Saturday, April 16, 2011

Jane Austen Festival Morning Ensemble: Hat Notes

The new-to-me Italian straw gypsy hat. It will be steamed to
reshape the crown and the brim.
I cannot but jot down some thoughts about hats. As springtime advances and outside the sunshine becomes stronger, the more I think of a turban or cap in the hot Kentucky sun, the more disturbing get the almost certain prospects of muggy heat and blazing sun. A hat, with cap beneath, is more reasonable than a turban, even a gauze one.

How far we stray from original plans! "And we like sheep, have gone astray..." (hummed to the Handel tune). Anyhow.

Reference Images

June 1794, Gallery of Fashion:

Original text (thank you, cathy Decker!): Fig. X.:  Straw-coloured gipsy hat, trimmed with lilac riband formed into a large bow in the front, and into a very small one behind; tied under the chin with a lilac-coloured silk handkerchief. One white, and one lilac ostrich feather, placed on left side. The hair in light curls, falling down behind, bound with a white half-handkercheif, tied in the front into a large bow. Round gown of fine Indian callico, trimmed with a narrow flounce; long sleeves trimmed at the wrist with lace. Lilac-coloured sash tied into a small bow, the ends as long as the train. Lawn handkerchief, over it another of lilac-coloured silk, turned under the arms, and tied behind. Yellow shoes. Jonquille-coloured gloves.

gipsy hat is simply a large-brimmed hat, according to online dictionaries. The name for this shape appears not to have altered over time. The "demi-gipsy" hat on the rightmost figure has the back of the brim cut off, hence "demi".

The hat need not be of fine straw braid; the plates clearly show wide hat braid.

I would not use so many ribbons as my leftmost reference figure, thank you, but the hat shape is fun and suits me well (see my profile picture at right? That's a similar look.). Underneath, a cap; you can see it peeking out. Silk gauze caps are acceptable, as we know from Colonial Williamsburg. I have silk gauze in the stash.

Here's a 1790-1804 cap from the Met, item C.I.37.45.22. Mine need not be fluffy, with two layers, but I prefer no band on a cap.

Side notes: look at the dress neckline and sleeves of the figure on the right! Fluffy with frills, like my reference portrait miniature. Yum.

Also see how her chemise dress (that's how the original text identifies it, too, by the by) is a loose-backed one, so that the sash doesn't look odd in the back like sashes did on my fitted-back dress. Of course, a loose-backed chemise dress with a high waist is not going to make me look slim. DO go see this figure in a drawstring gown in Napoleon: The Empire of Fashion. Here's the side view. A pretty dress? Yes. Slimming? No. Not even on a rail-thin mannequin.

Back to the subject at hand: hats.

Perhaps I should wear a veil, too, unless that is gilding the lily. Natalie Garbett offers a super image of what wearing a veil can be like.

The veil below, on the leftmost lady in the from August 1794, is green gauze. Again, I have gauze, and the veil can substitute for frilly ribbons. I have the ostrich feathers, too, left over from past years, and can color one green. Stripes, maybe!

So, the germ of an idea emerges.

In Other News...Our Bluegrass Regency Society met for the First Time

It was fun! We have a full calendar! From picnics and house tours to dance lessons to the JASNA festival to museum tour to attending our local Christmas ball, (sure hope they have it again this year) we have it all. If you're in driving distance to Lexington, Kentucky, come join us! See our blog for details.

No comments: