Our annual ball will once again be held in our lovely and historic Gerrard Hall on the UNC campus, but this year we will have our first-ever Masked Ball, in honor of our Gothic theme. The dance list for this year’s Masked Ball is forthcoming. Many are from previous years and will be “quite danceable” for beginners.
Masquerade accessories and costumes are encouraged this year! Read Laura Boyle’s article here for an excellent overview of Masked Ball history and costumes. We have also borrowed here from Sarah Murden’s excellent article. In brief, costumes can be full bodied, as shown in this Masked Ball ticket from 1818 and the above image from 1798:
The Regency Clothing rental booth at JASP will have a variety of costumes available, along with Regency attire. We will also offer a mask-making workshop, in partnership with our expert milliner, Dannielle Perry of Timely Tresses.
On Twelfth Night we had a delightful evening…about our dress King and Queen, W Morris was King, I was Queen, Papa– Prince Busty Trusty, Mama– Red Riding Hood, Edward– Paddy O’Flaherty, G.– Johnny Bo-peep, H.– Timothy Trip, W.– Moses Abrahams, Eliz.– Mrs O’Flaherty, Ma.– Granny Grump, C– Cupid (by his own desire), Louisa– Princess Busty Trusty, Uncle H.B.– Punch, Aunt H.B.– Poll Mendicant, Jane– Punch’s Wife, Mary– Columbine, Uncle John– Jerry the Milkman, Mrs Morris– Sukey Sweetlips, Sophia– Margery Muttonpie.Soon After, according to a preconstructed plan, some of us retired upstairs to dress Jane as Punch’s wife, in a witches hat, a green petticoat and a scarlet shawl (the remains of our last year’s masquerade) Mrs M.J. and I in beggars clothes to sing carols at the parlour door, and myself in a long scarlet cloak for a royal robe and a wreath of natural primroses (which we had gathered and made up in the morning for whoever would be queen) around my head.—Fanny Austen to Miss Dorothy Clapman, February, 1812
Another popular form of costume, consider more English and less racy than the Venetian full costume, is Regency attire accompanied by a mask. Most often, though, the full effect is achieved with the addition of funny hats, wigs, and spectacles.
Sometimes the jewelry itself celebrated the mask, as in these luxurious eighteenth-century and early-nineteenth-century examples:
JASP will have some imitations of this jewelry for sale before the Masked Ball. Or you can purchase these on Ebay and Etsy (for thousands of dollars)!
Regency Attire for the Ball is optional, but a very popular option! Below you will find information on buying, renting, or making your ball attire.
A few tips from RG Bartis:
The Regency look for women is a high-waisted dress that emphasizes flowing lines and the natural figure. A basic outfit should include a dress, shawl, and shoes.
Dress: A high-waisted dress, length between calf and ankle. Sleeves can be any length. Sleeveless or strapless dresses should be disguised with a spencer or shawl. Materials included cotton, silk, linen, and wool. Dresses were often plain, with white being extremely popular; patterns were usually small, with stripes and roll-pattern printed patterns popular. Good thrift store options are a modern evening or bridesmaid dress with high waistline. A ribbon affixed around the waistline with a few stitches looks very appropriate. If you have an empire-waisted dress shorter than calf-length you can add a maxi-length skirt underneath. Medieval, Renaissance, and 18th c shifts all work in a pinch.
Spencer: A short jacket that ends a few inches below the bust.
Shawl: Plain and pashmina shawls were both popular
Shoes: Ballet flat style in a plain color. Black and kid-colored were popular.
Jewelry: Pearl and coral were popular for necklaces, bracelets, and pendants, as were cameos, crosses, and simple pendants.
Hair: A few very dashing ladies wore their hair short. Ribbons, curls, shawls wrapped into turbans, and feathers were all popular accessories. Long hair was usually worn up with curls spilling out.
Accessories: gloves, fans, white linen caps, bonnets
The Regency look for men is tight clothes that emphasize the verticality and the slimness of the waist and the broadness of the chest. The pants are tight and the waistline above the naval. A basic outfit should include shoes, pants, shirt, waistcoat, and cravat.
Shoes: The modern brogan and desert boot styles are almost exactly like popular Regency styles but plain dress shoes, loafers, and pumps also work. Black is best, brown also acceptable.
Pants: Tight dress pants in black, brown, tan, or off-white, held up with suspenders or braces if possible.
Shirt: A white dress shirt. White renaissance, pirate, poet, 18th c, or Victorian shirts may also work. Having a tall collar helps for the cravat.
Vest: Vests came in a variety of patterns and materials including wool, silk, and cotton, and could be plain, striped, or printed.
Coat: This is a Rake’s night, so a coat may be omitted. A modern morning coat or tailcoat, a plain 18th c coat, or a short jacket are also options.
Cravat: Unlike a modern tie the cravat was wrapped multiple times very high up around the neck and tied with a knot, being either a yard-square or very long and 6-8″ wide. Plain white linen/cotton or black silk were popular, but lower-class men also wore a variety of printed cottons.
Details: Canes, pocket watches, top hat, knit cap.
Hair: Historically hair was short and men were clean shaven. A messy look combed up into a tousled mess was popular.
RENT: JASP also offers gowns, gloves, hats, and scarves for rental at a very reasonable price.
MAKE: For the DYI crowd, here are some useful links:
Regency Thrift Store, for women: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KKViqeaD9c
Regency Thrift Store, for men: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLTQtgsM1CI
Faking the silhouette for women: http://experimentsinelegance.blogspot.com/…/faking-regency-…
A summary of styles for women: http://www.vintagevictorian.com/costume_1810.html
A summary of styles for men: http://www.vintagedancers.org/costume1810men.html