1899 Gibson Girl Coiffure

I was very pleased with my hair for the 1890s ball! One of the reasons I liked the idea of an 1899 dress is because it is close enough to the turn of the century that a Gibson Girl hair style made sense. My hair loves cooperating in poofy styles, so this was perfect!


I created the super poof using a pad made from one leg of a pair of tights. It’s stuffed with cheap “wizard beard” hair that would otherwise have gone in the trash. Being stuffed with synthetic hair, the pad is pretty warm. And I did struggle a bit to get bobby pins through the tights–I need to add loops to the ends for next time I think. Aside from those things, though, the pad was perfect!


I also created a new hair ornament to finish off the coiffure. I had originally thought of bleaching the ostrich feathers to create an aigrette*, like this, but decided that I liked the ostrich feathers as is and didn’t feel like dealing with bleach. There are two feathers: a grey and a white. I found that the white helped create definition for the grey on my dark hair. The sparkly bit is a cheap eBay brooch. I sewed the feathers to it and then used the pin part to bobby pin it in place on my head.

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Success! Look at that haughty Gibson girl look (like this)!


*An aigrette is a spray of feathers from an egret. Confusing!


First Picnic Of The Summer: Part I

Last weekend was a whirlwind of events and that means I’ve got lots of pictures to share! The pictures will be coming in small-ish groups. I do hope you’ll be able to vicariously enjoy the nice weather and fun through them.

The first event was a low-key turn of the 20th century picnic in the Boston Public Garden. You might remember that last year we did a Regency picnic in the same place? We were out to have a good time and get some fresh air without worrying about 100% historical accuracy, hence the low-key part of the description. So without further ado, pictures!

Taking a turn about the garden.
There are lots of ducks in and around the swan pond in the center of the garden and this time of year you can also see baby ducks! There were 9 of them in this bunch. Aren’t they cute?
There are also swans around the swan pond. These ones were nesting in a fenced off area. Pretty, but you wouldn’t want to get too close. Swans are big, and mean.
There are lovely old trees around the garden as well.
The trees make great backdrops for photos.
Walk a bit away from the swan pond and you are likely to encounter George Washington, who happened to be showing off his Bruins spirit this past weekend. (I love that the city, presumably, had a custom all-weather jersey-cape made, since Washington can’t actually move his arms to put on a jersey, given that he’s bronze…)
All around the statue of Washington are lovely flower beds. The flowers get changed out pretty regularly so they’re always blooming and pretty. These flowers are my favorite though! They’re called allium, and I love the colors, and the size, and the circle-y-ness of them.
I believe I have a weakness for circle-y things. And, my outfit matched the flowers! I think my gibson-y hair turned out pretty well, too.
I know this picture is similar to the last one… but I can’t decide which one I like best. I’m hoping maybe you have an opinion that will sway me one way or the other?
It got warm promenading about the garden, so we returned to the blankets in the shade to play cards.
After the rest, we broke out the croquet set we had brought along. Apparently we were more interesting while playing croquet than we were at any other time during the day, because we actually gathered a crowd of people who were watching us play.
Contemplating my next shot. I was getting out of the metal panel obstacle…
I was the pink ball! I think it was supposed to be red, but it looked awfully pink to me!
My outfit choice was inspired by an image in the KCI collection. I did my best to imitate it in spirit, despite my lack of a boater.
When revisiting the image I realized that it does not include a croquet mallet. Be that as it may, I tried, and I think the inspiration is clear, even though my memory is not!

The Gibson Shoe!

The latest shoe from American Duchess: the Gibson.


Lauren has all sorts of cute shoes planned for 2013, so I’m pretty sure this is only the beginning of what will be more shoe posts this year. Aren’t these cute though? I’m trying to decide between black and brown… If you are at all interested, pre-order-time is the time to make your decision, because if Lauren doesn’t receive enough orders, the style (or certain colors) might be cancelled. And that would be  sad! You now have no excuse. At the very least you should go check them out

Product links in this post contain an affiliate code, which provides a small benefit to my shoe fund. This does not affect my impressions and reviews of this product.


Newport Vintage Dance Week Part VII: Glen Manor Continued

TNG: What more can I say?

At the very end of my first post about the Ragtime evening event at Glen Manor, I had just shared with you our series of pictures of the “young set” spelling out our most recent acronym: TNG. You’ll have to read the captions in the pictures of the that post to see what it stands for, because this post is moving on to pictures of the Ragtime ball. Before I start on pictures, I just have to share that this ball had the most fantastic food catered for our dinner. I don’t know what company catered it, unfortunately, but it was spectacular and delicious! We all ate generous first and second helpings and were super full… but it was SO good!

