Calling All Jane Austen Lovers

My son, Alex, was crazy on the subject of Jane Austen when we homeschooled. So much so that when he went to college he founded a Jane Austen club. One of the activities every year was presenting a “Pemberly Ball. ” We have since learned that many other homeschool groups hold similar dances. If you are considering a “Pemberly Ball” for your own homeschool group, you will probably be serious in how to find the costumes! One of his young friends shared a few strategies with me.


Although attires for a Pemberley Ball are not necessary, you may want to appear in one anyway. Here are some suggestions for having together a magnificent costume without using up your life savings.


For the girls, really all you need is the gown. That is all anyone will see. A common opening point for that can be found courtesy of the community retailer. If you desire to buy your own, my best advice to you is to look on E-bay, most dresses run among $40-80. They send rather quickly, usually within a week, and are of fantastic quality even though the images online are not particularly remarkable. The only downside is that are entirely unadorned, but all that they really need to have is a sash, which often you do not even have to sew on, and that only costs a few dollars for ribbon. If you are more committed you can also add beading and trim to suit your fancy.


For you gentlemen, there are two really good tutorials for MacGuyver-ing a look together from second hand products. There are also good instructions for tying a cravat online. Complete this so that you will not experience the scorn of Sir Percy Blakney, the Scarlet Pimpernel, “Odd’s Fish, m’dear! The man cannot even tie his own cravat! ” Bear in mind that most tasteful cravats in Jane Austen’s time were white.


For those of you looking for a tailcoat and a waistcoat, You can get tailcoats from an E-bay supplier. Look for used tailcoats in their exact sizes and in exceptional condition for only $20, and waistcoats run about $10. You will get them within three days of ordering them. For the waistcoats, the higher they button, the more period-correct they will look. One last word about tailcoats: deeper colors were more fashionable for that time period, so given the choice between black or gray, the two most frequent colors you can find, go with the black.


For pants, long pants will work in a pinch, but if you desire to go for knee breeches, a good trick is to get a pair of women’s capris or petal-pushers as long…

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