Let me start by explaining my reasoning about adding to my Regency wardrobe. You see, I had two events in mind for which I needed two different Regency looks: the Massachusetts Costumers annual Regency Holiday Tea and the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers 1812 Ball. What to wear???
“Well,” I thought, “I have an 1819 dress that I built last year for the Sense and Sensibility Ball… but I don’t have the right corset to wear under it. Nor do I have any way to make the ball gown into day wear… And, now that I think of it, what will I do with my hair for a day style???”
The next step was to turn my ball gown into day wear! Well, Spencers are a classic Regency garment that can perfectly disguise my ball gown by hiding the short sleeves and low neckline, thus turning it into day wear. Perfect! After the Spencer will come the adventure of finding a suitable hair/hat solution.
What is a Spencer? It is a short, waist length jacket from the 18th and 19th centuries first worn by men but quickly adapted into women’s wear. The garment is named after George John, the 2nd Earl of Spencer who was an English politician during the last quarter of the 18th century and the first quarter of the 19th century.
Right now I am interested in the Regency style Spencers, since that is what I will be making, so I will focus my research on that period. Here are some of the Spencers I found most inspirational for my reproduction. These garments are from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection.
Let’s leave the Spencer here, in the research stage, for today. More will be coming soon with mock-up pictures of my reproduction!
While looking for research images I did come across this blog post that shows a reproduction of an 1815 Spencer at the LACMA. The post (and her other posts as well) have great commentary about the research and construction of reproduction garments with lots of pictures included!