The light was fading as we returned from our adventures down by the water and on the dock… This is the back side of Glen Manor with the lights on in the downstairs rooms and the twilight sky behind.
The orchestra for the night. I believe this is the New River Orchestra.
The doors were thrown wide open to the patio and gardens, which allowed for picturesque viewing of the dancers.
This was one of the venues in which the dancers progressed through a series of small-ish rooms.
It was fun to look in and watch people dance. Because they were traveling through different rooms there were always new people to watch.
There were lots of really beautiful gowns to admire.
Dancers in the main ballroom.
The interior of one of the beautiful rooms.
The fabulous red carpeted staircase. Not quite as grand as Rosecliff or Ochre Court, but still beautiful.
Most members of TNG lounging on the stairs.
One of our faithful cameramen caught lounging without a camera in hand!
None of the young set danced very much, but there were a few times we stood up and danced. This is one of them.
And another, blurry, picture of members of the young set actually dancing.
Photographic proof the Scott the Portsmouth Policeman danced (and with one of our own young set–as well as many other dancers).
On the left is Scott the Policeman. Elsewhere are other wonderfully dressed dancers.
We may not look like we’re dancing, but we had just finished a tango. One of the few times the young set danced.
We did get up to dance the Charleston!
And we basically had the room to ourselves, which meant we could be super silly!
A silly Charleston figure called something like “shine your shoes.”
Charleston in a line. A TNG favorite.
The traditional TNG “raise the roof” Charleston! (It’s like patting your head and rubbing your stomach… to Charleston while raising the roof! You should try it!)
Follow the leader. Now everyone is doing the “raise the roof” Charleston!
Double trouble! We caught one of our TNG faithful photographers and Bill Cunningham in the same picture!
I believe at least some of us are doing the “flying Charleston” in this picture.
Yay! We Charleston-ed!
We’re all laughing and smiling! Doesn’t it look like a wonderful time? Don’t you just want to jump in the photo and join us?
Two fabulous TNG-ers.
The fearless leader of TNG and the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers. What a fabulous fan! Doesn’t it just scream for sillyness?
Well, here you go! Sillyness! (Can you tell that it’s her tail? Like a peacock?)
Okay, I’m not actually asleep… but the stairs were a pretty comfy place to relax… Clearly, it is nearing bed time.
“Follow the moon path!” I said, knowing you can’t actually follow the moon path over the water. It’s a good metaphor for life though, to follow your dreams.
Last view of Glen Manor that night, with the lights on and the rising moon. So lovely!

Final tally: 72 pictures between 2 posts out of a total of 1,266 pictures total for this event. Not bad, I say.

Newport Vintage Dance Week Part III: Formal Tea on the Lawn at RWU

As I was in a bit of a hurry when I posted pictures of the Seaside Dance at Easton’s Beach, I failed to include some interesting information that I am going to include here, now! Other ladies in the fabulous young set at Newport maintain their own blogs and have also posted pictures of the Newport events with their own unique commentary. If you’re vicariously enjoying the fun of the week, I encourage you to check out their posts and extend your fun! #1: Antonia’s Experiments in EleganceSpeed Virginia Reel at Ochre Court,” for example; #2: Raven’s Plaid Petticoats “Project Newport,” for example; or #3: Barbara’s Recreating the Nineteenth Century BallroomThe White Ball at Rosecliff,” for example.

On this blog right now, however, we are going to continue the marathon of awesome-ness that was Newport and reminiscence about the Formal Tea on the Lawn at Roger Williams University. This event, being an afternoon event, did not have a specific time period, so you’ll see a variety of clothing styles. Here we go!

On our way to the official lawn for the tea, we stopped to take pictures here by the boats.
Here I am: 1903. The blouse was made last year and the skirt earlier this summer (though I haven’t posted about that yet…). The bolero and hat were additions to complete the look.
A side view. You can really see the silhouette.
It’s like Where’s Waldo. Can you spot one of our faithful photographers caught on camera? He blends in with the boats.
Another beautiful distraction before we even made it to tea.
I wish there weren’t modern buildings behind the pond… but there were fish in pond!
Looking picturesque. Again with the modern buildings…
Close up. Such a lovely line with the skirt and all! And the buildings are much less obvious.
Finally we stopped getting distracted and made it to the tea, where we saw this lovely group of people playing croquet!
This is only the beginning of the croquet poses…
So we didn’t actually play croquet… we just borrowed the mallets for our photos!
Throw them over your shoulder?
Hard to see that they are different lengths in the last photo, but not in this one!
The long one was great for striking a pose that didn’t involve bending over.
I rather like this pose.
I’ve whittled it down to just this one close up hat picture…
We got our young ladies together to take pictures in a line. We do love back side photos!
Swirling skirts and stunning backgrounds. What more could we ask for?
Silly moment! We like to try and walk toward the camera slowly, which always means walking like we’re either zombies or underwater, depending on your inclination.
Awww. Aren’t they lovely together? Look at those trains!
The neat looking knot-thing to finish off this particular sash–finishing off sashes in neat ways this was a theme of the week for me!
Sitting with one of the little girls for a photo. We had to bribe her with lemonade… shhh!
It’s possible that we were also distracted by cattails on our way out…
I really wanted to reach them, but they were just out of reach.
So lovely!
We had to return to reality–the modern world. But did we walk on the sidewalk? NO! Up the middle of the road is the only way.
More silly! Lifting the skirts and walking is always essential for sillyness. We are on our way to get ready for the evening 1860s ball at Ochre Court!

