… hes cast his eyes on stays, gowns, petticoats, caps, ribbons, stockings, garters, shoes, clogs

I’m in a bit of dreamer’s state these days.  It’s the result of a long January that has rendered me broke for the rest of my month which means I have to amuse myself with the contents of my dusty wardrobe.  By dusty, I mean, I have to keep pulling things out that I haven’t worn in an eternity and deciding what fate they shall face; the bin or rejuvenation.  I tend to always opt for rejuvenation because I’m a hoarder.  Such is the case with the Primark military jacket which I dramatised with a white felt ruffled train.  Then incidentally, Foto Decadent has given me much reason to indulge in my absolute love for all things 18th century, aristocratic and decadent with these posts of Marie Antoinette, Joshua Reynolds inspired images…

Bernard Tartinville

Carl Bengtsson

So… the combination of being skint, staring at my wardrobe for far too long, staring at Foto Decadent for far too long and a spare hour to myself meant I happily indulged in an oufit that is by no means practical or realistic.  I could only ever hope to nod towards a disparate number of things that are vaguely 18th century, seeing as I don’t have a massive mantua dress just hanging in my wardrobe, so it’s not supposed to convey historical accuracy.  The mask reminding me of masked balls frequently held in great houses.  A feather that I recall from Stella Tillyard’s biography on the Lennox sisters being talked of as being ‘the latest fashion in court’.  The stockings which I layered over white tights again taking me back to a passage in the aforementioned Tillyard biography.  The coat is like a hybrid of 18th century militia uniform and a ladies night-cape.  Then the layers of tulle just to point out the sheer number of layers that were worn if you include all manners of underwear. 

No it’s not a very early Halloween costume but an hour of amusement that might provoke some delving into incorporating 18th century elements of dress into everyday outfits.  Or I’m just incredibly sad and have no life and get joy out of playing random dress-up. 

(The title of this post is from Henry Fielding’s ‘Tom Jones’)

44 Replies to “… hes cast his eyes on stays, gowns, petticoats, caps, ribbons, stockings, garters, shoes, clogs”

  1. I love this post! It shows your enormous creativity and sense of play–a lost art, I am afraid, most everywhere else.
    Once I saw the most marvelous bit of fashion improvisation, on a homeless man. He had taken a red rag, like mechanics use in a garage and wrapped it around his head. Into this he had stuck bird feathers–a bluejay’s feather in the center, and tiny bits of colored paper he’d scavenged off the sidewalk.
    Genius, like this post.

  2. Annah: Nope! But good guess….I’m wearing a grey tulle tutu from Topshop and a Moschino Cheap & Chic grey jersey corset top over a ruffled shirt. Then there’s a vintage slip skirt underneath the tutu…. I don’t make things easy for myself!
    Suzanna and Wendy B: I knew you’d both appreciate this one…!

  3. Beautiful… playing dress up can last hours if you’re not careful. The mask is the icing on the tulle layered cake.

  4. be still my beating heart!
    you know, i saw this most beautiful tule petticoat at the vintage shoppe… thanks to this post, i may well get it.
    i also really like the white thing peeking out of your jacket, the pleated ruffles are perfect!

  5. just lovely! there’s definitely a big appeal of white tights and stockings lately, i haven’t worn back tights in weeks. very much feeling the mask too, where’s the nearest costume party!

  6. The Lennox sisters…I read that book the year before last because my roommate was on a historicals spree- but they make fab inspiration (or at least Emily did, the minx- clocked stockings and all- though I like the little lace bit on yours). And I love the feather!

  7. I adored both of those shoots–the colors are so dreamy and its nice to see a very literal interpretation of an old concept. The ruffles are so dramatic and gorgegous–I really enjoy the playfulness of the outfit you came up with. Dress-up is fun.

  8. This is probably one of my favourites from your recent outfits, it’s so playful and you can see the period referencing. The suspenders and mask are also a little bit minxy!

  9. It doesn’t matter how many times I reach into my closet – I will only ever pull out ties, shirts, sweater vests, blazers and jeans. Perhaps its time to change it up…but to what?

  10. thank you for your lovely comment, I also agree.. this post is fantastic, and you are not the only person who is old enough not to play dress up but still does 🙂

  11. I love the amount of frills, ruffles, feathers, lace and general fluffy clothing you own and have managed to put into this outfit. It’s great and it made my day.

  12. Absolutely gorgeous. Who says there’s anything wrong with playing dressup? This outfit makes me want to start wearing a mask in public… I bet that would get some pretty interesting reactions!

  13. I actually used some of the Bernard Tartinville in a fashion during the french revolution project for my world cultures class. They’re beautiful.
    And your outfit is lovely!

  14. we were actually watching Marie Antoinette in my French films class today (which is ridiculous as it is an American film) and I was literally salivating over the costumes.

  15. i just have to say first that i am a LONG time admirer of your blog! yours actaully inspired me to get one myself! this post makes my life, for im OBSESSED with marie antoinette (sort of the theme of my blog). anyways i love all your marie related posts 🙂 this photoshoot is beautiful – it really does look as if you are at a versailles house party 😀
    – Modern Marie

  16. Ha! this reminds me so much of myself! I’ve been obsessed with vintage french style lace and ruffles for months now, I usually have a minimum of 5 skirts on, no one else seems to understand why but it makes sense to me!

  17. Ha! this reminds me so much of myself! I’ve been obsessed with vintage french style lace and ruffles for months now, I usually have a minimum of 5 skirts on, no one else seems to understand why but it makes sense to me!

  18. Great great post , I LOVE IT SO MUCH ! omg you’re so sweet like that , I love how you dress , I’m so jealous ahah :)nice collages btw

  19. Me loves the dress-up and I’m glad you guys do too… I know ppl in the outside world would deride me though for spending time on such frivolities….
    It’s a sort of happy happy feeling as you try on different things and discover that actually, it’s not as clownish as you first thought it might be and that actually there is some degree of wearability to it…
    Thus I would heartily recommend it to anyone with some spare time on their hands. Thanks for all the comments… I read them whilst indulging on a box of Laduree macaroons….!

  20. that outfit is soo great and wonderfuly playful. nice work with the layering. The mask is delightful too

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