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A Mid 1790s Riding Habit

I love riding habits. Even in fashion eras I don’t particularly like (I’m looking at you 1860s), I can usually find a habit I would want to wear. Something about the clean, tailored lines really appeals to me, plus collars and lapels are one of my favorite things to drape and sew. One of my most recent projects was a mid-1790s habit, something I’ve wanted to make for years. I have a lot to share about the construction of this outfit, so I’m going to break it down into multiple posts, starting with the inspiration and finished look.

The main inspiration for my habit was this November 1795 plate from Gallery of Fashion. The description reads:
The hair in curls and ringlets; the hind hair turned up plain. White patent hat made of raw silk; two yellow craped feathers in the front. Riding dress of grey cloth. Waistcoat of yellow silk. Riding handkerchief, trimmed full round the neck. York tan gloves. Yellow shoes. “

I tried to stay as close to the plate as possible, though I did deviate by using a beautiful dark teal wool from Burnley and Trowbridge as my main fabric, rather than grey. I had it in the stash and it's one of my favorite colors, so not a bad compromise. Since this is a transitional period, interpreting this plate required a bit of educated guesswork. I looked to extant habits from earlier and later years, as well as other types of dress from the mid-1790s to decide how I wanted to construct the habit. I tried to approach it with the mindset of an 18th century  seamstress figuring out a new style. Still, this project involved more than its fair share of me waffling back and forth about different construction methods. I'll go into more detail in future posts.

I wore the finished habit for the first time this past March and was so happy with the whole look! Unfortunately, the sun was so bright that afternoon that all my pictures ended up quite washed-out. I have plans to wear this again later in the year so, hopefully, I will get some better photos then.

For accessories, I wore some new coral earrings from Dames a la Mode, an antique carnelian brooch and ring, my green American Duchess 1790s riding boots, and a new mid-1790s wig from Jenny la Fleur.  I didn’t have time to tackle the hat before the event, so I wore my trusty poofy cap thing ™; however, I definitely plan to make that ridiculous hat for the next wearing.

(Our lovely hostess, Carolyn of The Moder Mantua-Maker, shows off the volume in my skirt.)

Posted: 6/14/2019 11:25:47 AM by Aubry | with comments
Filed under: 1790s, 1790s Riding Habit
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