Penelope Byrde discusses every aspect of female fashion in ... 'Women's Dress', including what it meant to be a well-dressed woman, ...and the chapter on 'Men's Dress' is no less revealing. But it is the chapter on 'The Making and Care of Clothes' that brings the period most vividly to life.....Fashion plates seen at the dressmaker or at friends gave ideas of how elegant one might look, and the book is lavishly illustrated with beautiful examples well chosen to complement the text. -- The Oldie, January 2000
Penelope Byrde makes use of the letters and novels to give a background to the making and care of dress, describing fashionable bonnets, parasols and reticules and providing an insight into the role of the dressmaker and the mantua-maker. Public mourning seems to have called for some ingenuity. On a visit to London in March 1814, Austen wrote ...'I have determined to trim my lilac sarsenet with black sattin ribbon just as my China crape is, 6d width at bottom, 3d or 4d at top...With this addition is will be a very successful gown. -- Times Literary Supplement, 9th February 2001
From the Author
Jane Austen was not only a brilliant social observer but also a skilled needlewoman, with a keen interest in fashion. In this book I have drawn together the fascinating insights into the dress and etiquette of her time that her letters and novels provide. I studied the History of Dress for a postgraduate degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art and have written several other books on the history of costume. I currently work as Curator of the Museum of Costume and Fashion Research Centre in Bath, and am a life member of the Jane Austen Society.