I have wanted for the longest time to own a dress that would fit in at Charles II’s Restoration Court but for a very long time the cost has put me off. Even when, for my sins, I was in the Sealed Knot I would gaze longingly at the dresses that were being sold at the stalls surrounded the make shift battlefield and wish I had enough money to get my grubby little mits on one of them.
And then a few weeks ago, I was derping around on the internet. And I found the perfect Restoration-Esque gown. And I had just been paid. And I just had to have it. So I brought it, for a little over £100.
And it was worth every single penny.
It took a while to arrive, but this morning there was a knock on the door and there it was.
Can I just say, I have no idea how women were able to breathe in the seventeenth century. I wasn’t even wearing a shift or proper boned corset underneath and I was struggling to breathe. It wasn’t even laced up to it’s full potential! Plus, I can see why upper class women had maids to help them dress. It is really really REALLY hard to do the backs of these things on your own! I did the best I could but had to enlist the help of my partner when he got in from work.
The dress is just full of flounce and I adore it. And alright so it isn’t made out of 100% accurate but it certainly looks the part. Obviously to go 100% accurate I would have to get out my sewing kit and start a brand new one from scratch with a seventeenth century pattern, a proper shift etc. But this one does a damn good job of making it look the part. The sleeves which can be seen above, in original dresses from the period those sleeves would have been part of the ladies undergarment but on this dress are attached. In a way I feel like I’m cheating but it really does look the business.
I’m sure many people could point out how it isn’t accurate at all and blah blah blah because it’s not made out of the right material and I’m not wearing a shift and a proper boned bodice and blah blah. But I love it, and it looks very similar to the gowns that the ladies were wearing around Hampton Court when I was last there aaaand the gowns worn in The Power & The Passion. And that, dear readers, is good enough for me.
I am planning on wearing this to the Kelmarsh Festival of History next year, so please do keep an eye out. That gives me a whole year to learn how to do my hair in the proper seventeenth century style. Like Minette…
Now then, if any one needs me I’ll be back in 1660’s Whitehall…