London pelisse that I admire so much is patched and re stitched in places.

How many garments made up the wardrobe? for the season, for the year?  What was worn with them, what are my modern equivalents. I have no parasol, my bonnet collection is sadly lacking. The only hats I have are for hill walking not adornment, mind you appearing on top of Great Whernside with ribbons and flowers could be fun, certainly scare the sheep. 

The Repository of arts, literature  -I'm finding these fascinating, frustrating aswell as entertaining. Fashion comes between furniture and agriculture.
  As to the number of garments in a wardrobe I have come across various ideas. Miss Elizabeth Bennett seems to have an endless variety of spencer and pelisse, but Miss Jane Eyre seemed to only  two or three and a shawl until she came into money. I've been told that clothing was so expensive that very few garments were owned. I guess we back to the old problem, the garments that have survived are likely to be the special ones. The everyday ones probably wore out and ended up being cannibalised into something else, as dusters or in a quilt. And just who are we looking at the comfortable Bennetts or the working Miss Eyres? There always seems to be a  fine line between necessary clothing, and clothing as a luxury, just where does that old idea of conspicuous consumption begin?

Hem lines? From the museum images of extant garments I'd assumed most were floor length but the descriptions and on the tv the lengths  vary quite noticeably. The print below is a Rowlandson caricature  but does show a wide variety of length, some appear to be calf length, ballerina length and others floor length, just compare the ladies at either end!

The plate below  is a walking costume from 1815. There is clearance from the ground, to the ankle. A very practical length for the modest lady, the low neck and high waist frame and emphasise the bust but remember it would be indelicate to reveal too much leg. Is that a parasol?  I've been looking at the examples of The Repository and La Belle Assemblee in tile form so that I can see multiple images in order and with their context. The general impression is not of different clothes for different tasks or really for different seasons but just of gently shifting fashion with the passing of time. No great violent extremes. Can't say the same for looking through a  year's worth of Vogue!

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