Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Half-Edwardian Ensemble

Today is Hallowe'en, and this week on the Sense and Sensibility board it's "Week in Historical Dress". So today I dressed in an Edwardian-inspired mode. Curte and I lunched at the Ashland estate, home of Henry Clay, Kentucky's hero and our nation's Great Compromiser. Afterwards we took a few pictures. The first shot was taken in Ashland's formal garden, which is walled by 7-foot hedges, and arranged into beds of perennials, topiaries and shrubberies, lime trees in pots, and statuary.

About the outfit: The 5-panel herringbone wool skirt and underlying flounced cotton petticoat were drafted from a 1911 pattern. My locket is from my mother's family and is inscribed for Christmas, 1911, while the gold bangle dates to somewhere in the same period. The turtleneck mimics the high neck and tight sleeves popular during that age, as does the loose bun hairstyle. The belt is appropriate for work wear, although its dimensions mayn't be right. As is typical with these types of outfits, my shoes aren't appropriate; I am wearing loafers. I have some heels with a basically proper look, but they are too high, so that the skirt length goes off: it should be around the shoe tops or so.

The second image was taken on the piazza at the back of Ashland house. Ashland was built in the 1850s, and is such a friendly place. It sits on 17 acres in the Ashland Park neighborhood of old Lexington; that neighborhood was developed in the 1920s from Ashland farm and neighboring Woodland Farm (I believe), under the design guidance of the Olmsted brothers. What a rich farm it had been; we live in Ashland Park and the topsoil in our back garden is thick, dark, earthworm-riddled loam. Here it is October 31 and a local strain of phlox, from a family in nearby Versailles, is still blooming, as it has been since June.

It seems that most Ashland Park residents treat Ashland as home and a sort of extended back yard. We lunch there at the Gingko Tree, an outdoor cafe that offers traditional Kentucky lunch dishes, loaded with cream and good things, we picnic there, walk, jog and play frisbee there, we help in the gardens and volunteer in the house, and each Labor Day we attend a jazz concert there. I like to hope that the Clays would be pleased that we love their old home so well.

No comments: