Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dress Like Jane Austen--Part One

A few years ago I had the pleasure of attending a JASNA annual conference in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. (JASNA is the Jane Austen Society of North America.) At every conference, they end the weekend with a Regency Ball. Members consider this the highlight of the event and proudly show off their regency costumes for dinner and dancing. (A true regency ball would not include a full dinner, but that's beside the point.) What is the point? That we get to dress and dance like Jane Austen, of course!

My own gown, alas, was not ready. (My bonnet and reticule were, and one day I will post a picture of them. I often take them with me for book signings.)

I took scads of pictures. Last month, if you recall, I promised to post some. It was hard to choose, but the following are among my favorites. Many of the ensembles are handmade by their wearers. I noticed that some seamstresses are more concerned with authenticity than others, so I'm posting those I consider truer to the period. In Part Two of this post (next month) I'll show pictures of men, couples, and snapshots of the ball in progress.

So here we go. I get to play fashion police and I hope you enjoy this Regency costume parade--in which we


Lovely spencer!

Love this one. I believe she is holding a lorgnette--the female equivalent to a quizzing glass.

Restraint and enthusiasm, side by side. (Are those really green net gloves? Why, I must ask, are they green? Why must I ask? Because I'm a stickler!)

Some could not resist making it a "Masqued Ball"

Woman on the left: Tastefully done! She looks perky and pretty and born to wear this style. On the right: A turbaned headband to die for. Love how the underdress matches the bodice.

A whimsical-looking fashionista.

The Three Graces?

 The puff sleeves are a bit too large, the waist rather low--but the colors and overall effect are lovely. Trains were not common, but not out of place, either.


Love that turbaned headband.

On the right, her hairstyle is apropos! Bravo. It really adds so much to the overall effect.

Another hairstyle-inclusive ensemble, in the simple and popular regency white. The demure smile would be fitting for a lady accepting  the offer of a dance from a gentleman!

A handsomely dressed woman.
The bonnet is rather wide for the period, but there's something sweet about this lady and her gown that I found charming.

Another dubious bonnet, but full points for trying when the outfit matches so well!

Similar to the above, but with a period correct bonnet.

On the right: A picture of good taste. A sweet attitude, coupled with an unpretentious gown that is fitted properly and hits the right note. A regency miss, for sure!

Hair divine, with an early regency style and perfect pose!
 And now for a personal note: Because this was my first trip to the Northwest, I took advantage of the opportunity to meet my editor at Harvest House Publishers--the wonderful Nick Harrison. Here we are in his office in Eugene, Oregon.
(My middle daughter saw this and said, "Wow, Mom, you've lost a lot of weight since then!" [30 pounds, but who's bragging?] I smiled. My youngest daughter came by and said, "Why are you putting that up? You look....(silence)." I said, "C'mon, I'm smiling, at least!" She said, "Yeah, but your head's on the wrong body." I'm choosing to take that as a compliment.)

  To continue: I was also able to meet my then new agent, Chip MacGregor. He was kind enough to show me and my husband around Portland a little.
Chip MacGregor, the cute. (With me, I promise, on the right. I didn't need my daughter to tell me to get out of this one!)
     Finally, fellow author Miralee Ferrell, a resident of southern Washington State, kindly welcomed me and my husband for a night in her beautiful Northwest home. The Ferrells took us up (far, far up!) to see Mount Hood, the location of Overlook Hotel, the infamous exterior of which was used in the film, "The Shining." (It was a neat old place but never gives the feeling of being as large as it comes across in that film.)
Here I am with Miralee, standing in front of a tiled mural on a wall of the hotel. Thanks again, Miralee!

Are you a member of JASNA? Have you attended a regency ball? 
This year's conference is in Quebec, Canada, in October. See this link for more information or to get tickets.
And be sure to tune in next month to see more regency costume photos!

Linore Rose Burkard is best known for her inspirational regency novels with Harvest House Publishers, including Before the Season Ends, the award-winning The House in Grosvenor Square, and, The Country House Courtship.

Linore teaches workshops for writers with Greater Harvest Workshops in Ohio, is a homeschooling mother of five, and is currently putting the finishing touches on a YA novel. Keep up with Linore by subscribing to her free newsletter.


  1. Such a fun post, Linore. And you do look great. I was just talking to Joe about all the weight you lost on Paleo. We are low-carbing now. He hates it. LOL> I didn't realize you went to a Regency ball when you went up there. Or maybe I forgot. They wore trains to a BALL? How crazy is that? I can't imagine getting my dressed stepped on over and over. That would be so frustrating. Enough where I'd only where a gown with a train to one ball!

  2. Great post, Linore! Ladies in their beautiful dresses! Thank you for sharing!!!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  3. Some of the Jane Austen outfits are quite funny! compared to our styles today. Thanks for the post. sharon wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  4. Great post and pictures! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you, ladies. It was enormous fun, being there and taking everyone's picture. And the music for the dancing! (But that's for next month.) Glad you enjoyed the pics.

    Debbie Lynne, I'm glad to hear you're going lo-carb! You'll feel better, weight loss aside. I'm proud of you. :)
    As for trains at a ball--probably not a good idea, you're right. I think trains might have been seen less in the ballroom than at a dinner or soiree. Good point.

  6. Some of these gowns look so create. Way to go crafty ladies!

  7. I love the costumes! So many of them actually look the way I had imagined them as I read my books!

    Pat C.