Nov 2, 2008

History of Riding Habits

Let's face it. Riding habits in the 18th-century were quite smart.
So much so, in fact, that several ladies of rank had their portraits painted while wearing them.
But ladies didn't always have special riding costumes. The Jane Austen Centre tells us that "Ladies' clothing specifically for riding was not introduced until the second half of the sixteenth century, when protective overskirts or 'safeguards' were worn, together with cloaks, hats, boots, and masks to guard the complexion. Before that, women wore their everyday dresses on horseback. In the 1640s Queen Henrietta Maria was painted wearing a hunting dress and by the early eighteenth century the riding costume was established."

I've been out on the 'Net looking for examples of period riding habits because I decided this morning (or was it last night?) that Miss Anna Louise Higginbottom must wear a colonial riding habit.
Miss Higginbottom's habit will be royal blue. The skirt is velvet while the jacket is linen. The plan at present is for her to don a tri-corn hat, a blouse with a stock and jabot,
and possibly a whip of some kind.