Jane Austen (1775-1817) hardly needs an introduction; she is one of the most beloved and admired authors in the English language. The watercolor above right is by her sister Cassandra, and is believed to be of Jane. The portrait of Jane on the left is a 19th century painting based on a sketch by Cassandra.
Talk Like Jane Austen Day is October 30, so you can get double duty out of your Halloween costume. To dress like Jane Austen, you just need a Regency gown. And some sort of headcovering—her niece said she always wore a cap (presumably under her bonnet when she went outdoors).
The pieces we suggest, from left to right:
1. Custom Regency gown. This seller will make a gown to your measurements, with your choice of fabric and trim. The whole process seems to take a couple of weeks, and it looks like a finished gown runs $125 to $150. You can also check out Wendy’s Doll Closet on eBay; she also makes custom gowns.
2. Alternate Regency gown. This is also a custom job, but it’s a much simpler gown with fewer options. It’s less expensive than #1 (about $70) and the turnaround is faster. Note that she also offers a chemisette (neck covering) and detachable sleeves on that same page.
3. Regency bonnet. This is the Eliza model from Austentation, which offers a wide range of Regency bonnets and hats. You can get any of them plain or decorated with your choice of fabric, feathers, ribbon, etc., and all at very reasonable prices.
4. Cap. Wear this by itself or underneath the bonnet. This is a simple period cap in white, with a little frill to frame your face.
5. Isotoner satin ballet slippers. Regency shoes were extremely similar to ballet slippers; they even had ribbons. Modern Isotoners are an excellent substitute.
6. Single strand 18-inch faux pearl necklace. Regency pearls were simple and classic-looking. If you don’t already have a basic pearl/faux pearl necklace, this one will do.