Final tally for this event: 27 pictures out of 298 total. Whew!

Newport Vintage Dance Week Part II: Seaside Tea Dance at Easton’s Beach

Here we are again, for the second installation of the Newport marathon of awesome-ness. If you missed it, you can view the first installation, the 1920s Gatsby Ball at Rosecliff, here.

The Seaside Tea Dance took place on Tuesday. It was held at a venue right on the beach that also houses a operational carousel! In fact, the carousel was shut down for the public so that those of us at the ball might ride it with our other costumed companions. If you’ve ever been to Newport, this beach area is the one just down the hill from Bellevue Avenue (where many of the mansions are). Actually, many of the mansions along the left side of Bellevue Avenue actually have a view of the beach area where this event was held. The day events did not have specific time periods, thus you’ll see a variety represented in the pictures. It’s nice to be able to choose, but I enjoy the atmosphere most when everyone is wearing clothes from a short time span (as is the case at the formal evening balls).

It wound up being a rainy afternoon, which caused some stress, but we managed to overcome our various situations and have silly, fun time anyway. You’ll have to look through the pictures to see the adventures! Onward!

I hardly danced at this event–I wasn’t in the mood. BUT, I did ride the carousel!
Hm… not actually smiling, but with the same look on their faces.
More of the fabulous young set…
Being proper ladies, we were obligated to ride side saddle! (And you can see the back of my newly decorated hat.)
Now you can see the front of my hat.
This was ride number two. I was practicing my princess wave.
As I mentioned in an earlier picture: we didn’t dance much. We did spend a lot of time sitting and discussing things (I don’t remember what things… I think mostly that we didn’t feel like dancing…). You can also see the fabulous knot I made on the blue belt! It was all pinned in place at the last minute, but I do like it.
We, the young set, might not have been dancing, but that didn’t stop other people!
If you’re going to wear matching bathing suits, you must take pictures on the beach!
Oh no! The picture has been crashed by a random modern guy! Eep!
Single occupant pictures are always essential.
Here I am: 1900. New skirt, blouse from 1913 (shhh…), new belt, and newly trimmed hat (that appears to be listing to one side… oh well, it’s jaunty, right?).
From the back.
Close up. I love that I finally have a picture of this blouse that shows the details!
Another good blouse shot. I can’t resist including lots of pictures of new clothes!
Silly fun! We went wading in the ocean, in the rain! It was pretty warm, so the water didn’t feel cold.
It is for spur of the moment events like this that it is always useful to wear historic underthings… You never know when your combination legs might be seen!
Look, you can see one of our faithful cameramen!
After getting our feet all sandy, we had to hose down a little bit.
My ostrich feathers were rather bedraggled when we finally went inside… but I fluffed them and they dried looking just as wonderful as before the rainy sea adventure.
Walking to the car. More petticoat ruffle is always better!

Final picture tally: 22 pictures out of 655 total from this event… You made it!

Edwardian shoes from American Duchess!

Well, Christmas wishes do (almost) come true!

When American Duchess announced the Pemberley Regency style shoe around Thanksgiving I was super excited… but I am even more excited about the most recently announced shoe that is nearing the end of production.

Yes, an Edwardian shoe! It will be for sale before April, when I know we will all be attending Titanic-themed events. I have plans to make Edwardian clothes for some of these events and I have been looking for modern shoes with a historic aesthetic to match; however, it is quite challenging to find a modern shoe with the right heel shape, top detailing, and heel height, just to name a few features of this Edwardian shoe. I am so excited!

New “Astoria” Edwardian shoe from American Duchess
This link contains an affiliate code, which provides a small benefit to my shoe fund. This does not affect my impressions and reviews of this product.

American Duchess has other shoes in development as well: a 1920s t-strap (super cute) and court heels c. 1680-1740. You can check out the designs here, just scroll down.

I say Christmas wishes (almost) come true because when I posted about the Pemberley Regency shoe I wished for a late Victorian shoe from American Duchess. Well, Edwardian is not quite late Victorian, but it is just as exciting! And such perfect, well-planned timing! SO EXCITED!