What to wear…what to wear…

Have I mentioned that you can get gala tickets here?

Ok, so I know the problem – You’ve been invited to a Regency Ball and, not being British, (or born in 1790), you just don’t have a thing to wear! AHa! I’m here to swoop in to the rescue…so here we go. Ladies first, because that’s easier.

For the Ladies:

Ok, if you are a woman and you are looking to dress for a Regency ball, you need a dress (actually a skirt and top would work too but I’ll go with the dress first and add The Separates Addendum later.) What you need is either an empire waist (high waisted) dress or a dress with no discernible waistline. A maxi dress of any kind (the longer the better) and a ribbon or a scarf or something that you can cinch the dress with. Here is a picture of me in a maxi dress.

Once you have the dress on, take the ribbon and tie it around your waist just under the bust (like this)

Voila! An empire waist dress. And, let me just say, though the empire waist dresses of the time were floor length, don’t worry if yours turns into a cocktail dress length or even a miniskirt. We’re going for the feel of the time not total historical accuracy. Add a shawl (don’t worry if the colors are wilder than you would have seen at the time), put you’re hair up in ribbons or flowers or jewelry:  

pull out your best extravagant jewelry and you’re good to go!



As promised: The Separates Addendum – If you would like to attain the same look with separates, pick a skirt and a top that match. Pull the skirt all the way up to right under your bra. Tuck the shirt into the skirt and tie a wide ribbon around the top of the skirt to hide the join.

Ok, now for the boys:

The boys are a little trickier (seriously you should talk to my costumer about the difficulties) so we’ll have to fudge a bit more but just have a fun with it and you’ll get what I’m going for. Start with the pants. Any pants but jeans will do (and heck, if you want to do it with jeans, who am I to argue with you). You’ll have to imagine these photos are of a gentleman. My gentleman (my husband John for those of you who don’t know him) was late for work and so escaped being the guinea pig for this particular post so, it’s all me. ANYWAY, take the pants and a pair of high sweat socks. Tuck the pants into the sweat socks and pull the socks up as high as they’ll go up to just under the knee. Like so:



For shoes, if you have brown or black dress shoes, they’ll work perfectly, yes, I knowit looks weird to be wearing dress shoes with your sweatsocks but it’s either that or you borrow your wife’s stockings. If you’ve got a pair of boots, you can always wear those instead. Again, since I’m a girl, I can’t put on the men’s dress shoes and make that work, so here’s the outfit with boots.


Get a white button down shirt and tuck it into the pants. Take a tie and tie it like a cravat instead of a tie then basically do all the wrap around stuff but instead of passing the end of the tie through the knot, let it lay on top and pin it.

You’ve got yourself a cravat:

If you have a vest throw it on (I have no vests in the house) and now for the jacket. Take a regular jacket (if you have double-breasted that is best) button up the jacket and take the front two flaps of the jacket and pin them underneath the jacket (or just tuck them into your pants. It’s not perfect but it gives you a sense of tails.)


And, voila! If you have a top hat (And really, who doesn’t have a top hat in their closet) pop that on your head and you’re good to go. You can also feel free to draw on a dastardly mustache (or if you’re actually a man, you know, grow out your own – you’ve got a week. :)

The most important thing is to have fun! See you at the gala…and, if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you can do so right now, right here.


  • 1
    Anastasia M.
    June 9, 2012 - 2:10 am | Permalink

    This is awesome!!! Wish I could be there to see everyone looking so beautiful and dashing in their Anne & Wentworth attire!!

  • 2
    June 12, 2012 - 2:54 pm | Permalink

    There you have it! A brilliant and creative posting by Lady Ammirati on dressing both men and women. I must say I could not have come up with a better solution myself. And when I think of the labor of making these dresses. I always used to say “I cannot determine what to do about my new gown; I wish such things were to be bought ready-made.” And now you have them! This is extraordinary. I shall talk of nothing but this for the rest of today and perhaps tomorrow too!