Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Georgians at the Fashion Museum

To me, Bath is synonymous with fashion. The city conjures up images of Jane Austen characters buying ribbons, or of well-to-do socialites dressing up to take the waters at the Pump Rooms. So it's very fitting that Bath has its own dedicated Fashion Museum. A couple of weeks ago I dragged my sister along to the museum to visit the new exhibition 'The Georgians.'
The Georgians, as you might have guessed, is a collection of Georgian clothing and accessories from the 18th century, a period which holds close ties with Bath from its heyday as the centre of the social season, a city where Austen stayed and based some of her novels (notably Northanger Abbey and Persuasion), and where wealthy aristocrats would take the opportunity to show off their latest purchases when promenading along the streets.

On display were some beautifully embroidered gowns, my favourite being the black dress with red roses (below). Many of the dresses had been altered and re-altered to adapt to the changing fashions of the time, with panels added and taken away or sleeves lengthened according to changes in body shape or style. Much like the Fashion on the Ration exhibition at IWM, 18th century women would consider dresses as a investment, to be reused and worn for many years, but this didn't meant they were averse to the whims of fashion.
One trend on show that I particularly loved was the light, embroidered jackets which were worn over nightgowns. These were so meticulously detailed that nowadays it would seem a little ridiculous to wear them to bed, and its almost a shame that they never got to see the light of day. I could imagine these being recast as some sort of modern day kimono jacket, I would wear one in a heartbeat!

I also loved the style of dress known as the 'sack back' due to its loose sack-like box pleats falling down from the shoulders. There's something very modern about this loose style of clothing, which wasn't what I was expecting from 18th century style. Here is the dress in its full glory.

The exhibition also had some examples of Georgian menswear including frock coats with beautifully embroidered sleeves, and of course, the iconic bright red military jacket which features in so many of Jane Austen's novels (often to signal someone an unsavoury character such as Mr. Wickham!). 

I loved mooching around this beautiful museum in Bath, and learning more about Georgian fashion. If you find yourself in the city then I'd recommend having a nose at all the sartorial gems they have inside, and let me know what you think! 

Have a fabulous Bank Holiday weekend! Xx 


  1. I absolutely love Bath, and the Fashion Museum there is such a fabulous place! The Georgian exhibition looks fascinating - what a fun one to see. That black dress with roses is just stunning!! xxx

    1. Thanks for reading! Yes the black dress was my absolute favourite! Xx

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.