Buff and Blue

Whew, it's been a while since I've posted!  Sorry about that, my sons just started high school and middle school and there's a lot been going on as a result!

Way before The Duchess movie came out, I read the book and became just obsessed with the whole 1784 election and The Duchess of Devonshire's part in it.  I loved that there were women out there shocking the stuffy fuddy-duddies and canvassing, and that fashion and color played an important part of that.  So for years now I've wanted to make a Buff and Blue Georgiana ensemble.  And I'm finally doing it!

I'm hoping to split the difference on the movie and what she really might have worn.  So I've been doing a ton of research, mostly pouring over political cartoons of her and Fox.  And I think I may do a longer post on possible Georgiana fashions in 1784 (Possible because they ARE satires of her and in some cases she's wearing things she obviously would NOT have actually worn.  But some fashions do show up repeatedly which gives them a little more plausibility...)

 It's not a style I know much about or felt much confidence in making.  But after pouring over the blog entries on 18th C riding habits by Before the Automobile Demode, The Fashionable Past, A Fractured Fairytale, American Duchess, and  Reconstructing History, among others, I think I finally have a plan on how to make the Fox riding habit. 

I've nearly finished the habit shirt, which I made based on the article by Reconstructing history mixed with a man's shirt pattern in Fitting and Proper.  And I've drafted a killer waistcoat pattern ollowing Merja's tip of modding the man's waistcoat in Costume Close Up.  I've also got a HILARIOUS petticoat in the works to go with it which I will keep a secret for now.  I still need to do a bit more research on the actual habit but I plan to make it military-looking, like the movie version, but styled along the lines of the habits she actually wears in the political cartoons of the election. 

One thing the movie got totally right?  The hat.  Nearly every cartoon of her (when she's depicted outside) shows her wearing a huge hat decorated with ostrich plumes, fox tails and big "Fox" rosettes.

In paintings of other ladies wearing riding habits in the 1780s they too are often wearing rather large ostrich plumed hats, usually in black.  I think most of these were beaver fur and given an unexpected windfall I recently received I'm seriously considering buying one of these

I've got plans to make some political sloganed garters too - which, dude, she is even shown wearing in one of the cartoons!!  "Fox Forever" and "Man of the People" - Hahhaa!! 

I'm seriously excited about it all, this is something I've wanted to do forever.


  1. What a coincedence, I watched the Duchess two days ago for the first time! I loved the amazing costumes and the hunting one you chose for reproduction was one of my favourites as well... I'll take a seat and watch what you'll create...

  2. Whoo Hoooo!!!! First off, the boys are now in High School and Jr. High? Good heavens how time flies!!!! Second, I am so very excited to see this outfit!! You are going to do a marvelous job on it and totally do it justice!!!!


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