What to Wear? What to Wear?
It wasn’t a very big city, to be sure; less than 6,000 residents, but still there were balls and plenty of coming-out parties to attend. Then, there was church. What would you wear?
We’ve been looking at 1816, the year Pittsburgh got big enough to become a city
Thanks to the Internet and the popularity of Regency Era romantic
books and movies, 1816 fashions are at least as available now as they were then.
Ready-made clothing only started to appear just before 1816. Sorry ladies that was just for men.
Most everyone knew how to sew, but they got a tailor or seamstress to make the best outfits. You can still get those patterns on the Internet.
If you’re a man, you can do it the modern way — buy ready-made. Like the outfit below.
Remember It Was Chilly
If you want to dress just like it was 1816, you better think shawls and jackets. There was no summer that year because of a volcanic eruption on the other side of the world.
Women wore short jackets that barely extended past their high-waisted dresses. Want to know what they wore under it? The previous post tells all.
Samples of typical Regency gowns are below. Hair was worn up with tendrils cascading down to complement the relaxed style.
You can get custom-made gowns online, but the selection is not good. An example is below:
A Heads Up
Pittsburghers were several inches shorter than they are today. But you might not notice. They all wore tall hats.
They weren’t always going to formal affairs, particularly in a small frontier city. What follows is artist renderings of people in everyday situations.
Wrapped in Myth and Historical Lies
The past will always be misconceived, but little as much as the corset.
A symbol of sexuality and the lengths to which vain women will go, it intrigues modern society.
Most of the stories actually come from later in the Victorian Era, a half century after Pittsburgh became a city. We believe tales of women who tight-laced down to thirteen inches. and died in the attempt. We are told women surgically removed their lower ribs to attain a smaller waist.
Nonsense. You’ll enjoy seeing the myths debunked here.
It is called the Regency Era because of who was running the United Kingdom. A regent is appointed monarch because the real king or queen is too young or too incapacitated to do much more than wear the crown. The King George we know from the Revolutionary War got old and mentally incapable. His son, another George, was appointed regent in 1810 until the king died in 1820. Then he was king and the Regency Era was technically over.
Leon J. Pollom, writer/researcher